March of the Scissors

scissorsAs bookshop owners, Jack and I have noticed a phenomenon over the years that other managers say is common to their shop as well. Even some domestic households report it.

The March of the Scissors.

We cannot keep a pair of those sodding things around for love nor money. In the blue basket near our cashbox, we try to have at least one pair among the pencils and sales receipt books. Yet every couple of days, one of us calls out, “Honey have you seen the–?”

Jack says, at night while we sleep, the scissors creep from the handy storage spaces where we stash them, and meet at a central location, where they hide, a nest of blades and handles, until we open a door, lift a blanket, and viola! Like a mouse’s nest, there are the scissors–usually less one pair.

They get redistributed – the kitchen drawer, the blue basket, my yarn corner, the tin under the stairs: we like to have them handy for the many jobs that arise.

You may be wondering, of what need are scissors in a bookstore? Becalm yourself; we are not cutting up Patricia Cornwells. Yet. We use them to open boxes, cut off credit slips for customers, get goop off hardbacks. (Don’t try that last one at home; we’re professionals.)

In a fit of manly rage that he couldn’t find any when he needed them, the Master of the House (Jack) bought seven pairs of solid steel scissors in one go, and double-distributed the sneaky implements to all our hiding spots.

Three weeks later, he stormed through the house, screaming, “Not a single pairrrrrrr!”

You haven’t lived until you’ve watched a Scotsman rant about “S-iz-orrrrrrrrrs.” That adorable rolled r AND a glottal stop…. be still my heart.

We found them–six pair, anyway–under the sink this time, in a shameless tangled conflagration of open blades. The least they could do is make safety scissor babies.

The scissors are back in their hiding place, minus the one that got away. We can only assume that escaped scissors join the socks that found the wormhole in the back of the dryer, and are whooping it up out there somewhere in the Netherworld. An odd combination, to be sure, but then every relationship needs a softie and a sharp one, doesn’t it?

We hope they will be very happy together.

Hame, Sweet Hame…

Jack’s back! And so is his weekly Wednesday blog post.

East, West, hame’s best! (That’s “home” fer those amang ye wha’ cannae speak Scots.)

Ah, but which hame?

Avid readers will know that I take a group of Scotophiles over to the old country every June. This year was the sixth such trip and it was as enjoyable as ever – a lovely group of seven folk (should have been eight but one had to call off at the last minute for health reasons). We were carried all round Scotland and the North East corner of Ireland in the trusty seventeen seat bus driven by our equally trusty driver and co-guide Colin Stuart, meeting such talented and interesting people as Liz Weir, Pete Clark, Jock Duncan, Doli McLennan, Robin Morton and Alison Kinnaird. (Look ’em up; you’ll be glad you did!)

I always go a few days early to stay with Colin just outside my hometown, Dunfermline, but every year when I drive through the place I find they’ve added another roundabout and another couple of traffic lights – it’s a complete nightmare. Buildings that were much loved landmarks have disappeared. In other words, it’s not my home any more.

Meanwhile, back in Big Stone Gap, Wendy waits quietly until I depart before organizing all our friends into a work-crew and completely re-organizing the bookstore. I get hints via email and blog posts, but it never really prepares me. I may not come back to new roundabouts and traffic lights, but shelves have danced ’round about to new positions, she does a lot of traffic with yard sales, chairs have descended the stairs, and half our furniture is waiting patiently in the basement until I complete the work down there.

In other words, it’s not my home any more….

But you see what I said there? I mentioned friends – on both sides of the Atlantic. Ah – now friends are a lot more important than roundabouts, traffic lights, buildings and furniture. So I still have two hames, in the East and the West, and will have as long as I have friends there.

Then there’s that special friend who waits ’til I’ve gone before re-organizing the bookstore. Wherever she is, is truly hame!