Visiting Author Reads at Warm Springs Inn
July seems to be an active time for the Arts in the Allegheny Highlands, from concerts and art displays to a friendly, family-oriented, reading by a visiting author with local connections. Terry Barr, a professor of creative writing and film studies at Presbyterian College near Columbia, South Carolina shared an essay from his recent book We Might as Well Eat . This particular story reflected on one of his and his wife’s early visits to Bath County when their daughter Pari Baker, and then fiancée Taylor, took the family shooting at a skeet range. The essay, “12 gauge guns, and what do you get?” both covers the feelings of anticipation, and apprehension, when trying something for the first time, as well as being at that crossroads where adult children begin to play a larger role in families’ futures, and fun together, than ever before.
“Here on this day in a place that six months ago, I didn’t know existed, when I do yell ‘pull and shoot’ I find that whatever slight prowess I have, pales not only against Pari’s shooting, but even more impressively against Lela’s. . . .
I watched Lela take her turn. ‘Pull!” And this little girl, she’s actually twenty-three, a young woman, but still, begins firing. It’s not just that she hits seven, eight nine in a row, but that unlike even her gun club member sister, and certainly unlike her father, who feels like he did when he first tried to sew a button, clumsy and insufficient, Lela positions her arms so that the gun doesn’t recoil. She doesn’t bruise once, or ever. I keep wondering what else she knows, and what other things she can do that have put her so far beyond me.”
Mr Barr gently and humorously turns a mild Sunday afternoon with family into a tale that both entertains, and gives pause for thought., about our own families, our shared pastimes and our new adventures.
“Maybe this one weekend will simply be a fond memory, an isolated idyll, but what I hope, what I feel is that this is a beginning. For so long it’s just been my wife and I leading the way in charge of our tight family. We’ve always welcomed our daughter friends into our nuclear sphere, into our home, and our style. All that is changing now. We’re stepping back and maybe slightly aside. Our daughters haven’t completely taken the lead, but we’re following them to places we never thought we’d know, like to Bath County, a home that isn’t exactly ours yet, but one where we are loved and wanted, and most of all included, into a mountain top skeet shooting range where we all wear gun vests, protect our shells expertly, and admire each other. Not for being good or bad shots, but for being who we are, a family.”
Titles of other essays in the book include: ‘Home is where the Fish is’, ‘The Secret of Spaghetti’, ‘Faith of our Fathers’, and ‘People I’m Talkin’ About’.
The author’s first book, Don’t Date Baptists, and other warnings from my Alabama Mother is available at the Country Café, and a few other local eating establishments
This reading took place in the sun porch of the tavern at the Warm Springs Inn. For more information about Terry Barr’s work, look for: Third Lung Press of Hickory, North Carolina.