Thursday, February 01, 2007

Harry Potter, Moonshine, and the First Day of the Rest of My Life

The Boss Lady emailed me this morning about how it was only appropriate that the Harry Potter released date should be announced after we’d finished closing the store. Hell to the Yeah.

(For those of you who have not yet heard the date is July 21st, 2007 and if I’m not doing the Denver publishing school thing y’all are welcome to join me in a local bar to do shots. If you’re not at home reading the book, that is.)

In honor of that alcoholism-inducing occasion it seems only right that I finished my last day of work yesterday by trying some real, honest-to-god, they’ve-been-making-it-since-the-prohibition moonshine.

Flavored moonshine to be exact. In mason jars. Provided by one Jr. Johnson.

Well, Jr.’s grandpappy to be exact. It being a family tradition and all.

Two things I learned about moonshine that I hadn’t previously realized:

1.) real artists create it in oak barrels.

2.) and if done right, it is smoother than the highest grade tequila.

After much sampling it was decided that while the plum moonshine had the best flavor, the crabapple moonshine was not as sweet and therefore had a more interesting taste to the pallet.

Maybe I’ll go down South and learn the moonshining tradition from Jr.’s grandpappy. If only so I can discover where gets all the mismatched mason jars.

The last day of work was rather anticlimactic; just the Boss and I cleaning up the last of the trash, carting the various things we’d left at the store over the years out to our car, and giving the store one last cleaning. I wiped down the bathroom and she swept under the shelves. We collected the bits and pieces of things that people had left behind: D’s shoes, M’s CDs, A’s soup. Piled them all into a basket to take to the “wrap” party we’re having at a local pub on Saturday.

The shelves were empty—stripped of books and stickers—and when it was all said and done we sent seven pallets of books back to the warehouse and stripped 3,300ish paperbacks. Not that many books really. People were very frenzied in their buying in the end, bringing piles of books to the counter, easily dropping over $100 with each purchase and then coming back for more.

Irony is that because of this frenzied final sale, we made the year and then some. Closing all these stores might actually give corporate the little boost at the end of the fiscal year that it needs.

I have lots of stories to tell: the ones that made me roll my eyes at people’s stupidity, the funny incidents, the goodbyes that made me cry. And I’m sure I’ll tell them eventually (whether you want me to or not), but just not today.

Today is the first day of my unemployment. The first day of not being a bookseller in every sense of the word. The (clichéd) first day of the rest of my life.

And it started with a very nice cup of coffee, absolutely no remnants of a moonshine hangover, and you guys.

I think it started pretty well.


meardaba said...

Thanks for sharing it with us!

Robin Brande said...

BSC, I'm not sad for you because I know this is just a transition to the next great phase of your life. As I've said before, someone with your intelligence and wit will be sought after and valued. It's easy to lead a smaller, more comfortable life, but sometimes you have to stretch out and do something bigger for your own sake and the rest of the reading/writing world.

So now you get to set an example of what it's like to get booted out of safety into the wild unknown, which will actually turn out to provide a kind of freedom you haven't had. Be bold, be brave, and go out and do your next big thing.

Everyone here wishes you such good things it's not even funny.

Robin L. said...

Oh, that's so sad! I hate goodbyes, even if great things come later. I really hope that the publishing program works out for you. It sounds like a wonderful plan!


Robin L. said...

Oh, that's so sad! I hate goodbyes, even if great things come later. I really hope that the publishing program works out for you. It sounds like a wonderful plan!


tresorbleu said...

BookstripperChick...Boss Lady again

lady t said...

See how lucky you are not to be working at a bookstore right now? Imagine all those other poor souls being deluged with HP requests of all sorts as we speak"Will it be in paperback? Can I have it send to my grandson overnight for his birthday next month? How long will it take to reach my child at camp?"
You're so lucky to be avoiding this:D!

Keep us posted,BSC-we're all rooting for you!

Eileen said...

I join with everyone else's good wishes and confidence that you go from here to better things.

Marta said...

MoonshineChick...that works for me. I hope you will take a few days to sleep in, hang out, watch movies, listen to fave songs, and drink coffee without getting interupted by customers.

And when you're ready to start your new career, please tell us.

Anonymous said...

Moon Shiner Chick, yeah I like it too!
Best of life to you! It'll be a new adventure, sure, but new is nice!

Christine Fletcher said...

When I left my job in TN, my boss gave me a Mason jar of oak-aged moonshine. Talk about smooth. We made that puppy stretch for years--special occasions only--and I still miss it.

Best going-away gift I ever got. Not a bad way to start the rest of your life.

BuffySquirrel said...

When one door closes, another one opens. Or so I've heard. Must be something to do with air pressure.

RandomRanter said...

Let yourself be a little sad. Let yourself enjoy the lack of schedule for a day or seven. And know, that as many have said, it will all work out because you are wonderful so how could it not?

B.N. Guffey said...

Good luck with the unemployment/job hunt/next phase thing! I really enjoy reading you. BTW, real moonshine ain't aged in no stinkin' barrel. It goes straight from the still into the mason jar. Fruit flavored? There are old dead 'shiners rolling over in their graves right now... ;)

quiche said...

I hope this won't be the last post. Even if you are not officially a bookselling chick I hope you will keep up the blog or start a new one. THere's too many of us who look forward to each new day to see what you've written. To take it away from us would be cruel and there could be anti-social repercussions.

According to my grandfather, well made 'shine is smooth and shouldn't leave you with a hangover the way beer or cheap booze does. He would also agree with B.N. that fruit has no place in real moonshine. Not the Okie kind anyway.

raine said...

Wishing you well with your new beginning.
Not worried for you--you'll be fine. :-)

But it still saddens me to hear of bookstore closings.