Tonight was a book signing at the St. Louis County Library for Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, promoting their book "Peter and the Shadow Thieves". The event was the library's second annual Family Reading Night. I have to say, it was a huge success for them.
Dave and Ridley have been traveling around the United States for the past month on this book tour and tonight was the last signing before heading home. As feeble memory serves, I believe St. Louis was the finale for last year's tour as well. Maybe it's because Ridley lives in the area.
I was running horribly late due to work constraints, but my good friend Judy went to save me a seat. Fellow DB bloglit, Sharon, was also there. I told Judy to look for her; then while I was talking to Sharon to tell her I was running late, I heard Judy's voice asking if she would be Sharon. We discussed logistics, hung up.
I quickly called Sharon back. "Judy just got back from Ireland, you just got back from England. Discuss."
With the two of them being so shy and introverted, I thought they could use a little conversation-helper from me.
Another friend of mine, Kathy, was supposed to be there also. But I received a text message from her that she was still sitting in the airport at Midway waiting to get home from a business trip; and they quit giving them departure times.
Anyway, after breaking several landspeed records and a few traffic laws, I got there and found a "create your own parking spot".
As I walked in, I thought I was at some sort of medical convention, or a meeting of the People Who Are Very Afraid of Pandemics. There were giant posters of Germ-X everywhere. I daresay, there were more posters of them than there were of the book. This particular book signing had sponsors. A number of them. Germ-X, Commerce Bank, Mont Blanc, and Plaza Frontenac.
The Bank was nice enough to give out $100 savings bonds. Of course, you had to be between the ages of 10 and 18 and be one of the three to have written an award winning review of Peter and the Shadow Thieves.
Germ-X gave us all Germs. OK, not really. They gave us all complimentary bottles of their product and a pencil.
Yeah, I didn't understand the pencil, either.
At the end of their reading, the Mont Blanc guy said he would like to present Dave and Ridley with a little something. Then he fumbled around for a few seconds before Dave said "Then do it!" Of course, they received pens. You'd think they would have recieved Mont Blancs, wouldn't you. Don't know how those Bics got in there.
I don't think any of the other signings had a master of ceremonies, but ours was Julius Hunter; a local celebrity. As he was talking away, I noticed Sharon giving him a puzzled look. I asked her if she knew him and she admitted she didn't. I told her that he had been a news anchor for several decades and now is VP of Community Relations of St. Louis University, and an all around ambassador of goodwill for St. Louis. The picture I took of him tonight is really bad and I have too much respect for him to post that one, so I'll link to one on the internet:
He warmed up the already warm crowd with some "it's so hot in St. Louis how hot is it jokes."
OK, I'll admit it. It wasn't his best material.
Then the boys came out. Trust me, the photo I took of Julius was worse than the one I got of Dave and Ridley.
Even though they've been strumpetting for the past few weeks, they were as sharp, fresh and witty as though this was their first event of the tour. It appeared as though Dave had recently had his hair cut, and I didn't recognize his shirt at all.
There was a huge crowd; with a substantial number of kids. The crowd was large enough that they had an "overflow" room set up with a screen to watch the reading via video feed. If it hadn't been for Judy and Sharon, I would have been in that room with the other outcasts.
Dave did get booed (slightly) at one point when he ventured into sacred territory. He dissed the Cardinals. He mentioned that their band, Rock Bottom Remainders, had played in St. Louis at The Pageant. He went on to say that a number of us may not remember that as that was when we were in the World Series. "Too bad no one told your team that," he observed.
OK, so it's true, but HEY!
Accompanying me to the signing, of course, was the giant Leetiehead.
I had hoped to get her ironed out, botoxed or something; but that didn't happen. I did raise her up in the air a few times, but not much. There were a number of kids behind us, and I didn't want to block their view. The kids there were really excited and had some wonderful questions for the guys. Each one asking a question received a Peter and the Shadow Thieves tattoo.
Then it was over and time to wait for our numbers to be called to the Signing Room. Judy told me that beforehand, she had gone up to the podium and had left a note "Today is slyeyes' birthday", and knows that Ridley saw it. But she figured they had their patter down and didn't deviate from it.
Quick sidenote about Judy. Several years ago, I was going to a Cardinal game with Jenni and a number of my friends. Jenni asked if we were going because it was my birthday. I told her no one knew that it was, and I didn't particularly want them to know. Jenni blabbed and when I joined everyone at the game, they had banners for me. Then Judy took me by the hand and had me stand in front of our section. She yelled out "This is the woman with the birthday!" and they all broke into song "Happy Birthday" just like she had prepped them.
Then there was my 50th birthday cruise that I went on with my sister and a couple of friends. Judy got the entire Lido deck to sing to me.
I gotta learn not to hang with her on my birthday.
Anyway, she had to leave, so Sharon and I sat down to wait and to get acquainted. We were soon joined by other bloglits who recognized the Giant Leetiehead.
These are Sharon, Ramona/Ramada/Romanda -- she said to pronounce it like "Ramada"; her granddaughter, Britney, and Novanglus. Ramada isn't a DB bloglit, she knows Ridley's family. She and I recognized each other from last year's signing where we had struck up a conversation.
Another bloglit, lind, came by and recognized the Leetiehead and chatted with us for a bit.
After our number was called and we went to stand in the Great Line of Those Hoping To Meet Dave and Ridley, a woman walked by and then came to a screeching halt. "I know her" she said, pointing to Leetie. "Who are you all?" Sharon and I introduced ourselves and she recognized our names. She's Mary, a writer for the local paper, and a reader on the blog, though she rarely comments. We exchanged business cards and promised to get in touch. Her young son walked up (10 or so) and she said "This is slyeyes." He perked up and said "You do the "24 thing?" I said that I was one of the bloglits who comment on that thread. He said "Cool!"
I'll admit it, that was neat.
A young lady whose job title was "The Person To Keep Things Running Smoothly" came by with a pen and post it notes. She asked us if we wanted our books personalized and how. I handed one to her and said it was to be made out to "slyeyes from the blog".
She rolled her eyes.
Several minutes later...........(drumroll).....we entered THE ROOM. The Signing Room. The room in which the signing was to be done. The room full of Germ-X posters, a multitude of actual bottles of Germ-X and a couple of glossy 8 x 10's of Peter and the Shadow Thieves.
As we got closer, Dave looked up and exclaimed, "The Leetiehead is here!" We discussed how the Leetiehead doesn't travel well, and Then he looked back and forth between Sharon and I and asked "Which one is slyeyes?" I owned up to it.
He stood up, threw his arms wide and said "Happy Birthday!" And gave me a big hug.
And a kiss.
OK, it was a chaste little kiss on the cheek, but still.
And through it all, I could hear Sharon say "and we're not getting a picture of this."
And even though the program for the evening said NO POSING WITH THE AUTHORS, we posed with the authors and had our picture taken. The pirate paraphernalia was courtesy of Novanglus.
Sharon and I walked out into the steamy muggy night, said goodbye and promised to stay in touch (and we will).
Then I called everyone I knew and told them Dave kissed me.
And Kathy is still on the ground in Chicago.