The twenty-first day of the tour; 3,741 miles so far. Thirteen events in six states. Many new people and some remarkable conversations. Stayed with good friends along the way and so appreciate their hospitality: Addie’s room with her amazing art, Tama’s dog Scout, Sarah’s delicious breakfast, Bill and Mary sharing their new home which they had barely moved into, Tom (West Virginia) appreciative when we brought out the Buffalo Trace bourbon we had chanced upon in Illinois, Dawn letting us do laundry while we sat over dinner. A friend from college days drove to Morgantown from Annapolis to see the bookstore in motion. Thirty-four years to catch up on while standing in the rain there and finally moved to a diner to share past, present, future. People throw out questions I don’t know how to answer: what’s the goal of the traveling bookstore? Is it successful? How long do I plan to do this?
The bookstore does well navigating steep hills, mountain passes, tight urban spaces. When it seems the inventory is dangerously low, people drop off bags of books that turn out to be exactly what is needed. When business is slow so disappointment starts to creep in, someone shows up and in delight buys numerous books they had been looking for. Or I lament we aren’t getting enough young customers and suddenly there are so many kids wanting to look at books, try out the typewriter that a line forms.
And those wonderful bookstore owners met along the way and we instantly bond. Page 158 Books and the Battery Park Book Exchange come to mind. And other places we hadn’t expected but found when hungry or just in need of coffee. Or the Rhiannon Giddens concert we were fortunate enough to attend in Raleigh. Now in Dayton ready to cross the miles to Sheridan where the bookstore sets up on April 20. But first a moment to reflect on the richness of this adventure and enjoy a snow-free morning.