In a small southern Indiana river town, on a sultry weekend in June, 2000, Hanover College hosted the Harlan Hubbard Centennial Celebration. Over 250 guests attended, including my husband Ron and me. Anyone deeply interested in the lives and work of Harlan and Anna Hubbard would have wanted to be there.
The second day of the meeting included a visit to Payne Hollow on the Kentucky side of the river. Ron and I visited the hollow once before in l989, when we got lost for a short time. After that adventure, our second visit proved memorable too. For as our tour group was ready to leave, our gracious host looked at me directly and said, "This place would make a good setting in a story for children." The seed of an idea was watered, and writing about the Hubbards would give pleasant diversion at a time when it would be appreciated. Only a few weeks earlier, health concerns compelled us to give up our two Icelandic horses. What could be more healing than writing about them? Walking the trail out of the hollow, I already knew I would probably never return except through imagination.
This story of present day fiction is based on real people, granddaughters, and our own animal friends. Sadly, Anna and Harlan Hubbard are no longer living. Readers wanting to learn more about them will enjoy the books listed in the bibliography.
Please know that the way into Payne Hollow is not a horse trail and less accessible than ever. Harlan Hubbard remarked in so many words that the river may reclaim the place someday. In the end, that's what rivers do.
Nancy Sue Leske
...Then your peace would become just like a river...