Thursday, January 27, 2005

A real "real" signing -- and surprises galore...

More notes from a certain leather journal...

The sun goes and cold settles -- the coffee machines hiss and sputter. Voices. Rustling.

I spoke to a group at the library on Thursday (a woman at a nearby table just said "Thursday" at the moment I wrote the word -- how weird is that? -- and now I'm eavesdropping on her conversation; she's talking about a work schedule). Anyway. I'm talking to the group at the library -- and my dad is there, and my Uncle Eddie and Aunt Joan -- a total surprise. They drove in from Century/Pensacola without a warning and found the downtown library on their own and surprised me. It was a wonderful moment and helped make a special night that much better.

The talk went well. People bought books, gave hugs, laughed at all the right places, applauded at all the right places. They asked good questions. One man who said he "left Century 35 years ago" and had never gone back bought a book -- Uncle Eddie had coached him in football. They sat on the back row and told stories. Eddie told him about me throwing pebbles at monkeys at the old zoo in Cantonment or Pensacola or somewhere (I think that's where it was). I don't recall doing that, but I've heard the stories.

We went from there to Po Folks for supper, then to the house for a short tour, then they drove home. I was (and am still) pretty jazzed about the whole thing. George Vickery, the library director, gave a gracious intro, and Norma Hubbard, the president of Friends of the Library, decorated the refreshments table with camelias. Grandma Simmons would have approved. Visitors included Susan Tull, Nicole Barefield, Pat Nease, Marilyn Smith, Adele Head, Jack Saunders -- some names that have shown up in my journal before, having signed the thing at the Pottersville anthology debut. Other well-wishers sent emails.

It was a happy time and went well. I was glad of it and proud. And I was especially proud that Debra and Jessi were there to share it with me. Debra took money while I signed and schmoozed. Jessi checked out a book then came back for the talk. (Nathan was at a play practice and made it back just in time for the big finish; he'd have been there if he could've been.)

But I was especially proud that Dad and Eddie and Joan were there. Words fail. What really can I say? To have them go so far, come so far, just to be there, to be here, for my official debut, my coming out party, my premiere -- to support me, to love me, to give out good money to buy my book -- to be proud of me and happy for me.

Something special indeed.
Thursday, I was a blessed man.


(Originally written @ Books-a-Million, 1-24-05)

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