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What fun a few delayed flights can create! Katie, my daughter Chelsea’s friend from college, visited us over New Years.  In addition to putting 900 miles on June Bug, Chelsea’s Beetle, adorned with her seasonal Rudolph antlers and red nose, New Years dance party in an alcohol free zone with our awesome friends/business partners, a Hell On Wheels marathon via Netflix, college football (GBR!), a maniacal game of Cranium and too much sugar for New Years Day, we got to spend a wonderfully eclectic sixty minutes at Jackson Street Booksellers (look ’em up) in Omaha.

You see 4,000 delayed or canceled flights at O’Hare has a backlash even to our very remote neck of the woods. We won’t talk about when Katie is actually going to arrive home in Houston. Instead let’s review several tidbits I experienced while browsing Jackson Street Booksellers.
On entering JSB, one’s eyes fall upon a cramped little business area (we won’t call it a desk) populated by a very academic looking couple (no idea whether they actually are a couple…or academic) in large dark rimmed spectacles, comfortable sweaters, jeans and running shoes. The desk, if indeed there is one, is obscured from view by papers, an elderly computer monitor and of course stacks of books. If you listen carefully, you hear Bluegrass music emanating from somewhere in the dense mass. I found that a bit unexpected but quite interesting.
The feast for my senses now extended to the ever present and wonnnnnnderful smell of old books, books on shelves reaching well past the height of most ceilings to the overhead duct-work and other building works such as the ancient semi-circular tracks that once guided fifteen foot tall freight doors open and shut, though they hang above a solid wall now. This is, after all, the “Old Market” district of Omaha, now once again thriving with shops and eateries, the whole of which you won’t likely be able to take in with just one visit — even if your flight is delayed for half a day. Seriously, JSB required an hour just for a cursory look about. Let’s get back to the books. Picture 12 to 14 foot high shelves, reaching, I’ll wager, half a block to the back, where tiny curtained store rooms held, yes more books… and two 1930ish store-widths accross.  But don’t kid yourself, the shelves can’t hold ALL of the books.They lie in stacks in every imaginable nook and cranny. Amongst them, in one alcove, a laptop (newer than the desktop model seen back in the business area) sat perched atop a 3 foot stack on a table, where someone was apparently called away from either inventory or research.
Before I share my personal favorite thing of the day, let’s listen in on several entertaining snippets of conversation:
Patron 1: Do you know where your language section is? Storekeeper: Yes. What language? (pointing and heading in a general direction). Patron: Ancient Greek and Latin. Storekeeper: (Abruptly stopping and reversing his direction of travel) Oh, that would be over this way actually.
Experienced patron 2 to newbie patron 3:  …take a left at Psychology.
Storekeeper to Patron 4:  …they’re alphabetical by author so…
Interesting book title: “How to Write a Sentence, and Read One.” (Chelsea had to buy that one.)
Patron 5: Do you have “My Life With a Parrot?” Storekeeper: I don’t know, do you know what it is? Patron: Yeah, it’s a story about a woman who had a parrot that then took her as a mate.  Storekeeper: Mmm I think we would put that somewhere over this way if we had it.
Patron 6: Do you sell maps? Storekeeper: No
Storekeeper to Patron 7:  …there might be some Alice in Wonderlands up here.
I also enjoyed the sign-age inside and outside the tiny restroom, found by asking, then winding your way through one of the store-rooms. The restroom, once located, is found to contain random movie memorabilia and (wait for it) more books.
Handwritten sign on outside of restroom door: “This door doesn’t lock…or really even close very well. So please knock!”
Sign on inside of restroom door: Options if you get locked in here (apparently from another time when the door actually did lock, sometimes unexpectedly and without remedy) “1. call us on your cell phone, 2. call a friend on your cell phone if they’re in or near the store, 3. wait.” OK, I paraphrased that last bit because I was in a hurry to get back to the books; but it really did list options and one option really was “Call us on your cell phone”.
I must tell you that the highlight of my browsing at JSB today was a book called “Horse, Follow Closely, Native American Horsemanship” by Gawani Pony Boy with photographs by Gabrielle Boiselle. Inside, a gem of a quote from another era seemed to sum up our day of musings before Katie’s plane ride. “Certain small ways and observances sometimes have connection with large and more profound ideas.” ~ Standing Bear
July 2018
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