I have to get over my attitude of: “They asked me, so I have to say yes.” That’s what I was thinking Saturday as I sat with my books in a persistent drizzle at the Jefferson Mint Festival and Frog Jump in Jefferson Oregon. Population 3,100, it’s located in farm country near Salem. My pants were wet, I had a headache, and I hadn’t sold any books yet.
It was the first outing with the new book, Shoes Full of Sand. I shared the booth with Elizabeth Fournier, a mortician who has published a book called All Men are Cremated Equal. No, it’s not about funeral homes, although she works for one. It’s a funny book about the year she went on 77 blind dates in search of a husband. Ironically, she wound up marrying another mortician whom she did not meet on a blind date. A gorgeous blonde with a deep sexy voice, Fournier also does voice work for commercials and such and teaches ballroom dancing. A fascinating woman. It turned out we both had connections with the same people in San Jose. Small world.
And it was a small town festival. The frog jump didn’t actually happen until Sunday, although there were rubber frogs, plastic balloon frogs, ceramic frogs and frogs made out of yarn for sale. Sipping weak mint tea,I cruised the three rows of booths selling knickknacks, plants, tie-dye clothing, books, etc. One row was all food, elephant ears bigger than a large pizza, two foot-long corn dogs, hamburgers, nachos, ice cream, all that healthy stuff.
Kids bounced around in a castle, swung around on what looked like a bungee spider and rode a little cow train while grownups listened to country rock bands and admired classic cars parked on the grass. Yellow-haired girls with poofy skirts twirled hoola hoops while bigger girls with flower wreaths on their hair strolled and flirted with football-player boys in baseball caps. Older couples pulled their tiny dogs around and bought gifts for the grandchildren. It was all so small-town Oregon.
I didn’t sell a lot of books, but I ate the most amazing Polish hot dog with sauerkraut, and now I know where Jefferson is. In the end, I broke even, and I was glad I said yes.