A Book Signing to Warm the Heart
The Erie Book Store
35-Day Author Blog Challenge- Day 24, Ultra / Ultimate Blog Challenge
I was thrilled when I had six devotionals published in an anthology called 101 Facets of Faith. It wasn’t my first book signing. I’d had that a few weeks earlier at a Christian bookstore on the main street of my hometown. That was fun. But now I was planning to hold one in a bigger location, a bookstore with a great deal of history.
The Erie Bookstore was a hundred years old! As soon as I stepped into the building and walked across the dark, well-varnished hardwood floors, I could feel the history. Goosebumps prickled my arms.
I learned off the the owner had lived for years in Bogota, Colombia. I had spent two years of my life in the same departamento (state). We hit it right off. Also, we had a second tie that bound us: my mobility instructor. When I was doing my cane training, my orientation and mobility instructor had taken me there wearing sleep shades. It had been a memorable experience. We talked a little bit about my instructor, a longtime favorite at the bookstore.
I walked with the proprietor throughout the first floor, telling her about my new book. She confided that her father had first owned the bookstore and how it was passed on to her. She came back to the United States and took it over.
My favorite spot in the entire bookstore was the hearth.The owner burned real wood in it. With my back against the toasty fireplace, I thought of the thousands of people who must have stood in front of it with a book in hand. I imagined what it was like in the late 1800s.
“This is the ideal place for my booksigning! It’s so perfect!” The words burst out of me.
She lapsed into Spanish. “Si, quieres, puedes.” If you want, you can do it. Even her Spanish came out in the more friendly, colloquial vernacular.
She guided me up the curved staircase. “We keep the rare books here. Comic books. ” She ticked off a number of types of rare books. “The sale of these books keep the store in operation. It’s hard for bookstores to stay afloat…”
I gaped.”We can’t let anything happen to it!” I ran my finger across a shelf of books and vowed to bring all my friends there.
By the time I left we had a loose plan for how my book signing would go. We’d hold it on the ground floor in the early afternoon. I studied the round table and envisioned my books there, and the long, long line of people who would surely want to buy my first book.
I left the store and hurried to the car where my brother waited. Like a broken record, I kept repeating, “Can you believe she’s going to let me have it there?”
He patiently listened to me chatter.
When we arrived home, I sang,”Ooo-oo-oh-h. She’s going to let me have it there!” and ran into tell the news to my mother.
My sister provided a large container of small shortbread she’d bought on sale at Sam’s Club for the event.
“I’ll supply the coffee,” offered the owner. “I can do that for you. And we’ll have a grand display for your books.”
“Great! I think my niece can make fancy bows for some of the books!”
I even hired a photographer from my church who had was transitioning from hobby to business.
Though the weather was freezing, I had that fireplace to warm me! I wore my boots but once I arrived, I kicked them off and put on my comfy shoes. The feeling of excitement snowballed for me and everyone around me as we arranged my books and food. Butterflies filled my stomach. The owner brought me the first cup of coffee–I wondered if it came from Colombia–and declared it, “¡Sabrosisima!” Delicious.
All right, I was ready. The photographer came. We joked and chatted.
I waited for the long line to form. Where was it?
A couple people from church came–and left. Everyone was a star in my book, so each had their own photo taken. My dear friend, Aldine, who was nearly eighty-five sat with me and waited for my fans to arrive.
A student from my Spanish class and his mother came. Two teachers also arrived.
“Oh, I’m so happy to see you!” I exclaimed, and it wasn’t only because so few came. Knowing I had support from others made my heart overflow.
Aldine and I visited those two beautiful hours.
I learned that you can plan for an event and in the end, it doesn’t matter the number of people who show up. What mattered were those who labored with me to share in my joy, who valued me so much that they took their own time to celebrate this milestone in my life.
I never saw the owner of that bookstore again. Shortly after that, her bookstore went out of business. (I know, after a hundred years! So sad.). But she created the memory of an unforgettable event the way she took an interest in my event and helped me showcase my books.
I wanted to share this story because I realize all over again how blessed I am to have caring friends and family who want to celebrate my successes without reserve.
I’m so glad I have these photographs to remind me of a caring Father who brought me to this milestone.