It was just another quiet Saturday afternoon at the store in my quiet little town. I was enjoying a burger, rings, and a soda. A few people popped in during the day and offered some light conversation while they looked at the items we have for sale.
I was getting ready to prepare to shut down for the day when a woman walked into the store. She said hello and proceeded to look around. She found a table she really liked and I went into my salesman mode.
She looked at me and asked where she could get a cup of coffee and offered to buy me a cup-- a very kind offer, and I accepted.
We returned to the store and chatted more about the table she was looking at.
She started talking about her husband who is a writer and kind of rolled her eyes. I told her that I am writing a book also about my massage career, and then said she would love to write a book about her life.
"I used to open for David Bowie,” she said.
I was stunned, to say the least, and I felt some sort of electricity running through my body.
She started rattling off all the other big names she opened for: the Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, and sang WITH the Funkadelics.
Now, I have to admit, I was kind of blown away by this. She said to Google her name, so I did.
Before me on the screen was a very young, attractive, and yeah, a sexy woman from 50 years ago in an Indian outfit with long brown hair and a flat bare belly.
Presently, sitting in front of me was a woman who admitted that she is just over 70. I couldn't help but see that young, attractive woman's face in front of me. “Aging sucks,” I mumbled. She agreed.
We listened to a couple of her songs and at first she mouthed the words, then like an old closet being opened after decades and the spider webs and dust being wiped away, the sound came out. She sang beautifully. I was living in the 60s again through her, a real part of that history. She then went on to tell me so much about her life that I wanted to HELP her write the book.
She is definitely a product of the 60's. She asked if I knew trees communicated with each other. I just listened instead of answering. She informed me to keep their roots from intertwining while they grow, and they talk to each other to avoid that.
She told me a story about one day walking in a forest and she heard a sound, which she imitated for me. "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, ohhhhhhhhhh, ohhhhhhhhh." She looked up and saw an old tree with a young sapling that had fallen over on one of its larger, older branches. She organized a bunch of young guys and they went back to cut the young sapling off the old tree. She told me that she gave a hug to the old tree and asked if it felt any better. Even now, every once in a while she goes back to that tree and visits it.
After sharing my nature photography with her, she said my pictures were beautiful and asked if I ever went to the Wapello Nature Center? I said I hadn't had the chance. So, she said..."Let's go now."
I agreed since it was so close to closing time.
Wapello Nature Center is an area where the Wapello Indians lived. We walked the carved out area for a path and she showed me the flowers. I took a lot of photographs of all different kinds of plants native to Illinois.
She pointed out the area which is a natural dip in the landscape. "That is where they lived in their homes made of animal skin and mud. White man came along and ruined it all. They took it all away from them."
She reached over to a plant and showed me the pods. She opened it and inside was miniature peas. The Gold Finches flew across the horizon. The Bumble Bees danced from flower to flower. Ants crawled across the Queen Anne's lace. Native Illinois purple tall grass stood high and proud. It was a beautiful moment in time.
She brought my attention to another area that was the burial ground. It is 20 feet lower than it once was. "This is where they kept their dead. Close to them. They lived with their dead. Not like now where people have been put in metal boxes and then concrete ones."
I was totally transfixed by her knowledge and history. I asked her if she had any records I could buy from her. She said no, but I could buy them off the internet and she would sign them for me.
Then, I told her about the Music in the Park coming up in town and asked if she would sing with the awesome local singer, Lexi Parr. She declined, saying the pipes were dusty and you never know what might come out. Even though she declined to sing, I know Lexi's mom and have asked if Lexi would honor Ruth Copeland by belting out some of her music and maybe do some Funkadelic stuff also. (Which was my background music while jamming on my keyboard writing this for you.)
It was a great night and I am looking forward to my next adventure.
This is Ruth’s awesome picture from yore.