Today we went to one of those lovely small-town events where people dress as historical characters, there’s a religious choir, shaved ices, American flags, hot dogs, used books, and canoodling teenagers. Everybody sits in lawn chairs and makes jokes about horses that it takes me until the end of the event to understand.
What’s really great is that people now recognize me. The bibliophile gentleman who organizes church book sales comes out to share his most recent finds because he knows I’ll appreciate them. People who have been to my public talks wave. The town library guy is happy to see me and gives Klara free books. The grocery store lady comes up to ask why I never bring Klara to the store anymore and which kindergarten is she going. God knows, it’s not vanity that makes me want to be recognized. It’s a former unpopular kid’s need to belong.
And at sunset there’s this gigantic, completely orange, beautiful sun over our heads. I tried to take pictures but they came out as pale and boring as any retelling of an event like this.
It took me years to figure out the rhythm of American small-town life but now I’m completely addicted.