Blue Monday

I have speculated several times in this column about whether or not I am undergoing a Smurf Month: that month when donations to the Book Fair get just a touch weirder than usual. I am no longer in doubt.

Maybe it was the spider made of two dinner forks. Maybe it was the second-hand electric toothbrush. Maybe it was the cat carrier filled with science fiction magazines. I don’t know what exactly gave me the confirmation I needed. But what put the seal on the deal was the arrival of books in a banana box,. The man who dropped this off—without so much as a wink or a nudge to acknowledge he knew how we feel about such things—followed it up with a lettuce box also filled with books.

But I had to forgive him for both of these things when he told me who was sending the books over to me. He worked for his local food pantry, and these books had been donated there, along with the boxes of elbow macaroni and cans of soup.

I see now that I’m going to have to add another line to the instructions page on the wesbite. “Do not give your books to the food pantry. Do not send your outdated cans of lima beans to the Newberry.”

Just for the record, we do not get a lot of food donations. A bottle of cinnamon once, and a box of chocolates another time…that’s about it. The chocolates came in from a couple making several trips, and on their second trip I mentioned the Godiva chocolates they had included in the first load.

“Oh,” said the young lady. “Oh, um…oh my. Those boxes of books were in storage for seven years.”

I did not put the box out for sale. I’m saving it as a presentation when just the right customer comes along,

But back to this month (which, thank goodness, is nearly over), I do kind of like the spider: the tines form the legs and the handles are folded over for the body. That person also sent us a rubber mallet, two hole punches, two carpenter’s clamps, and a small bottle of white touch-up paint sold by Ford. I might sell this as part of a set with two scale model Mercury NASCAR racers of a distant decade.

Someone brought me another little supply of books to go with the pop-up and activity books I’m selling this year. I already had a book which includes a four foot tall pop-up glow-in-the-dark alien, but now I have a punch out and assemble four foot tall human skeleton to go with it. If you’re just getting started now on your Halloween decorating plans, you could do worse than stop by and check the Book Fair. The touch-up white paint might come in handy for that as well.

Somebody called to say they had eight boxes of books and household items for me. As far as I know, we have never so much as hinted that I want any household items. Yes, sometimes you will see me selling coffee cups, but these are trinkets, knick-knacks, decorating items. It’s only a household item if it’s useful, and everybody I know drinks coffee out of cardboard. Starbucks may well bring about a civilization in which young people won’t even know what a coffee cup is for. (“You drank coffee out of these, Grandma? Where’s the lid?”)

But there’s a week left to go in June; we’ll see what else comes in. No, the toothbrush will not be for sale at the Book Fair. (Unless I look it over again and find that Smurfette has autographed it.)

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