The day definitely started out on with a “lowlight” when the predicted ice storm arrived in our area. We awoke to results of the merging of winter rain and cool temperatures, which turned our streets and sidewalks into a vast, city-wide ice-skating rink. Needless to say, when I dropped off the three younger kids at their elementary school, I brought them closer to the school doors than usual and sent them out with a “please be careful or you’ll slip” admonition. Usually, my daughters tend to their little brother just fine, and I thought it was safe to drive away, though I crept out of the parking lot slowly — partly through necessity, partly because I wanted to make sure they didn’t meet the same fate as others who were slip-sliding toward the school doors. They were still in view as I entered the side road east of the school to take my oldest to his destination, and I watched helplessly as my youngest bit the ice. His sisters, trying to help, soon lost their footing as well. Thankfully, the teen daughter of a friend was nearby and began helping them and others who were quickly following suit as they attempted to balance their backpacks while resisting the jeering ice sheets below. By then I’d parked and was trying to make my way to the kids in time to see them to their feet, but I couldn’t move quickly enough myself. By the time I drew near enough for them to see me, they were shuffling carefully toward the doors. “Are you okay?” I hollered, feeling completely inept against the elements. But they were too intent on their mission to even bother turning their heads, and I scuttled slowly away, feeling not unlike Bambie trying to stand for the first time, and with a sad feeling that they’d started their day like this, having to focus so much energy on simply getting to class in one piece.
From what I heard, Fargo schools were the only ones in the area to not have a late start today. Though I’m not usually too bent out of shape about such decisions, after watching children one by one dropping to the ice this morning, I couldn’t help but think that this time, perhaps it would have been better to lose a few hours of instruction rather than chance someone breaking a leg or worse. At this writing, thankfully, my chicklets are safe and sound.
Though I canceled my Y slot this morning to avoid another ice-slip, the day did improve by afternoon. I had a wonderful time serving as guest speaker at a local Philanthropic Educational Association (PEO) meeting. The gathering began with a lovely meal of brunch enchiladas (delicious…I will post the recipe soon if I can get my hands on it) and that awesome dessert made of jello, whipped cream and a pretzel crust. I’ve had it with strawberries; this time it was made with raspberries and matched the Valentine theme of the host’s home quite well. I then set up my Powerpoint presentation, and after everyone had gathered round, shared the story of my writing journey to a very receptive, gracious audience.
Next, I zipped over to Target to pick up valentines and candy for this week’s school parties (I might have forgotten if friend and fellow blogger Betty hadn’t reminded me through yesterday’s post!).
Finally, it was time to swing by the neighbor’s to retrieve my little guy, but not before stopping at the mailbox. “Just bills and junk,” I moaned to myself. But as I dropped them one by one into the trash, another piece of mail that seemed interesting rose from the debris. The return address: North Dakota Art Gallery Association. Something seemed oddly familiar about the organization’s name, and soon enough, I knew why.
Here’s what the letter inside said:
Thank you for your patience with this process. We apologize for our slow resolution. There have been several setbacks in the stages of judging and contacting artists. We may have tried to reach you already. If you have not been contacted, your work, “Sun-Kissed,” has been accepted.
We apologize for the short notice, however please know that the written portion has been printed out, enlarged to poster size, framed and is on Exhibition. We request that you respond to this email so we can verify you received the great news. Thank you and congratulations!
Linda Olson, Executive Director
Mary Wagner, Administrative Director/Art Curare
North Dakota Art Gallery Association
My mind now flashed back to a submission I’d made to a traveling art exhibit quite a few months ago at the urging of a fellow writer friend. Though I’d passed off the “no news” as high probability I hadn’t made it in, it certainly was nice to find out otherwise. The friend who told me about the call for submissions has seen the exhibit and said it looks quite nice. The short writing excerpt of mine that made it in is part of a larger work that I hope will be more visible in time.
These moments of measured success do not come every day, so with humility and a smile of gratitude, I count this among the highlights of my day.
Incidentally, this traveling exhibit will be making its way through North Dakota. When I find out where it will be and when, I will mention the schedule here. Until then, here’s the excerpt for those with a curious mind. The guidelines permitted excerpts 250 words or less.
I was about three the first time the sun kissed me.
Not long after that day, my father would call my freckles angel kisses, and I would believe him that they were. But that first batch came from the sun, or sun angels perhaps, or maybe God himself.
What I don’t remember is where I was exactly. In a yard, I know, but I don’t think it was our yard. I was alone, enjoying the warmth of the new spring.Clusters of the fallen cotton from cottonwood trees had formed in sporadic clumps against the fence, and more had collected in a puddle in the alley nearby, turning it into a small, white pond. I remember the fluff coming down like snow and me catching the seed puffs in my shirt, looking up occasionally to see where the breeze would take the flyers next and trying my best to follow.
Eventually, feeling too warm, I ran inside and into the hallway of that undefined home. It was in passing a full-length mirror that I saw them. At first I mistook them as dirt, but when I touched them I realized they weren’t dirt at all but little brown speckles dotting my face, mostly around my nose.
As a very young girl I thought I must be very fortunate to have these special markings, since so few other people I knew did. Eventually they began to set me apart, even from many of the other white kids I knew…
Like I said, someday I hope to share more. For now, this little glimpse will have to do.
By the way, if you live in North Dakota or the anywhere in the vicinity and happen to see this traveling exhibit up close, please let me know where it was located and what you thought of it. Perhaps in time I can post a photo or two.