Gladys Taber has been a favorite author of mine for many years.
I remember discovering her books in the Lawson McGee Library in Knoxville, Tennessee. It was my first year in college and I was supposed to be there doing research for a paper, but instead found myself drifting over to my favorite sections, gardening and cooking.
It was a cool late November afternoon and at 4:30, it was already dark outside. I remember finding a little book titled Stillmeadow Seasons. In it the author told about living out in the country with children & cocker spaniels, cooking for all of them and just slices of everyday life. They had a large garden and she wrote about the changing seasons. Reading her words about the beauty of a New England summer brought such brightness to that otherwise dreary afternoon. From then on, I was hooked on Gladys Taber and read every book by her that I could get my hands on.
In 2001, shortly after the birth of our second son, I joined a yahoo group devoted to Gladys Taber books. It was so nice being able to talk to many other kindred spirits within that group but there was one who stood out best among them all and her name was Alta.
Alta had just retired as a school librarian and joined the group about the same time I did.
We hit it off just like we were old friends. She had already raised her two boys and I was in the beginning stages of motherhood. Alta always gave the perfect advice to me, just when I needed it.
We not only exchanged notes within the group but we also exchanged good old fashioned letters and cards in the mail. Alta is such a gifted writer and reading her words are always like reading poetry. To me, Alta was Gladys.
We have been friends now for 13 years and even though we exchanged cards, gifts and phone calls, we had never met face to face.
That all changed on August 6th.
I finally got to meet Alta!
Spending the afternoon in the golden glow of her home in West Chester, Pennsylvania was one of the happiest afternoons that I have experienced.