Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | April 19, 2011

In the Company of Cheerful, Scottish Ladies*


Last week I drove to Clearwater to see one of my favorite authors, Alexander McCall Smith.  From the moment he stepped behind the podium in his Scottish kilt I felt like a friend had come for a visit.  It was not the awestruck experience of seeing somebody famous; it was the privilege of seeing someone who has impacted your life in some way.  Books can do that, but it’s not just the book, it’s the person behind the words. 

He lectured on the small things of life – a fitting topic for a man so skilled at taking everyday things and putting them on paper in a manner so captivating that it defies explanation.  When I try to communicate to friends why I love these books, I am left at a loss for words (not a good position for a writer either).  His subtle humor and portrayal of life drew me in since my first read of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series many years ago.  And here I am, twelve books later, still entranced by the ability of this man to write so well and paint such a beautiful picture of life in modern-day Botswana.

When I arrived for the lecture (three hours early), I was greeted by a small group of four friends who served as self-appointed greeters.  Two of these ladies, Dorothy and Ann, are snowbirds from Scotland.  Dorothy pinned me with a lapel pin of the American flag crossing the Scottish flag – a small thing.  Her accent alone set the mood for the day.  She could have stepped right out of one of McCall Smith’s books.  You would have thought that she was on staff for the event, but she was just full of love for people. 

The group beckoned me to sit with them on the front row and we shared small talk about the books we all love.  We saved each other’s seats to give opportunity to stretch our legs and even exchanged email addresses – small things that made for a lovely wait.

It really is the small things that comprise most of our lives.  There is a lot of laughter and joy in the ordinary routine.  I’ve reflected on ordinariness in my life lately and found that the way it affects me is quite extraordinary.  Here are some of my Top Ordinary Events of the Week:

  • Buying lemonade at my granddaughters’ stand where they are joining with our church in raising money for Hannah’s Hope Pregnancy Care Center.
  • Taking my mom to get her haircut and then cleaning her bathroom with her while we talk and laugh.
  • Going to a book signing event for a man we know who just released his third book.
  • Spending time with a friend who is much farther along in the writing process than I am.
  • Driving along the coast on my way to Clearwater.
  • Meeting with the small group from church that gathers at our house every other week.
  • Having my grandson curl up on my lap when he woke up from his nap.
  • Sitting at my kitchen window writing and looking out at my sweet husband mowing the lawn. 

It really is a wonderful life.  Sometimes we just need to stop and notice.


*My title is a nod to Alexander McCall Smith’s sixth book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.



  1. Really nice Bonnie, I think I’ll try reading the series.
    Your friend, Moggie

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