Turning into the parking lot at the corner of Crozet Avenue and Three Notched Road, I looked for an empty spot. It was Sunday late afternoon, but there were no available spaces. I noticed two young women leaving the local pizza place and carrying a takeout box. Smells of cheese, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms and peppers floated across the lot. I waited while the young women pulled out then parked in their space.

I wasn’t in Crozet for pizza but to attend a book launch party – my first, I’m almost ashamed to admit. Not my book (not yet), but one written by fellow Charlottesville WriterHouse Volunteer Carolyn O’Neal. I’ve attended author readings, interviews and talks before, and apparently a book launch is much the same.

Ambling down the parking lot’s gentle hill, I passed Crozet Pizza and entered Over the Moon, a small independent bookstore. Guests hovered around the refreshment table set up in front near the show window. On the counter next to the cash register, several copies of Carolyn’s book Kingsley were prominently displayed. About fifty people milled through the store or sat in wooden folding chairs set up in a side room. There, Carolyn would speak, read from her novel and answer questions.

I knew a few people, all WriterHouse acquaintances, but most faces were new. The majority of the attendees were women about my age, but there were a few men, too, including Carolyn’s grown son. Then, seated in one of the folding chairs, I saw a young mother and her two little girls dressed up in their Sunday best.

The girls, ages five and seven I guessed, wore plaid skirts and printed tops. They had their hair tightly pulled into ponytails and tied with brightly colored ribbons. The two of them wiggled in their mother’s lap. Paying attention and being patient during an adult event took a lot of wiggling, I remembered.

After the author’s presentation, the girls visited the refreshment table a few times and circled around the small store carrying grapes and chocolate cookies. The younger girl trailed her older sister. I grinned at them each time they wiggled their way by. On the third pass, while I waited in line for Carolyn to sign her book for me, the older girl caught my smile. She lifted one hand in a wordless wave and the other to show me a grape, which she popped into her mouth.

I nodded.

Taking her advice, I stopped at the refreshment table and sampled a grape or two, maybe three. Then as I left the store, I waved my hand in the direction of the two sisters, a salute to all wiggly girls.


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