Leaving Jonesborough this morning so we are up early to drive to Asheville. The clouds are hanging low and open - the combination of the mountains peeking out through the white mists - reminds me of the pictures on ancient Chinese scrolls. Beautiful.
I remember when I was a kid hearing my grandmother - who was born and raised in the flat Piedmont of North Carolina - talk about Asheville as being in the "high mountains." I have been to the Alps, the Rockies and the Sierras - but when I think of mountains these Blue Ridge are still Granny's high mountains to me. And this morning they are giving me a taste of Chinese painting.
Professor Alice Weldon scheduled Pushing Boundaries, my new personal story about my journey to the Equal Rights Amendment, in the Laurel Forum, a comfortable windowed room. I was telling this story for her Women Studies Class - and a handful of members of the local League of Women Voters joined us. I was particularly delighted to meet the new North Carolina State League President. Part of my story includes my adventures and ms-adventures as ERA Campaign Director or the League's National Staff, (1979-1982)
When Jim and I started out again toward home we decided to go a new way - up Hwy 40 to connect with Hwy 77 over Fancy Gap - then Hwy 81 to 66 to 495 to Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Fortunately our Tom Tom works it out and keeps us on track.
Then as we were cruising along we saw the signs for Hickory. "Isn't that where Fred and Shirley live?" "Wouldn't you like to see their bookstore.
Maybe they have not sold it yet." We had seen them in June at the Johns Hopkins Medical School reunion and Fred and really peaked my curiosity about his bookstore.
Who can turn down a chance to see the third largest used book store in NC - especially when you will see two friends at the same time? Not I, says the cat.
Since we could not remember the name of the bookstore
we started out in a very artsy coffee shop on a
downtown street in Hickory. A distinguished looking gentleman was enjoying his coffee and the newspaper but he smiled when I approached him - "we are looking for a friend's bookstore and we have forgotten the name." "well, what's his name? " I told him. He looked surprised. " I know him. We all know each other here in Hickory." He looked up the bookstore, gave us the phone number and directions to HWY 321. "what do you do here? " I asked. "I am a lawyer." I could not resist. We had been so so lucky in the coincidence that he knew Fred. I named my
high school classmate who practices Law in NC. No he didn't know him. Then I threw out another name. His eyes lit up. "yes. I do know him." We chatted about that for a few minutes. I love playing 6% of separation and we didn't have to even bring Kevin Bacon into it. When I laughed about it, the gentleman smiled, "This is Hickory. We all know each other here." That sounds good. And, it was certainly working for us this morning.
Jim called Fred. He and Shirley were in the store and we drove over. They laughed at our chance meeting with their friend, who was , by-the-way, a retired Judge. We enjoyed a lovely visit. Jim and Fred talked about Hopkins, their days as med students and Medicine. While they talked were showed me around the bookstore. Fascinating place. You would never guess from the outside how big it is or how many books were shelved in a maze of bookcases, rooms and aisles.
Everything was on sale. Oh. Oh.
I left with an armload of wonderful books at an amazing price. But best we had a lovely visit with people we really like.
If you are on Hwy 321 between Hickory and Lenoir do stop at the Wonderland of Books. I bet you won't regret it.