Do you know Dovie Pilney?

On a very regular ordinary day, I stopped by Tom Thumb on my way home from work. It is football season (Go Cowboys!), and we make nachos for every game (Go Carb Intercept!). However, we were out of refried beans. As I head down the appropriate food isle, I see this important ingredient for nacho bliss just on the other side of a woman and her cart, both of which are blocking the isle. I quietly wait.

 “He doesn’t like spicy. Eeh? What is this?” A lady, who looks like she could have walked right off the old frontier, straightens up, looks at me, and catches me off guard by making eye contact. I wasn’t ready for eye contact. In her world, that evidently meant I was ready for a conversation.

All I wanted was my beans.

I now have an anxiety ridden hum echoing in my ears. Interaction… oh no! I like to be Ms. Invisible. Pop in, pop out, be nice to the cashier, and then back in my car, my safety zone, then home. But not this time. Now, a stranger is talking to me about her husband who doesn’t like spicy salsa. I was also informed that the rib eye steaks she purchased a week ago weren’t that good. I mumble something politely about our George Foreman Grill. It’s hard to cook a bad steak on that.

She finally moves, I nod a goodbye and continue walking down the isle. But there she is, in front of me again. How did she do that?

“Did you know this young thing is an author?” I look to her right as a college-aged girl and her cart squeeze by. She was smart – she didn’t make eye contact and moved on down the isle and out of sight, evidently not the young thing the older lady was referring to. Now it was just the two of us again. I’m confused, and fail at another escape attempt.

“I got a book signing coming up!”

“Oh, you’re the author – well congratulations!” Relieved I wasn’t hearing things or going crazy, I began to admire this older lady’s spunk. I can respect a woman who stays young by having a mindset to do so.  

Dovie Pilney - Charlie the Cocky Rooster

“Yep, my third book. Charlie, the Cocky Rooster. It’s a kids’ book, full of adventure and I wrote it all about the place where I grew up. Barnes and Noble in Southlake, October 15th at noon is the place.”

“Well, thank you. Thank you so much for telling me! I wrote that down, right here on my shopping list. Nice talking to you.”  I again attempt to leave the scene.

From behind me, I hear, “A-hem, you’ll want to write this down too. D-o-v-i-e. D- did you get that? o-v-i-e. P-i-l-n-e-y. You can find me all over the internet thing.”

I chuckle, show her I now have her name written down, promise to look her up, say goodbye and thank you for the fourth time. I walk away, successfully this time, smiling at this very odd encounter.

When I got home, I told Tom, my husband, about her, and while doing so, entered her name into the search bar on that internet thing. Yep, she’s all over it! An hour later, I come up for air – what a story!

The town she grew up in was a company town, literally called ‘Strugglesville.’ But because of the great depression, the company and town shut down. Everyone had to leave, and they even removed the sign. Children who were born there had to get their birth certificates changed to reflect the nearest ‘surviving’ town, which was Cromwell, Oklahoma. She’s the fourth of six children in her family.

What most impressed me, was that Mrs. Pilney took her first college course in her late 70’s – a creative writing course, which helped pave the way for her first book, which she didn’t write until she was in her 80’s!

Charlie, the Cocky Rooster - by Dovie PilneySo then, I began to read excerpts of her book, Charlie, the Cocky Rooster, and it’s not your ordinary “No, David!” children’s book (although our 2-year-old LOVES that one!). Charlie is a book for ages 4 to 8, and Amazon.com’s editorial review of her first book begins with this, “Charlie’s job on the farm was to wake everyone up early to do their chores. Every morning bright and early he would jump on his favorite post and crow his little heart out. Wesley, his boss, never liked him and wanted to sleep late, and when Charlie crowed he’d throw his boots and even his clock to knock him off his favorite post. Charlie decided to leave because of his boss’s abuse. He wanted to see if he could find a family who would appreciate him. Henryetta, the hen, comes with him and that’s when the adventure begins.”

I’ll be getting these books and making them a permanent part of our library!

I don’t know Dovie Pilney, but during our brief encounter, she inspired me and gave me hope. I took my first creative writing class from Stanford, just this year (my early 40s), and really thought I was behind the ball. Dovie, in those awkward moments in front of the refried beans, helped me to understand that age is only a barrier, if we allow it to be. The important thing is now – what are you doing now, to work toward the dreams and passions that have been locked away your heart?

It’s never too late. It’s time to dust off those dreams. 

Thank you, Dovie – you have made a significant mark on my life.

I’m much obliged!

Jennie –

a Writer, going after her Dreams

About A Hummingbird's Flight

Wife, mother, writer. For more details about me and A Hummingbirds Flight, please visit my About page.

Posted on September 29, 2011, in Attitude, Finding Your Passion, Finding Your Significance, Seeking Success and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I was having trouble sleeping because one of my smoke alarms woke me and my cat up. I decided the smoke alarm was too high for me to change, and knowing I would never be able to get back to sleep I decided to get on the computer and post my next blog that was two days late. When I saw your blog I decided to read it first when I realized the smoke alarm in question was right above my head. I pulled out the latter found a new battery and got the old one out. When I tried to put the new one in it screeched at me which scared me and Gwynie to death so I decided I didn’t need to replace it right now. Well now I am up it is almost five am and I read this great post from you. You are right it is never too late to start anything. I was in my late forties when I decided to go back to school to get my Ph.D and I am now three months from sixty-five and I just published my first fiction book. It is never too late as long as you have your health and the git up and go to see it through. Thanks for the story.

    • Dee, I have had my own battles with those smoke detectors! Why is it always the middle of the night when they decide to go out???? Thanks for sharing your ‘never too late’ story too. It’s so easy to get frustrated in life, especially when we begin comparing ourselves to others… which is NEVER a game we win. Hopefully, we’ll have our ‘git-up-n-go’ for a long, long time! Congrats on your first book – and many more to come, I’m sure!

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