Saturday, November 13, 2010
Charging Forward with Shiny Shields!
Our first stop of course was to buy the books from my customer. All I can say is that if I were Monet I would paint his house in the golden light of late afternoon when the edges of everything seem to shimmer. The house stands high on a corner, a vernacular white Ohio farm house with a barn, two brindled dogs meandering down the curved drive, and a hillside dotted with ten sheep. I had never met its owner before, though we’ve talked on the phone a number of times, and found him quite charming. We got boxes of Ohioana, architecture, and decorative arts titles, as well as a book about bookplates which I may just have to keep.
From there we headed downtown where we stayed at the Doubletree, an old hotel redone by Hilton. This is our second visit there and it was as delightful as the first. After we dressed for dinner I stood looking out the seventh story window to the busy street below with its sleek, shiny bright green busses lined up everywhere and thought how very nice this Ohio city is. An added delight was the hotel’s parking attendant who won me over immediately when he fetched our car, flashed a huge smile, and said, “Wow – what a fun ride! I love these PT Cruisers.” Anyone who appreciates our Petey that much (yes, he has a name) is in my book a very good guy.
Dinner at Thai Nine in the charming Oregon historical district made me long for daylight so we could walk the streets lined with restored homes, visit the galleries, and shop for Christmas in the boutiques. But the restaurant was great too. Eric ordered some ginger chicken thing, but I pulled out the stops and went for a fiery chicken dish which could be prepared in gradations of spiciness from one to ten. I took a leap and settled on three -- if you’re going to eat Thai then you might as well get serious about it – which proved to be just right. A glass of pinot grigio, a few spring rolls, our longtime friends, Charlie and Mary Lynn, and I could have died happy.
After the four of us solved all the world’s problems it was time for me and Eric to get serious. We had to make our way to the fairgrounds where the book sale was to be held and leave a box with our name on it. It was about nine forty-five when we arrived and already four boxes stood sentinel at the front door. Eric plopped ours behind them and we maneuvered through the dark streets back to the hotel. We slept fine, but both of us were so cognizant of the need to get up on time that we woke up simultaneously three times before it was necessary! By six a.m. we joined the gaggle of people standing out front, SIX of whom were from northeastern Ohio and three of whom are friends -- old school sellers like us. We waited awhile until a local diner everyone loves opened and then set off on foot, joined by a couple more people we knew, making it ten in all for breakfast. Again, much laughter and fun. By the time we returned to the sale there was an only an hour to go, so time slipped by like one of my infamous typos.
I don’t know what it is, but I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s something in the water in northeastern Ohio that brings out the worst in booksellers. In Dayton, as in Cincinnati, sellers are as calm and polite as Miss Manners and the Dalai Lama combined. No high drama. No pushing. No shoving. No running with scissors. Had the books been a tad better you would have thought the clock had turned back to 1997. But given today’s realities, the books weren’t all that bad either. I got a lot of nice things, the star of which is pictured above. It’s the only book that made my heart flutter except for one other in the silent auction. I’m furious at myself for not bidding higher on a pristine, slipcased copy of Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium. Oh my God, it was a book to make you weak in the knees. There’s no way I will get it with a $50 bid, so I’ve no one to blame but myself. What was I THINKING????? I also bid on an architecture series that I’ve sold twice, but I have no stake in the outcome on that one. It’s Emily I mourn.
But even such stupidity leaves me undaunted. We shook things up a little, engaged in some much needed frivolity, and are ready to face the internet wars with shiny new shields. Even the antiques mall looks better, though we stopped at an especially nice one on the trip that does not enforce the previously mentioned rules. On the other hand, the five sleek black bookcases are ready for pick-up today and I am already so picked up myself that I don’t care a whit whether the mall approves or disapproves.
Life in Ohio may not be perfect on this cold, sunny Saturday. But it’s a close enough approximation.