Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Waltzing at the Piggly Wiggly (copy)

“For all its quirkiness and sleepy southern pace, The Square of Second Creek had an almost Mediterranean look and feel to it—two- and three-story brick and lacework-balconied shops on all four sides, and a massive white-columned courthouse with a terra-cotta roof. The four short streets comprising The Square had been closed to traffic more than forty years ago, creating one of Mississippi’s earliest and most popular pedestrian malls, and the only blight on the ensemble was the empty storefronts caused by the infamous MegaMart.”

This is the premise of Robert Dalby’s new book Waltzing at the Piggly Wiggly. In the fictional fun town of Second Creek , Mississippi, big, bad MegaMart is providing lower prices and ruining small mom and pop establishments. The next victim, in this long line of heartaches, is the local Piggly Wiggly.

Mr. Choppy, fifth generation owner of the Second Creek, Piggly Wiggly, is in pain. With the way business has tapered off, he may not be able to keep the electric doors swinging. In his estimation, he may have three, possibly four, more months of operation. These are his thoughts as Laurie Lepanto enters the store.

Laurie Lepanto is a member of the Second Creek Nitwitts, an unofficial club, along the lines of a garden/civic club, which donate time and money to causes in the little town. Nothing like the uneasy fear a group of widowed ladies may evoke to promote change.

The madcap women involved in the Nitwitts are delightful. Laurie, president three years and running, doesn’t see an end to her reign. Being the youngest member, at fifty-five, she seems to be stuck with the most work. Other members include Denver Lee, an artist who draws outside, inside, and around the box; Novie, a perpetual traveler who annoys others with her fuzzy slideshows; and Renza, a woman who insist on wearing her foxes (heads and tails) to every occasion.

How will Mr. Choppy’s Piggly Wiggly survive? How will the Nitwitts save the day? What’s with the waltzing? Oops, I forgot to mention the recently widowed ballroom dancer, Powell Hampton.

Author Robert Dalby has written a fun fiction with laugh-out-loud potential. When speaking to him, he revealed his fictional town is a little Natchez, Port Gibson, and Oxford rolled into one, and the characters come straight from his childhood. Number two in the series, Kissing Babies at the Piggly Wiggly, will be available to readers in the fall.

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