Sunday, September 24, 2006

And the winner is...

This weekend was rich with the kind of offerings that convinced us to take a gamble, pull up stakes and move a thousand miles away from everything we were familiar with. The weather provided a gorgeous backdrop for an assortment of fall festivals including Rocheport’s own charming annual Wine Stroll. We enjoyed mingling amidst now familiar faces and visitors who came to wander about our new town on Saturday, saving Sunday to savor the annual Art Show and Festival in Columbia.

The Art Show, held at the Boone County National Bank in conjunction with the Art League, had its largest show ever with over 300 entries. Wayne completed the first pieces he’d made since arriving in Missouri hours before the drop off deadline. Today we went to see the public display of his work as well as the rest of the entries which had hung over the weekend. I am so very proud to announce that Wayne’s piece, “Circle/Cycle I”, won the Purchase Prize, the one entry selected yearly for purchase by the bank for its permanent collection. When we first began looking at homes in Columbia, we were introduced to this bank by our realtor and given a tour of its quite impressive art collection which stretches over several floors. We were heartened to know that entities like the bank were such strong supporters of the arts and knowing Wayne’s work will be permanently displayed downtown assures me our new hometown has truly made a place for us.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Sneak Peek

The leaves are starting to turn and the air is tinged with ever so slight a chill. I'm trying to remember where I've stowed the fall clothes (we didn't own winter clothes in Houston). And Wayne is working around the clock to finish some pieces that will be displayed during the Art Fest this weekend. He's even recruited me to help a little with some detail work. It's the closest I'll ever come to dentistry or archeology--using small ceramic tools to excavate, bevel and refine every crack on this 4 x4 foot relief sculpture. This is a sneak preview. I'll post the finished piece after the show and after we've caught up on sleep.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Deer Friend

When it rains, it pours, unless it doesn’t. But we we’ve been getting wet, figuratively speaking. On Saturday, my good friend, writing comrade and fellow expat from Houston, Mark Bertrand, rolled into our little town in his little car on his way back to Souix Falls. By the time he winded down our drought stricken drive his normally pristine mini looked like it had been parked in the kitchen while Lucy and Ethel were baking. But what are friends for?

In this case it was for a night of LiT, the sequel. Anthony and Dyan joined us for dinner and then we all headed down to our home away from home, The Rocheport General Store, where Anthony and I now host the Columbia leg of LiT on Thursday nights. I’ll be posting about that gem (the store) soon. We sat upstairs in the loft while live music played below and various Rocheportians stuck their heads in to say hello. Somewhere in all that Anthony noted that one year ago we were all still in Houston, comfy in our little group, and none of us would have guessed that in one year’s time we’d all have left Houston and become Midwesterners. After we’d sucked dry the urn of coffee Kim the proprietor had deposited upstairs for us, we headed back to Lealholm where Wayne had a feisty bonfire blazing in minutes. Mark shared his fine cigars and we sat up chatting till 2:30 am. The one (only?) good thing about moving away from friends is that instead of meeting up for an hour or two here and there or lunch or coffee or a movie, when you do get to visit you really visit. And you can bet that whoever comes here to visit leaves here with plenty of dirt.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


We’ve been in our house now for just about three months. A couple of friends from Houston have slept under our roof—the first week we were here Ben flew up to help Wayne install cabinets, a sink, door, lights, etc. And neighbors from Houston stayed two nights as they passed through Missouri en route to their annual summer vacation in Wisconsin. But it was only this week, when Ben came back with Maggie for a few days followed by a visit from my parents, that our new house began to feel like home. Dad mastered the satellite remote and found a favorite place to perch while watching golf, Mom learned where the coffee is kept and Maggie which way to head for her outdoor strolls. And Ben got to enjoy the fruit of his labor.

They met our new neighbors around a big bonfire lit by the moon and its reflection on the pond, not a bad way to start relationships. The folks in town welcomed them at our new General Store, Rocheport’s answer to Mayberry with a twist of Northern Exposure, where we had coffee and dessert after a lovely dinner on the back deck, the long, simmering days relenting, allowing us the sunset.

My planned birthday ride on the Katy Trail became a no go when we woke up to the rumble of thunder. It was just as well since a week later the Huggins were able to join us on our first ride from Rocheport to Columbia and it was a good fifteen degrees cooler than the week before. The trail from Rocheport featured a placid river on one side and steep wooded bluffs rising on the other. About halfway through our ride, we took a left away from the river and rode the rest of the way through open fields and meadows, over creeks and forests. The path at one point wound around the massive lagoons of a wastewater treatment facility. Hmmm. A dusty barnyard scattered with goats and chickens seemed a good place to stop for water and there we ended up chatting with an older British couple who were drive/biking from Virginia to Oregon. But for a few other passersby, we had the trail to ourselves. We arrived in Columbia after about a two hour ride and replenished ourselves with wraps at Artisan before we somehow crammed four bikes into our vehicle, new veterans of the trail, headed with old amigos to a place starting to feel very much like home.