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Somewhere Along the Way









Somewhere Along the Way features a variety of easy-to-read commentaries on the ups, downs and in-betweens of life as viewed from a back yard swing. Subjects range from those as playful as accessorizing and gift-wrapping to empathetic interviews with war veterans to the hilarious frustrations and delicious rewards of gardening, groundhog included. Music and pets are oft-visited topics.
The articles, which originally appeared as columns in Columbia Tennessee newspaper The Daily Herald, are rich in gentle humor, down-home nostalgia, occasional serious ponderings, and quirky characters. Whether read cover-to-cover or ten minutes at a time, the collection's varied look at everyday existence is life affirming and uplifting.
Chris Fletcher, former editor of The Daily Herald, dubbed the writings “…a welcome break from the frenetic pace of our modern lives” and considered Wilmoth’s stories and themes to be “…at once intimate and universal.”
Author Karyn Henley added, “Wilmoth has the rare ability to touch your heart as well as your funny bone.”


At times light and funny, at times serious and contemplative, Wilmoth Foreman's Somewhere Along the Way is an always entertaining collection of essays about life lived fully, and with meaning.

-- Alan Gratz, author of Prisoner B-3087

 

Sample column: Does this have anything to do with Christmas?

      In January of 2000, I entered a two-year graduate writing program at Vermont College in Montpelier. It was one of those low residency deals —— less than two weeks on campus twice a year. Between times, we sent writings by mail/email to our faculty advisor for critiques and guidance.

     The campus' large gathering place had a pipe organ that was beautiful to look at, and passing fair sound-wise. Early on, I got permission to play the thing. So I fiddled with it during rare pockets of free time.

     One feature of that first residency was the program's annual Scholarship Auction. This being a writing community, offerings other than what you'd expect at a generic auction were up for grabs. Faculty members' free manuscript critiques brought top dollar, as did signed copies of books whose authors were likely a row or so away.

     The next residency, which was in July, I again found time to play the campus' pipe organ. This time, I'd brought music from my repertoire and busied myself figuring out suitable registrations [sounds that best complement what's on the page].       

     As the summer session wrapped up, we were reminded to bring donations in January for the auction. Since students and faculty hailed from all over, items that identified our "home base" were encouraged.

     In January 2001 I arrived on campus from Columbia, Tennessee, where the President James K. Polk ancestral home is a tourist attraction, with a cookbook from the home's gift shop. Again, I'd packed organ music. As I revisited the music selections worked on the previous summer, an off-the-wall idea came to mind: would anyone at the auction bid on a program of organ music?

     The thought wouldn't go away. Despite trying to talk myself out of it, I added that option to the auction's offerings. The evening of the auction, the faculty pooled their resources, bought the recital, and on the spot figured out a time for it, pending my okay.

     At the recital, I introduced the selections in groupings. After the first 'set,' I turned to the audience to announce what was next. A classmate seated near the front was weeping uncontrollably. As the program progressed, she stayed in meltdown. Though I'm not a great organist, I knew my playing itself was not the cause.

     Counting donations at the door, the program netted $150 for the scholarship fund. But for me, the real reward was the response from people who lined up afterward.  

     A divorced faculty member whose former spouse was a minister said, "Thank you. I have not returned to church since our divorce, and it's the music that I miss most."

     A student who had to ride a motorized cart around campus because of a crippling disease that attacked her in adulthood said, "I enjoyed this so much. It reminded me of when I could play music like that."   

     My friend who wept apologized profusely. Her immediate family had recently defected from the religious sect she and her husband were raised in. She had shared with me some of the resulting angst and bitterness. To explain her tears she said, "There's something good about everything. What's good about our former church is its rich music tradition. And your program brought that back."

    So what does sharing this have to do with Christmas? Not much. Except that the January recital in Vermont was as near marching with the little drummer boy as I'll ever get. Remember him? He had no gift to give the Newborn King, so he played his drum, and that turned out to be even better than okay.

     The moral of this story: at Christmas or whenever, we need to not listen if we try to talk ourselves out of sharing whatever gifts are ours to offer.

--December 2008