Eight Needleworkers, Seven Kittens, Two Camera Crews and a Bookstore in a Pear Tree

I really don’t know how we get ourselves into these situations. Last night a film crew came to the bookstore to film some promotional video about our shop and my book. They chose Tuesday evening because we have a weekly stitch-n-bitch in which the shop fills with lively, cheerful babes wielding long needles. VERY photogenic.

But the day before, we got a call from the animal rescue we work with: a family of shelters kitties’ number was up. Sure, of course, bring them over. Then St. Martin’s Press (my publisher) called: they needed a head shot of Jack and me together, by 11 pm. We called our friend Elissa, a pro photographer who promised to run by after work and shoot us. (You can see her massive body of work on Facebook: search for elp6n.)

That’s how two camera crews, eight Needleworking Babes, and seven identical grey fluffballs landed in our shop at more or less the same moment last night. It got a little crazy.  The kittens ran for yarn bundles and cubbyholes, mewing too loudly to leave out during the camera work. The camera crew busily set up lights larger than some of our shelves, as needleworkers ducked under and around them. Elissa had Jack and I backed against a shelf and was bracketing away. The women made boisterous jokes as they pulled out their yarn and eyed the huge camera–and the hunky cameraman. I glanced up from Elissa’s blinding flash at one point to see Tyler the Cameraman traversing the bookstore on his knees, arms extended to shepherd the septuplets into the mystery room. As he corralled errant kittens, Tyler said with a radiant smile, “This is so cool!”

The women, watching his butt wiggle across the floor, grinned too.

That’s when the door opened and a professor friend walked in, saying to someone behind him, “And you’ll love our town bookstore; it’s such a calm, elegant place.” Tyler’s backside was to her, and a kitten had just skittered past him–to be scooped up by a needlework babe, glass of wine in one hand, yarn in the other. The kitten promptly attacked the wineglass as Elissa’s camera did a rapid series of blue strobe lights in the newcomer’s face.

Witold, an academic friend featured in my book, often introduces the new professors in town to our shop as part of the community tour. He hadn’t called ahead. This was a miscalculation.

“Melanie” the new Spanish Professor watched the chaos with one raised eyebrow and a smile spread across her face like a shield. We broke from kitten-wrangling and photo ops to say hello and offer her a chair.

She waved a hand in negation. “No no, I can’t stay long, and I can see that you’re busy.”

I think her voice had an edge of panic to it.

So we got the kittens fed and enclosed and the film finished and the photos snapped and had a good time with the needleworkers, laughing and flirting and cutting up for the video. Everyone went home about 9:30. (We know how to party, but we’re old.)

And Witold sent me a text message: I asked Melanie her impression of the bookstore, and she said, “Surreal.”

Welcome aboard, Mel. Would you like a book, or a kitten?

Don’t forget to enter Caption Contest IV for a chance to win a free copy of “The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap.” Check the July 29 blog for the photo and current entries.


Filed under Big Stone Gap, folklore and ethnography, humor, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA

8 responses to “Eight Needleworkers, Seven Kittens, Two Camera Crews and a Bookstore in a Pear Tree

  1. I love this. You all have soooo much fun. Missing you.

  2. Stacy B.

    You are the most fabulous person I know!!

  3. Thank heavens I couldn’t come to needlework Tuesday night. As a giant blind klutz I no doubt would have broken something very expensive or stepped upon a kitten. Or both. Sounds like a fab session, though.

  4. --Mario

    If I had been this Melanie, after such an introduction, and after recovering from the hysterical laughter, I’d have inquired about living quarters within walking distance of this store, considered taking up knitting lessons, and offered to take in Mama Cat once the kittens were weaned, just to become part of the “store family” asap. (I’m a tad old to begin anew with kittens, I fear.) What a wonderful story! Thank you. –Mario R.

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