« Neil Young for President! | Main | The Tao of Tea and Poetry »

Friends in High Places

oddfellabell3.jpg A day spent in Floyd – the one stoplight rural town I live in – can be as exciting as time spent in any big city, as far as I’m concerned.

On Friday I had lunch at Oddfellas Cantina with two amazingly accomplished women, sold 10 books (The Jim and Dan Stories), and got invited to go to the New Orleans Jazz Festival – complete with a backstage pass – all in the matter of a couple of hours.

The bag of books, brought by request of Elizabeth McCommon (center) for her book club to read, sat at my feet while we settled in at the front table with the sun streaming in. Elizabeth is somewhat of a local celebrity. She’s mostly known for her folk music and acting abilities and is currently teaching a memoir writing class at the YMCA Open University in Blacksburg. The last time I saw her was over 10 years ago when I worked in the bead shop in Blacksburg. She told me then that a new song was brewing, either in protest or in jest, called "Where has all the Foreskin Gone.” oddfellaslunch3.jpg

I see Alwyn (right) more often. She’s a longtime dear friend, a poet, animal rights activist, environmentalist, author, artist, Rudolf Steiner kindergarten teacher, and more. We have a long history together, one such period being when we worked on a publication together, called “The Bell: A Call to Peace.”

I had just come from listening to the rock and roll of Neil Young (Living with War) on my computer at home and was still under its influence. We tried not to all talk at once. I was digging into my Harvest Bowl with the creamy feta garlic dressing when Melody (on the left), music promoter at the Winter Sun, walked in with a music poster she was about to hang. I called her over because I knew Elizabeth would want to meet her. Elizabeth is an old friend of another local musician, Acourt Bason, the Rasta Buddhist Recluse who I wrote about earlier this year.

It’s a small world in Floyd. Melody and Acourt are a couple now. She’s planning his upcoming art opening at the Black Water Loft. Knowing what a hermit he is, I asked Melody, jokingly, “Is Acourt going to come to the opening?”

We were all of us jotting down addresses, dates, and exchanging posters (I had some for the upcoming Spoken Word Open Mic) when the conversation turned to The New Orleans Jazz Festival where Melody is scheduled to be with the Kusun Ensemble next weekend.

“You could probably meet Peter Gabriel,” she said, inviting me to tag along. The blogger in me got wide-eyed.

“I have to go home and think about. I don’t think well with other people around,” I told her. elizabeth.jpg

Right next door, Joanne and Billy Bell were celebrating the grand opening of their new shop, The Bell Gallery and Garden. More old friends of Elizabeth’s. We went over to collect some hugs, to drool over Billy’s photography, and to admire Joanne’s pressed flower glasswork.

Next stop, the Winter Sun Warehouse, to shop for some hand dyed clothes from Ecuador. I don’t think you can go into the Winter Sun without stopping at the Café Del Sol for tea or coffee. And I don’t think you can stop at Café Del Sol without seeing any number of friends to catch up with.

By the end of the stimulating afternoon, I was spinning with the upbeat pace of it all. Later, at home I planted several rows of Swiss chard and kale. It was time to come back down to earth.

Post Note:
The building on the left in the first photo is where Oddfella’s Cantina lives. The green building, just to the right of that, is Joanne and Billy Bell’s new shop. All the places mentioned above are within walking distance of each other. Check out Acourt’s new website here.


A lovely day in beautiful surroundings with stimulating people, what could be more perfect?

I'm here from Michele's site, and have had fun reading about your small yet happening town. It sounds both laid-back and cultured, a great combination!

It does sound like a lovely day!

Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier. I think I'm going to have a longer look around here. I saw some Neil Young post that I have to read more closely :)

You make Floyd sound like the PLACE TO BE! Acort's
paintings and drawings are very interesting.

I think I want to move to Floyd. :-)

i think i want to return to floyd!

in fact i rekon i'll get in your car and enjoy the long ride down thru the shenandoah valley right now.
mike asked if your title today was a reference to the high positive vibrations of all the floydians. yeah, i said because we dwell in the mountains and altititude does affect attitude. we were drawn here magnetically. attracted to and by the powerful natural elemental vibe.

see ya in 5

Hi, Michele sent me. Glad she did, so I could take a virtual visit to Floyd.

Reminds me of my visits to Asheville here in NC. Great arts community there, many go there to live a life like you described in Floyd. Michele sent me by the way.

Are you going to New Orleans? I think that would be a great festival to attend.

Your friends sound neat....glad you had such a fun day! You have a fun life...(and congrats on selling 10 books)

Hi Colleen..Just had a visit from Leslie so I went by to see her and found out you all had had lunch! I LOVE THIS! I said the Blogworld is huge and small, all at the same time. I love that you have so much wonderful stuff going on in Floyd...Amazing! It is such a huge Artists Community!

BTW Stop by my blog cause I think you will like my most recent post...

Exciting that you will be going to New Orleans...and a backstage pass, too! Good For You! Always a great pleasure to visit you, my dear.

I woke up this morning thinking that the invitation to New Orleans is like being nominated for an award that I don't necessarily have to win. I don't think I have the stamina to pull together going next weekend! It's so tempting though.

And yes, I'm very happy to have met Leslie! Online and in person!

I've met Deana too (above).

A magical day in a magical place. Makes me wish I could be there someday.

I'd want to make sure the benets were back or still being made. I would go to New Orleans for them.

Every time I read one of your detailed posts about Floyd's thriving creative spirit, I want to make it my next destination vacation (Ha! As if I ever get those!). A girl can dream, can't she?

The New Orleans Jazz Festival!!! You lucky dog! Dr. John will be there, I'd love to meet him!

Post a comment