In 2008 I had the good fortune to attend the annual Double Decker Art Festival (next to Kentuck, it’s my favorite of the year) in Oxford. I came home raving about Stephanie Dwyer and her bottle trees.
(and her booth was so busy, this was seriously the best pic I could take:)
Since then, we’ve become friends. We try to see each other whenever she’s in Alabama or I’m in Jackson. She’s one of those people who you *want* to know because she’s got such a great…um…energy. She’s busy. She’s an artist. She rescues stray and abused animals. She’s got whatever it is that you want to be around. She’s that person that you could literally call at two in the morning for whatever, and she would be there.
Some of us can use our families as the strongest foundation from which to leap, knowing that no matter what, from that strong foundation there is a soft netting on which to fall. Others of us leave home knowing we must make it on our own and never look back, making a family for ourselves in which we will be that strong foundation and we will be that soft netting for ourselves and others.
Stephanie’s story is in the Clarion-Ledger this week. She didn’t let her upbringing, or a bad romantic relationship ruin who she is inside. Her core is so strong. I am so proud to be her friend.
“I have been dealt a really good hand,” she says. “I prayed for God to put a protective hedge around me, and people started coming out of the woodwork to help me. I have so much work to do, it’s hard to keep up. And the people of Mississippi have made me one of theirs.
“The truth is, they saved me.”