There’s a bumper sticker that reads, “What are you grateful for?” I’m grateful for my Dreamers launch bookstore events manager. I met Bernard three years ago when I called the Alexander Book Company to see if I might have a book reading (my first ever for Sundagger.net). When I called him this year in July, Bernard said yes again, yes to the book launch, to music, to gourmet chocolate, and to including two more authors, Shelley Buck and Alice Rogoff. Yes, I’m grateful.
This last Friday I met Bernard at the NCIBA (Northern California Independent Booksellers Association) event in Oakland, CA a few streets over from the Occupy Oakland protest, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street. Michael Moore had just spoken to us at the NCIBA. He began his talk with some inspiring observations of the Occupy Oakland encampment where he had been barely 30 minutes before, emphasizing the power and inherent hope of democratic protest. His words about the value of books and education, the lack of which leads to fear and manipulation by Wall Street and their corporate employers, really struck a chord with me.
Bernard was on his cell phone when I walked up to him at the Marriott. A day before, we had made plans to connect after Moore’s talk, but I had left my cell phone in my car. Bernard laughed when I told him how glad I was I could recognize him after so long. Not so hard, he said, referring to the fact that he was one of a very few black men in the audience.
We both agreed we were high, inspired by Moore’s talk and OWS movement in general. Speaking for myself, I was higher yet to be with Bernard again. I wanted to give him copies of Dreamers to display in Alexander Book Company’s front window. But I had mistakenly left several books in my car at my friend, Pat’s house where I was staying that night. In fact, it was Pat who Bernard was talking to. Pat was calling to make sure Bernard and I would not miss each other and to let me know he was waiting outside in his SUV with more copies of Dreamers.
I felt so grateful when Bernard said he was hoping to sell all the books I gave him. He asked if I could I get him more? YES! I nearly screamed. When I thanked Bernard for all he was doing, he told me emphatically that anyone who comes into Alexander Book Company comes into his home. Suddenly I felt like I was part of his family.
“You are really a friend,” I told him, hanging over his shoulder, thinking of my book launch and Bernard greeting me on November 10th at the Alexander Book Company. I’m grateful. What are you grateful for?
Dreamers Book Launch
November 10, 2011
12:30 – 1:30PM
Alexander Book Company
50 Second Street (Between Market & Mission)
San Francisco, CA 94105