When I left to go to the bookstore, I told my One and Only Squeeze, “I hope I sell a book.” I sold some books. But the really marvelous stuff wasn’t the selling, but it was wrapped around the selling.
First a USS Constellation (CV-by-god-64) (The Greatest Warship in the Universe) shipmate dropped by. He checked aboard a couple of years before me but was there for the 1988 fire (“Noble Deeds). He lives in Alton, Illinois, a hoot an a holler away and across the river from St. Charles. He was an IC electrician, a specialist on the interior communications systems on the ship, and in his case he worked the PLAT system, which included among other things, video cameras aimed at the flight deck. He put in his twenty, then settled in Alton and works for a company that provides business security equipment and services. So good to talk to him, to find him doing well on the outside as he did on the in. And of course we talked about the Connie. The fire came up. So good of him to cross the Mississippi and the hoot and the holler to visit.
Then a woman, two young girls, and a man came in the store. The oldest of the girls looked at a copy of “Preston … ” Her name is Emma, and her grandpa was in the US Navy, and his family was encouraging him to write the stories of his experiences. Grandpa served on a cruiser and a destroyer during and after Korea. I told Emma to suggest to her grandpa that he tie his butt to a chair and get his story written. We talked a bit more about my other books, and Emma remarked that she liked third person omniscient point of view. Whoa! think I. What am I dealing with here? Emma is an attractive young lady, but I’ll admit, I typecast her as someone who would spend most of her waking hours fixated on a handheld device while thumb typing like crazy. Turns out she is a very well read, very intelligent young lady. She will be a sophomore in a couple of weeks. And she knows stuff about books. And she wants to be a writer. And I would sit someplace for hours and not even sell one book, but after the chance to talk to an Emma, and to see a bit into the future and imagine the treasures her bright young mind will discover in books, and the treasures she will plant in hers, well, I would place the memory of the minutes I spent for that encounter to the bin where I store things I treasure. And I hope St. Paul is as proud of that sentence as I am.
Then during a couple of lulls in bookstore traffic, there was a discussion of some of the books residing recently on the bestseller lists between Emily (Bookstore Proprietor) and a couple others of us in the store. “The Girl on the Train,” “Gone Girl,” “All the Light You Cannot See,” and “The Nightingale.” And before I knew it, the two-hour signing event was over. But those two hours were marvelous and filled with talk about books with people who love them.
Thanks Emily and Main Street Books.