Oh, New York … Newww Yorkkk. Nyack, New York to be exact. Within minutes of arriving in Nyack, I was given both a parking pass and a coupon for lunch. Hardly how I expected to be greeted in such a snazzy, uptown venue as Nyack and the first of the most pleasant of surprises. I saw a charm in the city that contradicted the view I’d painted of it in my mind.
A gentleman handed me a parking pass parking outside the theatre where I was slated to be interviewed by Mr. Phil of the America’s Got Talent fame. I wasn’t sure what to do with it so I asked a few ladies passing by, and they told me to place it on the dash.
I followed the roaring music as I explored the theatre that housed the auditorium in which I’d be speaking in front of a live audience, strolling one hallway after another. Marquees announced upcoming readings from Edgar Allen Poe and show times for plays. Each wall boasted bright artwork depictions of animals and icons of authors—some abstract art permitted my interpretation alone to determine its description. I sat on the white leather settee, looked softly at the strokes of paint and wondered what the artist envisioned when he was creating the piece.
Had I woken up here, I’d not have guessed I was in New York. Such a cozy, eclectic studio could be anywhere from Athens, Ohio to Los Angeles to Santa Fe. I realized how much I could surprise my eyes—how I could see a world abuzz with intense diversity and tingling with uniqueness if I allowed my preconceived images to evaporate like my breath against a mirror.
I found the director tucked behind a desk in an obscure corner with a cup of coffee in hand and surrounded by stacks of papers. He extended his hand in a heartfelt handshake in true Appalachian-style. Friendly and New York hadn’t been synonymous to me prior to this visit. New Yorkers, I’d heard were abrasive and rude. This gentleman was warm and cheerful. Even the host who interviewed me was as polite and bubbly as a champagne toast.
Then, adding to my interesting day, of all the restaurant’s lining the bustling streets, guess who happens to be eating at my neighboring table on the diner’s patio—the two ladies I’d met thirty minutes prior. We strike up a conversation about what had brought me nine hours from home—promotion of my inspirational, paranormal book. They joined me for coffee while I shared the details of my house exorcism story.
I left New York with a new-found appreciation for surprises. The golden purple sky visible through my windshield this morning could have been hovering above the mountains in Hawaii or Arizona or another notoriously exotic location … But it wasn’t. The breathtaking beauty of fog rising between the ridges of red and yellow leaves was shining down on me right in my home state of West Virginia.
So, cheers to surprises. Add an olive to that Mason jar of apple moonshine and enjoy the flavor of the unexpected.
Michele Zirkle Marcum is a native of Meigs County, author of “Rain No Evil” and host of Life Speaks on AIR radio. Access more at soundcloud.com\lifespeaks.