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December 5, 1995

The fates conspired last week to leave me with very perceptible traces of egg on my face. One I take responsibility for, but not the other. Please indulge me as I explain.

The book signing party arranged for me last Friday at the Chamber of Commerce office was a bit of an embarrassment because the shipment of my new booklet, "Perry Tales," did not arrive here by express delivery as promised. They were due here at 10:30 that morning from Denver, but it didn't happen. Many of you were at the Chamber of Commerce between 2 and 4 p.m., the designated hours, and I appreciate your patience and understanding. All orders received then will be promptly filled, along with the complimentary bonus provided by the publisher's representative who came here to apologize for the foulup. Thank you for coming, and thanks to the Chamber of Commerce for arranging the party. We had fun even without the book, didn't we? Now that the stress of the moment has passed, I can chalk it up to experience.

The other matter concerns the recent appeals in this column for information about the location of Barton's Book Store in the early days of this community. Georgia Curtis provides the answer to that, and guess where she found it? A photo on page 113 of my book, "The First Generation," clearly shows Barton's in 1912 on the north side of the square in the building next door west of Alan Odgers' new Antiques on the Square mini-mall. Barton's was just two doors east of a popular chili parlor operated by my grandparents, Alfred and Margaret Bucklin. The photo graphically shows damage left by the severe wind storm, probably a tornado, which ripped through Perry on the afternoon of April 20,1912. Yup, I should have known that, but thanks to Georgia for calling it to my attention.

The Christmas parade and foodcourt in downtown Perry last Friday night were immensely popular. Unseasonably balmy weather helped draw hundreds of people of all ages to streets lining the square. We oohed and aahed as the beautiful light display was turned on at about 5:30 p.m. The parade, with the largest number of units ever, started winding around the square at 6:30 to the delight of children and adults, producing applause for each entry. Then at 6:45 the foodcourt officially opened and a steady stream of diners happily wandered through the courthouse corridors until the 8 p.m. closing.

Many of our local food service people offered a wide variety of menu items on the first floor. The second and third floors were given over to a chocoholic's dream come true -- dish after dish of heavenly dessert items, all of them chocolate-based. What a night! The foodcourt was a new idea introduced this year, but its success Friday night should guarantee that it will be even bigger and better in the future. Thanks to the Perry Main Street group for that innovation, and to the Chamber of Commerce for all the other fun events that evening.

I can't let this column end without a word of sympathy to Cheryle Leach, the Chamber's executive director. We all know her as an upbeat, smiling pillar of the community, but the tragedy that visited her family last week staggers all of us. Love and prayers go out to Cheryle and her family.