Moments before I arrived, Tommye Cashin had called. She couldn't attend the event, but wanted to let me know she "was thinking of me." As we said goodbye I wiped away tears. I've met Tommye twice. She doesn't know intimate details about my life, yet her gesture of friendship is exactly what In The Garden With Billy is about. Tommye didn't have to call me, she chose to call. She chose to reach out to me when I needed a friend.
That is the story inside the cover of In The Garden With Billy.
We spoke for a moment; afterward, I dried my eyes, reapplied my makeup, and stepped into the kitchen where Billy's family gathered with mine. Billy said a prayer. He prayed for those who were traveling and for those too sick to make the trip. He also prayed that people would understand the message of the book.
"This is my Daddy," I explained to those waiting. "He traveled four hours to be here with me." I dabbed my eyes. "Mom's sick and couldn't make it." My voice wavered. "You'll understand why I'm so emotional after you read the book."
|Renea Winchester, Billy Albertson and My Dad|
As I watched people wipe away tears, I realized how similar we are.
Who is my best friend? The readers who shared that intimate moment with me. Readers who believe in this book and have shared the message with others. You, who are reading this right now, are my new best friends. I am humbled beyond words that you have invited me into your life and that you would buy In The Garden With Billy. I am blessed to call you friend.
Renea Winchester is an award-winning writer. Terry Kay author of The Book of Marie and The Valley of Light, calls In The Garden With Billy "a warm, delightful and thoughtful story chronicling her friendship with the extraordinary Billy Albertson—the kind of friendship celebrating the best that life, in all its trickery, can offer. Simply put, it is a book of gladness in a world of fret, a writer's gift to people who need the tenderness."
In The Garden With Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes is available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Independent Books Stores, and through Little Creek Books. Renea is also available for book club meetings and group events. Visit her at www.reneawinchester.com