I came to my computer to write something special about the holiday, but I think every day is a day for thanks. Why limit it to one?
I am in awe of what life brings. I’m speaking in general of the good things/interesting things/fantastic things. I know that we all get our share of loss, sadness, heartbreak, and illness, but there is so much to be thankful for.
Right now my heart and head are full of Artwalk 2014. This was my first time to participate fully. I was signing books last year, but an ice storm froze out the event before it really got going, so I didn’t get a feel for the busyness or the excitement of it. Many people who had planned to attend didn’t get to, and the ones who made it to Alpine were staying inside because of the cold and slick ice.
This year’s Artwalk was a “wow” for me from beginning to end. My newest book was featured by Front Street Books. Who would’ve imagined that was possible back in 2005 when I pulled out my laptop to tell a story by writing it down? The first words of the original “One Bloody Shirt at a Time” were: “The woman was lying in a pool of her own blood.” There lay a person I thought I wanted to kill and oh, the power in that! She asked for it and by God, I gave it to her. So then a lawman had to show up, right? Not a lawman, a woman! A woman deputy!
I felt the tingle of a new challenge, an adventure. Truthfully, I couldn’t have dreamed what was headed my way, and you already know I have quite an imagination.
Here is the real truth of her name. My own precious daughter is named Margarita, so that was a no-brainer of a first name. I decided on Ricos because it means “riches.” Some part of me must have known she was going to bring me loads of them, and I’m not talking about money.
I’m talking about these kinds of things: “Dear Ms. Garcia, I just love you!” “Dear Beth, you have brought such joy to my life. I love your deputy!” “Dear Elizabeth, I wish I would have discovered you sooner!” “Dear Ms. Garcia, I think your columns are outstanding!” “Dear Beth, you are so awesome I just want to hug you.” Bring it on.
How about: “I came to meet you today because I love your books. Can I give you a hug?” Oh baby.
Saturday night someone special said, “I’ve been to nearly every book reading you’ve ever had,” and she has indeed. It does my heart a world of good to look up and see her and her husband there.
People have come across crowded restaurants to ask, “Are you Beth Garcia?” Sometimes (often) people who know me only from my columns will walk up and introduce themselves and hug me. You want to talk riches, I have thousands of stories.
How about this private Facebook message regarding my first book? I have shortened it slightly. “Beth, I went to Chaco Canyon and had to sleep in the back seat of my truck because (1) the space we rented did not allow tents to be set up where the RV’s were due to flooding and (2) no room in the RV for me and (3) it was 27 degrees the 1st two nights, then warming up to 32 the third night….I had purchased a 700 lumen flashlight and I employed it while sandwiched between two sleeping bags. Well, I figured a way to have it set up so I wouldn’t have to hold it, so I could turn the pages. It only took 2 nights to read most of the book.” This message was received a long time ago. I finally got to meet this loyal reader last night. What a treat for me. Thank you, Deputy Ricos!
At the end of the evening a teenager came up to me. I was sitting at the back of the store signing their stash of my novels. He said, “Are you somebody famous?” I replied that I wasn’t. His eyes widened. “Then how come you have so many books?”
“I wrote these books.”
“Oh my goodness! You must be the smartest person in Texas!”
You know it, Kid. We talked about how reading books will make you smarter by taking you places and introducing you to new people and ideas. I expect great things from that young man.
I would not trade ANYTHING for these experiences.
Speaking of giving thanks, on the Wednesday before Artwalk, I had an appointment scheduled with my pulmonologist in San Angelo. After undergoing an extensive breathing test, I received the most fantastic news. I have not gotten any worse! All the statistics on this disease are against me, but I am a still-breathing anomaly. I marveled on this all the way back home. I don’t care if I’m living on “borrowed” time; the important word here is “living.”
As I was giving my great news to one of my sisters, I had an epiphany. I believe I’ve not gotten worse because of the gargantuan amount of love that is poured onto me, much of it by people I don’t even know. Not to belabor last week’s message, but LOVE is everything. It’s powerful beyond measure and the only thing that really matters.
So a little Latina deputy has innocently brought more fantastic things than I can ever tell you. She has truly earned her name.
Thank for “hearing” me in what I write. I love you too.