While I was in the Methow Valley in Washington State, launching the Mazama Festival of Books, my mother was celebrating her birthday with her large and loving family in Mississippi. My cousin sent me some photographs, and the one I treasure the most is of my grandmother, Alma Virginia "Ginny" West Walters. I spent some time each summer on her farm in Moselle when I was very young and have a vivid memory of perfect happiness with her, sitting on her bed, listening to Elvis gospel records and the cool hiss as she popped the tab on an RC Cola out of her private stash and handed it to me. I felt honored. I find myself in need of a little counsel these days, and I know just what she'd tell me. As I recounted in a previous post, She only called me by my middle name because she felt that it was a better Southern name than the one my father ("that Yankee") had given me. It's been more than twenty years since I heard her voice but I can hear it, clear as a bell: "Now, Ashley..."