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8 8 8 8 8 Ashley Famous is coming to town and we’re all excited and a little apprehensive . Ours is the last unspoiled village on the Hudson, one of those quiet places where nobody important ever comes, and the last thing we want is gawking disciples trampling our flower beds, to say nothing of gift shops and roadside shrines popping up all along Route 9. Still we get the shivers, thinking, Ashley Famous. Here. Bill Anthony says although she’s world renowned it’s in a good way, no YouTube antics to embarrass us, no scandal, no paparazzi implied, she can only bring honor to Schuylerton. “Think people like us, but with the sheen of­greatness”—Bill actually said that!—“when all she wants is to blend in and disappear .” Well, she’s picked the right place. We all mind our own business here. She writes those sexy little books about God, so crowds collect like flies on a road kill because, who wouldn’t want to touch the hand that’s been in touch with God? People do it, but not people you know. She can walk down our streets undisturbed, although when Gloria saw her out in front of Tazewell’s Realty that first day, she could swear the woman had look at me written all over her. Of course Gloria is not our most reliable witness. Even though she’s a published writer, she is not all that popular, while Ashley Famous has all those fans driving her into seclusion. They follow her everywhere with misty eyes and wide, wet smiles. Bill says everybody has a cross and this is hers. Our Reverend Anthony wrote a book about her, which is how they got friends. Bill fought his way to the platform when she got that medal, waving the book with her picture on the front. “Oh,” she shouted, “how lovely,” but by that time fans were stampeding like a herd of leeches and Bill had to rescue her. She thanked him with the saddest smile and said, “Sometimes you just get tired.” The thing is, if you’ve touched the hand and God just happens to drop in on you, the last thing He wants is to fight off gangs of rapt admirers, Bill says, so she’s going into seclusion—here! Bill is dean over at the college so he stepped up and invited her, to do what, we aren’t certain, but there you are. Special Special 367 She’s bought the Eversons’ boathouse which is odd, since we will do anything to keep our houses in the family; we owe it to our children to say nothing of the generations that came before, but you’d have to be one of us to understand . We’re not pointing any fingers, but this is the first piece of riverfront property to pass out of family hands in two centuries and Grant didn’t consult Bunk Schuyler at Historical Preservation before he sold. Never mind. Schuylerton could use a little pizzazz, and it is well known that celebrities like Ashley Famous have creative, fascinating friends who would probably love a weekend in the country, especially with summer coming on. She’ll want to invite gangs of poets and artists, who are bound to be more exciting than certain people around here, which will definitely perk up our social lives. We can’t wait to be invited—that is, if she takes to us. The question is, where to start with her? We won’t intrude and we never, ever overstep—no screen captures in the iga parking lot, we promise, no cell phone shots at Luther’s Drug Store even though we’re dying for our friends to know. Uninvited drop-ins and cold calls are out; when a person’s keeping the line open for God, who are we to interrupt? We don’t go where we’re not invited and our kind doesn’t gawk, it’s just not done. When we do meet her we’ll be discreet, we will! Guess what. We have a secret . Guess what. It’s you. Oh, but she said something odd to Jack Tazewell when he was showing the boathouse. “I think the most interesting things in the world are sex and religion, don’t you?” So, should we lock up our husbands or what? We don’t mean to fret, but if we happen to run into her, is it all right to...


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