The weather report for Philadelphia, PA on December 12th promised a partly sunny sky, brisk and chilly. Whew, I thought. With all the rain going on of late, I'm glad that we'll have a good day for the booksigning.
By December 14th, the long range forecast still promised a bit of sun, turning to clouds for the 19th. All was going to be right for the 19th, my booksigning. The 19th was when I was going to have my first booksigning for "The Gatekeeper, a Novel by C. Alease." My wonderful hairstylist, Charlie Trendi, of the Charlie Trendi Salon and Spa of Philadelphia, (a gratuitous plug), had offered to present my novel at her salon. Hmmm, what a neat idea, a real "Trail Blazing Idea." Why not start a "Salon Circuit." The thought of traversing the salons in the area began to sound like something that would be great fun.
By December 16th, there suddenly became news of a "Nor-easter," a big one, one that was going to start swinging and wasn't going to stop on the 18th. This snow storm was going to cut across the south from the north, then to the east, and then force it's might back up north, huge, white, wet, cold and clammy, swinging through the cold wind wildly to open-hand slap me right across the booksigning on the 19th.
The snow began to fall in earnest late Friday night, the 18th. Charlie said that the booksigning was still on when I left with my perfectly coifed hair from her salon. On the radio while driving home, the weather report stated that they had issued a severe storm warning -- not a "watch" which means "maybe," but a warning, which means inevitable. Oh, Oh, I thought, nervously.
When I awoke, the TV was on, and the news was all a buzz about the "snow storm." Vivid pictures of cars crashing, slipping and sliding, and interviews with the brave but seemingly not so sensible people who were out in the four inches of snow that had already blanketed the ground, with no chance of letting up until Sunday morning. The first wave was going to drop about 4-6 inches, and the second wave was supposed to drop an additional 6. Crap. No chance of having the booksigning now. I said to my husband after receiving a text message from Charlie to her customers announcing that she was closing the salon due to "inclement weather." I texted the question that I thought for sure she was going to answer with a "are you (expletive intended but not added) kidding?" But I got no answer; no answer for about two hours. When I did, the message read, "Yes, honey, we are on."
And so we were. I got excited again. My husband thought I had truly gone insane; nevertheless, he got dressed as I got dressed and we prepared to leave. We were about to be among the few, the brave, and perhaps not so sensible people out in the Blizzard of 2009, because I was having my first book signing. I really liked the sound of that. Even more, I liked the thought of anybody at all braving the storm to visit and maybe even purchase my book, and perhaps listen as I read some of it.
And they came. Not in throngs, hordes or swarms, but in modestly, little bits, and few. The lady who gets her hair done every two weeks, "damn the weather." The friend who drove from about two hours away. Another person who lived just around the corner. Two ladies who happened to hear me reading. They bought and I signed, and we had laughs and we hugged. And then another, and still another came. The lady who bought three books for gifts, and the one who bought two for the same reason, and decided to gift herself. Then the stylists themselves decided to purchase the book. And we took pictures, and we laughed and we hugged. Before long, it was difficult to see the Rite Aid sign across the street because of the snowy blanket that had covered it. The last person called the salon. "Hey is the booksigning still going on? I really wanted to get my book signed." So we stayed and ate the veggies and fruit from the fruit bowl, and some of the visitors drank the wine that Charlie had so graciously set out for their pleasure. We waited and then she ran in, cold, wet, and laughing. "I told you I wouldn't miss this for the world." she said to Charlie. Then she offered to host a "book signing party" at her home for me. "Another novel idea (no pun intended), book signing parties in homes."
I was honored by each and every one of the people who were there. Honored by their Fortitude. When my husband returned to pick me up for the drive back home, and I slipped in the snow into his arms, I smiled, winked at him and proclaimed, "WHAT BLIZZARD!"
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