I am giving myself 30 minutes to write this blog post – and then THE END – because it is almost midnight and I have to drive back to Birmingham early tomorrow morning and it would probably be wise for me to get some sleep.
This morning I drove from Birmingham to Tupelo for a book signing. It took me a little longer than I was planning to get out of town, but I blame my tardiness – at least in part – on the fact that I am somewhat fascinated by one of the cashiers who works at a drugstore by our house. I ran in the drugstore to get some IceBreakers and some hair clips before I got on the road (too many details? sometimes I don’t know when information is essential or just annoying.), and I got held up in a line because the cashier was talking to the woman at the front of the line about jewelry. The cashier’s determination to find a subject to discuss with each customer makes every trip into the drugstore is a little bit of an adventure, and I am increasingly obsessed with what the topic of the day might be. Today it was her love for amethysts. Sometimes it’s a book she’s recently enjoyed or her favorite kind of lettuce. Oh, I could check out with the cashier in health and beauty aids and maybe wrap up the drugstore experience a few minutes sooner, but I choose this woman’s register EVERY SINGLE TIME because, well, I might learn something about the gross national product of Aruba or maybe even the most effective way to cook beets. It is always a lesson.
Once I finally got on the road, I made mighty good time to Tupelo and was turning into Emma Kate’s driveway before I knew it. One thing I don’t think I’ve mentioned is that while my publisher set up my book signing in Birmingham, all the other book signings have been set up by family friends or college friends who decided of their own free will that they wanted to take the book signing bull by the horns, so to speak. I have not done one thing except respond to their texts that say, “I am setting up a book signing for you. You are not allowed to say ‘no.’ Here’s where it will be.” And then once we work out the logistics, I just try to show up on time. It’s a system that seems to be working pretty well since my friends are very thoughtful and organized; they’re also aware of the limitations of my personal book marketing strategy, which primarily consists of looking at Amazon a couple of times a day and then devoting untold energy to reading Mississippi State message boards about the College World Series.
All that to say: Emma Kate planned the book signing in Tupelo. And while she would never tell me this, I know that she worked like crazy to pull the whole thing together. I am so grateful for that because listen – it was so fun. My friend Bubba was at EK’s house when I pulled in the driveway (he lives in Memphis, so seeing him thrilled me to no end), and once we got to the signing, I got to see Bubba’s mama and sister, along with EK’s mama and two of her dearest friends, and just hearing all of them talk to each other brought me so much joy. At one point I actually heard someone refer to Melanie’s book as “the Sparkly Green Earrings,” and it made me so happy. Plus, I loved getting to visit with some of EK’s friends I haven’t seen in awhile, meeting a few new people, and basically just soaking up the sounds of one of my favorite Mississippi towns. I could’ve stayed there all day.
EK planned a little sweet/salty get-together after the book signing, and we spent about 45 minutes just talking and alternating cheese straws with M&Ms while we wound down from our time at the bookstore. About 6:45, though, we started loading up the car to head back to EK’s because we didn’t want to miss a second of the Bulldogs’ College World Series game, and somehow, in the process of putting everything in the car and making sure we weren’t leaving anything behind, I ended up driving EK’s SUV.
The fact that I was driving a vehicle that was relatively unfamiliar to me is a critical plot point in our story.
We started the trek to EK’s house, and as we were talking and trying to figure out what we wanted for supper, I realized that the green light in front of me had just turned yellow, so I hit the brakes – brakes that responded very differently than the brakes on my car – and since I hit the brakes a little bit harder than what was necessary, a very valuable box fell off the backseat and into the floorboard.
I would like to warn you that what you’re about to see is not for the faint of heart. Consider yourself warned.
That right there is some cupcake heartache, my friends.
And you should know that we got so tickled. SO. TICKLED. Fortunately most of the cupcakes were resting on other cupcakes or on part of the box, so once we got back to EK’s house and really surveyed the damage, we realized that, for the most part, they might not be much to look at, but they were still totally edible. So all’s well that ends well.
Plus, you know, THIS.
There is no way to adequately convey to you just how loudly we yelled during our game. But we yelled, and we high-fived, and we clapped, and there may have even been some rally caps at the bottom of the 7th when we were feeling a little nervous. But the ‘Dogs prevailed – 5-4 over Indiana. Which means the Bulldogs are now one win away from playing for a National Championship. And I can’t talk about it anymore because quite honestly I can’t even wrap my brain around it.
But it was the best day. And night.
Hope yours was, too.