A tune up and fresh coat o’ paint. Book band-aids.

My suggestion to her was – get a nice ribbon to tie around it and put in on the shelf as a keepsake. She didn’t go for that.

It was her father’s book, when he was a young boy. Still has some of his scribbles in it, along with his name in grandma’s penmanship. The lady who brought the book into the shop wanted to be able to open the front cover and read it. She was hoping for a book that wouldn’t shed paper scraps every time it was picked up.

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So, here we are.

I’ve never professed to being a book doctor. More like a first aid station. There are some old world bookbinders around the Tulsa area that can put your ancient family bible back to rights, but I’m more of a practical restorer. Usually I can get a book up and reading without a lot of fanfare, but in a condition sturdy enough to last another fifty years, give or take.

Today’s specimen had already lost the front cover and four of the initial pages of the book. The back cover was hanging by a couple of threads, so I went ahead and pulled that loose tooth.

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The ribbon suggestion on my part was simply to allow the book to remain as a keepsake, with the remains – such as they were – in exactly the same condition as it was when the book was passed into her possession.

But I’m certainly in favor of getting a Model T back on the highway. Maybe sporting a new paint job.

I’ve included a couple of pictures of the early stages of the project. Loose boards (the front and back covers), and the book block in a press. The other image is the artwork that will replace the old on the front cover.

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Had to decide whether I should put the book back the way it arrived or to upgrade it a little. It’s sort of like a car restoration that includes new tires and a tune up, but leaves the old paint job and some rust around the edges. I opted for sanding and painting. You can see in the image how difficult it was to even see the cover art for all the scuffing.

I’ll turn over a copy of the faded front cover with the finished project to preserve the sentiment, and attach the restored version of the art to the book’s front.

A leather spine and cloth binding are in the plans and should be in the works in the next day or two.

Hopefully, the repaired book will keep honor the memory of the woman’s late father, while providing a bright and tightly-bound reading source for decades to come.

Plenty of books in great reading-shape on the shelves here at the shop, so…

Come visit!

McHuston

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

Patches of History.

My friend Craig said something about Woodstock and how he wished we could go. I had no idea what he was talking about. A music festival, he said. In New York. Well, it may as well have been on the moon. There was no way my parents would let me cross the country for some dang-fool concert.

Turns out I wouldn’t have recognized most of the acts anyway. I loved music – still do – but it was limited to the radio songs and the biggies of the time. Beatles, Stones, Beach Boys.

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Somehow or another, Craig was in the music loop and introduced me to Zeppelin, Hendrix, the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. It was my friend David who brought Woodstock to my ears. He bought the soundtrack and we must have worn out that tape (a prehistoric way of streaming music) from the many times we repeatedly played it in his car. David was a world-class steering wheel guitarist who talked his boss into giving me my first job at Allen’s IGA in McAlester.

In our neighborhood, I was the only one my age, it seemed. Craig and David and Michael were all a year older. Car-driving age.

Occasionally, one of them would talk a parent into giving up the car for a Saturday and we’d make a day-trip to Tulsa. There was a new shopping center called Southroads Mall that had stores with the sort of things we small town boys had never laid eyes on before. I had never even heard the term ‘mall’ associated with a shopping center at the time, it was that long ago.

The “Mall” had record stores and novelty shops, where retailers offered things like Woodstock patches. And I bought one.

Never got around to sewing it on anything, and never got around to throwing it out either. It was in a box with some of my books and when I opened the bookstore it wound up as a shelf-top doodad – a reminder of the Three Days of Peace and Music that wrapped up 46 years ago today.

Next to the Woodstock patch I have another with a slightly more local sentiment, although it is likely becoming obscure. It has been ten years this summer since KRMG’s John Erling signed off for the last time. His twenty-nine years at AM-740 was nearly a decade longer than my entire broadcasting career.

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Erling was a fixture by the time I found a spot in Tulsa’s morning drive radio, and it was an era of spoofs and gags and general zaniness. (Zany was a word we used –sparingly- back then.) I don’t remember who it was, but some morning deejay was tossing money along Riverside Drive during rush hour. The pranks calls were going out on KMOD.

And John Erling was encouraging tourists and locals alike to Ski the Tulsa Mountains.

His regular listeners were likely in on the joke, but no telling how many others were surprised that they had never seen the ski lifts or snow caps. Or the mountains themselves, come to think of it.

I remember seeing the phrase on bumper stickers around town, a tribute to the influence of a man behind a microphone whose followers knew exactly what it was about, without mentioning his name or his radio station’s call letters.

Am I way off, thinking that there were Glory Days of Radio, and Music?

No mountains here, but you can Skate the Rose District – and Chef Dustin and I will be serving it up at lunchtime, so…

Come visit!

McHuston

Booksellers & Irish Bistro

Walking the Rose. Lofty views.

He walked to work every day. Maybe it wasn’t as unusual back then as it is today. But Grandpa Ray lived close to the Palace News and was probably halfway there in the time it would have taken to get the car started. I’ve thought more than once how convenient it would be to live in a Rose District loft and just hoof it over to the store.

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They’ve finished the Lofts at 222, the new living space above Andolini’s, and contrary to rumors that all the apartments had been leased – the agent who dropped off some brochures indicated there are several still available. I was surprised at the reasonable base rent amount for what I’d heard described as upscale lofts. Maybe I could sell the Firebird and its related expenses and become a walk-to-work-er.

Of course, with a weakness for pizza I’d have a tough time with the pies cooking right downstairs.

They’ve got the name on the exterior, at last, and the big now-hiring banner must be an indication that the opening of the restaurant is at hand. I’ve heard September, which is closer than we realize, the way the time races by.

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2015 is more than half-way gone (and I haven’t seen a single Christmas ad yet!) and we’ve already had a hint of some fall-like morning temperatures. No doubt there are plenty more steamy days left, and White Linen Night in the Rose District will give everyone a chance to browse the shops in the cooler evening hours this Saturday.

We’ve had folks eating lunch on the sidewalk this week. (They were actually sitting at the table out there, rather than eating on the sidewalk… Where’s the editor, anyway?) And despite – or maybe because of – the rush for back-to-school readiness, Chef Dustin and I have been hopping at lunchtime.

I look at Grandpa Ray in that old WWII era picture and wonder what he would think about his grandson and great-grandson serving up food and drink like he’s doing there. His place in Parsons, Kansas was very similar to what we have here in the Rose District. (Well, I suppose we do have a little more room to spread out here… everyone looks a little jammed up in the photo.) He sold sandwiches and a cold beer or two. Magazines and what not.

Cigars.

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I remember the cigar box as the crayon-and-pencil-holding carry all back in elementary school. Every time that box was opened, I got a blast of Roi-Tan or King Edward. Carrying crayons in a tobacco-product box is probably not politically correct these days, and Grandpa Ray certainly wouldn’t get away with chomping on his cee-gar at the beer tap.

We’ve got Blue Moon on our tap here at the shop, along with a Shiner Bock. Fresh-brewed tea. Soft drinks. And some tasty lunchtime fare.

Come visit!

McHuston

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