Posted by: jeannineatkins | October 1, 2007

New England Sunday

For the past few years, our town harvest festival has been less than stellar due to rain, but yesterday, except for a cold, I had nothing to complain about. Our Friends of the Library put on a book sale, and borrowing tables from the church down the street, we were able to put everything on the lawn. The first hour or two of stacking and reordering was a bit chaotic, but the rest of the day was relaxing, watching people standing in the sun, reading, or smiling as they gathered books against their elbow; elated at our cash box under the porch roof to garner a bunch of rare books for maybe five dollars. Some people found old favorites and shrieked to see the familiar Golden Book spines or Secret Garden or My First Book of Dinosaurs: you could almost see them swept back decades. I suppose my happiest moment was when two teens approached me and one stage-whispered, “Don’t you remember her? Why AANI AND THE TREE HUGGERS was my favorite book when I was like six to ten.” Writers are advised to talk for free at local schools as practice, but such memories, years after a child listened to you read, and maybe tried on a sari, is another reason.

When things slowed a bit, I wandered down the bumpy sidewalk where a few parents pushed strollers and some kids bicycled. I loved a girl with a pinkish-purple elephant stuffed into the place where most put water bottles. The Historical Society’s Fall Festival was in front of the school and old Milk Bottle, which was inhabited, for the day, by teens scooping ice cream donated by Bart’s. I talked to people at the local land preservation group, admired wagons of gold and purple mums, pumpkins, gourds, and dried corn; bought a cup of coffee for fifty cents, managed to keep away from the table of apple pies, bought some goat’s milk hand cream from my neighbor, whose goats, not often, end up in our yard, and breathed bunches of great herbs at a colorful table operated by Fiona, who volunteers planting flowers at strategic points around town. You could point out favorite flowers or colors and she’d make you a wreath. I liked hydrangeas and statis and she suggested bay leaves for my cold, and said her daughter would bring it up to the library when it was done.

The day ended with kids lolling on a blanket – Sara’s daughter with her glittery bandaids and glittery shoes doing puzzles, while her son plucked through the carton of National Geographics (free! PLEASE take them) and asked questions and I listened and learned so much from Sara about the Titanic and underwater exploration and Mayan customs and the Islam religion. All while sitting on a porch occasionally sticking a dollar bill in our tin cash box.



  1. Ahhh, Jeannine. Your entries are always so beautiful and make me smile and breathe and think.
    Thank you.

  2. I loved this post, Jeannine! Harvest festivals and library book sales on a sunny autumn day are the best. Thanks for taking us along!

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