Thyrsus Press got to go on the road last month! We set up a booth at the Saluki National, a specialty show, held yearly for the breed. Salukis are sighthound of ancient origin from the Middle East. My mother breeds and shows Salukis. Doug and I came to love the breed through Mom’s first Saluki, Aziza and soon we had our own, the sister of Mom’s Basheera , Bahjah, and Basheera's son named Elasa.
Fourteen years or so ago, I had gone back to school to further my studies in printmaking and it was about then that Aziza came into our lives, so the serious pursuit of printmaking and the love of Salukis came up at the same time. They work cheap as models, too, so I have a fair amount of personal work on the subject: mono prints, editions of small engravings. For the show I added five linocuts, a poster printed just for the event (printers love an excuse to make keep-sakes), and a line of pin-back buttons.
All the work was somehow packed up in two large suitcases to head off on the first leg to Nashville, Tennessee, where my sister lives. Mom was up there when I arrived because we were going to turn around the following day to head to Huntsville, Alabama to prep the booth and package the prints and figure out how to load the car with all the things required for traveling with dogs for a show plus all that was necessary to set up vending. I forgot to mention Mom is doing all this having just had the cast removed from a broken ankle and was still hobbling around precariously much of the time in a massive boot! She had slipped and broken her ankle on the last bit lingering ice that had thumbed its nose at the coming of this spring.
Got to catch visits with Dad over the couple days Mom and I were packaging prints. Dad and I talked cameras and photography, as usual, and on the golden age of Stereo. Dad is shown here with his Macintosh MC240 Power Amp. He is sending it to live with us in Berkeley! Before these pictures were taken I had just returned from a glorious misty, post-storm run that ended up between the river along the greenway and a manmade lake at a retirement community across the road from my parent's house. There was a riot of frogs and other cloaked night screechers, and as I stopped there exhausted post run, a heron flew in silhouette twenty feet away up the bank where I was standing. I have the best runs in Alabama.
Somehow we managed to load up the van, got Clever Cephei tucked into her nice niche in the crate, and we headed out.
It could't have been more mild and beautiful-dreamy, really. It was slightly overcast and we talked and enjoyed several stops to walk Cephei around rest areas and were soon looking for places to stay for the night. We lucked into a Drury Inn, a chain we'd stumbled on when we took Priya up to Westminster last year and were needing a dog friendly hotel where we could leave the car near the Atlanta airport. The staff of this place is almost spookily kind---beatifically smiling at you like you've just arrived at a zen retreat at the top of a mountain. Amenities include: free dinner (food bar), ticket for three free drinks (bar bar), gym, free wi-fi, and breakfast bar. I did bar bar and gym, not to waste any opportunities, but only two red wines---Mom's second drink counted for two punches on the ticket.
Cephei was experiencing lots of firsts on this trip, getting used to me among them, but she liked playing peek and run with me and we were fast friends. She learned about electric doors and glass elevators and a barrage of new stimuli---it was fascinating to see her process it all with her quick little mind.
Grey Summit is a tentative hold out out from the days of getting one’s kicks on route 66. The old hotel signs are still there, if the actually hotel is probably abandoned or converted into a Travelodge. Our hotel, once the Diamond Inn, now a Travelodge/Diamond Inn, isobviously the place to stay for Purina Farms visitors with dogs and cats. Around the back the rooms give on to a field that tilts into a wide and often misted hill on one side of Route 66. Nearby there is a grown over mini golf, a massive temple to fireworks with a sign that is meant to shout out to the main road from just off the exit. Further up the road are charming white homes, an array of mobile home parks and (explored on dawn and twilight runs) a cemetery with some old, old tomb stones. There was prairie restoration going on in the area, evidenced by a profusion of wild flowers, though mixed in were some escapees from cottage gardens-roses, irises…and a din of insects and birds in the grown over spaces. Traveling with puppies, Mom and I were usually out walking around the hotel around 6:00 am, along the field and through the wide, gravelly parking lot for trucks.
Arrival in Grey Summit was a big time for reunions-Ron, an accomplished handler who shows Mom's Salukis, was there soon after us and brought Epsilon and Priya with him from their tour of showing. There was a sweet reunion there, though Cephei had to be reminded what fun brothers can be.
We got to see how those who do the show circuit with the whole trailer outfit set up their sites at Purina Farms and had a couple visits with friends. While Mom caught up, I wandered around the verdant grounds which were giving off rising insect whirrs with the rising of the moon and all was redolent with honey suckle.
The show itself was a blur! So much happened and the booth did really well. I met so many Salukis that melted my heart and connected with some really, really neat people.
Epsilon and Priya and Cephei all showed (Priya was in the Top 20 for the year). Epsilon took futurity. The top 20 was a hoot—the Salukis and their handlers were all done up Age of Aquarius style (I forgot what they actually called the theme). Ron rocked a Pink Floyd shirt and blue John Lennon glasses while Priya was a happy hippie Saluki chick.
I even got to go in the ring a couple times, once to help in the brood bitch class and once in the costume class, which was tremendous fun, on the last night.
This was the night of the auction and people were good and likkered up. Terrific, terrific wine was offered for tasting by Röbller Vineyard. People were raving about the stuff in the blue bottle, Vidal Blanc, but I went for a lovely red—Le Trompier Noir…and went back for seconds. We stayed to watch the very very entertaining auction and were up later than we should’ve as we had to wake very, very early the next morning to load the van for final day check out and to get to the site to show all the Salukis in the brood bitch class. This was Cephei’s first time in the ring! Ron did his dog whispering hoo doo on her and she went in like a pro despite all previous signs to the contrary. She is a drama queen and was commanding a Medea-style performance, but there she was like Audrey Hepburn at Ascott Opening Day—without the “Dover, move yr blooming’ arse!!!!” explosion at the end. He pulled this off with another dog, too—I got to watch the whole process—dog went from bucking and ducking away to cheerful compliance in no time. Amazing.
We watched Best in Show, packed up the whole she-bang, and pressed through back to Nashville where, loopy from sleep deprivation, we went for late Mexican with Lil, my sister and the girls. There, the patriarch of a large family was having a birthday bash accompanied by a kick-ass Mariachi band, to which we danced heartily. That could be watched by one vantage point, while on a big screen tv on the other, Lucha Libre wrestlers splattered a confetti of blood, also keeping time to the Mariachi.