Monday, July 19, 2021

Books surrounded by a House

 

I am a lover of books, a lover of words, a collector of both.  Recently many of us received a surprise in the mail relating to our property taxes.......our home took a huge leap in value.  We are appealing and in that process I have had some interesting conversations with friends.  I was telling someone they have our house listed as frame construction when in fact it is cinderblock with no insulation in those blocks.  She looked at me and said "yes, but you have books".  At first I was confused then I realized she was referring to the fact that practically every wall in our house is lined with books.  So we do in fact have some insulation.

If you look closely at the photo above you will see that the shelf is coming apart and that the photo album beneath that shelf is holding up the books.  (this is a repair that needs attention SOON)

Years ago a friend was visiting our home for the first time and she stepped into the library/art studio combo and quickly stepped out.  I had told her upon entry that the shelves in this room are deep and that in some instances there are 2-3 rows of books on each shelf.  She looked at me and said "Do you have any idea how much this room must weigh?"  Honestly I had never given that a thought.  But my husband assures me that the floor boards are stout and well built and that this room will not one day end up our bedroom in the basement (which is also book lined).  

When my now, 20 year old nephew, was about 7 he was visiting and was fascinated by all the books in every room in our house (since that was several years ago you can well imagine that there are many, many, many more books housed there now).  He sat on our bed (which is basically a bed surrounded on all sides by books) and his eyes surveyed the room and he quietly inquired "Your Mom let you do this....." I smiled and said yes, he asked me to convince his Mom (my sister) to allow him to do the same.  He was visiting this summer and informed me that he has my DNA and I told him I hoped so.  He laughed and said "no, Aunt Deb I have it all, because one day I want a little house like this filled with books, art, plants and aquariums." (we no longer have aquariums because I needed the room for books)




























Thursday, July 8, 2021

I have a disease ..... and I am not looking for a cure

 


Thursday is book day at The Bookstore.  Every. Single. Thursday.  Books arrive and the UPS driver is my favorite human.  It is like Christmas morning.  There are some book days that disappoint simply because somewhere along the way the boxes rest or take a detour.  But most of the time they arrive and I get to fondle the covers, smell the pages and run my fingers over the ink, absorbing the words through my skin.  

My sister-in-law works with me.  She TRIES to be a task master.  Customers will hear her say "Debbie, stop reading the books." Or stop smelling the books, call the customers, we have to get these books checked in and on the shelves."  I really don't hear her. (Okay, I choose to ignore her)  Books are simply beautiful.  It is exciting on Thursday to see the boxes roll through the door.  Customers pick up on my exhilaration and want to HELP me open the boxes.  I ...... let them.  But I worry they will get to touch the book first....... one day a woman was watching her husband take out his pocket knife to help me open the boxes, she gently said "I think she may not need your help......." he replied "this is amazing, look at all these books"  I think we were kindred spirits but she was right I don't share this task very well.

    Most books are expected.  But, every now and then, there will be a forgotten backorder waiting to be brought to light.  I usually remember what customer has ordered what book.  I usually know for certain which books are meant for them, for the bookstore shelves and for ME!!!!  And, fear not, there are always books for me.  

     Last Thursday, July 1, 2021 books arrived.  I checked them in, called customers, stacked those that needed to find a home on our shelves and tucked a few (6) into my bag to find a home on my shelves (the floor) at my house.  

    Today, July 8, 2021 all of the above is being repeated.  Then I realized an error (this is monumental since I rarely admit to errors) had been made a week ago.  One of those 6 books that are now at my house, either being read or about to be was in fact a special order for a customer.  I called him today, and to my relief I got his answering machine and made my confession to his voice and not to him.  I said I was sorry (he knows me really, really well and will know that I meant it) sort of -- it is a really good book and I realized when I started it a couple of nights ago that it is the end of a trilogy and I have read the other books.  I told him when I finish the book I will be happy to share it with him.  

Please don't stage an intervention I really don't need one.


Sunday, July 4, 2021

Memories

 Memories


    It has been an interesting week.  I have already gone public with the news that I am no longer a flip phone user.  Technology is not my friend so the new phone is going to take some getting used to.  But that isn't the real reason I am grieving the loss of my little flip friend.  On that phone were saved messages.  One from my Mom the day before she died and a couple others from my Dad. He leaves epic messages that begin with, Debbie, this is your Father.  A favorite that is saved starts this way then continues with.....did I leave my false teeth under the pillow.....?  I have a good friend that is a technology wizard and he assures me those messages can be saved.

    Last night I was chatting with my Dad about the heat.  Neither of us is a fan.  He said he was miserable but he was thinking about his Mom yesterday and wondered how she managed in the summer months cooking on a wood cook stove with no running water and no electricity.  Cooking 3 meals a day for her family, and big threshing crews.  Hauling water, using an outhouse and caring for small children.  I looked around me and saw how fortunate I am.  I liked hearing his memories.

This morning I was preparing food for our 4th of July dinner.  As I was juicing lemons my wonderful, very simple juicer stopped working.  It is easy to replace, the memories though are something else.  Years ago it was a gift from my Mom.  It was like the one they used at Mel's Diner making that incredible lemonade.  Every time I used it (and I used it often) I would smile thinking of her.

As I was making potato salad (the way my Mom taught me, with a little dab of my Aunt Julia) I was swamped with memories.  I recall waking up to the smell of fried chicken and coming downstairs to see the makings of a picnic well underway.  Back then I didn't think much about how everything was ready for a day in the mountains.  I just knew it was going to be a great day.  I never wondered about how early Mom had gotten up to fry chicken, make a potato salad, pack a picnic basket filled with food, plates, napkins, utensils, and cups.  Nor did I think about the  baseball gloves, bats and balls along with changes of clothing for each of us.  The big drink cooler was filled with ice and lemonade or kool-aid to quench our thirst while we swam, ran, played, hiked (and most likely fought with our siblings)  Sometimes these excursions were combined with getting a load of firewood or we would meet other families and have a day of fun.  

    The anniversary of my Mom's passing was this past week.  It has been 8 years.  So many memories, so many moments.  I realize the loss of a couple of material things that I attached to her are just things.  She is always with me in my heart and my memories.


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Bookstore Friends

 
Bookstore Friends

    I honestly thought my renewal of blog posts would be an introspective filled with wisdom and reflections about living during pandemic times.  And, that could still happen as I place my fingers to keyboard. 

    Today I looked up from my desk and was  pleased to see a longtime, summer resident of Dillon.  One of those people whose arrival lets me know it is really summer.  One of those people that just hearing their voice makes me happy.  One of those people that over the years crossed the road from customer to cherished friend.  One of those people that always made me feel like I was getting it right. 

    Last year they were not able to come to their summer home.  We shared phone calls and laughter.  Books were sent to them at their Idaho house, sometimes with a surprise gift.  Phone calls with one glance at the caller ID and I was smiling before I picked up the phone.

    I squealed when I saw her, "you're here!" I jumped up.  She replied "I'm here," her hands clasped in front of her.  I giggled...............then I realized she was here but he wasn't....Not allowing my brain to fully register his absence, I asked "Where is....."  She told me he was gone.  She honestly thought someone had contacted me.  She and her entire family are here to spread his ashes. She told me he was old and tired and I responded that he would be happy to know where his ashes will be released.  He lived to fish, he would tease me about the pigeons harassing me on my awning. He loved a good, dark mystery and complicated spy thrillers. He loved Dillon and I will miss him. Rest in Peace my friend






Monday, September 23, 2019


Every bookseller, every librarian, every teacher and many individuals have had a discussion at one time or another about the appropriateness of a books content.  In the 28 years that I have been a bookseller I have had MANY of these conversations.  I have testified at state hearings regarding proposed laws that would limit our freedoms regarding free speech.   I have been asked to attend school board meetings, I have spoken in college classrooms on the subject of censorship and I have been told that "they" will protest in front of my store.
     The threat of a protest was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had at The Bookstore.  We were setting up for a midnight release Harry Potter party.  I had 3 phone calls (before caller ID was common) warning me to be prepared for problems that evening.  I laughed and asked each of them if they would like coffee and doughnuts or if they would prefer butterbeer with Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans?  They did not find me nearly as amusing as I found myself.  FYI:  We had the street blocked in front of the store:  hosted a street dance, had broomstick races, a face painter, a station for coloring pages, had a costume parade, had the books locked in a vault guarded by the three headed dog, kids could decorate a spider cookie and at the the midnight hour Hagrid arrived on a pink scooter (we took creative license here) and delivered the first copy to the first person standing in line.  For the record we had 0 (ZERO) protestors.
     When I am asked about a book or asked to assist in the removal of a book (which always surprises me that folks think I will be willing to help promote censorship) I ask them if they have actually read the book (you would be alarmed to know how often I hear "No, But I have heard......" I tell them the following story:  A woman (a good customer) was angry that I would be selling Harry Potter books in Dillon.  She thought I was a better person than that (yes, she said that) We had the basic conversation - I am not forcing you or anyone to buy the book, I believe people have the right to choose what they read and yes I respect and honor all thoughts on the subject and if a parent has specifically asked me to lead their child to a book I do my very best to work with them on this quest.  She was getting angrier and more demanding.  I honestly thought we were alone in the store when a young man (aprox 7 maybe 8 years old)  slipped up next to her and put his hand in hers.  She and I were both startled.  He looked at her intently and then very quietly said "Excuse me, but you do realize Harry Potter isn't real, don't you?"

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Pansy Bradshaw, it is your birthday today -- I miss you EVERY day -- but I miss you most on Saturdays. I miss our not so impromptu lunches, have yer gurl call mine.................it is simple I miss you. 
September 6th, I knew this day was coming it always does.  It has been a day for celebration and continues to be so, only now the celebration is bittersweet.  Filled with memories, laughter, love, loss and joy.  Happy Birthday dear friend. You were my mentor, my spiritual advisor, my co-worker and at times my cohort. You knew when I needed a shoulder to cry on or when I needed to be told to snap out of it. But most of all you were my friend. 

As I placed a book order with a publisher yesterday, I thought of you.  There were so many titles on the list that brought you to mind.  Books I knew you would have to have, books that would make you roll your eyes.  Books for you, books you would want to give to others.  Books that you and I would share.  Books, beautiful books.  The new season of Dances with Words starts tonight.  I feel the loss of you strongly at these events.  You were always with me, carrying the books, supporting the authors, laughing with me, sharing an unspoken word as our eyes met when the words shared by these authors moved us.  You were there.  I miss you. 

You challenged me spiritually.  Taking me to a higher level of  understanding theology.  Helping me find my place of peace in this chaotic world.  Guiding me to find my own answers to my questions and doubts.  Showing me that your faith never wavered in a world where there were some that damned you to hell for being who you are.  You showed me how to close my eyes and let my soul tell my hands what to paint and create.  I love you for that and so much more.

Bill misses you too.  We miss our Sunday dinners and watching Six Feet Under.  We miss your presence in our lives. We miss you.  I see bits of you in the kids you helped raise.  They are all amazing and you sparked so much creativity in each of them.  You let them find themselves and helped them develop minds that seek and speak the truth.  They are walking this earth with you beside them.  We all are. 

A friend said it best "Life is just less interesting without you"   I hope you and my Mom get together in heaven and share a good hearty laugh and an egg salad sandwich. You left us too soon.

Friday, July 8, 2016

It's All About The Books........................The Books (with apologies to Meghan Trainor and Cameron Zane Freebury)

 In spite of my crazy schedule I am able to finish 4-5 books a week.  Some are a delight, others I feel obligated to read and every once in awhile I am reminded of something my Mom said years ago.  It was during the heyday of "The Bridges of Madison County".  My little bookstore had sold over 100 hardcover copies of that book. (Harry Potter books outsold Bridges by a large margin) I had not read the little novel by Robert James Waller and finally sat down one evening and polished it off.  It took all of 2 hours and I was underwhelmed and thought to myself well......maybe Mom would have a different take on this since she was from a foreign land (Scotland) and found herself married, the mother of 4,  living on a ranch in Montana.  I shipped it off to her a with note saying I would love to get her opinion.  She called before reading it and said "Thanks, I have heard a lot about this book."  We spoke the next morning she didn't even say hello before stating "Why did you have me waste 3 hours of my life on this tripe?"  "I am here to tell you the last thing a wife and mother is going to do when her husband and kids head off to the county fair is hop into the bathtub with a traveling salesman."  (she didn't care that he was actually a photographer) she continued by telling me,  "You dream of being able to take a bath with the door open, a drink in one hand and a book in the other, all the while being uninterrupted."  So every now and then I do come across a book that my Mom would consider tripe.
          I have spent many wonderful hours disappearing into a world separate from my own, into the pages of a book (many books) discovering pieces of me as I respond to the words.   I love recommendations from my fellow readers.  "All Things Cease to Appear" by Elizabeth Brundage, was a novel shared with me by a favorite customer and is a story with twists and turns that left me stunned.  After reading that book I binged on a couple of her other titles:  "The Doctor's Wife" and "Somebody Else's Daughter" with "A Stranger Like You" waiting in a stack of books on my nightstand. 

I am savoring "First Women" by Kate Anderson Brower, a look at First Ladies from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama.  I devoured Fifty-Six Counties by my friend Russell Rowland.  I have been in trouble the past 2 days because I am reading at my desk -- I should have warning lights on my shoulders to alert customers to approach with caution.  (I try to avoid eye contact and sigh heavily if it turns out I must set the book down and take their money..............not a good plan if I want to be in business another 24 years.)  "A Shooting in Bannack" by R.J. Harrison (also a friend) is beckoning me from beneath a pile of papers.  I am reading a cookbook manuscript penned by local women and will get my hands on the real book soon. 
      I still have warm feelings when I think about any book by Sarah Addison Allen.  The book "The Girl Who Chased the Moon" made me wish I could glow in the dark..................I suggested to Bill that we should paint our house in luminous paint (he ignored my request probably to the relief of our neighbors) I have many books waiting to be read:  (these are just a few of the titles in one of the many piles in our home)
Waltz Against the Sky - Glen Larum
Book That Matters Most - Ann Hood
Barkskins - Annie Proulx
Nest - Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
For a Little While - Rick Bass
Genius of Birds - Jennifer Ackerman
and I can not wait to get my hands on the New Harry Potter book.

and sooooo many more.  It really is All about the Books!