It was hard to believe the Wing and Prayer tour only had two more stops to make on this 21 stop, 14 day excursion. But it was true. We were headed to the famous John Grisham launching bookstore of Reeds Gumtree Books - next to our last. The end was drawing near.
Now one thing was becoming apparent to us all along the winding road - we never knew what to expect and every stop offered up something special. A different slice of life and the unexpected pleasure of a surprise.
Reeds offered up the friendly faces of Emily and Jane and the one and only Jack Reed, son of the founder of Reeds but the instigating factor for getting the bookstore added and off the grown. He honored us by making a special trip in to welcome us to the store. Honor is a loose word for the experience. After conversing with Jack for over an hour (and never wanting to leave) we were humbled by his wisdom and his presence. We both purchased HIS BOOK at his protest and captured the storyteller offering some sage advice for the ages.
Reeds is one of the places that when you wander in you want to park. The kind of place where we found ourselves having serious conversations with booksellers in the children's area with questions like "Did you find Llama, Llama Misses Mama as good as Llama, Llama Red Pajama?" Seriously. Our appreciation for fine literature knows no boxy boundaries.
Another wouldashouldacoulda was added to our list - never, ever come to Reeds Gumtree Books or the beautiful little city of Tupelo without more time to spend and spare. Never.
Headed straight on down the road (in a roundabout find another story kind of way) we passed through Tennessee and flowering trees and pulled up at our last stop - Davis Kidd in Nashville. What a delight to see friendly faces waiting and people who had great patience as we poured out stories, stacked up stories, and laughed through incidents of the long road show. Afterwards when we caught our breath - we realized no one probably understood a tired, manic word we'd said. But they were all so beautifully attendent. We met sisters Mary Elizabeth and Sara who shared with us thoughts on her most recent reading experience. You can view the clip here:
It was a great evening of storytelling, celebrating story and wrapping up this Great Southern Wing and a Prayer Tour. Tired. but too happy to care, we finally had to hush and let the good folks of Davis Kidd go home for the night and say goodbye.
We have too many favorite lines to post them all. We kept quoting the great literary line from The Tale of Two Cities - "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" as we pushed, pulled and lugged luggage state after state. But well worth every stop, turn, mile and smile along the way.
It will take months to process everything that we learned and that happened on this trip but we can pinpoint a couple of things that are worth sharing:
*Community bookstores are vital to the ongoing health of the gathering of people who love books. They are our town squares, our central outposts for civilized discussion, and a place where souls can find something in common - their love for the written word.
*Young people are reading everything and everywhere which gives us great hope that our idea of a book and a good story will live for a very long time.
* That in this age of blogging, facebooking, twittering and so on - and kudo's to social media for connecting and reconnecting so many of us - nothing will ever take the place of a little face to face grace.
And now the only great literary line that come to mind is . . .
"THAT'S ALL FOLKS!"
Thanks for staying so close to us as you followed along. We have loved sharing this evolving trip with you.
And now - On a Wing and a Prayer - we have to say goodnight. Please scroll down to see all the wonderful pictures of where we've traveled and the friends we've made along the way.
River and Shellie