Do you know Dovie Pilney?
Posted by A Hummingbird's Flight
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.
“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!
So 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!
a Writer, going after her Dreams
About A Hummingbird's FlightWife, 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 authors, Charlie the Cocky Rooster, Dovie Pilney, Significance, writers, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.