It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…

So there I was, driving my trusty ten-year-old Prius (“It can pass a gas station but not much else…”) down to Richmond to join with writin’ buddies at the Virginia Romance Writers’ annual awards luncheon. I hadn’t left my house until about 7 pm, and I was pretty tired and grouchy. Part of my grouchiness was because I was taking Route 15–nobody sane drives I-95 south on a Friday evening in summer, or ever, really.

The day was cloudy, so by about 8 pm, the glorious Virginia countryside was shrouded in darkness. Bummer. And then it started to rain, which after dark in my little pee-pee car is my absolute NOT favorite. I wound past Warrenton and on through Culpeper, getting more tired and out of charity with myself when an enormous burst of light filled the night sky.

Fireworks? In Mid-East Cowpat, VA?

Another great burst of light exploded, and another and another. Seems I’d hit the great metropolis of Orange just as the local carnival was putting on its big display–and it was quite a display. As I drove past the carnival grounds, I was reminded of all the times I’d been a kid at a carnival, my precious tickets clutched in my hand as I chose my fun, that funnel-cake scent filling the summer air.

I can’t watch something that spectacular and not be impressed–with human ingenuity, if nothing else. Fireworks are purely for enjoyment, purely a spectacle. I drove on, and oh, lookee! The lightning bugs were out down around Boswell’s Tavern. I do love the lightning bugs.

I bethought myself to see what CD I’d left in my CD player the last time I’d used it (sometime in 2018), and it was Iz Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World” medley. Gorgeous composition. Played it three times back to back and sang along. Got to my hotel room and snuggled in with the latest Jennifer Ashley Kat Holloway mystery–I am so enjoying that series.

One random event–the fireworks display–jolted me out of my funk, and from there, the positive vibes grew. As I drove home today (dry roads!), I was in a much better frame of mind. What fun to meet new writin’ buddies! How lovely the countryside is when blanketed in summer green! How wonderful to have arrived safely home after all that driving, and isn’t a cup of tea just the most delectable treat ever?

How to Ruin a Duke by Grace Burrowes and Theresa RomainI try to end my day listing at least five things I’m grateful for, but this little road trip through VA reminded me that gratitude has more zing–more power to lift mood and reduce anxiety–when it’s specific to our immediate situation. Of course health, family, friends, job, a safe place to sleep are all wonderful, but those unexpected fireworks were wonderful in a more immediate sense.

And that led to noticing the lightning bugs, the brilliance of a well crafted historical mystery, the pleasure of comfy bed, the flowers by the Gordonsville visitor’s center, and much more.

What small, unique-to-this-day thing are you grateful for right now? To one commenter, I’ll send a signed print copy of How to Ruin a Duke AND a $50 e-gift card.




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16 comments on “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…

  1. One thing that I can still do (that I have always enjoyed doing) is sitting on my front porch in the quiet of the day listening and watching the birds. Haven’t spotted any hummingbirds yet, but I saw two yellow finches yesterday. I don’t see them too often. Life is good (smile).

  2. I am enjoying my quiet morning with my two corgi sisters Beanie ( the one who barks) & Rose (the quiet one). The sisters are 12 1/2 and I am enjoying my time with them.

    They remind me to slow down and take a big breath. They love routine in the morning and according to Beanie- she gets fed first. They remind me that in life and friendship, there’s a little give and take.

    Beanie is the boss. She can’t see all that well & has always had selective hearing. Rose can’t hear too well & is easy going, so they are the perfect pair. They are the last two corgis I Bred- so they are special in that regard.

    Right now, they are sleeping. Rose by my feet & Beanie on the couch. I bet they will be up to mischief later today.

    Have a great week!

  3. I enjoy spending time with my family–Hubby and the Kids–as well as siblings and Dad. Baby Bro visits me once a month when he is making his usual service calls down here. This Friday was the day and we laughed about a favorite recipe of our Mom’s, TV shows (and TV stars) of our childhood, the Old Neighborhood (where he stills lives)and news of a few distant relatives. It was our typical visit but refreshed me more this month for some reason. One of my sons strolled in before Bro left, and we chatted with him too.

    Nothing we spoke of will change the world or even be of interest to anyone else. These are little islands of reminiscence in my life and I am grateful for the chance to have these visits on a somewhat regular basis. We text and talk on the phone but SEEING each other when we chat is very special.

  4. A Little Debbie Oatmeal cake in my lunch on mealbreak at work, along with happy thoughts from you, of course!

  5. What I love right now, right today are

    the sights and sounds on my own back porch. These crazy cicadas are shining in an almost deafening pitch ( thank Heavens they quiet down at night!). The distant sound of a freight train as it rolls through this part of the Ohio Valley is a sound I was born to and have heard all my life. We have a house surrounded by mature trees and sitting on our deck is like being in a treehouse…all green and cozy. The gift of sight and hearing are so often taken for granted. Can you imagine explaining “plaid” to someone born blind who has never seen colors? Or describing the sound of the eruption of birdsong first thing in the morning who has never heard a single bird call? I am blessed. All of us, everyday in even the most normal of activities!

  6. This morning I woke up and came into this new day with a quiet feeling of sorrow and sadness that I cannot seem to shake off.Over the last few months loved ones of mine have been fighting various illness and troubled mental health issues.Two of my best friends one with cancer the other has second stage dementia have had a difficult week and I have tried to be there for them every step of the way,helping to keep them positive and enjoying each day.They are coping but I feel I am not doing enough,I feel helpless.I have got to be realistic I know ___what will be will be ,but saying good byes is going to be hard.But not yet.Tomorrow will be better because I will have worked through these feelings and carry on.We will share some sunny days and cloudy days but it will be shared and remembered forever.That’s the gift of friendship.

  7. I value my mom’s Czech recipes. I remember sitting at the kitchen table watching her measure and mix. And the results were yummy. Now I make my own recipes and remember Mom and it’s like she here, beside me.

  8. I’m enjoying these June evenings with the windows wide open – we’re mostly past pollen season, so nothing is making me sneeze, and the air just feels so soft & fresh. In another month it will probably be too humid.

  9. I do not think this was a little thing but it was what I was thinking about when I read your post and I have been wanting to share it for the last two days with someone. We went North to Pennsylvania for my 45th college reunion and then to Cape May and Annapolis.We traveled on a lot of back roads and then finally ended up in Maryland outside of DC. My husband went to pick up my son from an Amtrak station for our next day family drive back South. The directions to the station were badly marked as well as signs at the station as to where to park and how to go to pick someone up. It was 10 PM at night and my son and husband emerged from the station. As my husband was deciding how to get to where he parked the car a young black woman pulled up and asked if she could help them. She invited them into her car and they drove around the parking lots until they found his car. She said God Bless and drove away. My husband and son are two big white guys and even though my husband’s age is indicated by his mass of silver curls I would hesitate to pick anyone up in this day and age. They and I are very grateful for that young woman’s help and she has given us all hope that just maybe things are not as bad in America as we seem to think.

  10. My daughter and I were traveling all day for a competition she will be in this week. I am grateful that after being stuck in the rain with luggage and finally getting into our dorm room (now there’s an experience I never pictured myself having again) we are dry and heading to sleep with nothing to do tomorrow but enjoy museums and each others company.

  11. It is a dark and stormy night right now – with an amazing lighting show going on. I am grateful for the rain we received and grateful that the rain passed through pretty quickly. We were in downtown Austin eating dinner with one [f my husband’s work colleagues from Tel Aviv. We walked a few blocks to the restaurant before the rain started the. Back to our truck after. Before the rain it was hot, muggy, and the streets were stinky city streets. After an excellent meal, it was cooler and everything smelled so much better – the clean fresh air can’t be beat!

  12. I love when an event sparks happy childhood memories. Gee, I haven’t seen lightening bugs in forever. Honestly, I’m grateful for just another day. At my age and health not so great I look at every morning as a precious gift.

  13. I am thankful for our rain!! It has been dry and scorching hot here, with lots of small wildfires. So the blessing of multiple days of rain has been absolutely lovely.

  14. On impulse I called my friend Michelle this morning. I haven’t seen her in several years, and “liking” her Instagram posts isn’t the same as talking. I caught her as she was arriving at the animal shelter to pick up some female ducks who need a new home. She’s hoping they’ll keep her two drakes from trying to hump her chickens.

    We talked for an hour, taking turns sharing our ups and downs. What a treat, and a reminder to connect with people who are dear to me more often.

  15. Today is blue sky and clouds – very low humidity. I was able to take the afternoon off so I can read at home with the windows open!!

  16. I’m in bed after just finishing How to Ruin a Duke and, as usual, with your books, I loved it. You really bring the people to life and make them real. I’ve read most of your books and only found the spot today to subscribe to your Newsletter.
    Many thanks