Avery and Gunner Go Home!
I follow the Civil War reenactments picking out the ones I want to go to selling the books. When I saw one in Parkersburg, West Virginia, I was excited. I wanted to take Avery and Gunner home. Silly, I know. I've written in previous blogs about my friend Chris who sometimes travels with me. She was with Avery and me on our first venture out in spring of 2012. I asked her to come to this one. It will be our last time to travel together since she'll be moving in August. I wanted her to come to Parkersburg for our farewell to see Avery's home.
Parkersburg is an unusual town. It's architecture is potpourri, ala carte, a little of this a little of that. Not any particular style, or era, or construction materials. The town itself is about five blocks by four blocks. Streets crawl with odd angles and sudden one way spurs. The city of amazing bridges spanning the Ohio River and its tributaries, is surrounded by an awe-inspiring flood wall, bigger than the one .....
Blennerhassett Island, where the Civil War reenactment is attainable by a stern wheeler, gave this weekend a uniqueness I'll long remember. The island is most certainly closer to the world Avery would have known and understood:undeveloped, 19th century living and clothing, abundant flora and fauna, and of course, the encroaching war.
This was a smaller reenactment than most I've been to, in terms of spectators and potential book buyers. While most of the reenactors were from West Virginia, it seemed most of the spectators, at least the ones I talked with, were from Ohio, which is just over the bridge from Parkersburg. I noticed an absence of Southern accent and city sophistication. The Ohio Valley residents seem more like the people I grew up with in Michigan.
I always come away from these events filled with optimism for America. All week I flip through facebook pages and abysmal newspapers determined not to become disheartened with my beloved country in its current state. Then on the weekends when I meet new people from new-to-me places in America I take heart. A brother and sister I had seen moving around the grounds all day yesterday and again this morning, came to my table. The little sister said to him, "I want you to have this book. Come on, you haven't bought a thing for yourself. You need to buy it." He spoke nicely to her and asked her if she would like the book. "I'm going to buy it for you," she said. She laid her purse on my table and emptied it's contents. She was short I think by one or two dollars. Her brother said, "Here, you can use this." He handed her a five dollar roll of dimes. "Oh, thank you!" She was so genuinely grateful, handed it to me with her $5 bill. He asked me to sign it to her. Then she gave it to him."It's my present for you," she told him. I was so impressed. Later I saw their father, a reenactor, with them. I asked him if he was their dad. When he said he was, I told him I wanted to shake his hand. I told him how his children had been behaving when they were unsupervised and how proud he must be of them. The way they treat each other and speak to each other when no one sees them, is a true indication of how they've been raised. His eyes filled with proud tears and he thanked me for telling him. Parents need that reinforcement as much as the kids!
Maybe I didn't learn anything new about selling books this time. But I've been reminded there are good people everywhere. And that's a reinforcement we all need.