I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, I love meeting people. At this particular point in my life, I just can’t have too many friends. So when I read that Melissa (of the popular blog, Tilly’s Nest) was heading South for an event at Stone Mountain I sent her an “in-vite” to visit Farmer Billy.
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve met someone at Farmer Billy’s farm, I wouldn’t have to work.
As luck would have it, my daughter required taxi duty and everyone single Georgia Cracker decided to use Hardscrabble Road instead of Woodstock. While I sat in traffic, Melissa arrived and noticed the sign, In The Garden Out Back, which was propped against the tailgate. She moseyed behind the house and found Farmer Billy plodding along on one of his three tractors.
“Are you a Yankee?” he asked, in jest as he reached out his hand. Billy asks that question often, especially when I tell him I’m sending over another visitor. He doesn’t use the word Yankee in a derogatory manner, he is on a personal mission to show off his “little strip of country” to every Yank who passes by (and lately there have been a lot).
For the record, I think Billy calls most everyone who doesn’t hang their hat in Georgia a Yankee.
But I digress.
Melissa is the reader who inspired me to start the “Reader Challenge,” where I ask readers to submit photos of a dish they have made after reading my book, Farming Friends and Fried Bologna Sandwiches. Melissa is more than a FB friend, the moment her feet touched the soil on Hardscrabble Road, she became kindred.
Gardening does that . . . makes total strangers inseparable besties. Don’t take my word for it, read Melissa’s blog post about her visit.
I arrived to find both of them sitting on Billy couch. He had opened up one of many books that contains family photos that go back to the 1800s. I knew Melissa was tired, hungry, and just wanted to get a bite to eat, so we pulled away from Billy for a little girl time. My daughter and I wanted her to feel at home, so we took her to a restaurant where she could meet Justin, our favorite waiter who just happened to grow up not far from where Melissa lives.
Of course not, just another example of why I write what I write, to teach y’all just how small and insignificant we are in this great big world; to show you how easy it is to become a part of a community.
The more Melissa and I chatted the more I realized what a blessing it was to meet her in person. She shared with me some of her writing struggles that are similar to my own. Her visit truly blessed me.
Melissa is more than a blogger, she also has a book baby coming out soon which you can pre-order here.
Isn’t this the cutest book ever?
Melissa is also the brainchild behind Hug a Chicken Day. The concept is simple, pour a little love on some poultry and spend time outdoors with our feathered friends. But Hug a Chicken day is about more than spreading a little chicken love, Melissa has partnered with her friends to offer FREEBIES including a copy of my book.
Oh yes my lovelies, click this link to see what Melissa and her friends are giving away, register for the freebie, and don’t forget to hug a chicken.
Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Mountain Memories: True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. Mercer University Press released Farming, Friends, & Fried Bologna Sandwiches in September. Email her through her website at www.reneawinchester.com. She welcomes new friends on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter Here.