Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The History Club

Yesterday I spoke at a meeting of the History Club of Bristol. The History Club was founded in 1931, and none of the current members recall why it was ever named the History Club, though some of them may have been members at the time.

From my perspective, it was lovely, and I hope they all thought so too, though I'm told I disappointed them by not bringing my dear husband along so they could admire the view. One woman, whom I'd not met before (I already knew several of the ladies there), upon hearing I was originally from Indiana, said, "Oh, so you must just love living here!" That, as my son pointed out when I repeated the comment to him later, is the essence of a Southern dig--sounds like a compliment, and it's only when you get home that you work out there's an insult in there somewhere. But it wasn't an insult to me, it was to my birthplace, over which I had no choice and can be given no blame. Plus, it was funny. Bless her heart.

From the meeting I went to Food City for groceries, but not my usual one--I was closer to one "by the Japanese restaurant." (This is how everyone in Bristol gives directions. Either "by" something else, or, worse, "by" where something else "used to be." I stopped at the fish counter to see what was fresh and the man working there said, "Hey, I recognize you from somewhere."

I took a look at him and suggested St. Anne's Church, at which point he started laughing and said of course St. Anne's. "You're the one that writes books," he said. (He recommended the potato-encrusted cod, which is the first time I've bought pre-encrusted anything. But it was very good.)

This is so typical in my small town. And I love it. I told the History Club the story of how I once fell sound asleep in the comfy chairs at our library, in front of one of the little gas fires, slept for two hours, nearly missed picking my children up from school, and woke to find a puddle of drool on my shirt. But at least my picture didn't get taken for the newspaper. It could have happened. Though I like to think that if one of the newspaper boys had dropped by, the YA librarian would have come to my defense.

Scratch that. I know her too well. She probably wasn't even at work that day. If she'd seen me snoring, she would have called up the newspaper boys herself.