Yesterday, today, tomorrow—three days and they feel like three different lifetimes. Gosh, doesn’t that sound deep? But it isn’t. I’m not. Don’t worry, I just need a dose of those universal restoratives—coffee and chocolate.
Would you like to walk down to Mel’s on Main with me? It’s the best café in Blue Plum, Tennessee. Okay, it’s the only café in Blue Plum, Tennessee. It is fantastic though, and I’m sure Mel has been up to her talented elbows in pastry and bread dough since four this morning. Can’t you almost smell the yeast and cinnamon? Come on, the walk and the stimulants will clear my head. Because, you know, after the night I just spent and the things I thought I saw and heard . . . but, um, no. I’m going to forget all that weirdness. Wipe it right out of my head. Sometimes ignoring is bliss.
I’m not ignoring your question, though. If you’d asked me last week the answer would have been simple. A day in the life of Kath Rutledge, textile conservationist at the Illinois State Museum? Organized and routine. Up at 6:30, check the news, check for email from Granny down in Blue Plum, quick breakfast, hop in the car, twenty minute drive to the museum. The official version of my daily activities: Fiber analysis, fabric dating, stabilization, paperwork. What am I really doing? Cradling the hand-stitched baptismal gown handed down through six generations. Tending the quilt a great-great grandmother brought in a wagon hundreds of miles from the mountains of eastern Kentucky. Saving the life of a tattered, still muddy and bloody Civil War uniform. Holding history—holding stories—in my hands. Can you tell I love my job? I do, and except for the occasional tornado or howling blue blizzard, my life in Illinois ticks right along.
Days in Blue Plum are different. They’re slower and more personal. They’re shadowed by the Blue Ridge Mountains and deep green forests. They’re sadder, now, without Granny. But they’re full of people who knew her, who know my name and who know Granny’s business and mine better than I do. And that can be a good thing, right?
So now I have to wonder, what would my days be like if I stayed here in Blue Plum? Granny gave me my love of fibers and textiles. And now she’s left me The Weaver’s Cat, her shop that’s so much more than a yarn shop. I love the Weaver’s Cat—the textures, the colors, the wools and cottons and silks, the needles, the knitters sitting around gossiping. I love the smell of possibilities and the sizzle of creative energy you feel when you walk in the door of that wonderful antique building. So do I go back to Illinois and try to be a successful long distance business owner, making the occasional whirlwind trip back to Blue Plum? Or do I sell the shop, sell Granny’s life-work, and wonder if I’ll ever find the time to come back here when both Granny and the Cat are gone?
Or do I stay in Blue Plum? Or is it up to me? Because, you know, I’m not so sure. My organized life that ticks along so smoothly? It’s gotten a jolt or two over the last couple of days and things are kind of odd, kind of . . . but here’s Mel’s. Thank goodness for lifesaving coffee and chocolate!
You can read more about Kath in Last Wool and Testament, the first book in the new “Haunted Yarn Shop” mystery series.
** Thanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of LAST WOOL AND TESTAMENT to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends September 6. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. **
About the author
Molly MacRae had the good fortune to spend twenty years in the hills and hollows of Upper East Tennessee. She was director of the history museum in Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest town, and later managed an independent bookstore in Johnson City. Molly’s short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine since 1990. She is a past winner of the Sherwood Anderson Award for Short Fiction. Her mystery, Lawn Order, was hailed by The Boston Globe as “murder with a dose of drollery.” Last Wool and Testament, first in her new Haunted Yarn Shop mysteries from NAL/Obsidian, debuting in September 2012, is “fresh and amusing” according to Romantic Times Book Review and “A clever yarn you don’t want to end” according to Betty Hechtman, national bestselling author of Behind the Seams.
Molly lives with her family and a ginger cat in Champaign, Illinois, where she connects children with books at the public library.
You can visit Molly at her website: www.mollymacrae.com. You can also find her on the first Monday of each month at Amy Alessio’s vintage food and craft blog: www.amyalessio.com and on the 23rd of each month at Killer Characters: www.killercharacters.com.
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.