Those of you who read my blog regularly might remember my Thanksgiving entry: “Why I’m Thankful for the White Tornado.” It was a post about my grandmother. Well, yesterday was her 95th birthday, and instead of posting something about it here, I chose to post on Facebook. Not on my author page, but on my profile page where family and friends who also know her would see it. It got a lot of comments. Of course it did; it’s my gramma, and she’s awesome! But back to the point of the story. Because I live seventeen hours away, I jokingly said that, since I couldn’t be there, I’d like it if someone could give her a hug in my place.
I never expected anyone to actually do it.
Someone actually did.
Hope Shick and I have known each other for more years than I’m going to write here. We grew up in the same town, went to the same school, know the same people. She knows what my family means to me. Maybe she just gets the importance of family because she has a large one herself—she’s the mother to seven children. Also, like most people in my hometown, she knows my grandmother personally, so she knows what a special person she is. Stopping by to give her a hug probably wasn’t that big a hardship.
Except she had to rearrange her whole day to do it.
And she stayed to visit with her for about an hour.
See, that’s the thing about small towns that I miss the most. You can count on people to come through for you. It kills me that I wasn’t there to celebrate my grandmother’s 95th birthday with her. I didn’t get to bake her a cake or see her face when she opened my gift. I didn’t get to kiss her cheek or sit and laugh with her. We didn’t share a cup of coffee, and even our phone call was short because she had company and couldn’t talk. But because of an old friend, I got to share a hug with her—by proxy. And after talking with her this morning, I know that simple gesture made her day yesterday. It was a simple gesture that touched my heart more than words can ever express.
When I sit down at the keyboard and work on building my story worlds, these are the traits I draw on. The love, the camaraderie, the selfless gestures I find in the people in the small Western Pennsylvania town I grew up in. I hope you see these things in my work, and I hope you can draw on your histories to find inspiration for your art. What things motivate you?