Friday, April 2, 2010

Tupelo, Nashvile, and Home Again!

It was hard to believe the Wing and Prayer tour only had two more stops to make on this 21 stop, 14 day excursion. But it was true. We were headed to the famous John Grisham launching bookstore of Reeds Gumtree Books - next to our last. The end was drawing near.

Now one thing was becoming apparent to us all along the winding road - we never knew what to expect and every stop offered up something special. A different slice of life and the unexpected pleasure of a surprise.

Reeds offered up the friendly faces of Emily and Jane and the one and only Jack Reed, son of the founder of Reeds but the instigating factor for getting the bookstore added and off the grown. He honored us by making a special trip in to welcome us to the store. Honor is a loose word for the experience. After conversing with Jack for over an hour (and never wanting to leave) we were humbled by his wisdom and his presence. We both purchased HIS BOOK at his protest and captured the storyteller offering some sage advice for the ages.

Reeds is one of the places that when you wander in you want to park. The kind of place where we found ourselves having serious conversations with booksellers in the children's area with questions like "Did you find Llama, Llama Misses Mama as good as Llama, Llama Red Pajama?"  Seriously. Our appreciation for fine literature knows no boxy boundaries.

Another wouldashouldacoulda was added to our list  - never, ever come to Reeds Gumtree Books or the beautiful little city of Tupelo without more time to spend and spare. Never.

Headed straight on down the road (in a roundabout find another story kind of way) we passed through Tennessee and flowering trees and pulled up at our last stop - Davis Kidd in Nashville. What a delight to see friendly faces waiting and people who had great patience as we poured out stories, stacked up stories, and laughed through incidents of the long road show. Afterwards when we caught our breath - we realized no one probably understood a tired, manic word we'd said. But they were all so beautifully attendent. We met sisters Mary Elizabeth and Sara who shared with us thoughts on her most recent reading experience. You can view the clip here:

It was a great evening of storytelling, celebrating story and wrapping up this Great Southern Wing and a Prayer Tour. Tired. but too happy to care, we finally had to hush and let the good folks of Davis Kidd go home for the night and say goodbye.

We have too many favorite lines to post them all. We kept quoting the great literary line from The Tale of Two Cities - "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" as we pushed, pulled and lugged luggage state after state. But well worth every stop, turn, mile and smile along the way.

It will take months to process everything that we learned and that happened on this trip but we can pinpoint a couple of things that are worth sharing:

*Community bookstores are vital to the ongoing health of the gathering of people who love books. They are our town squares, our central outposts for civilized discussion, and a place where souls can find something in common - their love for the written word.

*Young people are reading everything and everywhere which gives us great hope that our idea of a book and a good story will live for a very long time.

* That in this age of blogging, facebooking, twittering and so on - and kudo's to social media for connecting and reconnecting so many of us - nothing will ever take the place of a little face to face grace.

And now the only great literary line that come to mind is  . . .


Thanks for staying so close to us as you followed along. We have loved sharing this evolving trip with you.

And now - On a Wing and a Prayer - we have to say goodnight. Please scroll down to see all the wonderful pictures of where we've traveled and the friends we've made along the way.

 River and Shellie

Crossing the Finish Line at David Kidd






















Reed’s Bookstore, Tupelo MS




















Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Book Talk at Susan’s Parlor Party

Susan Cushman set up the most beautiful table, a special area with a few of our books, and began to host the Book Talk in the Parlor!


Friends and smiling faces!
And a table fit for a Queen!
At the last minute we discover that Real Simple had all the advice we needed - More Time for You and how to find it. IF only we had found this at the beginning of the trip we may have seen Rock City and Graceland!
Ann wins a drawing from Panola Pepper!
These tired, road weary Radio hosts were still all smiles in Susan's gracious company.
DSC_0022Once again - someone had to point the way out of here as our tour draws closer to the end. We'll be on the road to Tupelo, Mississippi tomorrow and then turn the Jeep North to Nashville for one last stop. ON a Wing and a Prayer and a Shoestring! 

River and Shellie

WREG Live at Nine out of Memphis welcomes Great Southern Wing and Prayer Tour

Special thanks to WREG out of Memphis, TN for welcoming the Great Southern Wing and a Prayer Tour to Live at Nine’s Morning Show. And thanks to the viewers who dropped what they were doing and rushed off to That Bookstore in Blytheville right away! We talked about - what else? Story!
On a wing and a prayer, (and coming in on a shoestring!)
River and Shellie

That Bookstore in Blytheville

These arch gateways into downtown Blytheville are so perfect because everyone knows what a mecca this store has been for writers for generations.


Shellie grabs a shot of the store but captures more. See that little white, darling, Jeep Angel in the reflection, just like the logo - she's been getting us down the road for 1000's of miles.

The shelves overflow with the most incredible stories of our day.

Friendly faces abounding. Someone here loves putting the right book in the right hands.
Mary Gay Shipley's High Profile was well earned. A lifetime of promoting authors and their good words is due a little recognition.
We wanted to take the neon home for a night light. Mary Gay said NO, NO - it must stay in the store.
If this character looks familiar it's because it is none other than Pat Conroy - Really. These dolls are from the story that his beautiful daughter created titled - Poppy's Pants.
Four friends for forty years. Is that what they told us? Can that be true? Retired School teachers who drove for an hour to join us. Love you every one!
Now we're missing some folks here but we  managed to corral a few and snag this photo. Thank you to all of those who also saw the Channel 3 Live at Nine Segment and dropped what you were doing to get in the car and rush to the bookstore. We are honored by all of you!
Oh thank you beautiful for making a special trip and coming in to Grace us with your presence.

All we can say to this poster is AMEN!

Sometimes what you really need after a long day on the road is a little puppet play time.
But some puppets, just like their people, are a little camera shy!
What was the last thing we asked Mary Gay even with the gps systems and an Atlas? Oh yes we did, we asked her directions.
DSC_0065And some stories we just had to wonder about and leave behind because we had to continue on down that highway. On A Wing and A Prayer folks!