Thursday, December 8, 2016

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: Candy Canes and Irish Vampires

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Candy Canes and Irish Vampires

Yes, Ed Calkins, Steward of Tara, dressed in an Old World Father Christmasy hat and carrying a bucket of candy canes, was already making his jolly rounds when I, huge mug of coffee in MY hand, arrived at the distribution center at one o'clock this morning.

It's been over a year since Ed last worked at this particular location and just several months since I've stopped delivering newspapers, yet the return was a joyful one for both, especially me, since I'm still in withdrawel. I have these moments, suppressed, of course, where I want to ride around at night--windows down and radio cranked up--throwing things (ideally newspapers) out of windows.

Ed and rival supervisor Dan resumed their plans to take over certain countries with insulting limericks, and one female carrier entered to the loud cry from Ed she (mistakenly) assumed she'd never hear again: "All, hail, Audrey the Magnificent!"

Of course, Ed showed the proper respect by virtue of his former nickname for me (Newspaper Goddess), by genuflecting, head bowed, to offer me a candy, the very pose assumed every day when he brought me my route book.

Now, having immortalized him and all, my nickname is Mistress of Immortality or MOM. Yes, I know it doesn't match, but Ed is horribly dyslexic, so it works for him. FYI: Any blog postings he sends are thoroughly edited by me, keeping in mind my copyediting skills are less than stellar.

Saturdays are a notoriously slow day. Carriers, the ones that still run on Saturdays, arrive late and leave late. Ed still had to drive an hour back to HIS distribution center to run a route. Still, I sold, and he signed, a few books. To catch the attention of sleepy carriers pushing grocery carts full of inserts back to their tables, Ed would stop them and point to his picture on page one hundred and ninety-three.

Periodically, he would stop, grinning, and excitedly say, "We're really doing this. Remember when we only talked about signing books at the center?" Before I could do more than smile and nod, Ed was showing a carrier where his name appeared in Bryony, then add the exhortation to look for the parade in his honor some thousand years hence.

I chatted to a couple of carriers who were a little envious--in a good way--of my having completed an entire book. One, a musician, is writing his autobiography, but got stuck one hundred and fifty-five pages into it. The other, a former Chicago teacher, has an idea for a screen play, but can't get the words out.

Both marveled how I, with homeschooled kids, other writing assignments, and throwing papers at night, managed to write an entire book. I told them my lap goes with me everywhere I go.

"Oh, so you wrote it all the computer?"

Well, yes, eventually. I also wrote bursts of inspiration on backs of old envelopes, margins of books, and myriads of tiny notebooks, really any form of paper within reach. I also had to utilize random bits of time, which is the way I really dislike to write, but when it's the only available time...well, that's when you have to stay true to your goals.

Ed then told me a story about how is granddaughter is beginning to not believe he is REALLY Santa Claus and wondering if his credibility will be shot if he tells her Santa is also a vampire.

"Especially the first Irish vampire," Ed said.

One of the supervisors, who is generally quiet and whom I did not expect to wander near our make-shift work station book "store," spent some time flipping through the Bryony, noting the research, and asking me how long it took me to compose it.

Even better, he made a couple allusions to the distribution center being "one of the seven levels of hell." Later, he referenced something back to "the library of Alexandria." Now my curious was piqued, and I hope an opportunity for conversation with him the next time I bring my teens down to stuff inserts. There's so much more to people than meets the eye, right?

And yes, he bought a book.

Ed took five back with him for family Christmas gifts this weekend and is coming back for twenty more next week. These will be a huge surprise, he said. Although he's told everyone in his large extended family that he is in a book, when you identify yourself as a ruthless dictator and create Celtic myths about yourself, your family tends to dismiss your other claims.

I jubilantly waved a book before him. "And now you have the proof."

He laughed. "Yes, now I have the proof!"

At three-thirty, Ed packed it up, worried about making HIS deadline, then paused.

"Can I hug you?" he asked.

LOL! Why, of course! Merry Christmas, O Ye Steward of Tara!

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