I’m back from a book-signing event at the Barnes & Noble in my hometown of Springfield, Missouri. My dear friend, Betty Swadley, helped organize the event. Betty and her husband, Rev. Paul Swadley—aka: Swad—pastored the church I attended as a teenager and college student. They also know everyone in Springfield—including Renee Hunt, the customer relations manager at Barnes & Noble.
I read the book at the beginning of the signing and all fifty books were sold out before the event finished. (Thank goodness my aunts, uncles, and cousins had pre-ordered all of their copies ahead of time.)
This is my Aunt Becky and my cousins Donna Sanders Tiefenbrunn and Linda Sanders Garges.
Here I am with Mrs. Janet Henley, my third grade teacher at Bingham Elementary School. I write about Mrs. Henley (who prefers to be called Janet) every year with my students. She was the first teacher to read a chapter book to us (Little House on the Prairie) and the first to take us on a field trip (to the Laura Ingalls Wilder home and museum in Mansfield, MO). How great to reconnect and catch up with Mrs. Henley—I mean Janet!
My youth minister and his wife (Jack and Winnie Tuckness) were there with their three grown children and seven grandchildren. My cousins from the Raney side of the family—Jacqua Garrison and Dawn Lindsay—were there, too. Along with other South Haven friends. My best gal pal from Springfield, Lauri Massey, attended with her partner, Mickey, and their son, Ethan. And, of course, my sister Pat, was there every step of the way.
This is a picture of me and my twin-cousin, Linda. We were born two months apart (I’m older) and grew up together. The hat is a loaner from Linda’s husband, Mark.
Aunt Becky hosted a Sanders’ family reunion and thirty plus aunts, uncles, cousins, and second cousins joined us. I was humbled and honored at the effort they made to attend the book signing and the reunion. It’s been years (up to thirty or more) since I’ve seen some of these family members, and I had forgotten the warmth of their love, and the genuine, sincere way they conduct themselves and lead their lives. Thank you one and all.
On Sunday, Pat and I visited our Aunt Shirley (our mom's only remaining sibling) and Uncle Jack. Pat took me for a birthday lunch and to see family friends perform in The Nutcracker. Then Cousin Jacqua and her busband, Kevin, hosted us for dinner and a birthday cake. Fun! Fun! Fun!