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September 12, 2020: Bright Lights, Yet Another Chapter

You are this time, an old pro at organizing book sales, having done this now numerous times. This sale, it is to coincide with the VCRS (recycling center) Art Walk, a nature walk with several wonderful found object installations.

After giving the matter considerable thought you decide to focus on selling art books of all kinds; how to, history, crafts, etc. In preparation, you pull forth (from the bookstore, distribution area, education center book shelves) the books you will offer for sale. And another volunteer assists you in cleaning and boxing these books.

This volunteer, her name is Sherry – she suggests that you also put out general interest books. And so together you and she go through the distribution area and gather together books in differing genres.

This morning, you arrive at the recycling center and discover that someone has set the sales tables outside. Other volunteers appear and assist you in putting the boxes of sale books on the tables. You grab some chalk and do some drawings on the sidewalk beside the sales tables.

A 1941 Director for El Paso, Texas

You are primed and ready for this sale. You are wearing your Cat in the Hat hat, your Thing 1 and Thing 2 shirt, and your red sneakers. All then, is in readiness.

Build it and they will come. Never has an adage been so fitting. The multitudes come for the Art Walk and are then on hand for the unadvertised sale. Young people, old people, fat people, skinny people. You quickly realize that they not only have an interest in art books, but also in general interest books.

You run inside the recycling center and emerge with boxes of kids books and boxes of general interest books. Most spend considerable time sorting through the books and deciding what they want to purchase and take home.

And you talk books with all of them. You have been reading since you were a child, so your depth of knowledge now spans 60 plus years. This is a many years in a reader’s life. And so you find yourself one minute talking with a child about Beverly Clearly’s Ramona and the next minute with an older man about Robert Bateman’s art.

The high point of the sale is, after being interviewed by a Channel Two news reporter, to talk books with him. He goes home with a Bev Dolittle art book. What fun.

This, you again think, is the absolute best job you have ever had. You are your father and mother’s daughter – your father owned a bookstore and your mother worked in one. And you never, ever imagined that you would be following in their footsteps.

Too soon, the sun comes over the recycling roof and illuminates the book area. 5 p.m. is closing time. You, Pete, and others take the boxes of adult books back into the recycling building, where they will again go back on shelves. And the kid’s books, they go back in small bins, on the lower shelves.

The most amazing thing of all is that those who are not done browsing follow you into the building and resume browsing. You say to Pete that you feel like the Pied Piper of Bookdom.

This, you think, as you head out, is a day that you will repeatedly bring back to mind.

Next: 253. 9/13/20: Mouth Breathers

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