I had the honor and privilege of being asked to have a book signing at my FAVORITE bookstore, along with it’s owner, David Cheezem: Fireside Books, in Palmer, AK. The moment I step in the door, I feel like I have been transported back in time. The smell of books permeates the air, and the way the shop is arranged is so “Alaskan”, so “real”, and so NOT “franchise/box store”, which I LOVE!
As a bonus today, I got to watch an artist BACKWARDS paint free-handed, the words to a poem along with painting a lovely picture, to celebrate April as National Poetry Month. Poetry is big in Alaska. I LOVE that the schools take it seriously. The words that come from the mouths of babes are amazing and full of life and sincerity.
Fireside Books, is a bookstore that has both new and used books, filed by category. They even have a section where authors who have done book signings have a section called “Author’s Favorite Reads”. The coffee pot and tea kettle are always full, so you are able to find a spot, sit down and envelope your soul into a good book,. Maybe you will peruse one or two books you are consider buying, or maybe you have arranged to meet up to enjoy the warmth of a cuppa with a friend, catching up since your last encounters together.
Today was a special day. It was a day that the town of Palmer rolled out their finest red carpet and was celebrated the CAREGIVERS, FAMILIES, FRIENDS and ASSOCIATES (and yes, the person battling/surviving/conquering) the ugly word: cancer. Each person was given a bright orange tote FILLED with coupons and goodies – from paint brushes to coupons for gallery paintings and more.
From one end of town to another, over 3 dozen merchants participated: demonstrations, storytelling, music playing, bread broken together, books signed (hmmm – wonder which one?!) to an area full of resources available that one might otherwise not known about. There was free transportation donated by the Mat-Su Senior Services for those who needed it (it can be quite a day if you are going in and out of shoppes, and up and down the roads!) It was fun to be a “fly on the wall” at the far end of town, hearing the delighted tails of what a fun and awesome day people had experienced, and how grateful they were that the merchants focused not just on the person battling cancer, but those who battle, sometimes harder, alongside them.
Friends reunited, spring was in the air, the sun was shining and yes, even a bit of snow was still on the mountains to remind us, alebit an unusually warm winter, we DID live in Alaska!
I wouldn’t wish cancer on my worst enemy. But I will share this nugget: I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had, the friendships I’ve made, the opportunities and adventures I have encountered if I HADN’T had cancer. No fooling!
Enjoy Poetry Month!
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Care Tuk is a nationally known speaker, educator, and retreat/workshop leader. She has been a school, hospital, and home health occupational therapist for more than 30 years. She has been named as a Top Business Woman in America and recognized for her work with youth, disability outreach and awareness, and the American Cancer Society.