Book Sale


Rose Phillips has been nagging, er encouraging me to start blogging again, so I’m doing just that. I probably shouldn’t be doing it tonight, but if I keep putting it off, you know . . . .

I love library book sales. Let’s rephrase that. I used to. Boy howdy. When Odessa, Tx held their book sale I was there bright and early with bells on. The basement was packed with every kind of book you could imagine. I wound up with lots of books for Books for Soldiers. Lots of books for me. Lots of books for Will. Lots of books for just pure dee enjoyment. Lots of books for crafts. Lots of cookbooks. Lots of books for friends. Lots of books for inspiration. I had so many books they invariably got the cart and someone to help me out with them. I particularly like old books. Very old books.

I have dreams of owning a library like this.

Yeah, I know, but I think Mark Twain would not mind me having a library like his.

Mark Twain Home

This in addition to me haunting the basement all the time for books I thought I needed as they kept a used bookstore going.

So, even though my back was bothering me and my knees are shot to a fare thee well, I head to the book sale at 10:00 on the first day. There, of course, are no parking spaces around the library. There’s a parking lot across the street from the library so I cruise around it a few times. Well, several times. It has one row the library can use. The other three rows have big blue signs that say: RESERVED FOR RIVERVIEW MEMORIAL something or another plus the handicapped spaces. Apparently this doesn’t matter to a great many library patrons. Neither the Riverview Memorial nor the Handicapped spaces are sacred as I watch them pull into both and head straight to the library, bags in hand.

I would have no difficulty getting a handicapped designation, but I figure other people need it more and, frankly, I don’t want to admit I’m that far gone. Somehow or the other, it’s going to get better. I eventually give up on the idea that a parking space is going to open up, so I stop driving around and around and start circling the block around the library. Yeah, good luck with that.

The joke about the dieter and the donut shop crosses my mind.

One day, after weeks of being very good and losing twenty pounds, the diligent dieter prays, “Lord, if you want me to have a donut today, will you please show me a parking place in front of the donut shop?”

Sure enough, on the tenth trip around the block, there was a parking place.

There is no parking place on the tenth drive around the block. I should have taken that as a divine sign.

I expand my search.

Just how bad do I want these books?

I hope there will be some Civil War books, history books, poetry books, literature books, or, long shot, books on Wild West Shows and save me some money on research. What if there’s an entire Time Life Civil War Series for sale? I bought several of the Time Life Old West books at the Odessa library sale.

I find a parking place three blocks away behind a van that’s parked at the end of the block taking up two parking spaces. So, of course, no matter how close I park, I’m going to be straddling two parking places. When he leaves, and he will while I am gone, people are going to think, “You rude, no parking knower hower old woman!!!”

Since it’s that or nothing, I park and get out. About a block from the library, my knees have a discussion with me about stupidity and how much fun it’s going to be going back weighted down with books. This takes place on a bridge over the river. We’ll get back to the river.

I finally get to the library and, of course, the door is completely on the opposite side of where I am so I walk 3/4 of the way around the block to find the door. My knees are threatening to kill me right about now, but the end is in sight. We are the champions!

I ask how to get to the book sale.

“Oh, go outside and down those stairs.”

“Oh, no. I can’t do stairs today. Do you have an elevator?”

She kindly takes me on an elevator that needs a special key to go down.

I’m special. *preens*

The books sale is in one small room and it is p-a-c-k-e-d.

Here’s where I’m going to suggest a few book sale rules.

If you’re going to a book sale:

1.  Bathe your body.
a. Not in Eau de Ewwww

2.  I understand most of us are not as svelt as we used to be. I’m nearly twice the woman I used to be. Some of us should come equipped with wide load signs, flashing lights, and those beeping sounds when we back up. Especially when the aisles between the tables are a grand total of 18″.

3.  If I scrunch up on top of a table to let you by, keep going. Don’t turn around ten seconds later and come back so I have to wad back up on that table again. Your plump body and my plump body were not meant to meld in this 18″ space fives time in less than one minute. At least buy me a drink and a nice dinner if you want to become one flesh, and I would prefer not to do it in a public library.

4.  Smart phones should be banned at book sales. I will never again go to another book sale because of them. I’m standing there, protesting knees threatening to kill me, really wanting to look through the box of poetry books, but I can’t because Professor has his iPhone out keying in e-v-e-r-y single book on Amazon to see what it will sell for. It’s not like there are any first editions in there. He eventually gets through all of them, decides none are worth his time. I look. There’s nothing that great, but he keyed in every damned one. He should have been able to guess most of them were not going to make him rich. I would have moved on to the next box, but he was busy keying in that one and I just didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to wait.

There are no less than six people doing the exact same thing in this little, tiny, crowded basement where people can barely get around.

5.  Pair up. If you’re working as a team, stay together or at least don’t wedge some poor unfortunate between you. I don’t mind long hair. I have long hair.  However, I get stuck between Mom and Dad hipster with their long gray braids. Long suffering Dad is the keeper of the box. He holds up a book. “Did you see this?”

She whips around, flinging her braid across me.

Then she holds up a book. “Oh, look. Check this one on the phone.”

His braid whips around.

It gives a whole new meaning to fifty shades of gray. I give up and leave the cookbooks to the Braidy Bunch.

I had hoped to find some old Junior League type cookbooks, which usually have some historic type recipes, but it wasn’t worth the hassle.

Hopefully, I can find a used bookstore here to find the books I’m looking for to make some gifts for Christmas. I for sure will not be going back to any more book sales.

I did find four books: an autobiography of Ulysses Grant, a very small book by Bruce Catton about Appomattox,  a reproduction of an 1886 Bloomingdales catalog, and The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway. Eight dollars which is a decent investment.

On the way back, (yes, I forgot to get back to the bridge) I cross the bridge over the mossy smelling river. The song Ode To Billy Joe pops into my head and I ponder melodramatically about whether it might be easier to clamber over the rail than trudge painfully two more blocks back to the car. However, having fought the horde for these four miserable books, I wasn’t giving up now.

I decide to find someplace that’s still serving biscuits and gravy, the ultimate comfort food, and get on with life.


  1. As always, your experience had me chuckling. Not for your pain, mind, as I experience a few of those myself, but because your wry and dry observations are priceless. The storyteller in you is evident even when you recap real life–yours.

      1. OMG. I snorted, I laughed so hard. You are a lemonade outa lemons kinda girl and your lemonade is always a fantastic jug of story. So glad you will be sharing more with the world.

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