Monday, June 14, 2010

Marriage on My Mind

I recently received a wedding invitation for the wedding of the son of a dear friend of mine. I know we all have this realization from time to time: Married? Isn't that kid still in rompers? How quickly the years pass by--and one day the boy who sat at your Thanksgiving table carefully moving around the vegetables he didn't fancy is now going to be a husband. I mentioned recently that another friend's son has just been wed, before being deployed for his third tour in Iraq. His wedding was especially significant to me because I wrote about his mom's wedding in my book, Jenny Walton's Packing for a Woman's Journey. His mom was one of the young women working with me--and our whole staff, with her mom's approval, got together and put on the wedding.

The wedding happened to be on my December birthday, and it was memorable for lots of reasons including the bitter cold and ice of an Iowa winter. Dear Ann, tiny but intrepid, walked across the icy parking lot of the church where the reception was being held managing a three-tiered cake she baked. I looked out the window and I stopped breathing for a second. She made it, of course. There must be special angels in attendance on such occasions. Suzy, who now resides in sunny Mexico, had flown into Des Moines from New York in a storm tenderly caressing the floral bouquets she had touched with a rim of gold. As for my contribution--I spent the fall months knitting a series of sweaters in pastel colors for the bridesmaids. The one in progress when my husband and I drove to see our son in high school in Michigan was a most delicate shade of lavender. At one point, with bits of wool dust swirling in the car, my husband suggested I might have to stop lest we get "lilac lung disease." So many good memories.

My own wedding had its share of drama. I won't relate it here, but if one of you has a copy of Packing for a Woman's Journey feel free to tell the story. Our anniversary is coming up and we'll celebrate this year with just a few of our nearest and dearest--including friends who were there on a tropical July day in Washington. I once heard that the British diplomats got special pay for enduring DC summers. I don't know whether it's true or not, but it can be very hot and humid, and it certainly was on our special day.

And so marriage is on my mind: Radiant brides, flowers in hand, aisles whether in churches or sylvan settings, adoring parents, the friends of a lifetime, grooms seemingly too young...happiness.

Above: Wedding Day, Daniel Bennett Schwartz, watercolor, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Book Tour Begins

The first stop on my summer book tour is in Rochester, New York on June 15. First, I'll be happy to see my friend Karen and catch up. Then, after we have a chatty dinner, I hope to meet My First Best Friend fans at the Barnes & Noble at Pittsford Plaza. I'll be there from 7 to 9. Do come if you can, or get the word to family and friends in the area.

Karen, by the way, has a charming story in the book. It is about two little girls who play dolls together, but when you read between the lines--it's a lot more about the very basic nature of feeling that one belongs. Tune in at 7:15 to WHAM-TV the morning of June 15: I'll be talking to Mike on the morning show. Bet he'll ask me about Rochester's Karen.

Writing, as everyone knows, can be lonely. But when one has a finished book, it's getting out to meet "the folks" that provides a special thrill. After Rochester, I'm off to Minneapolis for a signing at The Galleria in Edina on June 23, then Ames, IA on June 26, and Des Moines, IA on June 27.

My friend Coleen says she's got quite a crew coming to the signing at the Barnes & Noble at Jordan Creek in West Des Moines. I'll take her at her word as Col comes from a large family and has five great kids of her own. Mike, the eldest, just left for a third tour in Iraq. Just before deployment, he married Katie, who is to be congratulated with a brand new law degree. I wasn't able to make the wedding, but I am looking forward to meeting Mike's bride. And speaking of weddings, Col is chronicled in my book Jenny Walton's Packing for a Woman's Journey. It's quite a tale of love on many levels. When I looked at the pictures of Mike and Katie on their happy day, I couldn't help seeing his beautiful mom in her ankle length dress carrying a bouquet of flowers touched with gold--brought from New York to Des Moines by friend and designer Suzy Taylor. (Suzy is the Suzy of The Kemplar Street Gang in MFBF.)

Yes, writing can be lonely. But fortunately, my writer's life has been populated with so many friends and familiar faces and stories. They have enriched my life and hopefully, through my writing, the lives of many others.

While on the road, I'll try to blog as much as possible. But at the very least, I'll save up tales for when I return. Hopefully, some of you will have your own when I come to your town. And I'd still like to get reviews of My First Best Friend here--or on Amazon or one of the other internet book sellers. It's good to know what reactions the book engenders.

Until then, Kitty Foyle will keep the home fires burning...

For more details on Nancy's book tour: