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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Warm Places

Sunrise tantalize, evil eyes hypnotize: that is the morning, Congo pink. Any morning, every morning. Blossomy rose-color birdsong air streaked sour with breakfast cookfires.

- Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible

Yes, I am finally reading this book that everyone else read over a decade ago. The equatorial climate beckoned. Also, I’d mistakenly left Friend of Kafka at home.

With so little color outdoors in the northern hemisphere as the end of the year draws close, it’s no wonder that candles and baking, along with books, come naturally to the fore. My bookstore is a bright, cozy oasis in Northport for a few more days this season, but it is not the only one. The warm light of an agate lamp in the window of Nature Gems is a comforting sight.


Barb’s Bakery, still open, still draws morning crowds, and Sally Coohon’s shop, Dolls and More, uses its expanded space to good effect, providing work room for sewers, quilters and knitters. Anyone looking to pursue one of these projects in a congenial atmosphere, with expert help at hand, will find “Sally’s store” a warm and welcome refuge from winter cold and solitude.


8 comments:

torchlakeviews said...

It's awfully hard to keep retail establishments going up here during the deep freeze, and I wish the Northport oases well. I think Barb and Sally ought to do a couple of guest posts while you're off lollygagging in warmer climes.

The Poisonwood Bible is one of my alltime favorite books for a lot of complicated reasons. I look forward to your review. In fact, maybe I'll dig it out and read it again myself.

Happy New Year! - Gerry
(I hate that Blogger makes me use "torchlakeviews" instead.)

P. J. Grath said...

A man who was my landlord for years started his own business ventures in Leland's Fishtown as a high school student, and his words of wisdom, engraved in my brain, were "The key to a seasonal business is to keep it seasonal." Actually, I tried for several years to make mine more than seasonal, but it didn't work, so now I take three months off--and getting away from winter makes David happy!

Barb's will be closed for the winter, too; the only question is when to when? Barb spends the winter in sunny Istanbul.

Sally will be soldiering on at Dolls and More, however, providing a much-needed getaway refuge for otherwise homebound Northporters. I like your idea of a guest post, too. I think we can arrange that.

I'll say "Happy New Year!" now and tomorrow and the next day! What will it bring???

Dawn said...

Enjoy the book, it's a favorite of mine as well, and enjoy your warm months away too!

P. J. Grath said...

Thanks for the winter wishes, Dawn. I've just gotten through the part in POISONWOOD BIBLE where the Belgians have pulled out and Lumumba has been elected president....

Dawn said...

Kingsolver's parents went to college with my parents, and they remained friends up till my folks died in 04. I sort of feel connected to them...

P. J. Grath said...

That's interesting, Dawn. You must have met the parents then? I have reached page 368 (8 a.m. New Year's Eve), and the pace has become a relentless drumbeat.

Dawn said...

I've "met" the parents through stories from my own, and through their untiring support of the four "kids" (us) when both our parents died unexpectedly in 2004. I've talked to Mrs. Kingsolver on the phone. They are both wonderful. He is a country doctor, still making house calls in rural Kentucky for those who can't afford to pay. He often gets paid in chickens and zucchini.

P. J. Grath said...

Oh, thank you for telling me about Barbara Kingsolver's parents! They sound like lovely people and very much "old school." House calls? Paid in fresh vegetables and meat? Wow.

I finished the book sometime in the late afternoon at the bookstore on New Year's Eve. Reaching the end, I was overcome by the enormity of the story and couldn't talk about it at all in any detail, afraid I would break down in wracking sobs. Finally I made my way to the back of the store where a woman was browsing the stacks. She had told me she'd started the book but hadn't gotten very far with it. I told her to go back to it. "It's worth it!" That was about all I could say.