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Encounters in a Bookstore by Gary D. Crawford

Oh, yes, bookselling definitely is a get-rich-quick business, that’s for sure. But aside from the immense wealth it generates, what we enjoy most are the encounters with the people who drop in ~ the visitors, friends, and even customers. Of course we never know who is going to walk into the “Book Bank,” our bookstore on Tilghman’s Island. Oftentimes it’s a friend who drops by to say hello and just pass the time. Which of us is on duty is revealed by our vehicles: if they see my old F-150 pickup, they know Susan has gone off watch and they’ll be stuck with the B Team. There is a chair near my work table specifically for such chats, beneath a sign proclaiming the “Old Sailor’s Social Club.” (A close look at this illustration reveals a portrait of the Sharp’s Island Light, hung in such a way as to correct for the list. A pin has had to be put in the wall to prevent customers from straightening this picture.) Vast amounts of rich lore have been gleaned from these encounters, including ideas for articles in these pages. (See That Fellow Dessy, July 2013, for example). They sometimes bring in photos or clippings, too. “Have you seen this one?” they

ask, slapping a picture down on the counter. Usually I haven’t and, while scanning the image, we have some conversation about it. Their contributions have led to the Tilghman Albums, seven small booklets each with fourteen historic images and notes. Predictably, these went right to the top of the charts, and at five bucks a pop we’re now looking at villas in Tuscany. Such visits give me a chance to delve into things I’ve been wonder-

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Tidewater Times March 2016  
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