From A Good Blog Is Hard To Find : Posted November 4, 2010
That is the story inside the cover of In The Garden With Billy.
It takes a village of friends to support a writer. While the act of writing is solitary, the birthing andsubsequent launch leaves the author calling in favors and relying on every friend she’s ever had. Mike Moeller, of The Camera’s Eye Photography, was a lifeline I used during the launch. Time is precious for this busy man whose services are much sought-after. When he agreed to spend the entire day at the farm, I realized how blessed I am to call him friend. He packed up the family, then made the six hour trip to Atlanta to serve as the official photographer.
As an aside, please visit the FB link for a sampling of the photos taken at the event.
My mother had mentioned she would try to attend the launch. She’s having chemotherapy again, and without giving away the contents of the book, I was hopeful she’d come. I reasoned if I called and the machine picked up that meant she was well enroute to Billy’s.
We spoke for a moment; afterward, I dried my eyes, reapplied my makeup, and stepped into the kitchen where Billy’s family gathered with mine. Billy said a prayer. He prayed for those who were traveling and for those too sick to make the trip. He also prayed that people would understand the message of the book.
In The Garden With Billy isn’t a “How-To Garden” book, it’s a celebration of hope and friendship that challenges you to reach out to those who are lonely.
The event began and something magical happened. A line formed. My husband, who’d been lounging at the book table, quickly fell behind as people stood in line to buy my book. Billy and I were amazed. Life-long friends stood in line with just-made-friends and waited for me to sign their book! Then came a moment I shall never forget. I looked up and saw my Dad walking across the yard. I couldn’t contain my tears. He came! He had driven over four hours from North Carolina to attend the event. I stood weeping without embarrassment and collapsed into his arms. Billy stood, also weeping, as I introduced two men who in a blink became best friends.
“This is my Daddy,” I explained to those waiting. “He traveled four hours to be here with me.” I dabbed my eyes. “Mom’s sick and couldn’t make it.” My voice wavered. “You’ll understand why I’m so emotional after you read the book.”
As I watched people wipe away tears, I realized how similar we are.
Who is my best friend? The readers who shared that intimate moment with me. Readers who believe in this book and have shared the message with others. You, who are reading this right now, are my new best friends. I am humbled beyond words that you have invited me into your life and that you would buy In The Garden With Billy. I am blessed to call you friend.
Renea Winchester is an award-winning writer. Terry Kay author of The Book of Marie and The Valley of Light, calls In The Garden With Billy “a warm, delightful and thoughtful story chronicling her friendship with the extraordinary Billy Albertson—the kind of friendship celebrating the best that life, in all its trickery, can offer. Simply put, it is a book of gladness in a world of fret, a writer’s gift to people who need the tenderness.”
In The Garden With Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes is available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Independent Books Stores, and through Little Creek Books. Renea is also available for book club meetings and group events. Visit her at www.reneawinchester.com