Monday, May 11, 2009

The Pilgrimage

Last week was our annual pilgrimage to visit our wanna-be friend and favorite author, Elizabeth Berg. And you'll never believe it - she came to us this year! Mishawaka, baby. In previous years we have traveled far and wide, to Chicago and Indianapolis-area bookstores, as only the most loyal fans would do. I'll never forget the day that Sarah, who was in the midst of the depths of despair, left me a message in the vein of "Shannan! You will NEVER believe what I just found out! Oh my word, I can't even think straight, I'm so excited! Seriously, this is the best thing that has happened to me all month! You're gonna die."

I know, it's pretty dramatic, but her build-up was fully warranted. That's how nutty we are about Eli.

We rounded up our gang....

And settled in. By the time we arrived, it was already standing-room-only. Yikes. Looks like we got a tad complacent given our proximity this time around. We will not make that mistake twice.

By the end of the reading, most of us could be found sitting on the floor, story-hour style. By the way, this is my friend Jessica. She was one of my college roommates and new to our pilgrimage this year. I still believe that if I could have my pick of anyone's legs, I'd pick hers. Weird to say? I don't know, it's true.

Superb view, huh? I must say, I was a little embarrassed to face Ms. Berg after inadvertently blinding her last year. This year they passed out notices with the express purpose of warning people not to take any flash photography. I just know it was because of me.

Following the reading, Sarah and I took our places in line for the signing. Then, Bill chatted up Sarah, asking her where he could get a drink following the hoopla. She dropped the ball and suggested a chain restaurant. I don't have a good explanation for this, other than the fact that she was utterly star-struck.

All was soon forgiven, though, and he invited her out to their car to see their ailing dog, Homer. Sarah, who loves dogs even less than I do, happily obliged. It was straight-up bizarre. We decided later, during a post-signing conference call, that she did the right thing and really could not have possibly refused. We are smart enough to know that to some people, the dog is it. The dog is the stuff. And just as you would not turn down a look at someone's child, you certainly could not turn down an invitation to view someone's dog, cone and all - especially if said dog belongs to Elizabeth and Bill.

All of this to say: We have reason to believe that after all of these years, several gifts and one mortifying misunderstanding involving a camera with a flash, Elizabeth still does not recognize or remember us. We will keep trying, that's for sure. And in the meantime, we've got Bill and Homer.