Friday, October 10, 2008

With a Banjo on My Knee


While I was packing the 1,000 Knitters gear last night, in preparation for today's flight to Yarn Expressions in Huntsville, I was trying to remember the last time I set foot in Alabama. I think it must have been in the 1970s, as my family drove across country from our old post in Arizona to a new assignment in central Ohio.

I know we stayed for several days with good friends in Atkins, Arkansas. I remember Arkansas well as the first place I encountered a live chicken (eek) and the first place I swam in a mud-bottomed lake (eek) instead of a concrete swimming pool. I also remember crossing into Kentucky and being profoundly disappointed that the grass did not turn blue.

I have also sailed twice down the Danube River and can tell you that it's not blue, either. Neither is Hawaii, come to think of it, except for the wet bits. Makes me wonder what other Big Geographic Color Promises are setting me up for a fall. The Yellow River? The Emerald Isle? The White Cliffs of Dover?

Where the hell was I going with this?

Oh, yeah. Alabama.

I find that I don't remember Alabama, and I think we must have driven through it while I was sleeping in the back seat. Or we may have skipped it entirely and that this will, in fact, be my first visit.

In any case, I can't wait. When you're from up North (in my case, just barely–I was born about 15 minutes north of West Virginia), the South may puzzle or bemuse, but it never disappoints.

There's been a fun development in the schedule, by the way. All the spots for the 1,000 Knitters shoot tomorrow (Saturday) have been filled, but Interweave has engaged in heroic measures to get a small shipment of It Itches to Huntsville for a book signing on Saturday afternoon. The timing is inexact and will depend upon to some extent on how long the shoot takes, but around 3 p.m. is a good bet. My recommendation is that to call ahead on the day for a more exact forecast. Do drop in if you can.

And now I have to go because it's nearly time for head for the airport and I still don't know which knitting to take. I realize that actual knitting has been absent from the blog this week, and I hate that. I intend lots of it for next week, as well as the first reports from Dolores on her Campaign Tour. You won't believe where she's been. (Always true, but now even more so.)

37 comments:

Cathy R said...

I can tell you from personal experience that the Emerald Isle is, indeed, Emerald and the White Cliffs are very white. As in... take sunglasses on a sunny day White.

Enjoy your trip!

Hester from Atlanta said...

Golden Gate Bridge - in San Francisco. I was 8 years old and we drove up from LA to visit the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Low and behold, the Golden Gate Bridge is not GOLD. Huh? As an 8 year old I expected a bridge colored a GOLDEN color. I was bitterly disappointed to see it was a rusty orange color. The paint they use on the bridge is the best color to keep out the rust. Why didn't anybody prepare me for this shock???

Lenox Knits said...

I wonder if I could convince my sister from Huntsville to go see you and get a signed book for me. I'm afraid that a room full of knitters might be too much for her but I would do it for her.

Marcia said...

The Emerald Isle is definitely very green. What they don't tell you is that the only way it can stay so green is because it rains all the time!

It's still a very charming place to visit though. Very friendly people, love the accents! Now that I'm into knitting, I'm thinking I should go back there and investigate some knitting shops and Celtic cable patterns ;-)

Anonymous said...

The map of Alabama seems to be overlapping a paragraph of text. Can you find a moment to fix it? We don't want to miss a word!
Gretchen
PS: Yes, Emerald and White are as advertised. I grew up with the GG bridge and was always glad that it's that dramatic shade of burnt orange. Much better than gold.

pdxknitterati said...

You don't plan your travel knitting before the rest of your packing? Are you okay?

Alwen said...

Oh. Next you're going to tell me the states aren't labelled in big letters like the Cerne Abbas giant!

My verification word has "fum" at the end! Not only are they watching us, they are precognizant!

LittleWit said...

Have a safe journey. :)

knitnzu said...

You'll have to tell us more about Alabama afterwards. Because as a born and bred Yank, I haven't got the best vision of Alabama. Red necks, back woods, small minded. Of course I know I'm probably totally wrong, but Alabama isn't the first place I'd think of visiting if I were a gay man and I'd worry about my gay bro or gay BIL if either went there. Being from MA and now in ME, I've got such a bad case of "northernitis" that I feel like PA (where I lived for a while and felt like I was nearly in the deep south) is "philadelphi and pittsburg and alabama in between".

Sarah said...

We'll see you tomorrow! We are so excited!

Zardra said...

Don't worry, you didn't really miss anything if you don't remember Alabama. My dad was stationed at Fort Rucker, down by Dothan on your map, a couple of times while I was young. So, it's where I spent several years of my childhood, but I don't miss it at all.

Marianne said...

The map overlaps the first 2 graphs on mine too. Hope you can fix it.

Becky C said...

I'd say if you drove through Alabama on your way from Arizona to Ohio, you were terribly lost. Alabama is a beautiful state with beautiful people. I know you will enjoy them.

Michael said...

Heh heh. You're going to have a blast in Alabama. You are sooo going to be the Beau of the Ball.

anne marie in philly said...

"sweet home alabama
where skies are smooth"

I would lerve to know in which western PA town were you born...

knitnzu is sooo correct about PA - it's disturbing...

smooches!

Kristen said...

I share your disappointment in the Danube. When I first got to Budapest, all a-jitter with excitement at being in a more "civilized" place than the place I had been living at the time, the first thing I did was rush to the river, humming the Blue Danube Waltz. I then decided the fact that I wasn't wearing a corset and 27 pounds of dress must be the reason the Danube didn't even have a hint of blue. Ahhh, progress.

donnac1968 said...

The White Cliffs of Dover are in fact white. I've seen 'em with my own eyes. (Well maybe slightly off white!)

junior_goddess said...

And on close inspection, 'purple mountains majesty' aren't really purple.

The lovely folks of the Alabama Tourism Department did a wonderful thing. Here's the link for 100 Top Dishes to Eat in Alabama-
http://www.800alabama.com/yof/topDishes/

Let's hear it for fluffy hot biscuits with butter!

(not from Alabama, just think that list is a good idea!)

Mary deB said...

All I know about Alabama is that Gee's Bend, home of quilters, is there.

Emily said...

I like it here. Alabama is 70% trees.

Hope you have a good trip!

Helen said...

I can second (or third) those who stated the White Cliffs of Dover are white. They most certainly are, a very pleasant ever so slightly creamy white. Its the chalk you see. Never been to Ireland, but if it rains the same amount as it does here on the Scottish West Coast, it will be very emerald. And probably rather soggy.

Елизавета said...

I loved meeting you, Franklin. Thanks for working me into your photoshoot quickly so that I could carry home my cat!

Suzanne B said...

It was so wonderful to meet you today Franklin! You are so much fun and delightful to be around!

Елизавета said...

What a funny book! I've read it cover to cover today. My favorite page is 67. Congratulations, you've done some great work to be proud of.

Debra said...

I had a blast today and it was great meeting you. I am #996...the research psychology chick. ha ha I hope you come back to Alabama soon!

Jaspher Shakay said...

On your next visit you'll have to join us for Skanky Knitting! Enjoyed the photo experience and LOVE your yarn I won in the door prize drawing. Glad you were able to sit and knit with us afterward. Now I'm waiting for the calendar...and then maybe Delores's memoir -- You can't fleece me out of my fleece: How one sheep lead the Fibertarian revlot?

Linda said...

I was in Alabama *once* when I was a child. We drove to Florida from Chicago every year for 7 years in a row. One year, we decided that instead of driving through Georgia the whole way, we'd go part of the way through Alabama. We got a flat tire and so had to stop to get it repaired. My strongest memories of Alabama revolve around that stop to get our flat tire fixed. The tire shop also sold major appliances such as washers and dryers. There was an older lady sitting in the waiting area with us. As we chit chatted and killed time, she seemed to get more and more annoyed. Finally, she said something to us: "Where do ya'll come from," she spat at us. "Um...well...Chicago," I recall my parents responding. "Well," she drawled, "Why don't ya'll go back where you came from?" And then she gave us the nastiest look. I've never been back to Alabama.

Bubblesknits said...

(I'm delurking...lol) Thank you for coming to Alabama, Franklin! We had such a good time today and it was wonderful to meet you. Any way we can convince you to come to Stitches South? With a big stack of those calendars? ;-) Thanks again and safe travels.

CCK said...

I see you have already been informed that the White Cliffs of Dover are indeed white. Beautiful they are.

Anna said...

The Danube is only blue if you're in love or on a beautiful day, when the blue sky is reflected in the water. For blue rivers you have to go to the mountains or Switzerland :D

LesleyD said...

It was soo awesome to meet ya!! Hope you swing back down here again!!

Crazy For Yarn In Alabama said...

Franklin, thank you SO much for coming to Alabama for the last of the photos for your 1,000 Knitters Project!!

I was # 30 and so very tickled to chat with you!! You have the gift of putting people at ease while snapping away with your camera! The day absolutely FLEW by and I only wish you had more time to hang out in Alabama!

You are welcome back ANY time......WE LOVE YOU!!! MWAH!!!

Cynthia said...

Hope you had a great time in Alabama. Got my Winding Wool print this weekend - thanks so much! It'll be framed and on the wall shortly.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Anniston, AL when I was 5. I remember the following:

1. Making a necklace out of macaroni
2. Black racer snakes
3. Black widow spiders.

Even now, at 59, I do not ever wish to go back.

Liz in DC

rams said...

Woah, there, fellow damyankees! For better vibes you need only to remind yourself that beloved Fannie Flagg dedicated Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe "To the sweet People of Alabama." And that Maycomb, Alabama is the home of Atticus Finch. Any state which produces Harper Lee is okay with me.

Elena Murphy said...

What I was unprepared for in Ireland was that all the sheep had been painted different colors. This is how they identify who belongs to whom, but they look like poor hapless victims of uncreative graffiti artists.

Claudia said...

Dear Franklin,

I would like to thank you writing the personal note into a copy of your book that Katey brought back for me from the meet-up with you "Abalama".

I don't know how much she told you about me but she gave me the book on my husband's gathering last Sunday. He passed away in June 2008. You lovely and funny comment was one of the higlights on that day. Thanks again, and I am pissed too that I wasn't in Abalama to meet you. ;-0

Love,
C.