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Bethesda group

Some days being a writer is just plain fun. That was the case on Tuesday, when I visited with some residents of the Bethesda Hawthorne Place assisted living facility in Oakland, Mo., just outside St. Louis. Their book group had been reading Slant of Light, and indeed to help some of the residents with reading difficulties some of the staff members had read the book aloud to them, chapter by chapter. So this was a well-informed bunch!

We had a delightful conversation that went on longer than I had expected, and we covered all kinds of topics, book-related and not. During a discussion of nineteenth-century utopian communities, one resident stepped out of the room. I thought she had just tired of the discussion, or perhaps needed to rest, but a few minutes later she came back with a magazine article on Nauvoo that she had been reminded of by the conversation. Some of the folks had memory issues, and others did not; but everyone got something out of the visit, especially myself.

I was reminded of how lucky I am to be a writer, and to have books that a wide variety of people can enjoy, and to have readers who are so engaged and attentive. And yes, they took me to task over certain plot twists that occur toward the end of the book, and which I will not go into here for fear of spoiling the story for future readers.

Those who underestimate old people do so to their own detriment.