Sweet Auburn

The background for Blue’s new novel COUNT was unfolded more than 10 years ago when the novel FOR THOSE IN PERIL ON THE SEA was published by Publish America. Here in 2013, Max can’t resist the opportunity to recall some of that background, given the invention of the Blog. Inevitably, Max himself is gaining some insight from this exercise – in many ways that novel is almost a diary of what Max and Liddy experienced in the first years of their now 57 year marriage. Attention Max and Liddy’s children and grandchildren: if you have interest in the circumstances of your being here, read FOR THOSE IN PERIL ON THE SEA, which will also help you  understand the new novel COUNT.



Heading south from St. Louis in their two-toned green Chevrolet Powerglide, Susan and Flapper, flushed with a sense of adventure, picked up state route three in Red Bud, Illinois, and nosed along the eastern edge of the Mississippi River to Cairo, where they stopped for lunch at the KIM Cafe. Everything they owned was piled into the trunk and back seat of the sturdy Chevvy. They learned from the waitress that KIM stood for Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri, three states that touched here at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. They also learned it’s not a good idea to order lobster in a river town where all they know how to cook is catfish, 1,500 miles from the nearest ocean. When they crossed the Ohio River into Kentucky, Flapper had the odd feeling they had just leaped from the safety and comfort of a cozy airplane cabin into the uncertain and turbulent air of a strange and unfamiliar land, where water fountains and public restrooms were labeled WHITE or COLORED. When Susan reached for his hand he knew she too was feeling strangely disconnected.

Five hundred miles to go, through Jackson, Tennessee; nicking the northeast corner of Mississippi at Corinth, and into Alabama where they wondered at the oversize billboard greeting from the large smiling face, vaguely reminiscent of a horse.




They moved on through Birmingham and down to Auburn . . .  “Auburn, sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plains” straight into the heart of Dixie, and a new life. Flapper and Susan squeezed each other’s hands, took deep breaths, checked their parachutes, and did not look back.


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