We bid a fond farewell to Kirksville on Saturday morning, after a country breakfast at Diner 54 across the street from the hotel. This was a great decision for two reasons: good grub AND a chance encounter with Truman Lit Festival committee member Becky Kruger and her husband, Jerry. Jerry gave us the scoop on how he smoked the ribs served Thursday night:
|Don’t tell Neil that this is what he’s getting for his birthday!|
Neil and I disagree about how many antique stores we stopped at on our way to Columbia — I say 3, he says 47. We had snagged a copy of Ernie Pyle’s WWII war stories and a few other treasures by the time we pulled into the hometown of the University of Missouri. We enjoyed lattes as we strolled the gorgeous campus, coming upon this sign:
|U of M students tip their hats as they pass this sign, to honor alums who died in WWI|
I saw my first ever pin oak, as well as redwinged blackbird! Our walk worked up an appetite which we conquered with a fantastic and romantic dinner at the Wine Cellar Bistro.
|Our $1 purchase: dashboard compass|
Sunday morning dawned drizzly but that did not stop us from enjoying brunch at Bleu and a walk through the campus Earth Day Fair where we met this fellow:
We spent a pleasant hour in the Museum of Art and Archeology on campus and then made our way back to the car to continue our southward journey.
|Neil on the steps of a Pullman car, Centralia, MO|
Allow me to interrupt this travelogue with a plea: Please, please, please wear your seat belts. Sadly, Neil and I were witnesses to a single car fatality accident on this part of our journey. The young man was ejected from his truck; he hadn’t been wearing his seatbelt. While we couldn’t do anything for the young man, Neil provided details to the state patrol investigating the accident while I tried to comfort the young man’s sister who had just happened to be passing that same stretch of the freeway. Needless to say, our hearts were heavy when we finally got back on the road again.
Late afternoon found us pulling into TanTarA Resort, where we were shown to our suite — the parlor of which is bigger than our living room and dining room together at home!
We hadn’t even hung up our coats when two boxes of books were delivered. The contained copies of Two Bobbies donated by PermaBound and were to be placed on tables at Monday night’s banquet.
|It’s fun signing brand new books, but rewarding to sign much-loved copies, too!|
The banquet! I was seated on the dais with my good friend and writing mentor Peg Kehret. Together we looked out at the 100 tables and 1000 librarians in attendance. Peg was there to receive a Mark Twain award — her third. (She has been honored with over 50 s
tate young readers choice awards in her career).
On behalf of Mary Nethery and Jean Cassels, I was so pleased to accept the 2011 Show Me award for Two Bobbies, charmingly presented to me by the very composed Miss Samantha Callahan, age 8. It was especially sweet to receive this Missouri honor as my grandfather hailed from Aurora, MO.
The air thrummed with excitement as the program moved into its second phase: the announcement of the 2012 awards. Pam Callahan, Show Me committee chair announced the third place winner (Twist of Fate) and the second place winner (Dewey: There’s a Cat in the Library). She then paused dramatically before making her final announcement: that Nubs had won! I immediately burst into tears and every librarian in the room jumped to his or her feet, giving our book a standing ovation. I still get teary thinking about it. To make the evening even sweeter, Peg won the 2012 Mark Twain. Now she has four — one for each grandchild. I don’t think MASL has ever had back-to-back winners, and to have two AND to have both authors in attendance. . .well, let’s just say I felt like I was part of a bit of history.
I wish there had been more time to get better acquainted with Stacy DeKeyser and Lisa McMann, and to visit longer with Lisa Campbell Ernst (I want her lively and quirky studio!). Next time. I’m thinking Lisa Campbell Ernst’s book, Sylvia Jean, Scout Supreme, would be a great companion to Shana Corey’s Here Come the Girl Scouts! I’m also looking forward to Stacy’s retelling of the Pied Piper story, The Brixen Witch, due out in June, and to checking out Lisa McMann’s latest, Dead to You.
I managed to come down off Cloud 9 far enough to give my final presentation Tuesday morning and, despite our iPhones and our new compass, Neil and I got a little lost retracing our route to Kansas City. We did eventually arrive, with time enough for a quick tour of the wonderful Negro Leagues (Baseball) Museum and KC barbecue at Arthur Bryant’s.
And now, it’s home sweet home again. And back to work!