A few months ago I posted a book review for ‘Life is a Verb’ which was written by Patti Digh. Patti writes a blog http://www.37days.com/ from which the book got its beginnings. I became a daily follower of the blog and am ‘reading’ the book for the third time. I am attempting to live this book and follow its six principles.
I noticed on Patti’s blog that she was going on book tours around the country. She also stated that if you wanted her to come to your town just ask. So I asked. Repeatedly. Now I understand that Patti is a busy lady so I wasn’t surprised when she didn’t respond to my first fifteen requests. After all, I write to Ellen Degeneres all the time, inviting her to our town’s Agricultural Fair or to Old Home Days but she never answers. I have written to Michael Buble asking him to sit outside my bedroom window and serenade me. Haven’t heard a peep from him.
Then one day I saw on Patti’s blog that she had added a city to her tour. She was going to be in Sturbridge, Mass. on June 3rd. Hmmm…Sturbridge, Mass is only two hours from here. I fired out an email or two or three. I told her I would pick her up at the airport. I told her I would drive her wherever she needed to be driven. I told her I would take care of all publicity. I told her I would sell her books. I told her that she said all I had to do was just ask. So I asked.
She said yes.
Of course, immediately after Patti said ‘yes’ I panicked. Patti Digh was coming to talk to us about her book, ‘Life is a Verb’. Us? Who was going to listen to her besides me? I don’t think anyone else in our community of 4,000 people had even heard of her book – unless they had talked to me. I had a few sleepless nights as I tossed and turned, wondering what I had got myself into this time. I decided I had a choice – call Patti and explain that I couldn’t host an Author Meet & Greet or dig my heels in and get to work. Not being a quitter I dug my heels in and set to work organizing an Author Meet & Greet. The kind owners of our local café agreed to let me have the Meet & Greet there, I hung posters wherever there was a bare wall, and sent out mass emails to anyone I had ever said ‘hi’ too. I talked to anyone who had a pulse. I recruited my husband, children and friends. I called in any IOU’s that were hanging around out there. Blackmail and bribery also guaranteed a few more people would attend.
The morning of the big event I ran around doing last minute odds and ends. I had to pick Patti up at the airport in early afternoon and was faced with a dilemma – what to wear to meet an author? I also was baking some goodies to serve Patti. In the middle of everything I checked my emails. There was one from Patti and the subject line took my breath away – ‘Delay’. I truly didn’t want to open it up – I knew it wasn’t going to be happy news. Sure enough. Patti’s flight was delayed by four hours. She would miss her connecting flight. She was going to fly into Logan Airport in Boston, landing at 4:30 PM instead of landing at our local airport. Boston is one hour away from our town when you don’t hit traffic. She was landing in the middle of rush hour. My stomach started doing flips and I had to remember to breath. How was I going to get her here by 7:00 PM ? I paced. I panted. I sweat. I had a crowd coming to meet Patti Digh and now I might not have a Patti Digh. Oh Lord.
Patti got a driver and a car to bring her to NH. I was at the café waiting for her arrival. People started to file in. Chairs were filling up. I looked out the window every few seconds to check for her arrival. More people arrived. It appeared that the word of Patti Digh’s arrival had spread. People arrived from as far away as Boston. An old college friend of mine arrived whom I had not seen in almost thirty years. We had recently reconnected on Facebook. I did get teary when I saw her walk through the door. Many community members from all walks of life arrived to hear what Patti had to say – it was clear that this could be a standing room only event. I decided that maybe I should work on my Patti Digh imitation in case she didn't arrive on time.
And then she arrived. I saw the car pull into the driveway and Patti was sitting in the backseat. I had only seen her picture on her blog and I had only emailed her so I wasn’t quite prepared for the sound of her voice. She was more soft-spoken than I expected with a pleasant, slight drawl. She came into the cafe and was met by 60 people eager to hear her message. She read essays from her book, discussed the birth of her blog, and answered questions. After the talk Patti signed books and chatted for hours with the wonderful people of my community.
The evening far exceeded my expectations. I believe that ‘Life is a Verb’ has truly guided me in my quest to live a life full of intention and being more mindful of moments. I truly wanted to share this book and this talented author with my community – and I did. I was also reminded that evening of why we have lived in this town for twenty five years - because of the incredible people. They welcomed Patti Digh with an energy and spirit which was contagious. It was one of those evenings which I will long remember. And all I had to do was ask.
This was our gathering place.Patti signs a book.