Dear Carolyn:

I’m in a half-assed diner in New York City. The sign out front said “Best Grits in New York.” That don’t say much about the grits in New York. I could’ve gotten better at the Charlottesville Wal-Mart’s.

I stopped in a truck stop outside of Tarrytown last night and who did I meet? Cousin Jimmy Jr. was filling up—he was hawling a load of chickens from White Plains. We stopped in for coffee. Did you know James is now ten? Even little Aaron is six. He was still clinging on Susan the last we saw them, wasn’t he? Peola Mills isn’t far from you, really, we said we’d get together the next time we’re both in Virginia. Maybe we can stop by when we visit Grandma Sary’s.

Tell everyone at Winston’s I’ll be there soon. Tomorrow I’m dumping the last load picking up a return to Ruckersville. Will be home Monday. Miss you. We should see a movie when I get in. Jimmy recommends “Orlando”. I’m not sure, his recommendations are always too high-yellow. Also, didn’t you tell me the book was crap? Or am I thinking about something else?

I forgot to tell you about this thing that happened in the capitol. I was in Richmond on the 10th. Got my rig stuck in traffic waiting for the Ashe funeral to get over with. This little black girl was sitting at the side of the road playing underneath a Monument Avenue statue. But this statue was a modern man holding a tennis racket instead of some Confederate general with a horse and gun! Silliest thing I ever saw next to all those horse-riding, saber-wielding old-timers. She looked at me with immense sadness, dragging her worn out doll (I remember that clearly) and I shook my head and she was gone. (So was the statue, of course.) I must have dozed off or something, but I’ll tell you, it was one of those real hair-raising, slow-motion experiences. They let us through a couple minutes later.



A novelist who has to defend his creation by telling a reader But that’s what really happened, is a novelist who has failed. — Samuel G. Freedman (Letters to a Young Journalist)