Posted tagged ‘book stores and signings’

Reed’s Bookstore Tupelo Mississippi

October 1, 2008

        Smitty and I played golf on my visit to Saltillo (I’m gonna post on that soon- a very spirited match it was) and after the round he told me about Reed’s Book Store in Tupelo.  He said it was the happening place where all the writers want to do a book signing.  I dropped back by the Jameson and checked my e-mail in the lobby.  The lady at the desk and I got to talking and she mentioned Reed’s also, so I decided it was a must.  Like Jerry Clower says, if you hear it twice, it’s scripture. I always liked Clower anyway, and I figure in Mississippi you better pay extra attention to Jerry.  He was pretty well known in those parts.

        Reed’s is not hard to find.  It’s right across the street from Tupelo Hardware, where Elvis’s mom bought his first guitar.  We walked in the Reed’s clothing store, and a man came right up to ask if he could help you.  His name was Rush, and he’d been there forty-five years.  I figure he can size up a man for a suit from thirty paces.  My guess is downtown Tupelo has not changed much over the years, and I like that.  He directed us to the bookstore just around the corner.

        Just like the clothing store, right away a lady named Susan asked how she could help.  We got a camper’s travel guide we’d been looking for, and talked books for a while.  I told her about my blog, and all my dreams of how I hoped to get my book published someday.  She said John Grisham’s first one was self-published, and that Reed’s carried it and had him do a book signing.  To this day, he still comes back to Tupelo for signings when he has a new release.  I  noticed a stack of his signature editions on a table.

        Ms. Susan mentioned that independent book stores were a tough business these days, and the support of a man like Grisham was beyond helpful to them.

        “You know Ms. Susan, I’ve read most of Mr. Grisham’s books.  Of course I don’t know him, but I have to tell you I admire loyalty in a man.  It sounds like Mr. Grisham believes in Sam Snead’s old saying- ‘Dance with who brung ya.”

        “Oh yes.  He is a very fine man.”

        “Well, Ms. Susan, I’ll never be like Grisham, and I’ll be lucky to get one book to see light of published day.  But I can promise you this.  If I get a book out there and there is one human being in the world who wants me to sign it, I’d love to do it here.  If y’all let me, I’ll never forget ya.  I might not be Grisham, but I do know to dance with who brung me.”

       She looked me right in the eye.  “Dr. B, we’d be proud to have you come.”

        At my age, a man’s gotta have his dreams, and Ms. Susan understood that.  I got out my mandolin and played a few bars of ‘The Kentucky Waltz.’  She’d made my day, the least I could do was play the lady a tune.

        We went back to the Jameson and got ready to check out.  I had promised Mark, the manager, I’d play him one tune on the mandolin, so I pulled it out of the case in the lobby and rendered ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus” to the best of my ability.  Soon a crowd gathered, and a young lady named April from housekeeping asked if I knew ‘Glory Hallelujah, Gonna Lay My Burdens Down.”  I kicked it off in ‘D’ and she flat belted it out.  I sang the harmony part with her on the second go round.  It was great stuff.

        Mark knew we were on the way to Memphis and recommended we stop in Oxford on the way.  He said it was the perfect modern southern town- not too big, not to small, literary minded, great book stores, and perhaps most important, had made the transition to the New South.  I recalled my agent had said to go there, too.  Hm, like Jerry Clower says, if you hear it twice, it’s scripture.  We plugged Oxford into the GPS, shook hands with brother Mark and lit out for Ole Miss and Oxford.

Dr. B