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Not sure why I stashed this in the drafts pile for several months, but setting up some book signings in the hinterlands for Insiders\’ Guide to Richmond, I was reminded of the autumn Sunday I spent out in Short Pump at the B & N there doing a book-signing. We will not go into the reasons someone would do book-signings for a book that doesn’t make her a dime when it sells.  I have ’em. Some of them are unselfish and boosterish;  some of them are selfish, or at least Real Richmond-ish. At any rate, I like talking all things Richmond with people.

The first half of my couple of hour stint was great–a writer friend I don’t see often enough showed up with her daughter to buy a book, James River Park lovers chatted with me about our website and the license plate, and I met a couple of exceedingly pleasant families who were visiting or had just recently moved to the area.  A perfectly great book-signing, by all accounts.

But then the clock chimed and the wind changed and the cafe ran out of caffeine or something and suddenly everyone who walked by sneered or coughed on me or used my table as their trash can–ouch. No one had heard of the James River Park.  Not sure they had heard of Richmond. This crowd couldn’t imagine doing anything on a lovely Sunday but driving around to stores to shop in high heels for more high heels and buy magazines with women wearing even higher heels.  It was depressing. It doesn’t hurt my feelings if people don’t buy my book, but if you don’t like being outside, I don’t know what to say.

Thank goodness, at my lowest point a knight in shiny leather walked through the door and winked at me. Never seen him before in my life, but he turned out to be the highlight of the day.  An older cool dude decked out all in biker black, he was wandering around with his family. I asked him if he spent time in the James River Park and he told me he used to date someone who is now married to someone that all of Richmond’s park lovers know and love.  That was a hoot enough and then I introduced myself and he said he was Ronnie Soffee. My jaw dropped. I had just finished reading his niece’s, Anne Thomas Soffee’s two books, Nerd Girl Rocks Paradise City and Snake Hips: Belly Dancing and How I Found True Love  and this very Uncle Ronnie whose hand I was shaking had shown up at crucial times in the books.  He has a way of doing that. He’s a legend, and I was tickled to be having a quintessential Richmond experience of making twelve intertwining connections with someone who had been a perfect stranger three seconds before…and in very un-Richmond Short Pump.  Thanks for saving the day, Ronnie!

I’m back!



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