I've had a couple of unexpected, but totally welcome surprises this Christmas season. The first, most surprising, was finding myself onstage at Riverside Performing Arts' *Jazz Hands* Nutcracker, dancing a ballet after only six lessons. The picture is of me as a Snow Raven at dress rehearsal. (Feet doing a passe, hands in fifth)Sorry for the poor image quality, it is a still from a video made on the hot pink Sanyo camera my 6 year old picked out at Walmart. I like how slimming the black costume is against the black curtain.
Dancing on stage was a combination of my biggest fear and my childhood dream come true, and it was definitely unexpected!
Entirely unrelated to dancing, I found myself at a local bookstore the other day, shopping for mid-century literature that chronicled the changing world of the modern woman. (For a gift.) While digging around on the vintage rack, I ran across a little hardcovered book with a pretty dust jacket called The Peacock Feather.
Anne Tedlock Brooks. I wanted to know a little more about the author, who signed the book in 1957, so I googled her. If it hadn't been for a website dedicated to matching grave locations and obituaries, her name would have been lost, though she authored over 40 books during her career!
That's all well and good, I imagine you saying, but what was the surprise?
First, about the book. The Peacock Feather is about a spunky Portland girl who has to tackle the mystery surrounding a beautiful Victorian Mansion in Portland, destined for destruction. If you are familiar with the first two Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries, Foreclosed, and Eminent Domain, you'd know I had to read this book! (I'm to chapter five now.) I love a solid genre mystery, and can't wait to find out the rest of this story.
But the second surprise was about the author herself.
Anne Tedlock Brooks grew up in Kansas, like my husband, but spent her adult life in Portland. And when her end came, in 1980, after a long, full 75 years, she was buried in the cemetery that my husband worked at for 8 years. It know it's a cemetery, but it was also a little bit like home, since we were a part of it for so long. And the idea that she is resting there was very sweet to me.
I've surprised myself this Christmas, by being braver (or more foolish!) than I thought I could be, and I've been surprised by the happy coincidence of finding it really is a small world.
Have you been surprised this season? Are you planning a surprise for someone else? I'd love to hear about it!
In the meantime, to celebrate Christmas, I've put the Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery series on sale for just 99 cents each!