At age 90, Doris Jones of Vinton has written her first children’s story, “A Dragon’s Tale.” She delighted preschool children at the Vinton Public Library with a reading at a “Dragon Party” on February 21.
The event was organized by Children’s Library Assistant Patty Kiser, with dinosaur art and decorations by members of the library staff including Bryce Chalkley and Jill Sorrells. There were dragon cupcakes and dragon crafts.
Her dragon tale is the story of a fierce-looking dragon that comes to inhabit a cave on a beach, initially terrifying the nearby villagers, but soon becoming their friend. The village children especially love to ride on his back as he soars through the sky.
The story has been beautifully illustrated by her son’s niece by marriage, Allison Sissoms, age 19 and newly graduated from James Madison University.
Jones says she has submitted the manuscript to publishers urging, “I’m 90 years old, please hurry.” Her family is also considering self-publishing the story.
“A Dragon’s Tale” is written in poetic verse. Jones says that’s how she thinks— in poetry. Dragons just happen to be one of her passions.
The idea for “A Dragon’s Tale” just suddenly popped into her head. The dragon is named Robbie for her grandson, Robert.
She said that writing the tale was a slow process. She would write for a while and then put the manuscript away for a time; then pull it out again. She finally decided she needed to “get it finished.”
Jones says she has always loved reading and books. As a child, there was always a book under the Christmas tree. She says she really wasn’t a serious writer other than essays or other school assignments, although she did have an article once posted on the school bulletin board. She says she wrote a story about an alligator once for her uncle.
She showed her story to former Vinton Children’s Library Emily Metrock and then to Kiser, who both loved the story. Things then “snowballed” into a scheduled reading of her story to the children at the library. Jones confesses that she was a little nervous about reading to the children and has been practicing for several weeks. This was her first time reading to a large group.
Doris and her husband Gene moved to Vinton in 1975 after living in Florida for 13 years. He does electrical work by trade. She has enjoyed being a homemaker. They also recently celebrated 65 years of marriage. A family party was planned but that was the weekend of the first major snowstorm this season.
On their actual anniversary, the Joneses celebrated at the Vinton McDonald’s, complete with a white tablecloth, a red rose and four red napkins.
Gene and Doris met and married within nine months all those years ago. They say it was one of those magical instances of “love at first sight.” He told her when they first met that she would marry him and proposed two weeks later. She replied that he should wait a little while, but within a few short months they were married. Amazingly enough, the couple say that they have never had a serious argument in 65 years.
They have five children– four sons and a daughter, and 19 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She has loved reading to all of them.
Jones is originally from Pennsylvania. Her husband is a native of New Jersey. Strangely enough, they met in Kansas City, Mo., while both were attending Central Radio and Television School. He was studying radio and television. She was taking a six-week course on working for the airline industry.
After their courses were complete, Gene returned to his life in Philadelphia. Doris worked in an airline reservation office on Fifth Avenue in New York City, doing shift work, until they were married.
As for other interests, Jones likes to paint ceramics at the Vinton Senior Center, where one of her shining accomplishments is a 17-piece nativity set, which remains up year-round.
Hopefully, another story will pop into her mind, but it all goes to prove that it is never too late to follow your dreams.