Friday, January 3, 2014

An Abundant Day of Inspiration

The day dawned bright and cold, not that I saw the dawn. As the light grew strong and I woke from a too late night again with settling down and reading, I convinced myself I was glad we were driving my oldest to an appointment in Mercer, our county seat. Cold didn't penetrate the SUV, the roads clear, no blowing snow, as predicted, and I pleasured in the scenery, thinking I wished I skied. One part of sixty two with steep hills brings to mind mountains in miniature.
My husband and I visited a bakery across from the courthouse for the first time. I think the girl waiting on us, as breakfast was over and too early for lunch, didn't care at all. No mean bone, but total indifference to our wondering how the bakery service occurred. I got coffee, my first for the day, seventy five cents for a medium paper cup.  I thought how the second cup of coffee a day is better than the first. The cinnamon roll I ordered proved to be one of the best. The best was Mike's where I work that he shared with us all on Christmas Day. My lips still lick at the memory of  that one. His wife is a very lucky lady. My mother-in-law is second, now, as hers are warm when I eat them. Mike's also were warm with that crusty sugar butter layered throughout.
An Unremarkable Life (1989) Poster
West Middlesex Airport
I sipped my coffee, staring at the brown painted old wood floor. The small town feel of business filled the place, like New Wilmington or New England. I mused about a story I would love to write about "Stove Hounds," an old photograph posted  on South Shore Facebook page featuring men hanging around a stove in a general store. What kind of stories could I write about small town?
We passed an antique store with a movie poster in the window for  An Unremarkable Life. One of two movies filmed in the Shenango Valley in the late 1980's. In my short search, I can't find out what happened to Amin Q. Chaudhri or his company he endeavored to base in Sharon, Pennsylvania. Maybe Vancouver is better, for the old fashion feel of our Valley.
On our quest for lunch, I suggested two places that we found closed. At the second place, I had joy at being shown the inside of the remodeled barn on the Spring Valley golf course. The barn, built in 1872, housed the restaurant. We gazed out over the white blanket golf course, imagining the spring and summer when it would be opened. The owner talked of a nature trail they cultivated, handing me the place mat with the map.
I read it later and saw a Michner style novel from the outline of the trail. The ice age melt creating the bottomless bog begins the novel. The Native Americans burying grounds sets my mind in a second chapter with the next phase leading to the Donation plots and the settlers, like my seventh great grandfather, Edward Campbell, his wife Margaret and her brother, James Satterfield from Washington County, Pennsylvania. An old iron ore furnace shown on the map (the last one in the region) is the chapter on the beginnings of steel in our Valley with David Thompson seeing the promise, but dying too young and General James Pierce buying the farm from Mary, David's widow. General Pierce built on the industrialized dream in Sharpsville before Frank Buhl came to Sharon. His sixth great grandson became the president of the United States, George W. Bush. The president's grandfather grew up in Sharpsville before settling in Rye, New York, as owner of McCall's magazine. Did Barbara come here for summer vacations?
Like a gardener in winter plotting her land, I pour over all the possibilities of the stories. I'm looking at seed catalogs. I'm drawing diagrams. I see the flowers blooming. I have been writing this story since 2000 in my mind as it grows in imagination. I work toward the time again, I need to devote for the research that I commenced those many years ago when I poured over books in Mercer and Hermitage Historical Societies before I had to work full time. I plan many trips to this nature trail.
On my winter walk in the afternoon sun with no wind, I plan more. I think I could add the brief film making industry to this towering epic. I remember how Patrick Swayze, new on the heartthrob scene from North and South mini series, starred in another movie filmed in Sharon. He had been in a car accident, visiting the Farrell hospital emergency room just prior to when I started working there. The nurses still melting when I interviewed.
Tiger Warsaw opened in the Shenango Valley. We watched for all familiar places, hardly involved in the plot, listening to Y-103 in the background more than the dialogue. Mary McDonnell and Piper Laurie also acted in this. The painted window for the movie Sharon Police Department over a door on the Buhl Club remained for years. It fit the movie more than the actual police department in the modern building.
After my walk, I unwind with chai, reading Writing Past Dark, by Bonnie Friedman. I sleep a little on the couch under the pink golden sun. I wake encouraged to write of an abundant day of inspiration.

Tiger Warsaw (1988) Poster
A Sharon Tiger

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