Day One: Thursday
Thursday I woke up singing “I been looking forward to this day…”
It’s the Pen Show for real, and it’s starting today.
Thursday is a calm day and it doesn’t get going until the afternoon really, so I took my kid to school (and maybe Babe to daycare, I don’t quite recall…)
Then to work! I sold some coffee and puttered about, then headed over to the warehouse/roastery to get some coffee roasted. We were low on stuff and I needed to get a few things roasted. So I did.
While I was there my Pen Friend Henry called, having taken the day off and wanting to do pen stuff. Heck Yeas sez I, and we met back at the coffee shop for a couple pre-show beers and a cuppa coffee. We noodled around with pens for a hot second and drank a couple, then piled into my Odyssey to get over to the Crowne Plaza, a hotel.
ANYDAMNWAY, Henry and I got to the show between 1 and 2 and had a freaking blast. Henry lost his mind immediately and started buying pens. He got at least one Parker Centennial Duofold, the mottled red ebonite one, with a bitchen oblique nib on it.
We had to get rolling around 3PM so’s I could get my kid from school, so I dragged Henry out of there. I dropped my kid off at the sitter’s and headed back to the show, with a pitstop for beers and a couple cigars on the way.
Back at the show I was hanging out with Nick Mastricola and Myk Daigle, looking at stuff. A stripey green Wearever with a nice 14k nib looked terribly intersting to me. Myk always has fun stuff. We drank all the beers and rattled around the small ballroom until it turned into 6PM, time for the Wine and Cheese party down in room 150.
For some reason the room was dead quiet when I got there. The chairs around the perimeter were all full of people but only a few folks were whispering. What the heck?
I grabbed a glass of Dale Beebe’s Cabernet and some Brie on a cracker. That was tasty, and hit the spot, cause I don’t remember eating Thursday, although there may have been a Jimmy Johns in there somewhere.
I found my local Pen Club people over in the corner and had a lovely time chatting with Jess and Elizabeth. Then Benita came in and it got really fun.
Before 7, Dan, Kisha, Aria and Everett Smith arrived on the scene. The kids greeted me with the 2-handed Turkey salute I’d taught them the year before.
The Wine and Cheese party was getting a little crowded, crazy, loud, hot, you know. I went with the Smiths to Fukyuru Ramen Land, in the newly developed Bridge Street District. I got these dragon flavored wings, which had a deep umami flavor and a hell of a lot of heat. We had a really fun dinner. Then back to the show, where I was relieved to give Dan his package of TWSBI pens that had come to my shop earlier that day. I’m always nervous when Dan’s pens are in a van.
Back at the show, I visited the bar for my only bar beer of the weekend, then slid over to the Thursday night auction, which was just getting started. I didn’t have a number or a program, so I decided there was more fun to be had wandering around, perhaps drinking, and engaging with my fellow pen people.
I immediately found Ed Capizzi (who I’d met in 2012 at this very show) in a hallway. We chatted about Amtrak travel and the first time I was exposed to grits. Pierre Miller of Desiderata pens was there and we had a rollicking good chat. Laura from the Chicago show came by, as did my good pen friend Delee. Then the man himself, unexpected and vibrating with flavor, Ralph Reyes came sashaying down the hallway. That was when I knew this was going to be a show for the ages.
Greeting him vigorously, I asked Ralph, “are you holding?” He wasn’t sure what I meant so I put it less delicately. I may have shouted “YA GOT’NNY NIBS MAN!” to which he replied, “I have three.” OOOH BABY I knew then what my major purchase of the show would be. We agreed that I’d get one of em and I’d grab it on the morrow.
The rollicking hallway conversation went on until I decided I’d best go home and get some sleep. It was like 9:30 and I didn’t want to stay out too late because I have a wife and family. So I left.