Sunday, July 29, 2007

Yakitty Yak and Yaak Attack

Bill went to the Yaak, and I went to yakitty yak. I think we both had a good time yesterday. He took his fly rod and Kiwi. I took my book bag, a prepared speech and a pen.

I haven't heard the fish count yet this morning. He arrived home long after dark. I arrived home just as the full moon was beginning to brighten right after dusk. Bill said Kiwi, who loves to assist any angler around, sure can swim. He worried about her a bit in some of those rapids along the Montana River, but she instinctively knew how to maneuver her way out of danger.

I worried about having to give a speech. There'd been mixed signals about just what was expected at the Hastings Book signing yesterday. Publicity said a reading; the bookstore staff said probably not----too much noise in the store and they could remember only one reading ever---and that was a special situation. Helen Brockway, whom I hadn't seen in years, came with her daughter Jackie. They expected a reading.

So, Kathy, the book manager, moved a few chairs around in the coffee shop, while I asked folks seated at the tables visiting if they minded having me read. Two women said no; they were leaving anyway. Two gentlemen and a lady sat at another table. They said they didn't mind, but one of the gentlemen suggested he might give me a rough time. Pointing my finger directly toward him, I announced that I was a school teacher and that he'd better mind his manners.

"So am I," he said, "only I'm a counselor who keeps all those teachers in line." The banter began, and it continued throughout the reading, especially when Erica showed up. I changed my planned read and went to the segment from "Stay Outa My House," where Erica anonymously stars as one of the post-high school vandals who entered my house and decorated it with post-it notes and toilet paper one New Year's night.

My niece Laura came with her friend. Richard walked in, seeming a bit unsure of what was going on.

"Sit down," I told him. "You're welcome to join us." Come to find out, Richard knew exactly where he was. Richard's a writer, writing a book. Richard had called me three weeks ago, asking to get together. He wants information about small-town changes resulting from mini-exoduses from big cities. Richard seemed to enjoy the reading and all the accompanying side comments. Turns out the other man sitting with the counselor who keeps teachers in line is a writer too.

He freelances for the Spokesman, so he was pretty thrilled to meet Erica in person, and I was pretty thrilled she was there. After all, I'm proud to call her one of my products. She behaved a lot better yesterday than she ever did in sophomore English class. Erica knew how I ticked cuz she'd known me nearly all her life, so she sometimes held a healthy disrespect for my wishes that she button it up. Those moments were always fun, though, cuz Erica knew I loved her through the hate stares I feigned her way.

Later, I turned around and saw Ann and her grandson Tyler. Hadn't seen her since she retired from the school district two years ago. And, while signing books for the folks who came to the reading, I spotted Florine. Hadn't seen her in at least 20 years. She'd contacted me and suggested we go to dinner at Moon Time after the signing.

I got a lot of talking done at Hastings, and the marathon continued at Moon Time. Florine and I had lots of catching up to do since the days when we were the two sophomore English teachers at Sandpoint High School. I confessed to Florine yesterday how her revelation a wet-behind-the-ears rookie that she taught nine weeks of history of the English language had practically disordered my vacant brain way back when.


More later............the rest of the yakkity yak involved a few minutes of crashing the Class of 1987 reunion last night. Some of those former students are going to meet me at the Hoot Owl, so I'll finish up with the yakkity yak after yakkity yakking some more at Sandpoint's best breakfast spot. Later ....

Well, I'm back, and I'm a rock richer. C.A. (whose name I must keep under wraps cuz he's an undercover man in Iraq) handed me a heart-shaped rock he'd brought home from his latest assignment. We talked eco-therapy, IED's, editing and politics. We all represented significantly different political leanings but we agreed that if the world could take a cue from our little group on showing respect while passionately disagreeing, we could move mountains toward peace.

I've enjoyed some great visiting over the past twenty-four hours, and I cherish the opportunities of reconnecting with old friends and appreciating how they've stayed generally the same folks over the years but continued to spread their branches in fascinating directions.

Not a bad way to live life, if you ask me. Plus, their individual stories are great for those yakkity yak sessions.


raymond pert said...

Here is the second of my Three Beautiful Things from Thursday. I'm wondering if the writer I was part of a discussion with inMoscow is the man who came to your reading:

2. A researcher, Richard Benjamin, met with my long-time friend, Kenton Bird, and two other U of Idaho professors to talk about Silver Valley. The three professors are pros when it comes to North Idaho. I'm an amateur. But I loved being asked to be a part of this discussion and I learned a great deal about how North Idaho is perceived by a scholar, Dr. Benjamin, who is from the eastern U.S.A.. and by the other scholars at the table.

MLove said...

Richard Benjamin, he was. A fun young man. I'm looking forward to seeing him again in about three weeks when he comes up to Sandpoint. I'm anxious to hear his observations on the area.