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03/02/2010

Tuesdays with Friends Introduces Beth Solheim

Bs-awe-high final  This week's Tuesdays with Friends guest is Beth Solheim. Beth's mystery, At Witt's End, is a hoot, and I'm guessing from her blog this week, that a lot of her material comes from her family. Beth has promised to send a signed copy of At Witt's End to one lucky blog commenter today, so don't just stop by, make sure you leave a comment. It could make you a winner.


Humor! Or, more important, the humor of the situation.

 

I write humorous mysteries. When authors observe human behavior, or get caught up in those I-don’t-want-to-be-here situations, it often becomes fodder for a book. I’ll bet you didn’t know that some folks come into this world with a neon panel on their forehead that announces their frailties and vulnerabilities. I’m one of those individuals. One day this past summer my forehead announced my patience level hit minus twenty-seven. Actually, there were several of us with neon panels blinking a blistering red. When it happens to me, I have to step back and dig deep for the redeeming benefits. They always seem to surface.

 

I was the designated tour guide for the day, so looked on the Chamber of Commerce website and choose the Blueberry Festival. My husband’s brother and wife, my mother-in-law (aka Granny), my sister-in-law and a couple cousins-in-law came along for the adventure.

 

We left early (in a caravan of three cars) to situate Granny in a comfortable spot and get a good seat at the parade. The first clue that this would be the day from hell was my husband’s comment as we pulled into town, “It sure doesn’t look like there’s a celebration today.” He was correct. The streets were bare, several stores were closed, and after a stop at the gas station (all three cars), we found out the festival had been the previous weekend and the Chamber calendar was wrong. Dang!

 

OK, now what? Since Granny was sitting impatiently in the car, we were hungry, and it was supposed to be a day of fun and adventure, we huddled and came up with another destination thirty miles down the road.

 

We pulled up to a gift shop/flower garden/restaurant combo and gasped. Granny can’t walk well, and it’s all up hill. My husband said he’d try to find a better spot on the top of the hill near the restaurant. Off he went, circled our group twice, then literally drove over someone’s lawn to get up the hill. We don’t talk about the concrete gnome statue with the red hat he drove over and cracked in half. By this time, Granny’s eyes sparked dark with impatience and starvation. We scurried into the restaurant and were met by a waitress who said, “We’re closing in ten minutes.”

 

“Oh no you’re not! It took an act of congress to get us here and we’re going to eat.” We sat around a rickety picnic table in their open air seating section (because the other sections were closed), oblivious to the nasty stares coming from the staff. Granny looked at the menu and shouted, “Nine bucks for a sandwich. Are you nuts?” We ate with heads hung low as Granny drank a two-buck-eighty cup of coffee and took two bites from her hoity-toity sandwich.

 

Then, off to another phase of our tour, twenty miles north. The Amish Furniture store. Granny might like that. It was closed. Poopola.

 

Finally, we pulled in to a tiny town that boasted a fine Mexican restaurant. Granny agreed she could eat again, so we piled into the crowded building (after hoisting Granny up a set of stairs). Margaritas were in order. We’d earned them. Plus they specialized in yummy strawberry margaritas. Granny sipped hers, grimaced and announced, “This tastes like shit.” Of course, because she’s hard of hearing, she speaks twenty decibels above normal and everyone heard her. As Granny browsed the menu she stated she’d never heard of this kind of food and didn’t want any. I ordered her a Lil Gringo, which is an American hamburger and fries. When it came, she refused to eat it because she wanted food like we were eating.

 

When we delivered Granny home, she said, “I sure had fun. We should do that again sometime.”

 

Today, when I look back on this event, it’s fodder. Funny fodder. Would the relatives agree? Probably not, but I can guarantee it will make its way to my next book. By the way, I’ve been banned from being the tour guide.

 

Thanks, Kadi, for the opportunity to join you on Tuesdays with Friends.

Like the main character in her Sadie Witt mystery series, Beth Solheim was born with a healthy dose of imagination and a hankering to solve a puzzle. She learned her reverence for reading from her mother, who was never without a book in her hand.

If you'd like to learn more about Beth and the characters in, At Witt's End, stop by and see her at bsolheim.com or check out her blog mysteries and chit chat.  You can also catch her at Reading Minnesota. And don't forget, a signed copy of At Witt's End could be yours. All you have to do is leave a comment for Beth.

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Comments

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Thanks KD for inviting me to blog with you. It's always a pleasure to read your posts.

Thanks for blogging with us Beth. We had a lot of visitors, sorry we didn't get any comments.

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