Hello, and goodbye, old friend…

The parting of friends can be a dismal event, as such is the loss of good company. Alas, and goodbye my treasured acquaintance. Onward to places afar.

Maybe I get too attached to some of the books? Ya’ think?

First Edition, True Grit. A gritty thing o’ beauty. A nicely kept volume sharing the front of the shop with me. Until this afternoon. My heart jumped when the lady set it on the counter. I hadn’t considered her as a potential book buyer, the way she was roaming the aisles.

trueGrit

“What a story, that,” I remarked, as I removed the price label.

“Not a contraction in it,” she replied, and I realized immediately my book-child was leaving for a good home. “I run into the author on occasion in Little Rock,” she said. “I hope to get it signed.”

In a small way, that would be a bit like the book-child achieving Sainthood. Ahhh, not a good home. A great home.

And a great story.

trueGrit1st

People do not give it credence that a young girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father’s blood, but it did happen. So says Mattie Ross, a fourteen-year-old Arkansas girl who tracks the coward Tom Chaney, who shot her father down.

Then, the movies. People love John Wayne’s version, but – being partial to the Coen brothers and Jeff Bridges – I prefer the 2010 telling. It was exciting, though, back in the day when John Wayne was speaking onscreen to J. J. McAlester at his mercantile store in the Indian country. As I was living in McAlester at the time, and much younger, it made a pleasing impression.

The Coens kept the dialogue true to the spirit of the author, typified by this exchange as Mattie stands outside the occupied outhouse:

Rooster Cogburn: The jakes is occupied.
Mattie Ross: I know it is occupied Mr. Cogburn. As I said, I have business with you.
Rooster Cogburn: I have prior business.
Mattie Ross: You have been at it for quite some time, Mr. Cogburn.
Rooster Cogburn: There is no clock on my business! To hell with you! How did you stalk me here?!
Mattie Ross: The sheriff told me to look in the saloon. In the saloon they referred me here. We must talk.
Rooster Cogburn: Women ain’t allowed in the saloon!
Mattie Ross: I was not there as a customer. I am fourteen years old.
[there's a silence before Cogburn responds]
Rooster Cogburn: The jakes is occupied. Will be for some time.

As a seller of books, I have to resign myself to the fact that some of my favorites will only stay in the shop for a time. I’ll be on the lookout for another copy. It makes for good company.

As for my friend, now departed:

By a time to rise and a time to fall, come fill to me the parting glass. Goodnight, and joy be with you all.

Yeah, I get a little too attached to some of the books. Come visit!

McHuston

Booksellers & Irish Bistro
Rose District
122 South Main St, Broken Arrow OK 74012

No Rest for the Wicked…

This time, I put on the heavy work gloves. Save a knuckle, have a chuckle. Granted, it seems less like work when it has to do with a keg o’ beer.

Those heavy-duty lines that the Boulevard Wheat runs through are an exceptionally tight fit around the nozzle and it only took a second or two of straining to recognize the potential for knuckle-busting. That was one of today’s projects – replacing the line from the keg to the spout. Clean and new. The way it ought to be.

MVC-043F

Project completed without incident. I like the day-off chores a lot better when they go smoothly.

Like the ladder climbing.

When it doesn’t go as planned, and you’re halfway up a tall ladder, bad things can be the end result. I can’t climb a ladder in the shop without thinking of dear old granddad, who – in the middle of one of HIS projects – was suddenly not high up on the ladder anymore.

That was when my father was called into service pulling the beer handle at the Palace, my grandfather’s place in Parsons, Kansas. I have a picture of my father wiping down the counter as the beer-tender while granddad was on the mend. The similarities between our Rose District shop and my grandfather’s place is remarkable. I may have a few more bookshelves, but he has me beat handily with the pinball machines and the lovely wooden wall-sized mirrored bar back. I’ll show you a picture next time you’re in. (And one of these days I’ll post it on the website…)

MVC-044F

Needless to say, I was thinking of G-pa Ray when I was leaning out over the edge of the ladder, trying to drill a mounting hole in the front column. Beyond the matter of keeping my balance, I always feel a little out of sorts putting a drill bit to the beautiful interior of the bookshop. (I can describe it that way, because I’m not responsible for the way the interior renovation turned out. That was the work of Mr John Skaggs, a gentleman and artist-with-wood.)

I always offer a silent apology when I drive a nail. It goes something like: Sorry, Mr Skaggs. Hate to put a nail in your beautiful wall, but I hope to have this picture here for a long, long time. It wasn’t a picture this afternoon, but an old-fashioned hanging sign that will help promote the fact that Dustin and I are now serving beer along with the other beverages at lunchtime. (I’ve had folks come in, then apologize before leaving for the MST across the street, explaining that they wanted to enjoy a beer with their meal.)

Hammer in hand: Sorry, Mr Skaggs. But it’s an attractive sign and should be hanging right where I ran in the screws, for a long, long time.

MVC-042F

Although we had mixed feelings about the antique-y looking Pabst Blue Ribbon wall sconce (PBR, as Dustin calls it), a Friday lunch guest made a fuss over it and what a “classic” wall light it was. Go figure! The old bookcase already had a nail right where the lamp needed to be, so no apologies were required.

We’ve had such a great response to Dustin’s lunchtime Chalkboard Specials that one of our semi-regulars popped in and wanted to see the “new menu.” Right now, it’s still my trusty regular menu, with Chef-D’s daily specials written on the sidewalk chalkboard each morning. I’m hoping to convince him to add a couple of the items as a regular menu item. (They are that tasty!)

Dustin has been posting the daily special on the new Facebook page he created, and he’d want me to mention you can “Like” the page to get the daily update. As you are certainly aware by now, my days of keeping up with technology are less-impressive than they once were. As one of the earliest in Oklahoma to own a VCR (I’m embarrassed today to recall what I paid for that thing!), I have surely dropped the technology-ball where the “Likes” are concerned.

Like it or not, I suppose.

So now, I’m down from the ladder with knuckles intact and no broken bones from those gravity-surges that seem to occur while atop a ladder. Enough with the day-off projects. It’s time for some relaxation.

And laundry.

We’re open Monday in the Rose District, so…

Come visit!

McHuston

Booksellers & Irish Bistro
Rose District, 122 South Main St. Broken Arrow OK!

How close, the fame…

When the three young Dr Who fans squealed, I figured we were about to teleport through time and space.

That wasn’t it, exactly.

They had been browsing the store for some time. Exploring, one of them explained. Finally, they made their way back to the front of the shop. Their eyes went wide, all at once. Then, the squeals.

“Do you know who Kristin Chenoweth is?” one of them whispered. Loudly.

“Sure,” I answered, and was beginning to share my vast knowledge of the KC biography when one of the other young women interrupted.

“She is RIGHT outside your store!”

kristinChenoweth

Sure enough. Crossing in front of the plate glass was the Broadway star, heading down Main toward Broadway. Dangling in front of her was one of those giant fuzzy microphones at the end of a long pole carried by a fellow walking backwards. Another backward-walker had a camera on his shoulder recording the animated hand gestures of Ms Chenoweth.

Bam!

That was me thinking that I should take a picture to serve as physical evidence of her visit, and – of course – she was already well past the store when the idea finally hit me. That’s the reason I’ve been forced to include a red circle and arrow on the image. She has a big voice, but she is pretty small in the picture. In fact, you’ll have to click on it to enlarge it enough to spot her in the distance. (To spot her back, I mean. She’s in the purple dress.)

chenowith

Since she did not clear her itinerary with me, I have no idea what it was she was recording or promoting. But it’s nice to have a movie star in the Rose District walking amongst us mere mortals.

Reminded me of the time Alicia and I were introduced to Ron Howard, the movie director still best known to me as Opie on the Andy Griffith show. We were at the airport in New York City and a general hubbub arose around us. It wasn’t a formal introduction. More of a close encounter.

“It’s Opie!” someone whispered. Loudly.

I turned to the side and saw a rear end. It belonged to Ron Howard, who was bent over, waaaay over, attending to his suitcase. I wondered why he was in line with the common folk. It was just about that very moment that he began to straighten up and a uniformed airline employee began calling, “Mr. Howard! Mr. Howard!” As he turned, I recognized the rear end as being attached to Opie, although fully grown. (The man, not the rear end.)

She directed him toward the counter, away from the gawking, shuffling crowd that we were, to a place that was calm and serene and first class, no doubt. And thus ended our introduction to Mr Howard, movie director extraordinaire.

It is only now that I realize how the back sides of famous people are drawn to me. Go figure.

Maybe you’ll encounter a star yourself, when you

Come visit!

McHuston

Booksellers & Irish Bistro
Rose District
122 South Main St. Broken Arrow OK!