And some days are good days.
Yesterday morning I invited Mom to a book signing at our Huntsville Public Library, one of her favorite haunts, and she agreed to go. My usual problem was back-to-back meetings. We would have to attend the Outlook Reading Club meeting at four o’clock first–before the book signing at 5, making it a two or three hour stint with both gatherings. I was worried if she would make it.
I arrived at 3:15 to see if Mom was dressed and ready to go. Nope, she’d forgotten. She was in bed reading Reacher, even though she said her eyes had gotten too tired yesterday to read. When I reminded her of the meetings, she leaped (well, a very slow leap) from the bed and began to dress.
Concerned over appearances (I really should relax over her clothes) I recommended black pants and her white blouse. Black pants were okay, but she chose a navy blue long-sleeve sweater not realizing it was navy and not black. I think her white blouse is still spotted from our previous outing to the museums, so it would have been unwearable anyway.
If it is possible for a 96 year-old to hurry, she did. She got her pants on, fought her way into her sweater and I zipped it up the back. I pulled her shoes on, and helped her into her black jacket. Navy and black are close enough. I brushed her bed-head hair, offering to spit on my fingers to smooth it down as she used to when she was combing our hair before church when we were kids.
Thank goodness for Handicap Parking hang tags. We parked in the underground parking of the bank building where the meeting was to be held and made it up to the Outlook meeting with plenty of time. I had offered the wheel chair, but she insisted on her two canes, stumping along with stubborn determination. The ladies were gracious as always in welcoming her.
Fortunately, Beth Williamson, one of her dear friends from their Unitarian church, is a member of the club. She and Mom hadn’t seen each other in more than a year, so they had a very happy reunion. Beth is to speak next week, and Mom is now interested in attending again. I will have to get permission for Mom to come next time.
We raced (okay, not really) from the Outlook meeting four blocks down the street to the library. Thank goodness Huntsville is small and convenient and everything is close by. Mom, insisting she could take care of herself, stumped her way inside. Fortunately, she knows the library well, so while she made her way into the Conference room, I hauled books in and set up the book-signing table.
I was one of eight local authors signing books that evening for the Friends of the Library. Mom took a seat at my table to officiate over book sales, wheezing and gasping like a steam locomotive after her hike in from the car. She is used to breathing like that, but it scares the wham out of me. We’ve checked with the doctors and they just shrug.
Once settled, Mom got to hob-nob with the people that came up to the table to introduce themselves. She even sold the first book and then drank punch and munched cookies like a chipmunk with fall acorns. Thank goodness for having her at the table. I was able to talk to buyers, work the room and sign books while she held down the fort. She even got to see her very favorite friend, Richard, who takes her to church on Sundays, when she has the energy to go.
The signing, thank goodness, was over by six thirty. We are not talking lines and lines of people waiting to buy our books, but we did very well considering the Huntsville crowd of about fifty. We sold out of my De León book and made good money on the other books. As we packed up, a colleague from the university and fellow author invited us to the Olive Garden for dinner. That was more partying than Mom could take. She was more than ready to go home. And so was I. We got home and she happily collapsed into her chair.
Good sales, a great outing, meeting friends, and minimal wear and tear on Mom. I bet she sleeps good tomorrow.