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Saturday, July 18, 2009

HOM: Oopsies

I am having an awful time trying to get the gun show trip memories organized, as you may have noticed from the disjointed posts and rambling text. I officially surrender, and won't attempt to have any kind of chronological rhyme or reason for a while. So -- errors and goofs. Jerry and I traded off at going on the single-show trips that just took up a long weekend, like Missoula, Bozeman, Butte, Spokane, Moscow (ID!), Libby, etc. On one of his trips he picked up a nice wooden crate that was perfectly sized to hold and display ALL of our Gun Digests and he set it up at the show. It worked fine until he was ready to leave and found out that the crate was too heavy to move. Back to the drawing board. We cooperated on the next error. We'd gotten a set of heavy cardboard boxes with full-size lids, like apple boxes but heavier, that we started using for the books that we didn't put in the wooden box shelves. We unpacked the books onto the tables and then shoved the inner boxes into their outer boxes and stacked them under the tables so that all we had to do to repack was grab a box, fill it, then lift it out of the lid and drop the lid on. One problem. Once the inner boxes were filled, we couldn't even pry them out of the outer boxes. The weight distorted the cardboard too badly. We had to unpack all the boxes, separate them from the outer-box lids, then repack them. Lesson learned. We got in a nice hunting book in trade and were quite pleased as the show had been quite slow. We put it out for sale and one of our wives sold it when they babysat the table for us. Unfortunately, she sold it for the $2.50 original price and not the $45 price we'd put in it. We ordered two dozen copies of Elmer Keith's "Hell, I Was There!" during a pre-publication promotion. These came directly from the publisher signed by Old Elmer and we stored them in the Gold Room unopened as an investment. Unfortunately, a few years later the lady running the store for me while I was at a gun show sold them to a canny shopper who offered her $15 each. Today, I'd guess that they'd be worth $500 each. ANY copy of that book in its first edition goes for well over a hundred dollars. One not-awake-yet morning I left part of the previous day's proceeds on the bed at the motel when I left for the Salt Palace to work the show. When I realized what I'd done I went back, but the room was clean and the money was gone. The maid got a nice tip, I guess. It was also at SLC that I packed up after the show and left my briefcase under the table. When I discovered my lapse I went back to the Salt Palace, but it was gone. I was standing there feeling sorry for myself when another dealer came over and told me that the folks with table next to mine had taken it with them. They knew from our visits that they would be at the same show I would be at the next weekend. Yes, they delivered it there. The Gun Show community is a pretty nice one and not quite a hotbed of radical rednecks as depicted by the media. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)