In the book business, it's a tricky thing to stage successful autograph sessions with authors and illustrators. We had some good ones in my time, but other times when I sat and visited with the dignitary just because there were few people there to get books signed. It's even happened with some well-known people. Rosemary Wells, who is about as high on the children's author/illustrator ladder as one can get, sat for minutes at a time with no one but me to talk to.
One year I scheduled a little known author to appear on a Sunday afternoon at the store. I don't know at what point it dawned upon me what I had done in arranging it for Super Bowl Sunday, but suffice it to say that no one came. Oh, maybe one or two did, but it was a tortuous day as we sat there honoring the time we'd announced for her appearance. It went on and on and on, into infinity. When she was gathering up her things to depart, I said that perhaps we could reschedule an appearance? and she opined, "Yes, maybe on the afternoon of the Oscars." Mortification.
Then a couple of years ago I did it again. Susan was visiting from Alaska and I wanted to arrange a gathering of family and her friends to greet her. Darned if it didn't turn out to be the same Sunday as the Super Bowl. How could anyone do it twice in a lifetime? There wasn''t another available Sunday, so I fell back on the old saying which I absolutely love, "If you can't hide it, paint it red." That seems to be the theme of my life. And when you stop to consider it, it works pretty darned well.
In the room for entertaining at the Manor there is a television set, so sports fans could watch to fracas on the field while the rest of us visited. We served sporty snacks and it all worked out quite well, actually.
But I'll try never to make that sort of faux pas again, Twice in a lifetime should be plenty enough. And yes, one of us watched it on television yesterday, the other was on the periphery, lurking. All I came away with was a wish that my stamina could halfway match that of Madonna's.
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