Rare, Collectible, & Otherwise

Author: admin (Page 5 of 220)

Fine Binding find.

There’s GOLD in them-thar books! Gilded edges and gold-embossed spines, anyway… and it’s nice to – every once in a great while – have a stack of books come in that are so nice-looking that I want to take a picture of them.

So that’s just what I did.

I am sympathetic to the fellow who brought them in this afternoon. He is moving, he says, and is having to pare down his possessions.

“I have to be ruthless,” he said. “It’s hard.”

After relocating the bookstore, I know what he is going through. Books are not easily moved from place to place – although I’ll admit that they are certainly less fragile than fine china. Their size and rough-uniformity makes it easy to stack books in too-large boxes that are impossible to lift easily.

These came secured in paper grocery bags. I heard one of the bags rip as he set them on the table. Since there aren’t too many bookstores around anymore, I figured our shop might have been the first place he had stopped. Otherwise, some of these beautiful, fine binding books might have ended up on the ground from ripped sacks.

Most of the books are classic titles, English literature and early-American biographies. Books to which I am happy to serve as a temporary custodian. I tell people that the volumes in the shop are my ‘book children’ that I hope to adopt out to good homes.

Easton Press may be considered the Rolls Royce of contemporary fine binding books, as they have a standard for quality and design not matched by other publishers dealing in historic reprints.

And – unlike hand-bound quarter leathern, marbled edge vintage volumes – they can be obtained at reasonable prices.

They look good on the shelf… nice enough to take a picture of!

Sparking Joy.

Someone will surely note that I have waited too long to unburden the closet, since I am about to describe some of the contents as Vintage. Without question, I have put it off longer than I should have.

I have gathered up and relocated the hangers of stuff several times over the past quarter-of-a-century, through various moves. I keep the closet pretty organized: the few shirts and pants I wear regularly are on hangers nearest the door, and the rest are packed in so tightly that it works as a passive system of ironing.

Not to go too deeply into it, but my rationale – I think – has been, “I’m sure I’ll wear this again when I lose the water weight.” They fit nicely back in the first Bush administration.

There may have been a singular alignment of the moon and stars, but – whatever the cause – I was compelled to pull down some of those dreaded wire hangers and try to find something in the vintage wardrobe that would, as they say, Spark Joy.

Some hours and very little sparking later, I actually came across a couple of things that at least initiated some favorable reminiscing. This is where the Vintage part comes in, since I have wearable items older than Millennials.

The never-worn Garth Brooks concert tee brought a smile. My daughter was a big fan, and I was happy that – despite the surely-present high school peer pressure – she allowed her old dad to take her to the concert at Driller’s Stadium. It was a lot less country and a lot more show-biz than I expected, but everyone had a good time.

I think the concert softened my reaction when I later discovered that she had re-programmed all the buttons on the car radio to country music stations. Turns out, country music is pretty bearable, except so many contain lyrics that describe my life in embarrassing detail.

Bonnie Raitt was my musical crush, and what I wouldn’t have done to rescue her from that sad, dreary life of fame and fortune. I watched her as an opening act for Jackson Browne in the early 1970’s – so poorly attended that she suggested we just move the chairs and roller skate! Still a good show for fans…

The concert tee shirt is vintage, but a little later in her career, when she drew crowds as the headliner. It was a birthday present to me that we flew to Peoria, Illinois for a pre-show meal al fresco on the river and an outdoor concert at the zoo amphitheater. One of my most-enjoyed birthday gifts!

Sting was looking all Moody for his concert tee pose:

The tour started at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, and I am too ashamed to admit what I paid for the tickets… It was a great show, though – a really small venue with forgiving fans. (He forgot the lyrics to several songs, and started over on one.) Another never-worn closet-pressed concert tee of the vintage sort.

Perhaps some joy has been sparked in remembering those events, but the question remains – What do I do with these old shirts?

Wherefore art Thou, Romeo? (Hiding around the corner!)

A bookstore first this morning: marriage proposal in the literary aisle.

It started with a phone call – bad connection, sounds like car-calling. I finally gave up and suggested that if he was asking about reservations, that we didn’t take them at lunch. I deciphered enough to think he was inquiring about some future event plan, and I suggested that he come speak in person since our connection was poor.

A tall, young man in a suit popped in a quarter of an hour later asking for help with his imminent plans to ask for a hand in marriage.

He wondered if we had Jane Austen books. We do. I pointed them out to him and hid himself nearby.

She’ll be asking for a book by Jane Austen, he said.

Since he was already out of sight, I assumed that her arrival was to be at any moment. Dustin and I were already in the height of our pre-lunch prep routines, but I situated myself near the front door. After some minutes had passed, I began to worry that she was going to stand him up for his big moment.

Ahhh. The door opens and there are two young women. Two. And when one asks about Jane Austen, I am immediately concerned for the young suitor, whose intimate moment won’t be private. I point the way to the literature section.

She walked down between the bookcases, and I called after her, you’re almost there – next bookcase on your left…

The two women were considering the various Jane Austen offerings when the Suitor popped out from his hiding spot around the corner and immediately dropped to one knee. I suddenly realized that – in this day and age – everything is documented by video and the significance of the second woman became clear. She was moving about, recording the proposal on her cell phone.

There was a scream, and then a laugh, and then another happy outburst, and that was the moment I imagine she said Yes.

She was still grinning and laughing when she strode past the front counter, flashing her engagement ring in my direction.

“Well done, lad!” I said, as the young man passed by, beaming broadly. “Best wishes to you both!”

If his actions are any indication, they should have a pretty good shot at the marriage thing. Not only had he planned the proposal and its recording, he had obviously invited a crowd of family and friends to join them outside the shop – obvious because there they all were, smiling and laughing and hugging each other.

They spilled back inside and I immediately panicked, thinking Dustin and I were going to be facing a wedding party of twenty or so for lunch, with hardly that many chairs in the place.


They just wanted a few more photographs of the happy couple and entourage, which Dustin handled nicely.

I have to say, it made for an unusual but pleasant start to the lunch service, and it turned out to be a busy day serving lovely people from start to finish.

Then we did the dishes.

Hope your Thanksgiving Day is as satisfying, perhaps with a pleasant surprise of your own tossed in along the way!

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