Monday, August 13, 2012

Catching Up

Well, I dropped right off the edge of the blog universe last week, didn't I? Friday, my last day of teaching my Appalachian storytelling class, was a strange day. There was a storm late Thursday evening, lots of thunder and lightning and flickering lights. We were singing in the chapel so other than a few leaks and blinking lights the storm didn't bother us. By the time I left the chapel it was after midnight and the rain was mostly over. Then I got to the dorm and found there were no lights in my room.

The outlet worked which was strange, and the hall lights and bathroom lights were thankfully on. There were still no lights in the morning so getting ready for class was a little harried, but I made it to the dining hall with plenty of time for breakfast--and made tracks straight for the coffee because I was pretty sleepy from the late night. And guess what? No coffee! Apparently the campus has 3-phase power and one phase was out. Some appliances worked, some didn't. The kitchen staff did a great job of getting breakfast for us anyway although there were some people shocked into wakefulness when they learned there was no coffee to be had.

I hustled down to the library where I met with my students--and found it was closed because they had no power at all. Our morning plans had been to do library research, and view a video and listen to clips from 3 CDs of different Appalachian storytellers so we could discuss the regional differences in their telling style. That wasn't happening so we reviewed the resource lists I'd prepared for the class at a picnic table under the walkway to the library. It made a nice, airy classroom. The Augusta for Kids class came and joined us for a while; their morning plans were to do some cooking but since they could not do that, they came to listen to stories. My students told the stories they'd learned this week and we had a good time telling ghost stories to the kids--and they had some to tell us. One boy told of lights that moved on the mountains near his home in Hardy county, and as it happened I knew the "rest of the story," the legend behind those moving lights. That was really neat.

The power came back on just before lunch so the rest of the day went smoothly and quickly. I was sad to see our week end. We'd talked in depth about so many aspects of storytelling and shared so many stories. The week ended with a flatfoot dance contest and porch party. I wish you could have seen those dancers! My word, their feet can fly. The youngest was about five, I believe, and the oldest over 80. There were both men and women dancing and I don't know how the judge was able to choose the winner because they were all so good. Here are a few pictures of the dancing, which don't convey the high energy of the dancers or the enjoyment of the watchers:

The youngest dancer, who got an award for "most promising."

And probably the oldest, who danced every night all week long.

The finalists in the last round.

And the winner!

In the evening the Augusta Festival began with singing in the chapel and dancing in the pavilion. Elizabeth LaPrelle's ballad class was there at first; I sat in and sang along since I knew most of the songs they were learning. Pardon the angle--my hand slipped!

I intended to sing for a while and then go watch the dancing, but tiredness overtook me suddenly so I went to my room to rest--and fell sound asleep again. I suppose all the running in July finally caught up with me.

Saturday was the Augusta Festival's full day. I had intended to stay most of the day to look at the crafts and demonstrations and listen to some music, but I got a sudden longing to be home with my hubby, and left early to drive the long miles home. By evening I was on my own porch in my favorite rocker, telling Larry all about the week and what we'd done. Warren, our new neighbor, came down to get some grapes; we have so many I'll never be able to put up all of them, and we sure don't need that much grape juice! (And no, I don't make wine; I just don't care much for wine made from the Concord grapes). I slept in my own bed that night--is there any bed quite as comfortable as the one you sleep in at your own house?

Yesterday we took it slow in the morning, then I unloaded the car, re-loaded it with things to take to my booth and headed to Ravenswood to do some re-stocking. That was about all I was good for! I came home to make a batch of peach jam with the 12 peaches from our little volunteer tree, the only one that had any fruit this year. It has great peaches--they're a nice size, and freestone. We ate a light supper and then we lit the firepit for the first time since mid-June--the weather has just been too hot to enjoy it. It was a beautiful evening. The dogs and cats were happy to have us outside with them and we just talked and watched the sky. We didn't stay up late enough to see the Perseid meteor shower, though. Maybe we'll get to see some shooting stars tonight if the clouds clear away.

Today was canning day, after I took care of some eBay business and packed some things to mail. I had a half-bushel of tomatoes and a bushel of corn to do and it didn't take long to get those taken care of. Larry has picked a bushel of Concord grapes so you know what I'll be doing tomorrow.

I think that catches up the news from this little house on the hill. I am looking forward to a slower pace for the next few weeks. No storytelling to do, just canning and taking care of my booths and enjoying the waning of summer.

Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Nance said...

for sure, have checked in every evening, always hoping for an update. I have been as busy in Ausust as a cat chasing it's own tail and have hardly written a lick of anything so complain -- but I am always glad when you have had time to "tell". Nance

Granny Sue said...

Sometimes the days go by like a runaway freight train, don't they? I have enjoyed the last two mornings on the porch, listening and watching. It's wonderful to go and do, and just as good to return.

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