Teaching can really wear a person out. Bonnie McCaffery (who teaches beginners to make amazing painted portraits on fabric) is taking a break waiting, and waiting, and waiting to see if our plane would take off. Remember those tornadoes in the middle of the country a week ago? They really messed up air travel. Our plane was delayed for a good two hours. Esterita Austin (one of my favorite artists!!!) was so stressed out by her teaching schedule (she had another gig in Vancouver, B.C. to get to) that she immediately aged forty years - thus the wheel chair. No. Just kidding - it was just a comfy place to sit.
Mariya Waters and her sweetheart of a husband. Yes, things get silly after three hours waiting for a plane.
Then they asked for four passengers to voluntarily give up their seats to they could take on extra fuel. That didn't sound good. I was imagining myself circling for hours over Chicago and missing my late flight out to Raleigh. Stuck in the airport overnight isn't fun. A quick call to hubby (who is the lucky recipient of the free ticket) and I happily gave up my seat. Melinda Bula (another fantastic teacher) and a couple students joined me. I really think that between Melinda and I and our five thousand pounds of teacher luggage that we could have counted for all four. I think Bonnie and Esterita were very happy it wasn't them.
I've gotta say how much I love tiny little puddle jumper airports. They usually have a staff of three and a half and every one of them earns their salary about three times over. Our ticket-taker/gate-agent/all-around-make-everything-work girl took great care of us. She found a hotel, arranged for a hotel, got meal vouchers and generally went well above and beyond the call of duty. We got back to the hotel, had a nice dinner, and I got a good nights sleep for the first time in a week.
Next morning? Sleeping in. Aaaaaaah. Then lounging in pajamas and playing on my computer. That never happens at home. Late in the morning our little crew got together and headed into town. Now, Paducah is not a big town. I think they all heave a very big sigh of relief as soon as the quilters leave and happily close up shop for a week to recuperate. That said, this IS the South and people are sooooo nice. We just picked up the phone and they opened right back up just for us.
Helene Davis' studio is a little bit of fabric heaven. Well, actually, a very large bit of fabric heaven. Who wouldn't drool over shelves and shelves of the eye candy that greets you when you walk in the front door. Oh, and all of the day trip photos are courtesy of Melinda Bula. I understand how my daughter feels when we are on a trip and her camera runs out of batteries. I hate it when I forget my camera! Thanks Melinda!!!
Helene is a gracious woman and an amazing artist with an amazing studio. She has prodigious talent in the shibori arena and I left a good chunk of my hard earned cash behind with her. Happily.
I think our little group would have been blissfully happy if we had stopped right there. But wait. The day gets better. Left to right - Teri from Florida, Melinda from California, Lyric, Karen from Michigan.
For lunch we thought we'd stop at a Tea house I had eaten at earlier in the week. We enjoyed the walk (in the drizzle) into town and sadly discovered that pretty much every place is closed on Mondays. Sigh. As we stood pondering what to do next a group came out the door that had just had a specially catered event. None of us noticed the intrepid Terry (who shall forthwith be called "She Who Gets Things Done!") slipped in and talked the owner into feeding us poor wandering, leftover quilters, some amazingly yummy leftover food.
SereniTea's building was an Elks Lodge, built during prohibition with a secret door to the booze and gambling den in the basement. The owner of the establishment and her friendly waitress were delightful. When we were done she asked us if we wanted to see upstairs. Oh my. She was just beginning renovations on a ballroom with the most amazing pressed tin ceiling I've ever seen.
Melinda noticed a funny, little, lone blue lightbulb.
The stories it could tell.
Once again. We called the day blissful and decided it was a complete success and worth missing a flight. But wait, there's more! Another call, another door unlocked, and we were welcomed into the quilt teachers dream home of Caryl Bryer Fallert. I want to be her when I grow up. I've been saying that for a very long time. It was one of her quilts that started me on this amazing and surprising journey.
Once again we were treated to a private tour and showed such kindness and generosity that we thought perhaps we HAD died and gone to heaven. There are angels living in Paducah my friends and some of them have gorgeous red hair.
And yes, the next morning we all got right on our sweet little plane and uneventfully arrived home to our families. And in my case, a long, long list of things to catch up on and an awful lot of laundry. It was worth it.