"Round my doors the leaves are fallin'--a cold wild wind will come."--Johnny Cash
Raison Dâ€™Etre had an exciting harvest of experiences last month, and as we head toward the middle of November, the richness of life continues. Iâ€™m not talking here about finances, but about the real wealth offered by people and places. On October 25, Vickie and I decided to attend Silas Houseâ€™s book signing at Northern Kentucky University. We are both big fans of CLAYâ€™S QUILT and A PARCHMENT OF LEAVES, the first two novels by one of Kentuckyâ€™s major literary talents. Now, it is a little known fact that Silas attended our performance at the Governorâ€™s Mansion in 2001 and actually wrote to me to buy BETTER MEDICINE, our 1999 recording of various song styles performed by Raison Dâ€™Etre during the â€˜90s. Silas once told me that while writing a pivotal scene in A PARCHMENT OF LEAVES, he was actually listening to Raison Dâ€™Etreâ€™s version of â€œSimple Gifts.â€ Hey, Iâ€™ve got to tell you, for a literature geek like myself, he just couldnâ€™t have said a nicer thing. Suffice it to say, we are major Silas House fans-- along with everybody else who loves his writing and then finds out what a great guy he is, too. But little did we know... Back at the reading and book-signing at NKU, we discovered even more about Silas. In the â€œsmall world of Appalachian connections,â€ Leva--Vickieâ€™s long-time friend and Raison Dâ€™Etre supporter--realized that she had lived next door to Silasâ€™ mom for bit. We held up the signing line for a good ten minutes as â€œold home weekâ€ met â€œphoto op.â€ Silas greeted Leva like family with hugs and poses for Levaâ€™s and his camera. And then he introduced us all to Jason Howard, the other member of his duo, The Doolittles. I had heard that Silas had a duo and had even listened to a few songs on MySpace. Since I know how important music is to his stories, that didnâ€™t seem at all strange. But imagine our surprise and delight when Silas presented Leva and Raison Dâ€™Etre with a copy of their CD, PINE TO PINE! While Jason and Silas both warned us that it was â€œjust a field recording,â€ the duo really has a balanced chemistry of visceral vocals and spare, yet rich autoharp and acoustic guitar accompaniment. The boys can sing! They are planning a studio recording in 2007. If you want to take a listen now, go to http://www.myspace.com/thedoolittles So, we figured the month couldnâ€™t get better from there...but it did! We played Midland Theatreâ€™s Stage Door Cabaret Series in Newark, OH on October 26. This is Midlandâ€™s intimate series where the audience of 120 patrons sits on the stage of the glorious Midland for a nightclub-like experience. We were very pleased to see that they put us on their season flyers right along with Emmylou(my all-time favorite for whom my band once nicknamed me â€œBertielouâ€) and even put our name on the dressing room door. Did I say I was a geek? In addition to all the warmth from the staff and audience, Violet Rae made her usual reference to Grantâ€™s Lick, KY while introducing â€œQueen Anneâ€™s Lace,â€ and a guy from the audience said he knew where that was. During the intermission we found out that he was none other than the infamous George Carter, member of the Menâ€™s Faculty Association of Simon Kenton High School where I taught for 11 years! I tell you, we just keep having family on the road! Thanks to Mike Morris and the Midland folks for making us feel at home. Then we headed for London, Kentucky for the first-ever "You-Me-Unity" Folklife Festival organized by the London community along with Kentucky artists Jennifer Rose and Judy Sizemore on Bennett Campus. The artisans at the event were unbelievable: there were quilters, chair-makers, gourd carvers, basket makers, and even a man who made turkey calls. As we waited our turn at the stage, we browsed the booths and took part in the dancing. Then about two songs into our set, in walk Silas and Jason! I am not making this up. Turns out that their writer friend, Anne Shelby, was scheduled to play shortly after us, so they had dropped by to sit in with her duo. We spent a lovely afernoon listening to their set which featured Anne and her very talented sister on vocals, autoharp and fiddle with the Doolittles and the Johnson Sisters joining in. I had already met the Johnson Sisters(singers and basket makers extraordinaire) while â€œchair dancingâ€ to the strains of EKUâ€™s steel drum ensemble. Jennifer Rose topped off the day by singing a spirited tune with her dulcimer. Vickie asked Anne to autograph her book, CAN A DEMOCRAT GET INTO HEAVEN?, everybody hugged again, and we packed up to head home. We hope to see more of our extended road family as we head out for the rest of this month! Check our calendar for details... Raise on, and donâ€™t defer those dreams... Roberta(and Vickie and Violet Rae.) They probably donâ€™t want to be referred to as â€œgeeks,â€ so Iâ€™ll claim authorship this time.