Tag Archives: community

A tale of Three Protests – –

Jack still holding the fort while Wendy hits her deadlines – –

The first protest march I took part in was in the early 1960s and was from Edinburgh to Rosyth naval dockyard near my hometown of Dunfermline, to support the anti-nuclear movement. My strongest memory is of the police helicopters overhead all the way and then hovering much lower when we sat in the road outside the gates of the dockyard while photographers in the open copter doors took pictures of us. Very intimidating!

The next, and last time, was to support Scottish teachers who were on strike for better wages and conditions. This was during Margaret Thatcher’s reign as Prime Minister, and was the only successful strike during that time. She described all unions as ‘the enemy within’. My ex-wife was on the executive of the teachers’ union and our phone was very obviously tapped. Very intimidating!

Yesterday I came out of hibernation, having been outraged by the very public death of George Floyd. Our small town held a march and I must admit I was a bit worried about taking part, but felt that I simply had to.

The day before our police chief posted a message on Facebook that made it clear that the march had his blessing and he supported it.

We set off at Noon from the local college and turned into main street. I immediately noticed a number of things – all side streets were blocked by town council vehicles, there were only a very few obvious ‘white power’ folk and they were along the sidewalk taking pictures, the mayor (a white woman) and the police chief (a black man) led the march.

The blocked side streets reminded me of what happened in Charlottesville a couple of years ago and I felt a great sense of relief. The observing white power folk looked deflated and if they meant to intimidate it didn’t work. All the open businesses and churches along the route had free refreshments on tables. The three hundred or so people on the march were white, black and every other color in between.

Later in the evening there had been rumors of racists coming to town to cause trouble, so the police continued to patrol en mass, which was also very reassuring. In the event there was no trouble at all.

When I checked the local Facebook page this morning to find pictures of the march, I noticed what seemed like a solitary troll asking ‘innocent’ questions like “what happened in Wytheville last night with all the police?” – actually nothing but our excellent police officers keeping everyone safe, regardless of color.

Did I feel intimidated this time? Not so much – – –

Hate cannot drive out hate – only love can. Dark cannot drive out dark – only ‘The Light’ can.

Andrew Whalen animal rescue big stone gap, bookstores, Wendy Welch, Jack Beck, roadtrip, wildlife, Big Stone Gap movie blogging books bookshop management bookstore cats bookstores cat rescue cats Christianity cute cat photos cute kittens dogs economics foster cats friends fun history humor independent bookstores inspiration Jack Beck life in the slow lane literature Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap marketing music politics publishing Quakers running a bookstore Scotland shelving books shopsitter small town life small towns Tales of the Lonesome Pine travel truth used books used book stores Wendy Welch writing

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Shopsitter Janelle says Farewell

We’re running a bit behind on timing because of the author humiliation contest – more entries posted Friday! This is our first shopsitter of the summer’s farewell post, and Kelly, our second shopsitter will be sending a post next week. (BTW, if you’re interested in shopsitting, we are looking for a week in October and a couple of weeks in December.)

Sadly, our shopsitting visit is soon coming to an end already.

We are excited about the potential of our final day sitting the shop, and we are tickled to have company coming for lunch tomorrow, too…folks that moved from our home area near Green Bay, Wisconsin, to Chuckey, Tennessee, several years ago. We just now realized how near to them we are while here.

To be honest, this shopsitting gig has been far more like a vacation than work. We have come to feel far more like family than “hired” help. And we have done more reading and relaxing than we have work. The latter I understand, I think. If I were home I’d find plenty to do (I’m pretty sure I have weeds waiting for me in my yard, taller than I am) but no matter how much work I invent for myself to do here (like re-organizing book stacks or putting sections of books back into alphabetical order or sweeping the front porch or doing dishes or laundry) I’ve still been getting to read and visit with guests (and Facebook) more than I would if I were at home this week.

And as for relaxing vacation, I’m not completely sure what to make of that, but I think it’s the Wendy factor. She has told her local people to make us feel welcome, and they sure have. We have been included in invitations to dinner and swim aerobics and church and told where the local walking/running trail is numerous times…and been included in pretty much all else that has gone on while we have been here. We have eaten nearly every meal offered (that will need to be addressed when we get home, too!) and, when I think about it, taken up very few of the exercise offers presented us. But Wendy threw out on Facebook that we wanted to do some local hiking, and after all sorts of suggestions for where we should/could go, kind friend Destiny simply said she would come and lead us, and she and her son Jack did!

I learned a lot while we were here; there is no question. I go home no less eager to one day have my own bookstore, no less eager to have Natalie bake and maybe cook for me like Kelley does in the Second Story Cafe here. Wendy and Kelley make that all look like a very easy, symbiotic relationship, not a “tough” job at all.

Wendy does, indeed, make it all look enjoyable and easy…although I do fear that I’d find in my own shop lots to do instead of this relaxed “I could do that” style. We prevented Wendy’s work from getting done sometimes with plenty of conversations, several good meals, a mutual glass of wine or bottle of beer here or there. Sometimes I really wanted her to go “make stuff,” assured that we could manage things here, and when she did, that’s when I felt I was contributing the most.

Otherwise, let’s be honest: I’d far prefer to hear her conversation with a guest to the shop–the exchange of local chit-chat, or updates on pet adoptions or procedures, or discussion of a new book, or valuing of books brought in for trade. If she wasn’t really “gone” from the shop, it was too easy for her to step in and do those things, and I seized the opportunities, then, to learn from the master.

I’ve very much enjoyed this adventure with my two youngest daughters, watching them melt kitten hearts and make new friends, devour books (Natalie stayed up until 2:40AM Saturday night…err, Sunday morning… finishing Water For Elephants, which she had started only the night before. It’s one of my all-time favorite books! How can I be upset with that activity?!) And I loved us getting to see, together, parts of the country we had not previously visited. Delaney’s determination to be THE one to get to “do the Square” any time a customer paid with a card or to be the one to take their cash, for that matter, showed me she has those super original cashier skills, communicating clearly and doing math in her head to make change (rather than NEED a cash register to do it for her). We go home with a new bond of mutual adventure and with many memories to share.

It’s like reading a book with someone, only better. The girls and I have shared a tremendous adventure, and I can only imagine how soon we’ll all talk about coming back! I imagine it will come up in the thirteen-hour ride home.Janelle on porch
Thanks for your hospitality, all. We have had a great time!


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