Football weekend, beautiful weather, and off to see the Rocket Boys…

Another beautiful weekend has come and gone, and a good portion of it was spent doing what I enjoy doing during this glorious time of the year: watching football. From the grandsons’ flag football game Saturday morning, followed by games featuring Illinois, Northern Illinois, Ohio Sate, Alabama, and Sunday’s NFL offering of the Bears against the Lions, I pretty much got my fill of the sport. Of course, the crystal clear weather of which we’ve been blessed certainly provided a wonderful backdrop for it all. The little bit of rain we received Saturday night was perfect, too, as our yard and bushes are starting to complain that they’re getting awfully thirsty!

Now, Sunday night, I’ve mustered up enough ambition to open up the MacBook and get caught up on some writing and editing. I really need to get a lot finished this evening as tomorrow I will begin to get ready for an upcoming trip at the end of the week to beautiful Wild & Wonderful West Virginia. A friend and I are leaving very early Thursday morning and driving to Beckley, West Virginia, to attend the annual Rocket Boys’ Festival.

Homer H. Hickam: Rocket Boys
Homer H. Hickam: Rocket Boys (Photo credit: Wolf Gang)

For anyone unfamiliar with Rocket Boys (1998), it’s the book by Homer Hickam, Jr., and was later made into a popular movie, October Sky. The story surrounds Homer and his buddies growing up in the coal mining town of Coalwood, West Virginia. Homer’s interest and love of rocketry leads to many memorable exploits of which he writes and brings to life in his award-winning book. And for nearly fifteen years, there has been a Rocket Boys’ Festival, most years in Coalwood but moved to Beckley in 2012.

Last February, when my wife and I were on one of her ancestry “field trips,” we found our way to Beckley and then over the rolling roads through hollers and over mountains to Coalwood. What we found there were the remains of the old mining town that Homer “Sonny” Hickam so vividly brought to life in his poignant book and the other two in his “Coalwood” series, The Coalwood Way (2000) and Sky of Stone (2002). It was during that brief passing-through visit that I decided I wanted to come back in October and attend the weekend festival, especially since Homer and three other Rocket Boys would be there. I have reserved tickets for the hour-long Writers’ Workshop on Friday evening, and I’m looking forward to hearing Homer speak, answer questions, and possibly even get to introduce myself to him. We have conversed many times via mail and Facebook, but there’s nothing like an in-person, face-to-face meeting.

Cover of "The Coalwood Way (The Coalwood ...

Thus, I have a suitcase to pack, as well as my laptop and items needed for writing “moments,” and a rental car to pick up Wednesday evening. We managed a pretty good deal on the car for a week, so we can save our own vehicles the wear-and-tear and keep the many miles off them. Because it will be an early wake up Thursday morning in order for me to meet my friend at 5 a.m., since he lives about an hour east of here, I suppose I should get some sleep these next few nights! That said, I will close this for now and spend an hour editing my novel-in-progress. I’m looking forward to posting from my hotel room in Beckley next weekend. I look forward to the experience….CortlandWriter

Cover of "Sky of Stone: A Memoir"

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