Tucked away on the 3rd level “down under” of Pike Place Market on Seattle’s waterfront, J.B. Johnson stands quietly reading a book behind a counter stuffed high with stacks and stacks of even more books.
With his interest drawn deep into his book, J.B. silently split his attention between the pages in his hand and the handful of customers browsing the overflowing aisles of BLMF, a “Second Hand Bookstore and Literary Saloon.”
Large stacks of books lined the inside of the shop’s plate glass windows. One of those large stacks caught my attention, a pile of 30 plus books by an author I had never heard of.
“You’ve never heard of Jack Kerouac?” Leslie asked me in surprise.
I never had.
But Leslie had. And I quickly learned J.B. had as well.
Kerouac, J.B. taught me, was a pioneer of the “Beat Generation” of the 1950’s. While the counter-revolution movement has never held much interest for me, after a stimulating 15-minute conversation with J.B. I’m bringing home two of Kerouac’s books, the biographical On the Road and Mexico City Blues, a poetic collection of “242 choruses.”
J.B. Johnson has been having those quiet conversations in Seattle for 20 years. He doesn’t have a website, nor a Facebook page, though I did find BLMF had a few nice reviews there.
J.B. and BLMF have even been featured in the LA Times, up-and-coming publication on the west coast. Some would say it’s not quite the same journalistic coverage of the Monday Morning Boost, but between the two it’s not bad for a “Second Hand Bookstore and Literary Saloon” three levels down under.
Not bad at all.
Now to the most important story.
Our six-month-old granddaughter is the real reason we are spending a long weekend in Washington. Her parents Cody and Erica live at Joint Base Lewis-McChord where Cody is stationed with the Army.
We’ve enjoyed lots of giggles, laughs, hugs, and kisses. Her smile melts my heart. Her bright eyes penetrate my heart.
Traveling to new places is always wonderful. Traveling helps us create new experiences and beautiful memories. Traveling also creates opportunities for expanding our viewpoints and a better understanding of people and cultures.
Our trip to Washington has done all of that as we explored the Fremont Troll, Pike Place Market, Market Theater Gum Wall, and we even saw the Space Needle from a distance.
More importantly were the people we met along with way, like J.B. who turned me on to a new author.
Miles of Holy Cow Records who has been playing vinyl on the same turntable for 17 years, content with replacing needles three to four times a year, figuring “a new turntable would probably just break.”
Marc at Sister Sage Herbs who enlightened me on some of the inner operations of the Farmer’s Market.
The beautiful lady at Shong Chao’s Farm, one of many vendors making up the single largest kaleidoscope of colorful tulips, daffodils, and flowers I’ve ever seen.
Robert Wadlow (historically) whose life-sized portrait standing at 8 foot 11.1 inches helped Cody and I realize we weren’t quite as tall as we thought.
It was a wonderful trip. Travel truly is, as Mark Twain said, “fatal to prejudice.”
Have a great Monday! Thanks for letting me share!
p.s. Take 13 minutes today to enjoy making a new connection.
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