I always look forward to my Thursday afternoons at Logos. I could see from the sheet where we record all transactions that Peter had a busy morning, though he pointed out that most of the sales were from the "bargain books" outside the store, all of which are $1.00.
He and Susan went off and I went to the shelves and found the copy of "A Year in Provence" that I had been reading 2 weeks ago. I knew the book had been on the shelves for awhile and I knew it was too long a book to read in 4 hours, so when my shift ended, I put a bookmark in the book and put it back on the shelf. It was still there. I settled in to continue reading about Peter Mayle's adventures buying a 200 year old house in Luberon in Provence and the adjustment to giving up life in England and settling into the French countryside. By the time I finished the book, I desperately wanted a hot loaf of bread and a glass of wine!
The afternoon started out slow, but things picked up about the time a man came in and practically jumped up and down in his excitement at finding a copy of the Larousse Gastrnomique, the world's greatest culinary encyclopedia, on the shelf, and for only $8. There was a time in my early days as a cook, when I was doing lots of fancy stuff, that I coveted my own copy of Larousse,but could never justify the expense. Now, of course, I'd probably never use it even enough to justify $8. But this guy was thrilled and I took his money and told him to go home and cook something wonderful.
As he was leaving a woman came in with a box of books to donate. I didn't take them to the back immediately and when I finally did, was delighted to discover that it was a box of cookbooks. But not just any cookbooks. These were the kinds of cookbooks that you want if you aspire to be a great chef, or if you want to impress your guests with your collection of cookbooks. Big fat books with lots of color photos of esoteric foods served in beautiful ways. It was Top Chef in the pages of a cookbook.
I actually took one of them to look through. It was a book about new ways to use your food processor and I'll tell ya, I never dreamed there were so many ways to make fancy presentations. You could make disks out of pastry dough, or "wings" around a mousse out of potatoes, or latice work disks...I mean it went on for pages. I finally realized that I shouldn't even be tempted because there was no way I would ever do even ONE of the things in the book, however beautiful they might be. Instead I returned to Provence and Peter Mayle's struggles with the plumber.
An older woman in a walker came in with a friend. She was quite a character. She never knew the book store existed until she saw an ad for it on the movie screen before the start of Anna Karenina which she had just seen and she wanted to check us out. She had obviously had a stroke and as I watched her struggle around the book store, I couldn't help but think of Bob and wonder what he is going to be like as he begins his own journey back from his stroke. This particular woman was kind of a grouch, or perhaps very insistent that she wanted what she wanted and she wanted it NOW, but she ultimately bought some books for her grand nephew and said she would return and that she loved the store.
A gentleman came in who, I swear, has come in every week I've worked for the past month. He always comes in between 4 and 5 p.m. The only reason I noticed him initially was that he looks enough like a friend of ours that they could be brothers, except that this guy is about a foot taller than our friend. He's always very friendly, always buys one or two books with esoteric titles (I can't remember what he bought today). When he left, I told him I'd see him next week, but he said he might be going out of town for the holidays.
A little girl came in with her parents to choose two books for her birthday. Her father tried to tease her about the fact that she couldn't read them until Christmas because they were about Christmas and she told him, in no uncertain terms, that these were HER books and she could do what ever she wanted with them, because it was her birthday. I told her she could take an extra bookmark for her books, just because it was her birthday.
But my favorite customer came in toward the end of the day. I noticed her first when she struggled through the front door with her arms so full of books from the bargain shelves outside that they were falling out of her arms. She was an older woman (possibly younger than me!) and wore a Santa hat and a big poncho. She put the books on the floor at the front of the store and then went out to get another armload, just as big. All the books outside are $1 and I counted at one point and saw that she had 16 of them. But that was only the beginning.
She chose 14 books from the inside bargain books ($1.50 each) and an assortment of children's books, children's books in foreign languages, Christmas themed books, etc. She sat on the floor surrounded by books and sorted them for what seemed like forever.
When she finally decided she was ready to pay, she had 35 books and grabbed another one she saw on the shelf on her way to the desk. She told me that probaby many of those books were books she had already read, but would like to re-read and figured they were somewhere in her house, but she didn't know where. I could identify with that! I think the most expensive book she bought was $4 and her bill came to just a little under $65. She told me she had gone to the bank and taken out $100 so she was all prepared
Her purchases filled five bags and fortunately Peter came in to relieve me as she was leaving, so he was able to help her carry her bags to her car.