Monday, September 22, 2014
Bookseller on the Prairie
I never intended to be away so long now that I’m back at the blog, but we were in Kansas City, Mo. for five days to see our new grandson, Cameron Joseph. Those of you who are self-employed know that all you have to do is unlock the door after a vacation and work flies up off the floor and sticks to you like wads of dust bunnies on a velvet skirt. This trip was odd to be called a vacation anyway because it gobbled a day and a half on both ends and then left us with only a day and a half in between for the vacation part. But we listened to one of Lillian Jackson Braun’s cat mysteries and Qwilleran, Koko, and Yum-yum helped pass the miles through the endless prairie. Along that straight road through the vast and drear heartland (not a ray of sun) we passed countless antiques malls, but I had no heart for stopping. The trick was to keep my eye on the horizon (it was either that or the billboards) and not get distracted from our mission.
Okay, so the real truth is I’m not a prairie sort of woman, but I think we established that back somewhere in 2012, so it’s no big surprise. BUT – listen to this! I fell in love with Kansas City, Mo., or at least with the neighborhood in which our daughter and her husband bought a home this summer. Imagine street after street of vintage architectural eye candy, shops and restaurants within walking distance, a great city park, and an even greater urban vibe of arty diversity. Don't make me swear to it, but I think could even really (maybe) live there if I had to.
At any rate, the sun finally appeared on Saturday, so we packed up Baby and took a serious stroll around the ‘hood. As luck would have it, we passed an estate sale which the kids insisted we check out. The house was a cute little Tudor with a round tower and two floor to ceiling built-in bookcases in the living room. A dealer (oh, you always know when it’s a dealer) had commandeered one side, so I took the other. I pulled down a few books, but it was pretty clear that the whole lot was older Book-of-the-Month clubs. So I nonchalantly sidled over to his case and stood beside him leaving him plenty of room to look. But no! Space, it seems, is a relative term. You can’t define it -- you can only own it. So that being the case, what else can a Kansas City, Mo. bookseller do confronted with an alien dealer from NORTHEASTERN OHIO for God's sake, but lace up his dancing shoes and keep moving. A few fast buffalo steps and -- wham! -- he’s in front of me ,A little half pirouette and – bam! – he whirls past me from the back. The guy was good -- I have to hand him that.
But here's the interesting part. I think I'm mellowing in my old age because I never felt even a slightly murderous inclination. I just flashed him a smile, and departed, bemused by how some things never change -- even in Kansas City, Mo.