Adventures in TinyTown

I write all day to meet the twenty-page deadline for Monday and treat myself to a night with friends in TinyTown, NC. Wes and I carpool from the craft school to TinyTown, then we make a hard right turn and climb into the foothills of Roan Mountain. The road is steep and winding, pavement giving way to gravel and ditches as wide as a car but still, Wesley knows the way and we press on. Halfway up a mountain, we pull over and she calls DT on her cell phone.

“Ok, we’re here!” she says to DT over the phone. Then to me, “He’ll be down to pick us up in a minute.” She points to a tiny set of lights high up on the mountain. “That’s his house, and I’m not about to take my car up there.” We turn all the lights out and stand in the middle of the road, eyes and mouths agape, taking in the stars like sustenance.

The road is steep enough so that when I lean my head back into the seat, my wool hat falls off and lands in the backseat. I can see more sky than land and DT revs the motor to pick up speed. It’s an easy drive in his Subaru, but still, it feels like we’re on a midnight adventure with a starlit audience, an azure-sky stage rolled out before us like an invitation.

Inside, there are other friends and the woodstove is hot. The sake is warm and the lights are dim and DT gives me the tour of each room with pride. It takes only half a glimpse to see that his work as a gallery owner is more than just a day job, as every wall, shelf, nook, and cranny has been intentionally arranged and is worthy of comment.

Later, Wes and I read poetry out loud to all the evening guests and little Tina who is visiting from BigCity slips from her seat onto the floor, nuzzling with the dogs and curling into a shallow sleep, nursed along from one breath to the next by Sappho, Joseph Millar, Bernadette Mayer, and others. The dogs twitch and flinch through their puppy-dreams and Wes and I say our goodbye’s with hugs and kisses all around.

We brave the driveway on foot, arms linked at the elbows as we totter downhill like beginning walkers. On the drive home, I sing loud and feel warm inside. A hard day’s work earned a fruitful evening’s adventures, and already I am eager to greet the next day with gratitude.

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