Sunday, October 8, 2023

Thanks to Auntie's Bookstore for a busy afternoon

The Auntie's announcement board
with my event written so artfully.

I spent the hours of 11-2 today greeting customers from where I sat near the front doors of Auntie's Bookstore. In 2020, I'd sat beneath the giant metal fish, but perhaps out of an abundance of caution of an author being eaten by a sculpture, the staff set up the book-signing table across from the main cash registers, which made for a good place because I could say good morning when people swept in and goodbye when people left, and it made sense for all of us--and so the only awkward moments are the ones I created for myself, and will not go into here (there were two, and very small in the scheme of things). As an unexpected bonus, one of the booksellers was super awesome and we swapped funny stories between the lulls.  

This morning the annual Spokane marathon was held, with its starting point near Auntie's, and so perhaps in part due to that, the bookstore was hopping. There might have been something at Gonzaga, too, as there were more than a few families coming in with their college-aged children. The day itself was beautiful, too. The best of what Autumn can do when the leaves are changing and the sunlight lights through them. Light sweaters optional.

More than one person treated themselves to a tote-bag of books, and several more walked out with full stacks balanced against their chests--like old bellhops carrying too many packages to see over. 

It was nice having more than a moment to admire the old wooden doors, the radiator in the breezeway--now protected by a metal grate--the wooden floors and long counters. All of it created a good vibe. Children carrying a book with one arm while holding hands with a mother or grandfather. Couples browsing separately then coming together at the cash register with their discoveries. The purposeful walkers, the meandering browsers, the two women on their way to lunch at an adjoining restaurant but with plans to return to browse, as they seemingly must often do. And when they returned, and I asked, they raved about their eggs on toast, their French toast covered in fresh berries, and the bread made by the woman downstairs. I'm not sure what is downstairs, the woman said, but that's where the woman bakes the bread. It's such good bread.

After today, I now know that if I owned a store and then retired from working there, I'd still return weekly to say hello and chat with the customers of the day. 

Thanks to everyone who came by--to friends who took the time and to the shoppers who approached the table. By the end of my time there, far fewer books were left than had begun. 

Just before I left, a woman rushed into the store, husband following, and asked if I knew whether this had always been a bookstore, and did I know its history? I'm not sure, I said, but it has been a bookstore for as long as I remember. 

And isn't that the sort of place you want to be in? 

I certainly do.

(P.S. Even if we missed each other, there are a few copies of Unexpected Weather Events left to buy.)