Gifts and Stories

Whenever I wrap up a book tour or even one of my shorter road stretches, I find I’ve accumulated a collection of disparate gifts and mementos.  Books, notes, green-shelled eggs, tomato plants, snickerdoodles, funky magnets, a fine pair of slippers with cow appliques (those were actually mailed — thanks T!), t-shirts, rooster sweatshirts, inexplicable hoodies, fire department patches, truck mirrors (yep, you bet)…each thoughtfully presented by a reader somewhere out there.  During book tour – especially if I am flying and traveling light – I often have to box them up and mail them home, so they’re waiting for me here in my office upon my return.  When I’m driving myself, I keep a box or two in the back of the car and pile the goods in there.

After a couple of months of heavier touring I still have a few of those boxes to sort.  I thought it might be fun to show you a photo of an item I just dug out, and how it represents (in this case, literally) a story.

This was the gift (when someone hands me something that says “International,” it’s a pretty good bet they’ve read Truck):

'Binder badge

And here was the note accompanying (click to expand).

'35 International note

The references to asphalt mileage and “never been shifted into third after 1943” are terrific.

The thoughtfulness I encounter so regularly is the greatest gift of all.  Please consider this my thank-you in general.  I will say that gratitude notwithstanding, one has only so much shelf and floorspace (don’t get me started on the pole barn!), so at some point there may need to be a charity auction, but I’d never do that without announcing it first.  The snickerdoodles are long gone, by the way.

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