Written Words Bookstore

April 27, 2011

Overheard at the Bookstore……

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Dorothy @ 1:56 am

“Is this a library?”

“Have you read this?”

“How about this?”

“And this? And this?? How about this???”

“These books are for sale, right?”

“I’d like to place an order to go.”

“This isn’t Chinatown Shelton?”

“This is the BEST book I have ever read!”

“This is the WORST book I have ever read!”

“Mommy, are we renting these books?”

“Ooh, can I have a bookmark?”

“Your last bookmark is still under the couch.”

“Pleeeeeeeeeeeease can I have a bookmark??”

“You don’t even read!”

“Do you have a bathroom?”

“Do you have the one about Justin Bieber?”

“Can you get James Patterson here?”

“How about Stephenie Meyers?”

“Chinatown Shelton? I’d like a #4 with fried rice, please.”

“I don’t remember the title.”

“I don’t remember the author.”

“I don’t remember what it’s about…”

“It’s blue.”

“What do you mean this isn’t Chinatown Shelton?!”

“But I AM looking at the menu!”

“Oh.”

“My son hates reading.”

“My son loves reading.”

“Do you have the one by that guy who’s really famous?”

“It’s yellow.”

“I need it for school.”

“I need it for work.”

“I need it.”

“This isn’t Chinatown Shelton, is it?”

“I’ll wait ’til it comes out in paperback.”

“I only read hardcovers.”

“No, I am NOT buying you another bookmark.”

“Oooh…..do you want a bookmark?”

“I love bookstores!”

“I’ve always wanted to own a bookstore.”

“My dream is to open a bookstore!”

“I’m just browsing. I’m waiting for my food from Chinatown Shelton.”

“I’m waiting for my pizza.”

“I just dropped my dog off at the groomer’s.”

“I’m waiting for my prescription.”

“I just came from the doctor’s.”

“I’m going to the doctor’s.”

“I have some time to kill.”

“Smells good in here.”

“Hmmm…..books……..”

“Gotta have my books!”

“I’d like to stick to my favorite authors.”

“I’ll try anything! What would you recommend?”

“I like romance with a hint of mystery.”

“Zombies!”

“Mysteries.”

“A good mystery.”

“Mysteries. The kind that’s not gory.”

“Agatha Christie-like mysteries.”

“Historical fiction.”

“I can’t stand historical fiction.”

“It’s for my friend.”

“It’s for my mom.”

“It’s for my nephew.”

“It’s for my sister.”

“My dog ate my last copy.”

“Is that a real bird??”

“Hello? Chinatown Shelton?”

March 23, 2011

Beautiful Words

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Dorothy @ 1:46 am

“Do you HAVE to talk to everyone?!”  My sister sighed with exasperation as we pulled away from the toll booth. I had exchanged a few pleasantries with the toll booth attendant, whom upon our initial approach was expressionless and was just going through the motions of her job. I made a point of putting on my warmest smile, exercised my “please” and “thank yous”, and commented on the weather. Within seconds, I had the attendant smiling and my heart was light as I drove away. What my sister didn’t realize was I was performing magic: the magic of words.

I was traveling with a couple of colleagues to New York by train for a business meeting on a hot summer day when the conductor sauntered down the aisle checking for tickets. He did not look happy. “Good morning!” I piped up with exuberance. He startled. “Good morning.” Not quite sure what to make of me. I don’t  recall what I said, but by the time he was finished with our tickets, he had broken into a smile and one could almost see the knots in his brows melt away. “Do you HAVE to talk to everyone?!” My seat mate mused. Ah, they have much to learn.

Remember the saying about “sticks and stones”? Well…..that’s true and false to a certain degree. Words can and do hurt. The perfect example is one that was collected in a wonderful book, Simple Little Words, by Michelle Cox & John Perrodin, about an eighty year-old woman named Beatrice Pearl as she recalled a painful experience: (excerpt) Tears welled in Bea’s eyes as she recalled the day her teacher slammed a paper down on her tiny desk, pointed to a word on it, and demanded, “What does that say?” “Oh, that says ‘Pearl’, ma’am. That’s my middle name.” little Beatrice  beamed. “Well,” snapped the teacher, “don’t you write that name until you can shine like one.” Bea’s lips quivered, her voice faltered as she tried to choke back the surge of welling tears. She was only six. It would be another thirty-one years before she could write her middle name without crying. As the author wrote: What if that teacher had used the same energy, the same number of words, to relay a different message? “Pearl? That’s a precious gem. One day you will shine like one.” One dozen words and a heart broke. One dozen words and a heart could have bloomed. Bingo.

I was returning from an exhausting business trip overseas, my body ached, my head was pounding, and every fiber of my being was threatening to shut down as I dragged my feet through the Immigration line – my least favorite part of flight travel as I had encountered way too many rude and crabby Immigration Officers in my many years of travels. But I really didn’t care this time, because I was crabby too and just wanted to get home. The line was moving swiftly as the serious-looking officer processed everyone’s passports efficiently, with barely a nod. I handed mine over when my turn came and not having forgotten my manners, I managed to squeak out a weak “hello”. His eyebrows shot up a couple of centimeters, but maintained his stern posture. “Business trip?” I didn’t see him asking anyone else questions, why me? “Yes. It was a quick trip and I’m exhausted.” I was so tired the words must have sounded like I was about to cry. Like a miracle, his facial features softened almost immediately. “Welcome home.” He said, as he handed my passport back to me. I was stunned at such kind and unexpected words. All I could do was stare at him. What I really wanted to do was jump over the counter and give him a hug. To let him know that at that particular moment and time, as my body and soul were utterly drained, he had said the sweetest words. Words that immediately acted like a soft blanket that comforted me. Words that say, hey, you’ve had a long day, we’re so glad you’re home. I have never forgotten that moment and never will.

One more story.

I never cared for the front office people at my doctor’s office. There was no warmth in their demeanor, and they always seem indifferent to anyone calling either in person or on the phone. There were three office staff behind the desk when I walked in for my appointment this morning. One was on the phone, another with her back to me taking care of paperwork. The third one came to the window and asked for my name, no greeting, no smile. Sigh. It’s time for some magic again. “Do you have the same insurance?” She asked as she pulled out my file. “Ooh, I don’t think so, it’s been awhile since my last visit, hasn’t it?” No answer. After looking through some papers, she asked: “Golden Rule?” “Nope, it’s Aetna now. Wow, it HAS been awhile! When was my last visit?” She looked, “2009.” “Yikes. My mom used to tell me that the older we get, the faster time seems to fly, and I never believed her!” Wait for it…… “Sometimes I open my mouth and I realize I sound just like my mother!” AND. SHE. SMILED. Mission accomplished. I laughed, “I don’t mind becoming my mom. But I’ve warned my husband never to turn into my mother-in-law! Ha!” Her smile got bigger as she rolled her eyes in mock disgust, “I know exactly what you mean!” The person with her back to us chuckled. There we go. By the time I walked out we were all smiles. Now isn’t that much better?

I’m no doctor, scholar or guru. I’m not going to write some psychobabble article analyzing what words can and cannot do. In fact, I don’t have to, because you know exactly what I’m trying to say, don’t you? The right words at the right time do wonders. Try it. At the bank, supermarket, gas station. When you’re talking to the mailman, teacher, the guy behind the deli counter. Make someone’s life brighter because they’ve met you. The right gesture, the right words. Make them sincere and genuine. Or how about a wink and a nod? Show that you care. Let’s all be human again instead of mindless drones stuck in the rat race of life. I triple dare you put a smile on the face of everyone you meet tomorrow.

And the day after.

And the day after that….

Dorothy

March 17, 2011

Venting!

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Dorothy @ 1:51 am

Aaaaargh. I can’t take it anymore.

As I review the current crop of Young Adult releases, I was extremely annoyed to find the same story lines with the same heroine/hero in the same situations with the same experiences. I could close my eyes, throw a dart at the book catalog and chances are, it’ll hit a title that features a girl, beautiful, of course, somewhat of an outcast because of her rebellious personality/magic ability/unique talisman her long-lost great-grandfather left for her in a long-lost box buried under the long-lost tree out in the long-lost backyard. She didn’t know initially that she holds the key/power/ability to save the world, that she was the chosen one, that she will rise up and defy authority and…and…and…by gosh, did I say SAVE THE WORLD???

But first, readers will find out that her parents are not around (either dead, off traipsing in the Amazonian jungle somewhere, abducted by a troll, or simply nonexistent), and she is sent to a “special” school for “special” kids, or enter a magical realm through a portal one can only see on Wednesdays during leap year while standing on one foot, where her powers will come to be.

And wait, there will not be one, not three, but two, yes, two, to-die-for guys just crazy about her. And why wouldn’t they be? Afterall, she’s “the one”! The guys will be totally “hotties”, one a disturbed bad boy, the other a kind-hearted, sensitive soul. They will lose limb and heart over her and stand by her and fight to the end.

The predictability makes me want to vomit.

Due to the success of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, there has also been a suffocating rash of dystopian novels all centered around a strong, powerful central  government and oppressed people. Sigh.

Akin to songs and movies, there really aren’t too many “new” ideas out there, mostly old ideas with new packaging or presented with a different twist. I get it. But I have little patience for obvious copycats trying to sell a book/song/movie. Do you have any idea how many novels were released recently riding on the coattails of The Help by Kathryn Stockett? The topic of racial tension in the South is hot again and publishers are stepping over one another to release similar books.

As for middle-grader and even early reader chapter books, the main characters are more often than not, a boy and a girl. I could hear them now: “Why yes, we MUST appeal to both girls and boys and that’s the quickest way to do it!” If the protagonist is a boy, his new best friend is a girl, and vice versa. A young man could be having an adventure perfectly well on his own, but before long, he’ll come across, yes! A girl! What a surprise! I could pretty much time it flipping through the pages.

I know I know. If people are buying it, they’ll continue to supply it. I guess I’m just an odd duck. That’s why whenever I come across a book that is truly unique, I hold on to it like a lifeline. The elixir to quench my thirst of reading. It is caressed and loved and cautiously recommended until I stumble onto another one. Unfortunately it’s too few and far in between.

Dorothy (done venting, for now)

February 25, 2011

“Weeping Under This Same Moon” by Jana Laiz

Filed under: Fiction — by Dorothy @ 3:09 am

Book Review

Title:                           Weeping Under This Same Moon

Author:                      Jana Laiz

Genre:                        Fiction (categorized for both young adult and adult)

Reviewed by:          Dorothy

Based on facts, the award-winning book tells of two teenage girls: Mei, a Chinese escaping the Vietnam war, and Hannah, an American girl with a chip on her shoulder and how their lives come to intersect.

The first eighty pages were written from the voice of Mei with readers following the emotional roller coaster of her family once the decision was made to break the family apart to escape communist Vietnam. Mei and two of her younger siblings were the first to leave. Laiz did a fabulous job describing the anguish of Mei’s parents and the intensity of the moments during separation. Unfortunately, what could have been a good, meaty historical fiction waned slightly towards the end of the eighty pages: Their approval and subsequent arrival in New York seemed glossed over hurriedly to usher in the next eighty pages: Hannah’s story.

While the first part was engrossing and educational, the second part left me a little impatient as Hannah describes her existence as an angry teen. Granted, Laiz once again did a great job in painting the right mental picture for readers and I come to fully understand Hannah’s character, but after Mei’s interesting and harrowing story, Hannah’s “problems” seemed trivial by comparison and I had trouble relating to her.

The last part of the book brought the warmth back as the girls meet and Laiz drives home the tale of survival, friendship and compassion. As an adult book, it falls a tad short for me. I would have loved to see Laiz write about Mei alone with no limitation of page count and fully flesh out her experience and her character. As a young adult book, it will no doubt educate and open the eyes of many teens about the hardships of refugees and also encourage volunteerism. I will not hesitate to recommend this to high schoolers and  middle graders who are strong readers. Great book for classroom use.

Dorothy

February 10, 2011

Calling Malta!

Filed under: Store News & Events — by Dorothy @ 4:16 pm

“Hey! Alan Bradley has agreed to join our book discussion!!! Woohoo!”

Ever since we connected with Pete Hamill a couple of years ago during our book discussion of Snow In August, we try to reach out to authors of other books we are discussing whenever possible and offer to bring them closer to their readers by patching them in. A small number of authors readily do that anyway, others are on a lottery system via their publishers (you sign up for a “chance” to talk to the author), yet others are unreachable, either because their schedule just doesn’t allow them to, or they prefer seclusion. Then there are also those who just couldn’t be bothered.

I see it as a win-win-win situation:

For readers: They get their questions answered, gain a deeper insight into the book, are thrilled to be able to chat with the author, even get to know him/her on a slightly more personal basis. They walk away happy, tell their friends, who may in turn go and check out the author’s books, check out the bookstore, and then tell THEIR friends, and so on, while the original participants buy the author’s next book.

For authors: They get to share the joy of their sweat and tears, clear up any possible misunderstandings and confusions with plot/characters, connect with readers who actually appreciate them for what they do. They walk away happy, ready to tackle the next writing project with gusto.

For bookstores (and I could only speak for the Independents): It all comes down to the basic of loving books, that’s why we’re in the business afterall. So to be able to bring together readers and authors and make the connection is a big deal. To be on the same wave length. To share the love of books and reading. Then there’s also the satisfaction of knowing that we’re providing a community service and doing our jobs. All others are fringe benefits, from spreading the word on who we are and what we do, to selling a few more copies of books and covering our propane bill for the month.

I connected with Mr. Bradley via the computer and he graciously agreed to join in on our discussion of his award-winning mystery, The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie. After my little dance of joy, I realized with wide-eyed horror that Mr. Bradley lives in Malta, and we don’t have an international phone plan in the store! (It’s a long story, but the bottom line is, without an international “phone plan”, even though we’re able to make international phone calls, they come at an exorbitant rate. Ask me the next time you stop by the store and I will share my horror story from last year.) I froze for only a split second before my husband and I looked at one another and blurted out: “Skype!”

Thankfully, Mr. Bradley also has a Skype account and this past Sunday we were treated to a “face to face” conversation with him (via Skype video connection projected onto a large screen), met his cats, saw his Macivity Award, and had a grand ol’ time. Mr. Bradley was warm, intelligent, and kindly. So now whenever I recommend his books, I would do so with pleasure as I recall our conversation and say with a smile: “His  books are great! He’s also reeeally nice. Did you hear how he came up with this character? Well, this priest and rabbi walked into a bar……” and launch my career as a comedienne at the same time. (I’m kidding about the last part! You know that, right??)

Some authors surround themselves with layer upon layer of gatekeepers (publicists/assistants/secretaries) and choose not to be at the same level as their readers, making sporadic pre-arranged appearances at some big impersonal swanky establishment, put on plastic smiles, and move on. I think it’s a grave mistake because they will eventually lose touch with their readers and are in disconnect with what made readers want to read their works to begin with. Plus, personally, it’s soooo much easier to sell a good book by a nice, personable author than an egotistical, aloof one.

Sadly, I have encountered my share of brand new authors who already sport a high-almighty attitude BEFORE they make it big, and that’s even worse. That’s when being an Independent comes in handy: I don’t like you and how you treat people, I don’t have to carry your books. Blechhhh. But I digress.

It was awesome to speak with Mr. Bradley, as was our experience with Lisa See, Dennis Lehane, Jason Wright, Frank Delaney, etc. Keep up the good work! So the rabbi said to the priest……

Dorothy

January 30, 2011

“I, Claudius”

Filed under: Fiction — by Dorothy @ 2:48 am

BOOK REVIEW

TITLE: I, Claudius

AUTHOR: Robert Graves

GENRE: Historical fiction

REVIEWED BY: David Broder

As historical fiction I, Claudius is a classic. Written by Robert Graves, it is a fictionalized account of the Caesars through the eyes of Claudius, the grandnephew of Augustus and the nephew of Tiberius Caesar.  While historically accurate in most respects, the voice of Claudius is one of someone who sees his role as an outsider looking in on his own family.

Claudius was born club footed, slightly hunchbacked and with a terrible stammer.  For this reason he was all but rejected by his family including his mother and the grand matriarch and political protagonist of the Caesars, Livia, his grandmother and 2nd wife of Augustus.  He is kept on the outskirts of the royal family and except for the love of his brother Germanicus, lives a life mostly of scholarly seclusion.

What is fascinating about the story is that the book is more about the infighting, political intrigue, even the political assassinations which occur within a completely dysfunctional family.  For example, Tiberius, the adopted son of Augustus, is banished for a good many years from Rome by Augustus because his sexual misconduct might be embarassing to the family.  Livia sends her own daughter into exile just to get her out of the way by accusing her of adultury (a crime punishable by death in ancient Rome). Tiberius accuses friends and aquaintances of treason for every disagreement or paranoid fantasy of disloyalty which also came with the sentence of death.  Imagine if you were a friend of Tiberius and you publicly disagreed with him or criticized him in some way,  you would find yourself either banished from Rome for life or thrown off a cliff.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  It would be easy to equate the Caesars with the Klingon Empire from Star Trek where one advances through treachery and murder rather through merit. 

Claudius has a certain nobility and doesn’t participate with these intrigues, he takes the role of reporter with a commentary which clearly shows his disappointment in the whole lot.  He is pushed into marriages he doesn’t want but goes along to make his family happy. He takes political assignments he has no interest in just to stay out of trouble.  It isn’t until his nephew, Caligula comes to power that he feels he is in danger.

Caligula, which means “little boots” in Latin, is a precocious child and a favorite of the soldiers in his father’s army.  But as a teenager, his malice and perverse sense of his own godliness takes over.  He boasts of murdering his grandfather Tiberius to gain the throne. He declares himself and his sister (with whom he had a sexual relationship) gods to be worshipped and names his horse to the Roman senate.  His is a reign of terror, sexual perversion, murder, incest and eventually assassination.  On the fringe of this Claudius bears witness and keeps his head low and out of the way, until Caligula is finally murdered and Claudius thus becomes the new Caesar and imperial leader of the Roman Empire.

If you like historical fiction, this one has it all.  If you liked Dynasty or Falcon Crest you’ll probably like all the intrigue.  It is considered a classic, was portrayed on Masterpiece Theatre some 30 years ago and is often required reading in literature classes.  I, Claudius will give you an eye into the Roman Empire just as it began to decline.

Dave

January 5, 2011

2010 – Year In Review

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Dorothy @ 3:44 am

Happy New Year, everyone! Hope all of you made it through the holidays unscathed and with plenty of cookies to spare. (Feel free to “translate” that whichever way you like!)

Due to the bitter experience many of us shared as a result of the height of the economic downturn in 2009, we couldn’t wait to slide into 2010 and put it all behind us. We looked to the new year with wide eyes and a hopeful heart. Unfortunately, recovery, if any, comes slow. Though snippets of positive news began to crop up towards the later part of 2010, we are now cautious of what’s ahead. Instead of a headlong dive into 2011, I feel that we have stepped into it gingerly, for fear of cracking the glass floor. What once was a robust greeting of “Happy New Year” is whispered, so as not to disturb the fabric of life in its delicate stage.

Still, it’s a “new” year and with it comes new visions, new ideas, new plans. No time to wallow in the past. Put one foot in front of another and onward we go! But first, here’s a quick glance at what we’ve done at the store in 2010:

BOOK DISCUSSION GROUP – Our group has grown slightly this year and continue to have hits and misses with our selections, from “Born Under A Million Shadows” to “Shanghai Girls” and “A Farewell to Arms”.

FOOD & FRIENDS CLUB – All I can say is, “wow.” This group is just plain awesome and so far our December gathering topped the cake (no pun intended). We celebrated the best of the best with members bringing what was voted as their best dish and we had quite a party!

BOOK ANGELS – All of you once again came through with books for children served by the Shelton Food Bank and Spooner House, for which we are grateful.

KNITTING CLASSES – Diane and Nick Kapoor continued to share their knitting expertise with the ever-growing classes. Due to popular demand, we now also carry quality yarn at the store.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSES – Spanish classes are still in full swing, Chinese classes on hiatus, but do look out for sign language classes coming soon!

AUTHOR APPEARANCES – We hosted Diane Smith, Ron Mallett, Frank Delaney, Marie Bostwick, Wilson Faude, Lauren Ruotolo, and others, and provided books for various off-site author events as well.

SUMMER KIDS PROGRAM – For the second year in a row, the program was a success thanks to area businesses who generously volunteered their time.

MISCELLANEOUS PROGRAMS – Who could forget the in-store sleepover in February? Or the wonderful performances by Jerry Rasmussen and Sweet Bird? Or the Shop ‘n Pop fundraising event for the library? And our Holiday Shopping Day with Santa and the White Hills Volunteer Fire Department??

That was quite the busy year for us! Your support means a great deal and we hope to continue to offer more exciting programs in 2011. Here’s wishing all of you a safe, healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

Warmly,

Dorothy & David

December 8, 2010

Are You What You Read?

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Dorothy @ 4:00 am

Due to everyone’s overflowing schedules during the holidays, our in-house book club opted not to discuss a particular book for December. Instead, we reviewed titles we discussed this past year, exchanged gifts, and took turns talking about our favorite books.

There was an interesting mix of classic and contemporary titles, fiction and non-fiction, across various genres. I used to think that a person’s reading material accurately reflects his/her personality, but having been in the business for several years, I no longer feel that way. In a broad generalized sense, perhaps that assumption still holds true. But for many, our reading selection fluctuates constantly based on our moods and experiences. A person reading a trashy romance is by no means shallow, and someone engrossed in “War And Peace” may in fact be less scholarly than a tub of lard.

Then there are those who want others to think they are what they read by flaunting a copy of, say, Nietzsche, under their arms when at closer look one could tell the spine has never been cracked. On the opposite end would be the ones who are so comfortable with themselves they have no problem laughing out loud at Calvin & Hobbes’ latest antics on a crowded commuter train full of uptight suits.

Perhaps the ones who sadden me the most as a bookseller are those who insist on reading a specific author/genre without ever straying from their comfort zone or are quick to dismiss a particular type because they once read one that was particularly horrible or because their neighbor’s travel agent’s mother-in-law’s hairdresser said so.

Books transport us to worlds magical and unknown, to situations exciting and thrilling, and with any luck, they will also mesmerize us and shake us to the core. So open up the windows and give it a whirl. I challenge you to pick up a title you never thought you would read and dive into it with an open mind. Don’t be quick to judge and find fault with it. Allow yourself to understand what the author is trying to convey and enjoy the ride (unless it truly is bad writing, then for pete’s sake, pick another one!). Come back and tell us what you’ve read. We’d love to hear about it!

Dorothy

November 30, 2010

Santa Is Coming To Town!

Filed under: Store News & Events — by Dorothy @ 3:51 am

Yeah, we’ve been to theme parks, and have witnessed many little ones (including our own) who recoiled at the sight of some gigantic, walking, talking costumed characters. Then there are those who, well, don’t care for clowns. But there’s something about a ho-ho-ho-ing, gift-toting, jolly, red-suited fellow that somehow puts smiles on faces.

For the second straight year, good ol’ St. Nick will be making a quick stop at the bookstore to spread some good cheer and lend a lap to little tykes. This Sunday, December 5th, at 11:00am, fine young men from the White Hills volunteer fire department will be escorting the big guy over and stay ’til approximately 3:00pm. Having painfully experienced crowds and long lines at the mall in previous years just to get a picture of our kids with Santa, we hope to provide the community with the opportunity to get up close and personal with Kris Kringle in a much more cozy environment. Not only that, no lines, less wait time, equals less whining from kids. Bring your own camera (so you could make as many copies as you want), and all we’re asking for is a voluntary donation to benefit the fire house. How awesome is that??

But wait, there’s more! Aside from books galore and free gift wrapping, six vendors will also be here with various gift items for sale so you could get your holiday shopping done at the same time! From Troop 28 Boy Scouts with their pewter ornament to Miracles in Glass with her unique glass jewelry, there’s something for everyone on your list.

But wait, there’s more! (I have to stop watching infomercials.) We’re also giving away a gift basket full of books! Everyone is eligible to enter-to-win! Woohoo!!!

AND, we’re really nice!

AND, you’ll be supporting a local independent business!

AND, shopping with us is almost stress free! (Unless the person in front of you took the last copy of the title you reeeeelly wanted.) (No, you can’t whack him over the head with your purse.)

AND, did I say we’re really nice?!

Oh, just come on over! We may even have a crock pot of warm cider waiting for you.

Dorothy

November 21, 2010

Time for Wreaths

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Dorothy @ 10:40 pm

The first time they came through our doors was November of 2008. Two (or was it three?) young men in scout uniform.

“Hi! We’re Troop 55 in Shelton. Would you like to buy some wreaths?” They asked.

I LOVE wreaths! Something about wreaths makes a door looks warm and welcoming. “How much?” I asked.

“$15.00 each.”

“I’ll take two.”

“Okay. Would you like the ones with the bright red bow or darker red?”

Ooh. Hmm. “The darker red, please.”

I was pleased as punch with the purchase. The doors to the store looked perfectly festive now.

“Nice wreaths!” Marlee (or was it Karen?) commented when she strolled in the next day.

“Thanks!” Still giddy with the purchase.

“Except couldn’t you pick better ones? This one looks like it’s been around for awhile, the needles look a little dry and yellowish.”

Aw man. She’s right! My fault for not paying attention. Oh well. I was still thrilled and was also glad to have helped out the scouts.

Come early November, 2009, two scouts came by. “Would you like to buy some wreaths?”

Hmm. “Are you from Shelton?”

“No. We’re from Trumbull.”

I didn’t know Trumbull scouts come around this way too. “I’d love to help, but I’m only buying two wreaths and I’d really like to support the troop from Shelton. Sorreeeeee.” I genuinely felt badly.

“Okay. Thanks!”

Later that month, Troop 55 came around. “Would you like to buy some wreaths?”

“Yes, I would! Thanks for asking.” I was prepared this time. “I’d like two, please. Okay if I look at them and pick out the two that I want?”

“Sure….” They looked at one another, then lead me down the sidewalk towards the other end of the building, where they had set-up.

I looked at the wreaths this way and that, picked out two with nice green foliage, and was happy.

“Nice wreaths!” Commented Karen (or was it Sandy?) the next day.

“Thanks!!” Big smile. “I bought them from the scouts!”

“Except….they don’t really match.”

??? Since we have glass doors, we could see the backs of the wreaths from inside the store and sure enough, one was significantly smaller than the other. Uggggh. How did I not notice it before?? Oh well. They were still lovely.

Early November, 2010. “Sorry, I’d really like to buy the wreaths from the Shelton troop.” The Trumbull troop took it in stride. I still felt badly.

Went to do some banking at Newtown Savings Bank yesterday morning and there they were, Troop 55. “Would you like to buy some wreaths?”

“Yes, I’d like two that match, please.” No longer trusting my own judgement.

“Would you like the ones with bright red bows or the darker red?”

“The darker red please.”

The two young men held the wreaths up and we decided to try a few on the doors just to make sure. They followed me down like troopers (no pun intended) and the three of us analyzed it to bits: “I think this one is fuller.” “That one looks a little yellow.” “This one is smaller, you know.” They were so intent on helping me find two matching ones that they even ran back for more just to try them on for size. “I think this one looks better.” “This one has too many branches sticking out.” “How about this one?” They should make wreath-picking a college course. “I don’t know, what do you think?” We could go on for hours, but I know I’ve taken up too much of their time. They have wreaths to sell, afterall!

“I’ll take these two, please. $30.00 for the wreaths, and here’s $5.00 for doughnuts and hot chocolate.”

“THANK YOU!!!”

What fine young men. Then I looked up and noticed the wreaths still didn’t match. Ha! I don’t think they ever will, and it doesn’t matter. Our doors look festive and inviting once again and I look forward to seeing Troop 55 again next year, perhaps with a measuring tape in hand…

Dorothy

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