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Possumhaw: Up the road to West Point


Shannon Bardwell



The invitation came in the mail. West Point's Bryan Public Library was having their luncheon with books. I took the back way, up Old West Point road to Highway 45 Alternate and over to the library.  


That day mystery writer John M. Floyd was the speaker, but frankly he wasn't the draw. Sometime ago, I found that "whodunits" keep me awake and since I'm no night owl I had to switch to something more restful. The real draw to the library was the people you meet at book talks.  


From the front door I could see right straight across the library where the door to the meeting room stood open. Inside were decorated tables, small and comfortably inviting. Something like you'd expect at a bridge party, though I've never actually been to one. Mary Helen Waggoner and Lucille Armstrong were the greeters. I instantly felt like I belonged. 


I contributed the $6 and treated myself to an herb and pasta salad, fresh fruits of cantaloupe and watermelon. There was chicken salad, made with pure white meat- "The Southern Belle Primer" (pages 16, 20 and 97) would agree. I passed by desserts having promised myself to cut back on sugar, I rewarded myself with a glass of sweet tea. 


The front tables were filling as were the back tables. I chose the back and slid in next to Marion Kohut. Turns out we were both Delta girls who had migrated to the Prairie. We both had been travel agents during the same years in different cities. We both had been to the "W" at different times. We were Southern sisters coming and going, in one door and out another. 


After John Floyd's discussion about his new book, "Deception," we learned from Lucille Armstrong, the "Friends" president, that my table partner Marion Kohut, along with Velma Caskey, Souzen Deavers, Betty Carpenter, Jean Dill, Dixie Dukeminier, and Sylvia Williams had provided our culinary delights. Fine and generous cooks those West Point ladies. 


In addition to the book talk, the walls were lined with artwork from Dixie Dukeminier's art students at Oak Hill Academy. Dixie obviously loves her work. She said that she saves the "really good" pieces of student artwork every week. So when Dawn Richardson, who works with the summer reading program, asked Dixie to exhibit her students' creativity, Dixie had some eighty odd pieces of student work to contribute. Dixie's like your momma proudly putting your artwork on the refrigerator. Kudos to Dixie. 


Lucille announced there would be no book talk in July but Katy Houston would be sharing her new cookbook "Sweetness Follows" in August. Leaving the library I dawdled by the display case featuring Leslie Jones' pottery from Persnickety Pottery, created right there in West Point. 


I can tell you- big city culture has nothing on our Prairie sisters in West Point. It's an easy ride, the food is good and the parking is plentiful. 


Shannon Rule Bardwell's column is a regular feature of Monday's Dispatch. Her e-mail address is [email protected]


Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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