It always amazes me how the weather drives business at the bookstore. The unseasonably warm weather in Vermont has had a very interesting effect on our shoppers.
The first is, folks are coming with creemees. Creemees,Vermont’s soft-serve ice cream, are a seasonal favorite, usually available only in the summer, not March. The Country Store next to us has fired up its machine and is doing a brisk business. Kids have been flocking there for their after-school treats and then they come here to browse. It’s easy to tell who’s had a creemee, they tend to wear it on their shirt, have sprinkles on their chin or more cutely for the younger ones, have a dot of ice cream on their noses. As much as I like the creemees and what they usually symbolize, there’s something profoundly wrong about people having them in the middle of March. But kids who’ve just had a creemee are more patient browsers and happier with their books.
The gardeners are having a hard time with the warmth. They come in the store and are practically twitching with their need to dig in the dirt. No one quite believes that they can actually begin to get their gardens ready. Usually, this time of year, all the gardens are still covered in snow. Memorial Day is the traditional planting time; that’s when the garden is safe from frost. Currently, the smart gardeners are spending a lot of time raking and not actually planting anything. But they want books, lots of books, about gardening and making things grow. As a non-gardener, I find their zeal adorable. Two of my co-workers are avid gardeners and they both have been finding it hard to work with the weather being so lovely. I give them credit for leaving their flower beds and coming to work on time.
The other type of customer we’ve had are the ones who’ve set up their lawn furniture and are looking for a good book. Beach reads, normally taken on vacation, are now being read in the back yard. Most customers just keep saying, “It’s March! Can you believe it?” Of course, the nature of a New Englander is to be a weather voice of doom. Some folks think it’s fun to talk about the threat of a late spring dumping of snow. Others are long-range thinkers who say we’ll have a 100-degree July.
Regardless of the long-term forecast, it’s been a pure delight to have a bit of real spring a full four weeks before normal. And, anything that gets folks reading and being outside makes me happy.