Friday, November 03, 2006

On Being "You-Nique"

Yesterday, the title of the Virginia Dare Business & Professional Women's Symposium, centered around our unique abilities, talents, passions, and each woman's heritage. Being "You-Nique," A Day of Rejuvenation And Self Discovery.

Yes, thanks for asking ... I was the Key-Note Speaker! Quite an honor for this all-afternoon event. And boy-hidy, these women know how to have a good time and learn something in the process! Their seminar, their grand get-together, held in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina ... entertained, inspired, and motivated the women of the Outer Banks.

Donna, Rae, Shirley, Laura, Fran, Rosalie, Mary and all the amazing women involved in spear-heading this event, worked endless hours. This labor of love was evident from the over 50 door prizes, exquisite vintage pocketbook table settings, the program booklets, unbelievable gifts to the speakers, and table decorations of pocketbooks for each women to take home ... complete with pearls, candy, a poem, and a charm!

Talk about feeling SPECIAL! Over 100 women, gathered together to celebrate!

Three guest speakers wowed the women ... Courtney Northrup, Founder of Gallop Funeral Home. An amazing young woman who worked her way through school and into her dream job. Joyce Anderson, Coach, Writer & Lecturer. From my area, Joyce and I also belong to a group of networking women in Greensboro. Joyce's presentation ... Inspiration, needs to be heard by every woman seeking to find her purpose and passion in life.

And of course, how could I not mention the female "Elvis!" Felvis. The owner of Diamonds 'n' Dunes on the Outer Banks, rocked out ... hoping we would believe she was Elvis--reincarnated as a woman. Well ... hey ... she looked and sounded authentic to me! What a hound dog!

A lunch fit for a queen, fun, fellowship, making new friends, selling my book--Southern Fried Women ... a picture perfect day.

The theme for this symposium was, "Old Pocketbooks." Thus, all the gorgeous centerpiece purses on each table filled with flowers of vibrant colors. Like those old purses, I wanted to stir these lovely ladies' imaginations, create the story in their heads, conjure up their own memories, and pour the image of my character into their spirit ... so I started off with My Grandma's Purse ...

Grandma’s pocketbook … black (always black) big, roomy … scary … peering into it was like looking into a deep, dark well, or a cellar … remember the feeling? And how it smelled? A little musty, or of leather, or tobacco, or Blue Waltz perfume … no rhyme, no reason, totally disorganized … emery boards, teaberry gum, twist ties, rubber bands, a spare button from last year’s coat, safety pins, a needle and thread, Sen Sen (remember that old licorice minty breath perfume? Nasty.) A hair net, her cheap dime-store pressed powder that all the Pentecostal women of the day wore, her embroidered hankie, a bag of peppermints, lifesavers, or some kind of candy to keep us girls quiet in church. Reading glasses, and always … always her New Testament. Lint … if you got to rub your fingers on the bottom … and usually a coupon for 20 cents off a bag of bread flour or a recipe for chicken pie--stained, grease spots, crumbled, a recipe she’d wanted to get from her friend, Flossie, for weeks. My recent wallet-sized third grade picture, bent, but she’d lovingly written my name and the date on the back, and I knew she’d passed it around to all the women in her sewing group--her fingerprints were all over it. A Monday morning grocery list, or a scripture she’d written down … to give to a friend in need. There were always … pennies … loose change … never more than a few dollars … crumbled … no wallet. She didn’t have much money … but what she did have was a pocketbook that kept me quiet during long sermons … a virtual attic to rummage through right there in the church pew.

Compare that to my Prada knockoff of today … organized, everything-at-my-fingertips wallet. Visa, Debit Cards, drivers license, lipstick, perfume, Tums, antibacterial gel, sunglasses, mascara, eye drops, my business cards! CVS, Harris Teeter, Food Lion and Lowes Cards, Insurance Card, palm pilot, a mirror, Blockbuster card. Extra Strength Tylenol, car keys, tweezers, coupons for Starbucks, tampax. A twenty-dollar bill, maybe two--enough for lunch and nice tip … movie ticket stubs, a gas receipt, dry cleaning receipt, a restaurant receipt, mapquest directions. A piece of paper with a website written on it … one I want to remember to check out. A cork souvenir from a wine tasting, something you'd never, ever see in Grandma's purse! Spare earrings, backs for those earrings. A Cape Hatteras brochure, a hotel keycard I forgot to turn in, and of course … the obligatory modern day woman’s CELL PHONE.

What a difference time makes … I don’t even want to think of what my granddaughter’s pocketbook might hold someday.

But that's what makes us all UNIQUE! As I came home again, to over 187 e-mails and tons of work waiting for me, I planted my feet up on my desk and closed my eyes imagining the warm November breezes of those barrier islands, smelling the salt-air, wishing I was there again. Thank you to the women of the Outer Banks! I want to come back and see you all again sometime soon!

Blessings to you and yours.

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