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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Erratic But Not By Choice--What Else is New?

Technical difficulties--sorry, no pictures, but I'll post as I can until the problem is solved.

"What's new?" people ask all the time. They're not really asking a question, let alone a specific question, but as a matter of fact there is some news, and I want to get it "out there" before the occasions slip by. First is the artist reception next Friday, 6-9 p.m., at the Painted Horse Gallery to benefit the South Fox Island lighthouse restoration. New paintings and photographs on exhibit. 106 Waukazoo.

Then the very next day, Saturday, October 11, at 2:00p.m., Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli will be at Dog Ears Books (also 106 Waukazoo), and we're not just offering a chance for people to buy signed copies of DEAD DANCING WOMEN, the book that's selling faster than the publisher, Midnight Ink, can print more copies. We're also offering free entertainment! That's right. Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli, writer and teacher, is a FUN person, whether she's leading a workshop (as she did here in March of 2007) or giving a talk (as she did this past summer at our little library in Northport), and she's coming to Dog Ears next week with a brand-new presentation for us: "Murder, Mayhem and Mischief: One Writer's Up North." You didn't think murder could be uproarious? You haven't met Elizabeth!

There are other new books at Dog Ears Books, and I want to mention one today, because one of my friends (Kathie, you know who you are!) tells me now and then that I need more cat books, not just dog books. Well, here's a winner: DEWEY: THE SMALL-TOWN LIBRARY CAT WHO TOUCHED THE WORLD, by Vicki Myron, with Bret Witter.

Okay, yes, it is a "feel-good" book (you want to feel bad instead, maybe?), and it really does have a cat as its central character. But it's a true story, and it's only "about" a cat in the way the song "City of New Orleans" is only about a train.

My bookstore is at home in a small town, and one of my ongoing and abiding interests and concerns is with the health of small towns. So, cat-town-people. What brings people together, especially during hard times, when there is a tendency for many of us to pull our heads into our shells like grumpy tortoises? Spencer, Iowa, and its inhabitants found a catalyst for community in a stray kitten adopted by the local library.

"Dewey reminded us, once again, that we were a different kind of town. We cared. We valued the small things. We understood life wasn't about quantity but quality. Dewey was one more reason to love this hardy little town on the Iowa plains. The love of Spencer, the love of Dewey, it was all intermingled in the public mind."

That's only the briefest of overviews. The story is, as all stories are, in the details.

Though a funeral is a sad occasion, Northport came together on Friday to remember and honor Charlie Brown (formally, Charles F.), operator for 20 years of the Willowbrook restaurant on Mill Street. Charlie was only 56 years old. We'll all miss him.


dmarks said...

Now I wonder if there is a book on "City of New Orleans".

P. J. Grath said...

I wish I could remember all the answers people given at our table at the corner bar when one innocent graduate student in philosophy, a young man from Finland, asked, "What is the song about?" Asking what anything is "about" in a crowd of philosophy graduate students is like--well, too many similes come to mind, so pick the one you like best!

Ruth B said...

Goodbye, Charlie. I spent many hours perusing his shelves of antiques at both Willowbrook and 6th St. Antiques. And our kids loved Willowbrook ice cream trips.

P. J. Grath said...

Keep the family connection to Charlie by taking kids and grandkids to his sister Donna's Treasure Chest on Waukazoo Street, where the summer ice cream tradition continues. Donna is open for breakfast all winter, too.