I was pretty much dreading Friday. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, and if there’s one thing I try to avoid, it’s work. Especially of the moving-around, lifting-and-carrying kind. Also the other kinds, but mostly that kind.
Friday was the day when we had to take all the books that we’d spent the past five weeks collecting and sorting into boxes and piling up in the music room at school, and move them to the booksale site at the festival. You don’t understand how many boxes that is, how many books that is, how heavy they are, how I looked around the room and wondered how we would ever do it.
But you know you have amazing friends, and fabulous volunteers, and a wonderful community, when someone asks you what they can do, whether it’s finding empty boxes or piling up books, or something else entirely. When someone else says “I can’t be there in the morning but can I bring some cold drinks and fill the cooler with ice for you?” When ten parents show up to carry boxes of books instead of going to the gym (just as good a workout) or going home and enjoying their calm and child-free house, or even going to work.
We had hired a U-Haul to get the books on site. A 17-footer, I believe, which sounds more like a yacht to me. We filled it to capacity, twice. And unfilled it, twice. We had pizza in between runs, paid for by the PTA, as well they might.
And it was all done, with good humour and a lot of laughter. The sale was in place, and I had all the rest of the afternoon to string the lights and artfully place my pricing signs (hastily photocopied in the school the day before) and shoo away the book dealers who find out about these things and begin to circle like vultures more than an hour before you open, just in case they might be allowed to browse the stacks before we start taking the money. Hands off until 6pm but I couldn’t stop them walking slowly by those books that were uncovered and looking with their eyes, not their hands.
It didn’t rain yesterday or last night, and the forecast for the rest of the weekend is fine. If we get through without any downpours we are on track to do well. Even if it rains and all our stock is wiped out, it doesn’t really matter. We’ve made a profit, we have money in the PTA coffers, we’ve upheld the tradition of the booksale, which might possibly have been going for 50 years, according to sources in the local paper last week. And I was part of it.
At my first PTA meeting in the school, four years ago, the first thing that happened was a report on that year’s book sale. I looked in awe at the parent who had run it and thought that, while I was eager to help out, I would never be the one to take on such a responsibility.
Guess I can chalk another one up to “things I’ll never do” and be ever grateful for everyone else who helps, without whom it would not happen.