Getting back into the swing of things

“Tryon Diary,” written for the Tryon Daily Bulletin, June 24, 2021

We’re back! Since our move to Phoenix for Paul’s work in 2015, we’ve made it our goal to return to Tryon in the summer and spend as much time as we can here. You might have heard it gets up to a thousand degrees in Arizona in the summer, and yes, I’m probably the one who started that rumor, but it’s true. At least it feels true. You might think it gets hot here too, but it feels like paradise to me.

We came last summer, but it was the summer to forget, just as 2020 was the year that left us all missing the past and wishing for the future. But now we’re in that future and getting back into the swing of our lives. There’s nowhere I’d rather re-enter the world than right here in my favorite little town.

As soon as we got here, we hit the ground running, dashing off to the Tryon Block House Races the day after our arrival. We hadn’t even unpacked our suitcases, but we unearthed our picnic basket and camping chairs from the basement, picked up my nephew (who had thankfully prepared the food), and plopped fancy hats on our heads. The day at the steeplechase flew by as fast as the horses, and yes, it was hot, but it was also a glorious day and the perfect welcome back for us.

In our first weeks in town, I believe we’ve eaten as every Tryon restaurant at least once (and our favorite Columbus and Landrum spots too), watched the film at our beloved Tryon Theatre (and can’t wait for the next one!), raised a glass at The Bottle on a Friday, and even caught an inspiring matinee of The Light in the Piazza at Rogers Park.

We are back, my friends. It probably seems gradual to most of you, as you’ve been here to witness the community taking wobbly baby steps back to normal, but I just landed here and found the town gliding as gracefully as a runway model.

I picked up my dogs’ meds at Bonnie Brae, chicken pot pies at IGA (on Mondays!), and book signing posters at McKinsey Printing. I’ve lunched with girlfriends, racked my brain for names as I waved at friends on the street (they’ll come back to me—I just got here!), and hugged people. There have been lots and lots of hugs. That might be what I’ve missed the most.

If you haven’t seen me dashing around town, don’t despair. You can come say hello at my book signing at The Book Shelf on June 25 from 5-7 pm. (The Book Shelf is now at 17 S. Trade St.) That will be a part of the Fourth Friday event in downtown Tryon where stores stay open for special hours to welcome folks. I’m going to predict a fun festival atmosphere, food, music, friends. The kind of celebration that makes Tryon special.

If you haven’t heard about my latest book, It’s called The Opposite of Famous, A Hollywood Memoir, and is full of true and funny stories about my three decades working in Los Angeles as a model, commercial actor, film extra, and as the photo double and road manager for Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. The book opens and closes with my life in Tryon, as I started writing it shortly after moving here from L.A. If you think I brag about Tryon in this column, wait until you see me gush over it in the book.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “Maybe a girl needs a few decades in a tornado to really appreciate the beauty of Oz when she lands in it.” I left my busy life in Hollywood and had the good fortune to move to Tryon back in 2011, a decision that has changed everything for me.

One friend recently asked me why I love it so much here. My reply was, “It’s peaceful, it’s beautiful, it’s safe.” I got stuck and ran out of words (pretty unusual, I know). The bottom line: I’m just happiest here. One of these days, we’ll retire and spend all year in my favorite place, but for now, I know I’ll have a great summer. See you soon!