Saturday we held our annual party for customers and friends. This is always a wonderful gathering, with intriguing conversations going on in every corner of our home and book shop. In joining one of these conversations I learned that Bill, a long-time friend of ours, had just spent the day driving his grandson around to some of the historic and legendary sites in our local Finger Lakes region. His grandson Will had been especially excited to learn from his grandfather about the Burning Spring, a spot which has a natural gas fed fissure in the earth which produces a flame in a rocky creek area of the Bristol Hills. Long cherished by the native Seneca Indians, it also filled early explorers and settlers with awe.
Imagine my delight at being able to place in Bill’s hands a book published in 1947 titled The Burning Spring by Fynette Rowe, a charming novel based around that very place! He was so excited to take it home and read it, and plans to give it to his grandson for Christmas. It is priceless opportunities like these that make the book business a joyful experience.
Books on local history are often found hundreds or even thousands of miles from their subject area. While book scouting New Orleans in September, Ron and I visited a lovely old book shop called Beckham Books. While there I was fortunate to come across Once Upon A Lake, by Thelma Jones. This is a book on the early settlement of the Lake Minnetonka area of Minnesota where I grew up. It was signed by the author and in its original dustjacket, and priced at six dollars. I was thrilled! This book will also be a Christmas present this year for one of my family members back home in Minnesota.
TIP: When traveling out of state, keep your eyes peeled for books covering “local history” outside of the state you are visiting. Often you will have great luck, because these books often gather dust on the shelves for a long time before being discovered by a happy wanderer with an interest in the particular area they cover.