Unexpected Pleasures

I hope that each of you have had a wonderful holiday season, filled with joy and gifts and banquets and Hallmark movies! And unexpected pleasures. Lots of them! I know ours have been.
During my last minute Christmas shopping spree at Clothes Less Traveled, I had the most pleasant and unexpected phone call. A dear friend who was on her way out of town tracked me down and we met in the parking lot of CLT. I had not seen or talked to Ellen Morton, once a media center co-worker, in, Oh my! months. We had a brief but very sweet meeting, and Ellen left me with a gorgeous Poinsettia. Sweet reminder of our long friendship.
The morning after arriving home from Bluffton where my daughter Kim and her husband Joe live, and after my first exciting (and nerve-wracking) roundtrip, five-hour solo drive (Bill as passenger and copilot), I received a phone call from Laura Reynolds of The Veranda Bed and Breakfast here in Senoia. She shared the exciting news about award-winning photographer and world traveler Lori Kohlbenschlag’s upcoming exhibit opening at the Veranda on Friday, January 31, 2020. Early evening guests can enjoy refreshments from 6 p.m. till 8 p.m. but anyone wishing to stay for dinner needs to make reservations. Lori will show photos of her recent three-week trip to Africa and discuss her travels and her work.
Laura also shared her ideas for similar programs (workshops?) in the future featuring local artists and writers in an effort to bring the community together over shared interests. I loved the idea, having worked with Laura several years ago coordinating a Storytelling event at The Veranda.
My daughter insisted that I accept an offer to attend a party on the last night of 2019 while she visited with Bill at our home. A 1920’s themed Costume Party. How could I resist? No one loves to play “dress-up” like I do.
On New Year’s Eve I arrived at my friend Sheridan’s son’s home in a dress the dowager (old and revered woman!) might have worn in an episode of Downton Abbey; I wore a jacket of velvet with silk embroidery. I even wore false eyelashes! Such fun even before the party.
I knew only the couple who had brought me there. Strangers everywhere! Much of it was held outside around a huge wood fire, but there was a champagne fountain and a table full of delectable goodies inside the charming kitchen and open living and dining area. It seemed that each individual who stopped to shake my hand and to be introduced had some part of their life that I could connect with. I’m thinking that it could be my age that allowed me to find a common ground with so many of these young millennials.
Many were from the same background or on the same career path as the host (the film industry—my host Addison is a talented young make-up artist). The hostess Hailey, a truly beautiful young woman wearing a long print kimono-styled dress with a long fox fur stole, quickly made me very comfortable with a “tour” and description of the couple’s growing art collection. She introduced me to her brother who will soon begin his career as an ophthalmologist (or optometrist…forgive me if I have used the wrong term), and we had a great discussion about the beauty of the state of Kentucky and about Kentucky Derby Pie—heaven in a pie shell—about Berea School and Louisville. 
There followed a whole bevy of young people to talk with about such a variety of topics (my work with Video Production at McIntosh High School helped me connect with some) that I lost track of time and even of my friend Sheridan in green velvet with peacock designs and of her husband James, unrecognizable in his 1920’s golfing outfit…(nice, very nice, James). He wasn’t exactly kicking and screaming about playing dress-up, but he would have probably been happier in comfy sweats!
Sheridan and James had me home in time for midnight champagne toasts with my daughter, her husband Joel, and with Bill. It was a great evening.
Then on New Year’s Day we were so blessed to have been invited to a drop-in at Claudia and Bill Woods’ newly renovated home. In what seems like no time, they have made this 1990s house into a lovely, warm, and inviting home! Claudia’s original and very personal works of fabric art are anchors for each room in their new home, and Bill’s handiwork has been an important part of this home as with others. We were so pleased to visit with a number of our friends from the Senoia Area Historical Society who were also there enjoying the beauty of the Woods’ home and their warm hospitality.
We have missed the programs at the Museum over these last few months, just as we have the sweet, sweet friends and programs at Sharpsburg Baptist Church where we have been more absent than present as of late.
Bill and I were unable to visit the Museum during the festive Tour of Homes and to see their beautifully decorated rooms whose “Tree” theme produced one of the most beautiful venues of any I remember over the past six years. I was able to visit later and enjoyed photos of the evening on their website.
We missed the Senoia Candlelight Tour of Homes, our Sharpsburg Baptist Church Christmas Programs, as well as so many local events that have been part of our lives in this community since we moved here over six years ago. Nothing equals the sense of belonging that one can enjoy in a small town.
That is thankfully what we have found in Willow Dell Subdivision in Senoia, Georgia. We are, after all, just Small Town folk.
May 2020 be full of the Small Town goodness and kindness which we have experienced, like we have been shown. Thank you all, dear friends. Happy New Year!!

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

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