On the 31st we met for lunch at the cafe inside Books, Inc – one of the last three independently owned bookstores in town. They’re closing, and we wanted to see it one last time. This is the Science Fiction and Fantasy room, where I have bought many a book and spent many an hour knitting (our Sunday Stitch ‘n’ Bitch used to meet there). The owners, Phil and Anne, are old family friends…. so it’s a bittersweet closing. I’m happy for them that they’re able to retire, and I know they’d been looking to sell for a number of years. The sad part is that they *had* been trying to sell for a number of years, and the economy is so messed up that in spite of many offers, nobody who offered to buy it could get a loan. It’s a beautiful old building (formerly Sabine’s Music, for you old Gainesvillians) and I wonder what will happen to it…. will something else go in? Will it sit abandoned for years? Sigh.
Then of course later that night was the HaldeParty, which may have been the biggest one we’d ever had. At one point Aunt Gay counted 49 people, and 50 is the most there’s ever been. The mood, in spite of the losses we’ve had this year, was not as somber as it could have been. It was much more a celebration of life – which, what with three big losses this year, is saying something. It would be easy to wallow in loss. Instead, there was much laughter, live music, hugging, and great stories. And the most epic fire juggling we’ve had yet! I’ll have photos up later this week.
Breakfast the next morning got off to a slow start but soon there were so many people that we were rotating at the dining room table — as soon as someone new came in the house, someone who’d already eaten would get up to go sit in the living room to make room at the table. We had more live music, more juggling, and much more laughter and good times. If the rest of the year could be like yesterday, full of great food and quality time with loved ones, I will want for nothing else.