Thursday, June 2, 2011

Anita's Attic: History, Dumptiques, and Crows on Martha's Vineyard

As Liz reported in her blog on Monday, we had a great time on Martha's Vineyard. Christine and several of her clients went to the Vineyard for an event at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore. It was the first panel for many of us and there were a good bit of jittery nerves, but reports from the audience said we handled it like old pros. We also had taped interviews for the local TV station, another first for many of us, except Sheila Redling, who's truly a pro at being on air, radio anyway.

Cynthia Riggs, another of Christine's clients, the author of the wonderful Victoria Trumbull mystery series, was so gracious to open up The Cleaveland House to our bunch. The circa 1750 house is filled with history, from ship planks on the wall, books her mother and father wrote, stories of births and deaths, and a whittled down chair her great grandmother used. You could find our group sprawled all over the place, chatting in the parlor, roaring with laughter in the kitchen, or sitting beside the goldfish pond talking about the wildlife and the crows. I told them about the pet crows my brother and I had when we were young. My father had rescued them as babies. (This comes in to play later in this blog). You could even find Liz's husband Dan and my husband Austin working in Cynthia's vegetable garden, which we ate from several nights. It was a delightfully hilarious trip, and I'm certain that several of Christine's clients (and her aunt Peachy) are really comedians. I've laughed until my ribs hurt. The banter was magnificent.

The last day, everyone else left early, but Austin and I weren't supposed to leave until later that day, so we borrowed Cynthia's car and headed for the Dumptique, a little place by the local dump where you can get someone else's trash and turn it into your treasure. I found several books and a great pair of reading glasses.

But my adventures didn't end after we left The Cleaveland House. Cynthia dropped Austin and I off at the airport and I started feeling really dizzy, not something you want when you're getting ready to go up in a tiny little Cessna that already makes you feel claustrophobic. I think it was all the pollen and sinus drainage (sorry, too much info, but these last few days were filled with too much sharing. Dare I mention Liz's panties...and Dan's open window...) Anyway, Austin suggested that I go outside and see if it helped with the dizziness. It really did, but as I was sitting there, I heard something in the trash can behind me. I turned, thinking it was the wind rustling the plastic lining, but it wasn't. So I crept over and peered in. It was one of those trash cans with the heavy metal top and two side openings. I saw something black. Big and black. I peered closer and saw it was a crow. An employee walked out, and I told her. She said birds sometimes fly in there to get food, it would be fine. But I can't leave stuff alone, so I lifted the lid off. The crow tried to fly, but couldn't.

By this time, two more passengers had walked out and were sitting on the bench. They were ooohing and ahhhing, and commenting on my bravery. Well, really, it was just a crow. So I pulled out the entire trash bag lining, crow and all, and carried it to a grassy area. I could see that the crow had gotten plastic wound around his claw so tight it was like rope. Who knows how long he'd been there. By that time, he was on his side, gasping, and I knew I had to hurry. I went inside and approached the first ticket agent. When I explained that the crow was going to die, she said that was fine with her, they were over populated, she was behind schedule, and it wasn't her problem. So I went to the next one. She gave me her scissors and her bottle of water. I went back outside, gave the crow some water, and cut the plastic bag from his (or her - who knows with crows) leg and then threw it into the air. It flew straight up and landed on a tree branch, as the women on the bench yelled, "You saved its life!" while Austin and the ticket agent who gave me the scissors cheered from inside.

The two ladies outside were on our flight, and they kept calling me the lifesaver, swearing that I was meant to save that crow since I had had pet crows as a child. One thing led to another, they found out I was a writer, lamented that they hadn't known about the Bunch of Grapes event, and said they were both going to buy my book. So I sold two books by saving that crow.

As the plane rolled down the runway, we looked across and saw a lone crow drinking from a small pool of water. Maybe my crow, maybe not. Our flight from the island was wonderful. The weather so clear it was a breathtaking view, with no dizziness. So my trip to Martha's Vineyard was everything I expected and a whole lot more.

20 comments:

Kari Lee Townsend said...

What a great story, Anita! And it sounds like your trip was amazing. I really am sooo bummed I couldn't go :-( Yay for selling two more books and gaining a couple more fans. Doesn't surprise me at all. Your books rock!

Anita Clenney said...

Thanks Kari. It was an amazing trip. You'll be there next year for the fun.

Donna Cummings said...

Anita, I love the crow story! It does seem like you were meant to save it, and I'm glad you went the extra mile. Talk about a book marketing promotion nobody else has! :)

It was such a great time, and I miss everyone already. It really was amazing how it felt like I'd known all of you forever. I can't wait to meet up again.

Lara said...

Awwww, I love saving animals. What a great story! Good deeds are rewarded! Lara

Avery Flynn said...

Love that you took the time out to help the crow. That bird always makes me think of Edgar Allen Poe, so really you did the writerly thing to save him. :)

Liz Lipperman said...

Ah, Anita, I am not surprised at all. You have a heart of gold. And shame on the ticket agent who wouldn't help a dying bird.

Anyway, it seems like the perfect ending to a perfect long weekend. I so enjoyed getting to know Austin and everyone else.

I have a story to tell also. Dan and I took the bus back to Boston and spent the night at the Hyatt near Logan airport. We had lunch/dinner at 3 and when Laura our waitress mentioned the computers were down, we told her to put the bill on the hotel tab and add a 20% tip for herself. We also mentioned we were going to stay in and watch the NBA playoffs that night and wouldn't be back for dinner.

At around 7:30, we were surprised when room service showed up with a plateful of french fries and chicken fingers and two sodas with a note from Laura to enjoy the game.

So, guess what I did? I left her a note and a bookmark and told her to email me and I would send her an autographed copy of my book. (She had no idea I was an author.)

So, you can find fans everywhere if you look.

SG Redling said...

Wow! What a story! You know how much I loved those crows. I'm with Liz - you have the biggest heart, it doesn't surprise me at all that you went through the trouble to save a life. The whole Vineyard experience was incredible. Don't sell yourself short on your public speaking ability! Let's hope we all get to do it again next year. (As for wildlife, the closest I came to it on my way home was that my plane had to buzz the WV runway twice to chase off frightened deer who had wandered out there.)

Marilyn said...

Anita, this would be a great story for a picture book--turn yourself into a child who saves the crow. Have you ever written one?

Congrats on your marketing opportunity. And those two will tell their friends about your book, and they will tell their friends . . . .

Anita Clenney said...

Donna, yep, bet no one has a save a crow marketing strategy. :) I miss everyone too. It was such a great time.

Anita Clenney said...

Thanks Lara. I couldn't believe the one woman wanted it to die. I think she was so overwhelmed with her job that she just couldn't think of anything else.

Anita Clenney said...

Avery, it's kind of interesting when you look at it that way. Writers, crows, and Edgar Allen Poe.

Anita Clenney said...

That's great Liz! I love it when things work out like that. One of the women who was going to buy by book because of the crow missed her flight to DC because our plane was delayed on the way out, so they ended up on our later plane to DC. They went to get the free food voucher from Cape Air but they were out of voucher so they gave them two free airline tickets instead.

I had such a good time on Martha's Vineyard, and I just adored Dan. He's an awesome guy.

Anita Clenney said...

Sheila, it was so strange after all our talk of crows. Maybe my crow was the one you made angry over the popcorn. :) We had such a great time. I swear, you're better than most stand up comedians I've seen.

Anita Clenney said...

Marilyn, this would be a cute idea for a picture book. I've never written children's books. I've made up stories for my kids, but that's about it.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

What a heartwarming story, Anita. You must find a way to put something like that in a story some day. Your time in Martha's vineyard sounds heavenly. How fun for you all.

Anita Clenney said...

Paisley, I was really getting nervous that the crow wouldn't make it, but it soared up into that tree. It was a great feeling.

Kimberly said...

Anita,
Oh, the things writers have to do to sell a book nowadays! LOL.
That's a wonderful story. I, too, think you need to weave that into a book. Instead of Blake Snyder's "Save the Cat" it could be Anita Saves the Crow. :-) All heroines have to have that moment where she does something above and beyond, so I think this is yours. And won't all your readers and writer friends love to see it come to pass...
Kim MacCarron

Anita Clenney said...

Kim, that was an unusual way to sell books. Seriously, I can't stand to see anything in hurting or hungry, human or animal. Maybe I'll weave it into a future plot.

Dana Rodgers said...

Anita, you are always such an amazing woman. It doesn't surprise me in the least that you saved a life. And I would really like to give that ticket agent a piece of my mind...

Lizzie Walker said...

Anita, what a lovely story! you sound like you gals had a blast and you sold books in the process.

I can't think of how many times I have tried to rescue the birds that have fallen from trees at my old house.

Since moving it has now been rabbit rescue. We had a rabbit den two years ago. Unfortunately one of the babies didn't make it. I had to bury him under one of our shrubs. It was so sad.

I am glad that your story had a happy ending! Thank God for dizziness. :-)