Friday, December 1, 2017

Holiday Cheer

I’ve sat at a small table in the Colony Blacksmith Shop on two recent occasions: Ag Days, and the first Weekend of Christmas Market. Those Bishop Hill events are also known as Jordsbruksdagarna and Julmarknad. No matter what you called them, or how you spell them, they were a treat to experience this year. Not for old time’s sake, but for the new.

My “new time” involves having that small table loaded with copies of my book and talking to people about it and Bishop Hill. It’s easier to talk about Bishop Hill first. Turns out, I have a lot of experience to share about living there and about working in the Blacksmith Shop. I loved pointing to the massive timbers overhead and describing how difficult it was to pound a nail into them. Modern nails are no match for age-hardened walnut. Fortunately, the Blacksmith Shop has been retrofitted with modern amenities on the inside leaving the outside still as it was in the mid-1800s. Adaptive reuse at its best.

The highlights of last weekend were:

First, talking to the people who were totally new to Bishop Hill. It was their first trip and I got to plug the Olof Krans paintings. That’s a natural, since they are a vital part of the plot for my mystery. I directed the newbies down the street to the world’s largest collection. Hope they got there.

Second, listening to the young woman from Kewanee who made it a point to buy books written by local authors. Love her.

Third, the big guy who walked by and said over his shoulder, “You wrote a good book.” Simple, direct, and now etched into my memory.

I’ll be at the Blacksmith Shop for this Saturday’s round two of Christmas Market. It will be my last time this year.

I’ve always liked St. Lucia Nights, but the drive back to Iowa in the dark is just too daunting for me these days. Deer and headlight glare are obstacles I’d rather not take on. Which is too bad, because the village takes on a lovely glow in the dark. With a touch of snow and no wind it becomes the perfect event. But do dress warm.



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