Monday, October 7, 2013

Watching the Cardinals Win, Home from Bunker Hill and the Winner of Baker Mountain

Last week was busy and a ton of fun, but somehow time got away from me.

I had intended to post the name of the winner of Baker Mountain on October 3, but life got in the way of my good intentions.

The winner's name is posted at the end of this here's-my-excuse-for-posting-late ramble.

Wednesday I got a call from Las Vegas from a very generous writer-friend, who was returning to St. Louis around midnight.

She is a season ticket holder for the St. Louis Cardinals and had some extra tickets to the Cardinals first playoff game. She knows what big Cardinal fans my grandchildren and I are. A few weeks ago I mentioned that Cari and I made it to one game this year with her Irish dance studio, but the only game Michael got to was the game he went to on a school field trip for being on Safety Patrol.

"Would you like to go to the game tomorrow?" she asked. "I have some extra tickets."

"Are you kidding? Of course!"

"Great!" she answered.

We chatted for awhile before I thought to ask.

"How much are they?"

"Don't worry about it," she said.

I told her how good she has been to me and my family and how grateful I was for her thoughtfulness -- not only was she giving me tickets to the Cardinals playoff game, she had let us use her beach house in South Carolina for a week in June.

Did I mention she is very generous?

So, on Thursday I picked up Michael right after school. We grabbed a quick meal before heading down to the ballpark for the 4 p.m. game, where we scouted for a parking place before picking up tickets at the Will Call booth. 

As we entered the stadium, we were given rally towels, which we waved frequently during the Cardinals 9-1 win. It was hot that day and supposed to rain. I brought a jacket and an umbrella. Thankfully I didn't need either. It was a perfect evening.

During the game I offered to buy my friend something to eat or to drink. "No, thanks," she said.  While there was no way I could repay her generosity, she graciously let me buy her a bottle of water.

Michael and I had a wonderful time at the ballgame. We have a special memory, one I'm sure Michael will remember until he's my age or older--and the Cardinals brought home a winner. I'm hoping they'll win two more to move on in the playoffs.

Friday was occupied with getting ready for my trip to the Missouri State Teachers Association third annual Creative Retreat at Bunker Hill, Missouri, on the Jacks Fork River in the heart of the Ozarks.

Last fall, while I was a speaker at a writing conference in Columbia,  I was invited by the managing editor of the MSTA magazine to be a presenter during this year's retreat.

I wasn't sure what to expect. I'd taught adults before on my government jobs, at writers' conferences, and a college seminar, but teaching teachers? I was a bit anxious. Teachers are so smart. What if they asked a question about writing I couldn't answer? I planned and organized my material, prepared handouts and hoped for the best.

My publisher-friend Lou was also invited to be a speaker. Friday afternoon Lou and her husband Squeak arrived at my house, where Squeak and my husband Walt loaded up my VW Passat. Well, almost everything got put in my car--but that's another story.

On the drive down to Bunker Hill, Lou told me a friend of hers called right before she left to warn us to be careful because we would be driving through "Winter's Bone" country, where if someone tells you they're a cook, they're more of a cook like Walter White than a fry cook at McDonald's. We didn't she any sketchy characters or run across any meth labs, but we did see lots of strange colored mushrooms--more about them on another day.

I had a wonderful time during the retreat. It was a full schedule and I met some amazing and talented writers, who happen to be teachers. Teachers really are smart, but they also are very kind. Before we left I took  time to take photos which I'll share on another post.

Now, for the big announcement. 
The winner selected at random to win a copy of BAKER MOUNTAIN is:


So, Lisa, please e-mail me at dvolkenannt @ (without the spaces) with your address so I can get Doyle's book in the mail to you.

Hope you're all enjoying this lovely fall weather--and Go, Cards!


  1. Wonderful all around! And she is definitely a good friend! :)

  2. Sounds like you had some fun! Whoo-hoo. So happy for Lisa too!

  3. We're not really all that smart sometimes. But we are nice. Because we know what it's like to be in front of a crowd. A crowd of "Winter's Bone" young 'uns.

  4. Hi Madeline,
    She is a good friend.

    Hi Lynn,
    Yep. It was fun!

    Hi Val,
    Now, don't be modest. That part of the state is so lovely!

  5. My goodness what a wonderful week you have had! the Ozarks in favorite season. I'm sure the worshop went well.

  6. Thanks, Linda. It was a busy, but fun, weekend.

  7. Yay! So excited I won! Thanks, Donna. I emailed my address to you (and picked up yours as well). I'm so looking forward to reading this. :)


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