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ALEXANDER AND LOGOS
4 April 2014
I had a big shock this afternoon. I heard from a friend, who was trying to get in touch with our friend from UC Berkeley, that he had died last July.
Ed Andrews, for whom Ned (Edward Andrew) was named, joined the Benedictine monks in St. Cloud, Minnesota. We flew to Minnesota for his ordination as Father Alexander, OSB in 1969, when Paul was just 4 months old.
We attended his first Mass and then never heard from him again, though I continued to send him Christmas messages each year.
Ed was a huge (literal and figurative) presence at the Newman Center in Berkeley and was a close friend, I thought. He studied Russian when he was at Berkeley and spoke some Russian. We learned to say "shumip shunitza" (that's my interpretation of how it sounds...it is, of course, written in Cyrillic script) which means "the grain is rustling," which he said was the most beautiful phrase in the Russian language.
He had blue eyes ("as blue as an Alaskan hitchhiker's thumb"), he often told us. He taught us that Shostakovich's 5th Symphony contained the tune to "How Dry I Am." We laughed a lot with him and then I had such a huge hurt when I wrote to him after Dave died and never heard back. I tried checking with someone at the abbey to find out if he had received my letter and was told that yes, he had. But he had no words of friendship, or of comfort, or even one of those prayer cards that you get when someone is having a Mass said for the repose of someone's soul. I am sorry that he is gone. It leaves a big hole in the world, but he left us 40 years ago.
BUT, today was Thursday, so it's time for "Today at Logos." I was shocked when I checked and found out that from the time the store opened that morning there had been three sales. Three. Total of $23.
It's the first part of the month, so we have had a turnover in artists on display. The new artist is Jeffrey Granett, whose exhibition is called "Translating Life to Paper." He explains that "the images are abstract; they don't portray the physical objects seen or situations experienced; they are a result of my living the events.
This one, for example, is called "Japanese Sketch #2" and is described as "The airplane arrives safely and on time. Our children, who are knowledgeable of Tokyo, are there waiting!"
My first customer was a woman with 5 books from the bargain table. As she paid, she was telling me how happy she was to get some Medal of Honor stamps at the post office, apparently newly released. She said she had served in the military from 1959-67 ("though not close to a medal of honor," she assured me!) I mentioned how Walt had been in the Air Force reserves and that he was one of the lucky ones who knew how to type and typists were in great demand. We talked about typing and how you don't really need it any more, but there was a long period of time when it really was a good idea to learn how to type.
A few customers came, some bought, some didn't. Then two men arrived with a big dog (Donner, they said his name was). He was a beautiful dog. They told me he was a rare red and white Irish setter. Donner seemed friendly, but nervous. He watched me carefully from behind the bookcases.
He finally started to come up to me, but when I looked at him, he growled quietly. I didn't look at him or try to touch him and he eventually came up and stuck his nose in my hands and let me pet him. Two girls who were looking through the fantasy section, eating their yogurt from the shop around the corner, started to walk toward him and jumped when he barked at them.
A tall guy came in and was browsing in the math section. Donner stared at him and just kept uttering this low growl the whole time. He never tried to do anything, he never barked, and the customer ignored him,but Donner wasn't going to take his eyes off of this guy for anything.
One of the two guys finally bought an art book and they left. I really like it when people bring their dogs into the store.
An older man, bent over trying to balance a stack of books, came in. I thought he had picked them up from the Bargain shelves outside, but he was leaving a donation.
An older guy in nice slacks and a dress shirt (no tie) came in. He didn't buy anything, but he was noteworthy because he was wearing athletic shoes with electric orange soles.
I saw a guy outside reading books from the bargain cart. He was a swarthy, muscular guy, who finally came inside with 3 books he picked off the carts...all three were romance novels.
One of our local columnists came in looking for Susan. This is the lady who has the job I wanted. She writes the equivalent of a blog entry a week. I started Funny the World hoping to be asked to do that. I have to admit, though, that she does it much better than I do, so I can't be bitter.
"My friend" arrived at 4:30. This time he bought two mysteries, one of which was a James Patterson book. We had a bit of a discussion about Patterson's writing style decline since he became a "corporation" with vastly inferior "co-authors." I did, however, read the first chapter of the book he found on the bargain shelves, "Private: #1 Suspect," and I ended up finding it cheap in a Kindle version and bought it. The first chapter gives hints of the "old Patterson." I've noticed that lately this guy has started to bring exact change so I don't have to make change for him, so I haven't screwed up his change in several weeks now.
We had a small rush of customers -- 5 at once! None of them bought anything, but 2 women were asking me what expenses the store had other than rent. They said they read about how much Logos donates to charity (Doctors without Borders and Save the Children -- they contributed $40,000 last year) and they thought the policy was marvelous.
The last couple who came in knocked the Open/Closed sign off the door and apologized profusely, very embarrassed, as they put it back on the door again. They bought two history books, one about Paris and one about China.
I didn't have a busy day, but I certainly had a busier day than Susan did earlier. And I got to meet a nice dog too!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Van Gogh book, week 3.
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