Chapter 505 Thanks!

I’m sorry for the sporadic blog posts this week. Tom has had a lot of homework that he needs to type and I find that my son has commandeered my computer in the evenings this week, which significantly diminished the time I have to write a blog post. Now that I’m finally able to use my computer again, it’s to tell you that I’ll be taking a blogging break (sigh!) so I can focus on celebrating Thanksgiving with family. I’ll be back to regular posting again next Tuesday. In the meantime, a new bookish blog by one of my favorite booksellers is worth the time to read: the Between the Covers Blog Enjoy!

Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner and as I approach the end of my third (!) year in business, I find I am thankful for many things. In no particular order of importance, they are:

1) I am still in business after three years.

2) I managed to sell books at four fairs this year.

3) I was able to use a scholarship to attend Rare Book School at the University of Virginia.

4) I was able to take Terry Belanger’s course Book Illustration Processes to 1900. I highly recommend it to any of you thinking of attending Rare Book School.

5) I had my first successful quote to a library for an important book. I promise I will tell you the story behind this. I need more hours in the day to do so!

6) I was able to contribute occasionally to the Fine Books and Collections blog.

7) I was invited to work on a top-secret (but I hope not for too much longer) Dante project.

8 ) I met new customers, new booksellers, and new blog readers and I had fun with customers, booksellers, and blog readers I’ve known for the past three years. I’m also especially thankful for those booksellers I know who have been willing to mentor, to critique and to praise, and to share advice.

9) I advertised my business in print for the first time.

10) I joined the Book Club of California, a great group of bibliophiles.

This year has had its peaks and valleys, and while I’ve mentioned the peaks here, the valleys haunt me. I still haven’t mailed the Dante catalogue. A book was stolen from me at a book fair this year, which was really disheartening. I still need more time each day to really optimize the business I’ve been able to cultivate, but I don’t (and won’t soon) have that extra time. There were some personal challenges along the way as well, but overall it’s been a great year and it has reinforced my love for selling antiquarian books. That’s in no small part due to you, kind readers. Thank you taking the time to read the blog of a beginning bookseller, for celebrating my triumphs, and for helping me to have a sense of humor about my failures. I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

And now, a poem about pumpkin pie, one of my favorite Thanksgiving foods:

The Pumpkin
Verses 3-5
(John Greenleaf Whittier)

Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South comes the pilgrim and guest;
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored;
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before;
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye,
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?

Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,
Our chair a broad pumpkin,—our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!

Then thanks for thy present! none sweeter or better
E’er smoked from an oven or circled a platter!
Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine,
Brighter eyes never watched o’er its baking, than thine!
And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express,
Swells my heart that thy shadow may never be less,
That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below,
And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow,
And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky
Golden-tinted and fair as thy own Pumpkin pie!

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