Posted by: raesalley | November 24, 2007

Stolen scarves and other things

Yesterday as I hit the stores on my one errand of the day, I wrapped a stolen scarf around my neck. The shopping was a success and the scarf was wonderful for burrowing my chilled fingers. The scarf is from a stop in Meridian, Mississippi a few years back, and not really stolen…but that’s how I think of it.

Friday unofficially started what I think of as my touring season. Really the company has me benchmark all of November and December, but we rarely hit the road before the turkey has been served and usually finish up before the yule log burns. Monday I’ll have my brush-up rehearsal before the husband and wife team hit the road for shows near where I’ll be meeting them on December 2nd. Every year we travel to new locations and I get a warm fuzzy feeling in my soul as we hit these little pockets of Americana.

The aforementioned stolen scarf came from me freezing in the lighting & sound booth at the community college where we were performing. The tech director, his first year there and I was showing him how to program the board, saw me shivering and tossed the heavy knitted thing at me. The small knot in the middle of long edge tells me it was likely handmade for someone. When I inquired about the owner, he informed me it had been left here for a few years and nobody seemed to claim it. Add to that the amount of people who left the area post-Katrina, it was likely its owner was never coming to claim it.

As we traveled directly from Meridian to Stuart, Virginia I came to love the scarf even more. Stuart, Virginia is set nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. I was warned we were staying in a cottage, due to the lack of hotels anywhere nearby. We were told, while loading in, that it was possible that someone might have to come get us with their four-wheel tractor/plow for one of the shows. We woke to cows outside our kitchen door. I slept in an attic-like bedroom with quilts over the twin bed and a chilly nose. A gas fire was kept burning in the sitting room one afternoon while I read and the actor watched football. I hiked up one of the nearby foothills and sat, amazed and awed over the play of the sun on the rocks and snow and trees. Around my neck was the stolen scarf and my fingers were icicles in their leather gloves.

We’ve been all kinds of little moments like these. There was Augusta, the city where leaves attacked. We slept in rooms that opened to the outside and you heard the dead swirling in front of your door all evening. They stuck to the car as we tried to leave after our last show. The space we were performing in housed the largest collection of Southern art, which we got to see on a private tour after we loaded in. New Bern was the original state capital and the home of Tryon Palace. On a tour, we baffled the guide with questions about the flooring and snickered for years afterwards about “jumbles” – cookies – shaped like fish, because (you know) fish are lucky. There was the Chinese food buffet in Rockingham that amazed us with fried chicken. And this year, we’re going back to Kansas City to perform in the Mid-Continent Libraries. If you want to see a public library done well, please take a look at these. They’re gorgeous facilities, great for small or large presentations and the outreach people are wonderful.

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