Everywhere I Go

Last Week was National Library Week, and I was invited as a local guest author to attend the Harnett Library celebration on Sunday in Lillington, NC (two hours from where I live).   Mystery writer, Margaret Maron was the scheduled  guest speaker (Marilyn, you may know her personally).  Cathey and Diane (from the library) made the event sound exciting and tons of fun, so I responded with “sure thing,” and mapquest helped me route the most scenic trip to this tucked in the country town I never knew existed. My husband and I arrived in Lillington a little early so we scouted  the residential area and found some charming and pristine older homes with absolutely gorgeous gardens.  While passing one of the most inspiring gardens, I noticed movement way up in a tree and wondered what it was, so I asked John to back up.  It was an opossum, stuck . . .  really stuck  in the crevice of a tree.  My husband wondered how in the world I saw it, way up in that tree as we were zipping by in the car.  It happens, everywhere I go.  I just see these things.  She was in a bind; couldn’t go forward or backward.  I knew she had to be stuck because she wouldn’t be out in the bright of day at 1:00 in the afternoon.  So there I was, dressed up and in high heels trying to figure out how to get her down.  I had 45 minutes to spare before the library event, but I was not dressed for climbing. So, I encouraged  John to go to a neighbor’s house (no one was home at the tree’s house) and ask to use their ladder.  We even had to use the ladder extension, she was so high.  He climbed to the top rung and kept lifting her gently with some blunt garden tool on a pole, also borrowed.  She was caught right under her ribs and her pouch was full of babies.  She hissed a little, but knowing that’s a possum’s only defense mechanism besides playing dead, he continued jostling her until she became unstuck and lifted her into the safety of the hollow in the tree.  She was exhausted, I’m sure, but hopefully fine.  I could see the scratches on the trunk of the tree where she was desperately trying to free herself, probably since dawn.  I could only hope she learned her lesson.  Those small spaces she used to squeeze through when she was single and carefree are not doable now that babies are on board.  Now, on to the library!  There were quite a few authors there, and the Harnett Library was stuffed with loyal and royal readers from Lillington and miles around, so the number in attendance was quite impressive.  A very attractive woman in white sequins played a golden harp beautifully during the reception.The library staff greeted me with an “I Love My Library” goody bag (loved the chocolates) and golden punch, then escorted me to my table, preciously handling me like a VIP in the Queen’s court!   Margaret Maron had wonderful stories to tell that kept everyone interested and entertained.  She also introduced her most recent published work, “Hard Row” and her soon to be released mystery, “Death’s Half Acre.”  I sat between the author who wrote “Baaaad Sheep”  and the author of “More Than Trees.”  So between sheep and trees, I was in my element.  The respect and admiration for the authors present at the Harnett Library’s ‘event of the year’ was easily recognizable and warmly felt by me.  This small town’s big celebration was certainly worth the trip.  It was a most splendid event and a wildlife rescue on top of all that . . .well, what can I say? 

Linda Bergman-Althouse

author of “Save Them All”