Friday, December 18, 2015

Bishop Hill Book Signing

Saint Lucia’s Day is celebrated throughout Scandinavian countries as a festival of light. Likewise, in Bishop Hill you’ll find sidewalks lined with hundreds of luminaria, votives set out in simple bags, and windows aglow with still more candles, some real, on the Friday and Saturday nights closest to Dec. 13th.

I was there this year as chauffeur and helper for Lilly Setterdahl. She held a book signing in Bishop Hill’s new Welcome Center for her 19th book, Second Love After 50.

We had perfect weather, as in no snow, for our afternoon. Lilly spent two hours talking to people and selling her new book as well as copies of her other books. I walked the streets visiting old friends and trying to take in all the “new” the village had to offer.

Lilly and I couldn’t stay for the evening’s light show; we had to get back to the Quad Cities. I had to be content with my memories of years past when I spent many chilly hours in the Blacksmith Shop stoking the wood-burning stoves, eating cookies, and drinking the spiced cider. (I would occasionally try some homemade glögg just to see how much pain I could endure.)

From age 9 on my boys and their friends had the run of the village when they weren’t in service as Tomtes and St. Lucia girls. They were free ranging before we had that term.

I dropped Lilly and her gear off in East Moline and had a lot to think about as I made my way across the river to Davenport. I passed a lot of houses decorated for the season, some quite lavishly, but none had the lovely warm glow of the hundreds of candles that filled my memory.

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