Southern Comfort

After two lovely weeks in Huntsville, Alabama, I’m leaving for Seattle. (Well, I’m trying to leave, but the flight has been cancelled.) I’ve been here with Danielle, investigating readers and taking in southern comfort in the form of bright sunshine, olorous magnolia in bloom, and free refills on the best iced tea on earth!

I have to say, this has been a wonderful work jaunt. The place is full of polite people who love their city, and are always willing to help. There’s a few little idiosyncricies that make it an interesting place, but I’ll get to that in a few posts. I’ll begin at the beginning of the trip.

The first night I arrived to begin work investigating Huntsville’s Big Read, I went to the main library to hear a band called Slipjig. They played for more than 150 Huntsville folk in the main entry of the library. My participant observation scribbles indicate that I felt a little odd listening in a library to a type of band that I’d usually hear in a pub! (Where was my beer?!) But like many others, I enjoyed the good celtic sounds and was especially impressed that the band was as good as the best back in Nova Scotia — and I’ve heard my share of good jig bands there. Hey, have you ever heard an electric bagpipe? Fascinating!

The tie-in to reading might seem far fetched, but the city-wide book here this year is “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The music is part of an impressive program to bring the book alive for a variety of different audiences. By the amount of tapping going on, while reading (!), I’m certain a more than a few people were happy about the book’s southern ties.


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