Here is the story about the book signing.... with an added bonus at the end.
Sometimes a guy can get the full yin and yang of life in just one short day.
A few weekends ago, my glorious daughters arranged for a gathering at Moon Beans Café on St. Francois Street in the heart of Old Town Florissant to celebrate the publishing of my novel and hold a book signing. What they almost did was throw dear old dad into panic mode when, trying to surprise me, they had Jill order some books from the publisher. When I casually checked their message center one night before going to bed, I saw a giant order. Of course, I had placed no such order, and wondered who in their right mind would steal my credit card number and then order my books. The Joanster roused mom from deep sleep to explain the whole clandestine affair. A book signing? So this was real? Did I need a haircut? Better get some good pens. What if nobody shows up? How many copies should we get? Needless to say, sleep did not come easily that night. I had no idea what to expect from this, but I ordered up a case of books and hoped for the best. And the best is exactly what we got.
All the grandkids were there to lend good old Paw Paw their moral support. Luckily, the sun was strong and the sky as blue as a robin’s egg, so they pretty much had the run of the grounds. The event started out slowly but for the next three hours solid we had a full house. Family and friends, friends of family, two couples we hadn’t seen in at least 20 years, teachers from my school, even a guy who came for his mother.
“She’s an avid reader of your column, and asked me to get her a book,” he said.
Mrs. Fischer, I hope you’re enjoying the story.
To say I was grateful would be gross understatement. More like profoundly humbled. The setting was charming, the food tasty, the weather perfect—but most of all, the love was palpable.
I looked up once, eying the young with the old, the relative meeting the friend, and literally got a lump in my throat that wouldn’t go down. And believe it or not, we sold out! Took orders for another dozen copies! Success beyond my wildest expectations, for sure.
And now for the yang.
One of our own, a nephew, is a Marine lance corporal, and had just finished intense training for overseas duty. He was home that same day for a short visit. He was soon to ship out to the dangerous hill country of a foreign land. That night, we gathered to honor his commitment, to wish him well. To pray him home.
The sweetness of that afternoon blended into the bittersweet of the night. Pride in success, but even more pride in one about to carry out his duty to country.
And all in just one short day.
(SUBURBAN JOURNALS OF ST. LOUIS, MO APRIL, 2009)