Saturday, October 29, 2011
SO, I was doing a really thorough scrubbing of the tanks at the Alabama border Rest Area. We were, after all, going to settle in for a couple months, look for a new tow vehicle and visit New Jersey – long overdue.
“Look,” she says, “The Athens Alabama Storytelling Festival is this weekend.”
There was a volleyball game at seven thirty, so we unloaded the essentials and went to cheer. Wednesday morning, more chores. Then,
“See if we can get a campsite near Athens for the weekend.”
“Yes, Miss,” thinking All things are possible in Patty world.
So Thursday we are refueled, rearmed and refitted and rolling North.
The Storytelling was great fun. Much smaller than Jonesborough and with a strong small town feel. Athens has a great courthouse square with abundant restaurants and “cute shops”. The single tent was on the square.
Thursday night we honored Kathryn Tucker Windham. We were early and looking for warm bodies to snuggle with; Charlie Lucas, Kathryn’s close friend and neighbor, looked a little adrift and we waved him over to sit with us. We had a grand time until the committee folks needed him to sit with the other dignitaries. Each teller had stories of their friendship with Kathryn, but Charlie’s simple rambling tales were the most touching.
Donald Davis and Bill Lepp were the favorites at Jonesborough but many regretted that Carmen Deedy wasn’t there. She came to Athens and brought her husband, world class folksinger and teller John McCutchen. Nobody knows how they get this premier lineup except that they “treat them like royalty.”
It was rainy, windy and cold for Thursday and Friday. We dressed in layers but were glad to get back to our cozy ‘stream at Mallard Point Campground. Each night we wrestled with the AM radio until we heard the last two games of the World Series, hot mugs of Ovaltine in our hands.
Saturday was glorious sunny weather, and the performances seemed to shine as well. John had Patty leading a standing ovation, tears streaming down her cheeks, as he sung about forgiveness and the Amish response to the horrific slaughter of their little schoolgirls. Donald had us in stitches recounting his mule ride into the Grand Canyon.
One of the stories mentioned “toys that only grandparents buy” and featured the balloon boat. Looks were exchanged as Pat had nearly purchased one earlier. Sure, we went back to the Mercantile and snatched one, and our new friends there even got her to spring for a new chapeau.
There was, of course, food. The reviews for the Village Pizza sounded like they may have written them themselves, but it WAS the best pizza between here and Chicago. (We tried it three times!) And one cold evening, Joanie, we spent in a cozy booth inside a bookstore. Only a few of us found this refuge and we lingered over hot chili and croissant sandwiches.