Grateful Day 1 – Cows and Bees and the Milky Way

Because the world has gone crazy and the helplessness I feel is overpowering, I am going to try an experiment of pretending to be grateful even when I don’t feel a whiff of it.

So I’m picking random pictures and remembering a story.

This is today’s picture.

Norah and Ernestine

Ernestine and Norah

* * *

This is Ernestine Upchurch of Maggie Valley, North Carolina. I’ve written a picture book about her called “Ernestine’s Milky Way,” which comes out in 2018 with Schwartz & Wade, Random House. In the story, Ernestine is about the age of the cloaked child standing next to her in this picture who is Norah.

When Ernestine was a child her family had the only cow in Maggie Valley and her mother gave her the job of carrying a mason jar of milk each morning through the mountains to the Ramsey family who had no milk. So I wrote a story about Ernestine and her milky way through the mountains under the Milky Way.

In this picture, Norah is cloaked because too many bees buzzed around Ernestine’s front yard that August day so long ago. It was during the time I was writing Jessie’s Mountain in a cabin that Popcorn Sutton built for Ernestine.

I am grateful Ernestine tells such good stories.

I am grateful that Norah chose that day to be afraid of bees because I love this wrapped-up kid REFUSING to pose with Ernestine because of bees.

And I like this other picture, too, which I took one evening when Popcorn built Norah a “far.”

But that’s another story. 🙂


Norah and Popcorn


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