Tag Archives: running a small town store

The Water of Human Kindness

I think I blogged about this a few months ago, but when you run an independent bookshop, people bring you stuff.

Last night I came home to a small pile of laundry on a chair in our shop’s front room. We try (and fail) to keep personal clutter upstairs, out of the shop zone, so Jack followed my displeased look and smiled.

“That wasn’t me,” he said. “J and D were in, and she said I looked cold, and went out to her car, and brought me this spiffy hoodie.” He held up a dark blue, thick and new-looking jacket. “And she said she bought those two undershirts for her husband, but they were too small so she thought of me.” Jack donned the jacket and instantly looked like a Scotsman in a hoodie (aka silly).

Awhile ago, a friend walked in and presented us with a door mat. On it a kitten slumbered atop a book pile. “Saw it in a catalog, knew you had to have it here.” She wouldn’t take any money for it.

Last Sunday, just as Quaker meeting was breaking up, the father of a hunting duo–no matter what season, they come in camo, deer jackets and ammo-logo-bearing ball caps–appeared with a sagging plastic bag in his hand and a smile beaming from his face. The smile faded as he saw the quiet, dignified people just getting up from the worship circle, and he tucked the bag behind his back.

I ran over to him. “Hi! It’s ok. We just finished. Come join us for lunch.”

Shaking his head, he held out the bag. Something dripped onto the floor. “This is what I brung Jack. Jus’ tell ‘im I brung ’em.” He held out the bag–which my hand seized in Quaker compassion before my brain recoiled in squeamish girly squeals and off he went.

Inside? Five whole trout, still in river water. We feasted that night, with fresh asparagus from another friend’s largesse.

It happens all the time: “made brownies and thought y’all would like some”; “my mama loved this baby doll but I just don’t have a place to display it and it’ll look nice on top of a book shelf”; and Jack’s personal favorite “me and the boys just finished the latest batch. Label this so nobody mistakes it for water.”

That not-water came in pretty handy about a month ago when I was going down with a sore-throat, watermelon-head thing. A gargle each morning, three days running, and I was right as rain. Water. Which that was not.

We love running a community bookstore.

Jack and Wendy leave Tuesday for Istanbul. While they’re away, members of the proud and secretive GGG organizations will be writing the blog. When Jack and Wendy return, there will be pictures and travel stories and silliness, oh my, but while the Guerrilla Grammar Girls have control, there will be side-splitting, coffee-spitting guffaws of laughter. Enjoy!


Filed under Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, small town USA, Uncategorized