Thursday, June 7, 2012

Weekend in New England*

*with apologies to Barry Manilow

I look forward to the West Springfield, Massachusetts show every year.  There are a lot of reasons – it’s usually the first weekend in June, so for me it means the beginning of summer.  I enjoy the drive through the rolling hills of Pennsylvania and New York.  But mostly, the folks in New England always make us feel welcome.  You always greet me warmly when I pass out fliers to the customers in line – and I love that first wave of customers racing down the aisles to our booth when the show opens.

But before all of that fun comes a full day of setup . . .

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This time, things were relatively neat both in front and behind! 


After a long day, sometimes it’s nice to just sit back, relax, and visit.  It may not have crossed your mind, but over the years we do become a bit of a family, and setup day is one of our few opportunities to catch up.  Some of the vendors like to go out to eat together.  But I am more of a “one hand on the burger and one hand on the wheel” eater, so my post-setup reward looked like this . . .


There was an ice cream stand about half a mile from our hotel.  At home, we can only get peppermint stick ice cream around Christmas.  I like it more in the summer, so this was a pleasant surprise.

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Our booth was in a different spot this time – near the snack bar is always a good place.  The left picture was taken three minutes after the show opened, and the right one about 90 minutes later.  As I said, we love New England . . .

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Bored husbands are always an inviting target.  But the husband in the right picture isn’t bored – he’s just resting.  That’s my friend Cal Ruger – he and his wife Dee have helped us with setup and teardown in the northeast for years.  Cal had a heart attack the week after the Allentown show in April, so I was thrilled when Dee e-mailed me a picture early last week of Cal working on their farm.  We didn’t let him do much and he’s usually a workhorse – I think he was going nuts by the time we finished with setup.

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“Awwww” – times two.  Need I say more?  When it came time for the giveaway on Saturday afternoon, I took a minute to thank everyone for their cards, e-mails, and prayers for my mom – but by the time I finished, I was having trouble reading the winning numbers through my watery eyes.

After a very busy weekend (I had a work project that took all of my free time after I left the fairgrounds), I decided to do something for me on the way home.  And I am a baseball guy, so a pilgrimage to Cooperstown, New York was just the ticket.

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It’s a good year to be a Reds’ fan, since Barry Larkin will be inducted in July.  And the Hall of Fame posts the current standings outside the museum, so I got to enjoy seeing the Reds at the top of the National League Central Division.

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I sent these pictures to my brother – Pete Rose may be banned from baseball, but his picture and memorabilia are everywhere in the Hall of Fame.


I offered to take a picture of a couple in front of the entrance so both of them could be in the shot, so they returned the favor for me.

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Addendum on a More Serious Note:

We were informed today that two of our most popular cardstocks – Beckett Expression and Beckett Cambric Linen – have been discontinued by the manufacturer.  We are in the process of getting everything we can get our hands on, especially Beckett Expression since it is a “paper of choice” for the Copic Marker and colored pencil folks.  I have been e-mailing back and forth with Sue Nelson this afternoon and we will be working together to find an acceptable alternative (if you don’t know of Sue,  you can visit her site at

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