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Minstrels, book signings and New Year mewsings

As I type, the boys (cats) and I are dreaming of a white Christmas, and it looks like a possibility with more to follow.

It’s interesting to note that those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere welcome winter just as the days turn and begin to lengthen. Hope in the form of light intercedes when it’s most welcome and needed, in the darkest and coldest of times.

This past year has been a tailor-made stew of joys and challenges, of missed expectations and surprise visitations. I suddenly became the proud slave of not one, but three new tabbies — a stew in itself. Eddie, Cricket and Chicory somehow sensed I was too alone and, therefore, selfish for my own good and pounced into my life when least expected. When I told them I planned to mention them this week, they insisted on penning a parody for the New Year (chips off the old block). Please see below their rendition of “Auld Lang Syne.”

The first two book signings have passed — each one an adventure I forgot to announce here because I was too busy sniveling about Facebook orcs. A customer met me at the door of Rogue Gallery and Art Center, ready to buy copies of both books. Thanks, Dan. The members’ art show is up and offering a beautiful array of styles and mediums. So, though the usual Third Friday throng stayed home and warm, I sold books, helped the gallery in a small way, and felt the crowd surrounding me in the form of fine art and represented artists.

The second signing found me (and faithful, chattering pal, Lynn) huddled under cozy blankets on the patio at gorgeous Hummingbird Estates Winery. The day brought sunshine, so I left my heavy coat at home, thinking I surely wouldn’t need it. Greeting the chill 40-something degrees brought out the wild and woolly nature girl in me. I had to stay alive and animated to keep my blood circulating, which made for a more attention-getting sales pitch.

There was a Christmas party happening indoors, so I shared the wide open spaces with the talented Mr. Aaron Reed, one half of the acclaimed singing duo, The Brothers Reed. The staff at Hummingbird couldn’t have been more accommodating. They brought us hot and delicious chicken tortilla soup and warming wine. Later, we succumbed to one of their tasty maple bars with a mug of excellent hand-thawing coffee. The hardy stock of patrons present were in good spirits.

To my delight, friends who follow Southern Oregon Journal arrived to buy books. I thoroughly enjoy meeting with and talking to those with whom I have a connection through this space. The life of a writer is largely an isolated one by choice, but getting out and greeting those who make my scribblings meaningful completes the circle.

I must add a word or two about Aaron Reed, fine minstrel and excellent songwriter. He said that 90% of their music is original, and the words are something to listen to and not talk above. The Brothers Reed are well known and loved in the valley and beyond, and I’m glad I finally got to hear at least one brother. He strummed and sang — sometimes in shirt sleeves — to reach the heart and soul of his listeners. His voice is rich and clear, and he’s not afraid to share himself. He also sang sweet, familiar tunes — songs like “Pancho and Lefty,” the moving story-song written by Merle Haggard.

The plan is to return to Hummingbird this Wednesday evening, Dec. 29, from 4:30-7:00, with singer Son Ravello (5-7). We’ll be inside this time, or you just may find me down on the flat, building snow-people. But, I’ll have books. So, now from The Tabbies Three:

All Cats, All the Tyme

Should bowls of Friskies be forgot

And left outside to dry?

We’ll take a cup o’ kibble yet

And watch the olde year die.

And perch atop your laps, my friends

And let you scratch our ears.

We’ll take a cup o’ kibble yet

And reign the coming year.

Well, they’re learning.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer/author/cat-slave. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com.