Tag Archives: chaos

Coffee, Kittens, Nightgown an’ All

It’s chaos on the half-shelf at the bookstore right now, and I have to admit it’s got fun parts and it’s got … parts.

Yesterday morning I swam up from sleep at 7:30 and wandered upstairs, my bare feet attacked by hungry foster kittens at every step – and found three people at my front door, waiting to get in and organize the upstairs kitchen.

We’d told Kelley, the head chef at SECOND STORY CAFE, that she and her helpers Sam and Thom would be able to get into the bookstore “first thing Thursday morning” to have the kitchen ready for an 11 a.m. health inspection.

“First thing” in the morning is a non-specific measure of time, applied differently by different people. I let the team in, apologized for my long white cotton nightgown (which kind of makes me look like a rumpled Victorian ghost with bed hair) and aimed them toward the stairs. Then I moved to the kitchen to flick the switch on our coffeemaker and grab the cat spoon for doling out their breakfast. The cats, meanwhile, unhappy at the disruption to their routine, chorused protests.

That’s why I missed the soft knocking at the window of the bookstore, next to the kitchen and below the outside staircase. Really, given the state of my hair and nightie, it was Rick who should have screamed, not me. But he was “tryin’ not to startle ya, ma’am,” as he explained once I cleaned up the puddle, opened the upstairs door–kittens and nightgown trailing–and let him in to “get started a little early” on the heat and air installation. We hadn’t expected him until 9, but he figured “one big push today’ll do ‘er.”

Back down the stairs I went, kittens riding my bedtails, to find a man on the porch, waving through the glass door. We’d borrowed the keys to the theatre down the street after the Celtic festival ended, so we could get some equipment out when we had volunteers to help. They needed their keys back. I handed them over and invited the poor soul in for a cup of coffee, since the rich brew’s smell now permeated the house and people were trailing one at a time–circus clowns from the Volkswagen–up and down staircases, headed for the source of life.

Theatre dude cast his eyes over my hair–I think at this point a kitten was sitting in it, too weak from hunger to walk any farther–and nightgown, then declined.

I fed the cats, checked the porch just in case someone else had showed up, got dressed, checked the porch, and went for coffee. Pot was empty.

I love my life.

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Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, crafting, humor, shopsitting, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, writing

Just Put the Books Away, Wendy….

Ever feel like life suddenly kicked you in the stomach? Yes, of course you have. We all have.

A friend of mine who, ironically enough, is  the director of a cancer center securing services for patients in rural Virginia, has cancer. She and I just finished doing a project together, one that made us both proud. We took six cancer patients into three different regional communities to let them tell the personal stories of their cancer journeys.

Leigh Ann will be making that all-too-personal journey herself, now.

So I walk through my bookstore, picking up boxes that have been sitting around waiting for someone to put them away. Shelving books is a calming activity, like playing intellectual solitaire with your whole body. Your feet walk, your brain processes, your hands move, tuck, tidy.

This in my hand is a mystery. It goes in the mystery room. A western. It goes to the mancave, under Guys with Big Guns. Ah, a history book; these are subcategorized by time period.

Keep walking, and put the books away, Wendy. The world is a random place and everything doesn’t happen for a reason. But when unreasonable things happen, God can make reason out of them. That’s what you know. That’s what being a Christian involves.

Leigh Ann is in God’s hands; these books are in yours. Put the books away, and say your prayers. Order is restored to a tilting universe by the simple daily acts of faith: the many, many people who are praying for Leigh Ann, her husband and her six-year-old daughter; and the hands of all the people who love her, moving through the day, making bread, pulling weeds, shelving books.

Work is prayer. Put the books away, Wendy. Keep order in your tiny corner of the world, and let God create Order in the big, wide, scary one.

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, folklore and ethnography, Life reflections, Uncategorized, writing