Before the re-cap, a quick word about kindness.
This is a shot of James, about to fill up the car with gas provided by our friend Meg Tilly. Before we left town, Meg gave us a gas card as a Chocolate and Chat Tour parting gift, to help speed our tour on its way.
Meg is kindness personified, and both James and I want to thank her for her very thoughtful (and useful!) gift.
(Please note how James is somehow able to brandish the gas card, hold the nozzle AND stand on one foot all at once. Can this guy multi-task, or what?)
Meg hasn't blogged for a few days, so I like to think she is enjoying her family and the summer weather, inventing scrumptious recipes, and romping with her dog.
Back to the update.
This is Sue, manager of Monkeyshines Book Store in Calgary, still smiling after our workshop conducted with a group of amazing young writers. Thanks to Sue and Monkeyshines for hosting such a fun event for us!
As you might have noticed from the comic I posted this morning, our next stop was the wonderful Owl's Nest Book Store in the Britannia area of Calgary. We had a small, but enthusiastic crowd and shared wine, fruit and chocolate along with our conversation. Here is a shot of writer and bookseller Judith Duthie, hanging out with Virtual James.
After our marvellous visits with Sue and her staff at Monkeyshines and Mike and Anne and Judith from Owl's Nest Book store in Calgary, we headed north. The next day saw us on the road to Red Deer. Highway 2 is an adventurous experience at the best of times, but we had a particularly memorable drive, with a temperature that suddenly dropped to 6 degrees, lashing rain and Stephen Spielberg clouds, scudding along at different levels of the stratosphere.
"Look at this amazing sky," sez kc, snapping pictures through the open window.
"Why are these truckers driving at 150 kph through this storm?" sez James, tooling along at slightly over the speed limit himself and watching in awe as the semis roared by with their 100 tonne loads.
[kc pauses the narrative here to note that she just typed 100 tonne toads, and was briefly amused by the ensuing mental imagery...]
"What is that white stuff on the side of the road?" sez both kc and James together, in the curious sing-song style they have developed over the course of the tour.
In spite of questions remaining unanswered, they rolled safely into Red Deer and met up with James's long-lost friend Jen, now children's librarian at the main branch in town. Jen and her colleagues treated the authors to a marvellous lunch (thanks, Jen!) and then kc and James had a fantastic time speaking to a whole whack of young (and young-at-heart) writers for the afternoon. (This is Jen with James, both stricken by the sudden appearance of a Mysterious Stranger...)
We then (intrepidly) leapt into the car and hurtled through the wind and rain back down the highway to Cochrane, for a presentation at the Nan Boothby Memorial Library, under the kind eye of Head Librarian Terence Haxton. Terence had set up a cosy collection of chairs around a fire place -- much welcomed by the frozen travellers -- and a lovely evening was had by all.
It was not until a late-night viewing of email that all became clear -- the hail, the dropping temperatures, the speeding trucks...we had been driving through a tornado warning (with the radio off and the music blaring) and while we were unaware of the danger, those trucks and other drivers were clearly trying to get to their destinations ahead of any tornadoes that might appear!
Deep thanks to Jen and her staff in Red Deer and Terence and his staff in Cochrane for your kind hosting of our events. Again...kindness rears its head. A good way to finish, I think. Tomorrow we plan to avoid tornadoes...