On my way to Rome, Georgia, I stopped in Atlanta to have dinner with Harold Michael Harvey, author of the legal thriller Paper Puzzle and a collection of essays about the American jury system called Justice in the Round. Over a delicious quinoa and asparagus casserole made by the author, Harvey Michael and his wife entertained and educated me with stories of their involvement with civil rights matters. The thing that struck me most about our disparate lives was that both of them had two sets of grandparents who were influential in their early years while I had none. It was strange to think that everything in our three lives led to that special dinner. Our rapport was so great, I found it hard to tear myself away, but I needed to get to Rome before dark. It is hard enough to navigate back roads in the bright of day — at night, it is almost impossible.
My next stop was with another author that I had waited many years to meet — Malcolm R. Campbell, blogger extraordinaire and author of several acclaimed books, including The Sun Singer and Sarabande. The three of us, Malcolm, his wife, and I stayed up most of the night talking. As with all my online-now-offline relationships, there wasn’t a single blip of strangeness as we sequed from our various e-methods of conversing to real life.
In the morning, Malcolm took me on a tour of the magnificent 34,000 acre Berry College campus where he once taught. The highlight of the day was the bald eagle’s nest, where one of the eaglets peeked over the rim of the nest, searching for its parents. We hung around hoping to see the adult bald eagles heading home but didn’t catch so much as a glimpse of them. (You can see the eaglets live at http://www.berry.edu/eaglecam)
We topped off the tour with a visit to the old mill on the campus, the largest overshot mill wheel in the world, or so the college brags. Water is piped up the stone column and over the wheel, causing it to turn. It still works, and on occasion they run it. Unfortunately that day was not such an occasion.
During these two visits, the authors and I solved all the ills of the world. Now if we could just get the world to pay attention!
(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)