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Thursday, July 16, 2009

HOM: The Show Is On II

There was always a sense of anticipation when I uncovered the books and the first shoppers trickled in -- or poured in, sometimes -- and, armed with coffee and another doughnut, I'd take position behind the tables. Tables, plural. We would take two at most shows or three if we could get them in a U at the end of a row. More than that were more than one person could handle. The box shelves were stacked two or three high along the back of the tables, leaving a little space at the very back for coffee and paperwork. There was a full row of spine-up books along most of the front edge and then some nicer or rarer books face-up between the boxes and the row. Heavy stuff like Gun Digests would go on on the floor under the front of the tables. The shows always furnish chairs for the dealers, but I'd spend most of the day standing up and, if the crowd was light, would wander a bit and look at the stuff on other folk's tables. I guess being around a lot of people made me edgy because I had trouble sitting still. I am a "People Person" but only in small doses. A day of fraternizing with friends, customers, and dealers would wear me down. I always spent some time buttering up the other dealers. Dealers were a little clannish, and being a new dealer meant having to break the ice and get acquainted with the neighbors, because being next to friendly and trustworthy dealers made life easier. I could give them for change if they ran short, watch their tables while they made a head call, fetch them coffee if I bought some for myself, and visit with them, and they'd reciprocate in kind. Being a part of the community made the shows easier and a lot more fun and I got to meet a lot of great people. At the end of the day the stock of books would be lighter, my billfold heavier & my capacity for conversation at zero, so it was nice to throw a cover over the books and find a quiet restaurant where I could enjoy good food, SOLITUDE, and a good book. Then it was back to the motel and to bed for an early start the next day. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)