A random look at the life and times of Jim Rising recovering radio addict and newspaper columnist.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The first day at the Osterhout library book sale is not for the faint of heart. As the long suffering wife and I stood in line waiting for the chance to go in the tent I looked around at our “competition.” These are the bookworms, the students of literature, the bibliomaniacs of Northeastern Pa. I can say without fear of being corrected that this is a most unique bunch. I claim membership. When the church bells chime 9:30 and not one second before the mad dash to the tables loaded with all sorts of books begins. Piles of fiction, non fiction, reference and cooking books. Stacks of children’s books and trashy paperback novels. It’s elbows and buttocks flying as the race to a cheap literary fix begins. Pity the poor person who pulls up lame or hesitates in the starting gate for they will for sure get trampled. This year the lead contender had in his arms at least ten large containers marked “For Post Office use only.” I looked on in admiration as he stopped by biographies and began shoveling books into his bins. But I only had a second as the crowd surge pushed me on to our destination. I found gold almost immediately and loaded myself up with three large cardboard boxes full. I couldn’t see over them so the inevitable happened. I bumped someone, as it turns out the wrong someone.
“OOOOOOH” squawked this person. “You really HIT me!” “I’m very sorry” I said although it was really only a tap. “OOOOOH that’s gonna leave a bruise” she said and gave me a parting gift, a kick in the shins. Like I said, you can’t back down at the Osterhout Library tent sale. On a sunny Saturday it was hotter than the hinges of Hell under the tent. You must not put your burden down though, as it will disappear faster than a wager on Big Brown to win. We gave up. Under a shade tree near the tent we went over our selections. Twice we were asked if those books in the boxes were taken. I think if you had human body parts in the boxes you would be questioned as well. An older gentleman made his way down the tent perimeter. A pork pie hat, a heavy jacket over a full wool suit coat over a dress shirt over an undershirt. It had to be 90 degrees in the tent. “Aren’t you a little hot? I wanted to know.
“Hot?” he said. “Hot?” and considered it for a moment. “Well it’s cold in Canada.” He replied and went into the tent. It’s not for the faint of heart.
But then again I could be wrong. The sale continues till this Saturday. Proceeds support the library.

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