Back home from DeepSouthCon 50 and reflecting on conventions 35 years ago (Back In The Day)… people would, without hesitation, let unknown fans with no room sleep on their floor. Sometimes they slept in the con suite. Fans always shared. Food was meager and if you were poor and smart you would bring energy bars from home.
I was reminded of this mindset when Con Chair Julie Wall asked if I would give Unknown Fan (nametag Nonnie, I think) Kathy a ride to Birmingham.
“Sure. I’m checking out at noon and will leave by 1 PM.) Kathy was there with her luggage and 3-wheeled scooter that came apart and folded up, easily stored in my Accord’s commodious trunk.
Granddaughter Gwen and I sat up front with our purses and Kathy had the back with a lot of luggage. Gwen asked if she liked Johnny Cash music and Kathy replied that she liked all kinds of music and she was a guest so the choice was Gwen’s. So we sang along with Johnny for the first half of our not very long trip to Birmingham. I should mention that I came and went by US 231 and not the Interstate–the Scenic Route through a couple of towns and lots of forest. If Kathy had not been there with her smart phone and GPS, I would have wandered around Huntsville a good while looking for access to US 231, but the robot voice from the back seat got us underway. In the lull after Johnny Cash, I asked out of curiosity, “If I am taking you back to B’ham, how did you Get to Huntsville?”
“I flew in from San Diego”, she replied. Big Flummoxed Silence from the front seat. “I am going to my Grandmother’s in Mt. Brook (adjacent to B’ham), where my aunt is and all the family are gathering for a wedding”, she explained. What a great family, I thought to myself, after realizing our Fellow Traveler was not local, though originally from Alabama, I think.
Kathy’s GPS came back into play as we neared B’ham. I rejected its first suggestion, but soon got on I-59 at the entrance of my choice, only to have to go back a mile to I-459 to get to Kathy’s neck of the woods.
We unloaded Kathy’s scooter and luggage in the driveway and before I drove away, a lovely white-haired lady came out to thank me for helping get her granddaughter home. I pointed to Gwen and said that I had brought my granddaughter, too, with the unvoiced message that we would all help granddaughters, ours or others, when we could.
It was a good way to end a good weekend. I still don’t know her last name.