Tag Archives: used bookstores

Sliding into Laughter

After the intense emotions of the “Hazel Days,” it is with glee that I steal my friend Heather’s FB post and offer it here. Some of you may remember Heather as our bookstore cleaner who moved to Colorado recently. Her older son, Reese, is a solidly built lad of 11 (who has autism). I would have asked Heather to use this, but in their first week in their new house, they don’t have Internet access yet, except in one corner, stealing wifi from a neighbor for five minutes at a time. And she has to fight three healthy boys (including her husband) to get chair share time. Besides, it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission. (For those of you wanting news of Hazel, she has her own FB page: CLAN Hazel.)

And  now, heeeeeeeeere’s Heather!!!!

So…. we are in the pool at the local Y, where there are two giant twisty waterslides. Reese is doing his usual ‘go up to the top, sit down, think about going down, scream, stand up, go back down the stairs’ thing three times in 20 minutes. In a moment of what I NOW know was complete stupidity, I go up the two stories myself and suggest to David he go down the slide to show Reese what it’s like while I stay with Reese at the top.


Picture this: David is at the bottom of the slide yelling up to Reese how great coming down is. Reese and I are at the top looking waaaay down. I eventually coax Reese into loosening his death grip on the sides of the slide, but I can see that he is not fully prepared emotionally for what is happening, and begin to help him to the stairs when he is caught in the flow. He starts clawing like almighty hell trying to stop the inevitable. He slides down around a bend and tries to stand and … climb… back… up!

David and the YMCA lifeguard are now screaming for Reese to sit down, and we watch him slip to a point on the slide where we can no longer see him at all. He does not come down. The lifeguard motions for me to slide down, find Reese, and help him the rest of the way.

Let me preface this next part by stating that I do NOT like waterslides. In the least.

I grudgingly sit at the top of the slide and start down…

and quickly realize that this water is moving VERY, VERY FAST, and there is no freaking way on heaven or earth I can stop or even slow down. How the hell did Reese stop himself?

I fly around what I feel must be the twentieth bend (in reality there are 5) and there is Reese – standing on the slide against the water flow, gripping the sides, FACING me. I yell for him to hold on as I hit him full force. He lands on top of me, and we smash through the last three bends like wrecking balls to land in the pool, falling to the bottom with such force I swallow and snort what must be a third of the pool’s total liquid volume. I flail myself to the surface like a mad woman, believing my child is quite possibly drowning right in front of me (at the YMCA).

I come up sputtering and choking to find Reese standing in the pool with a look of total surprise on his face. He then slowly breaks into a grin and exclaims, “Oh, yeah!”

Oh, hell no. Never again. Never. Ever.


Filed under animal rescue, humor, small town USA, Uncategorized

A sign of the times

Jack’s guest post comes a little early this week –

It’s not surprising that many bookstore customers, on hearing my accent ask where I’m from, and then talk of their own family connections back to Scotland or Ireland. This area of Southern Appalachia has strong ‘Scotch-Irish’ antecedents. Frequently these conversations will drift around to the difference between perceptions and the reality of Scotland from an American point of view. Most Americans have an image of Scotland derived from movies like ‘Braveheart’ or ‘Brigadoon’ (Vincent Minnelli famously toured Scotland looking for suitable places to make ‘Brigadoon’ but eventually made it in Hollywood because he couldn’t find anywhere in Scotland that looked ‘Scottish’ enough!).

These conversations will often move on to questions about the real Scotland and how it fits into the modern world and global economy. Of course perceptions aren’t helped by confusion over what Scotland actually is in relation to – The U.K., Great Britain, The British Isles or even ‘England’.

In case you, dear reader, also find that confusing – hold on tight, and here we go –

The British Isles is a geographic description that covers Great Britain and the complete island of Ireland.

Great Britain is the union of two nations – England/Wales and Scotland (Wales was never a separate nation, sadly – it’s a Principality of England).

The island of Ireland is split into the independent Republic of Ireland and the much smaller province of Northern Ireland.

Great Britain plus Northern Ireland makes up the U.K. (The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, to give it its full name).

Got all that?

Finally I will often mention that in September 2014 there will be a referendum in Scotland on the restoration of the country to independent status again. Supporters call it ‘independence’ while opponents call it ‘separation’ – ah! The power of words!!

Talking of words, Wendy and I recently saw this sign on Interstate 77 just north of the NC line. We thought some of our Scottish friends might see the significance –


Shurely shome shignificance (as Sir Sean Connery would Shurely Shay)


Filed under Uncategorized