Day 82, 83 and 84  World’s Longest Book Tour – on Break at the Beach

WLBT-B August 31, Sept. 1, 2 and 3

by David Runkel

After watching some of Aretha’s services on a cloudy Friday and John McCain’s on Saturday on television, maybe we weren’t ready for another funeral. But the town of Bethany Beach had other plans in the form of a 33-year tradition. We had to go.

It was a New Orleans-style funeral service for Summer 2018.  The casket

Scone by Scone Book Tour Rest in Peace Summer 2018
Rest in Peace Summer 2018

contained a beautiful blonde, a department store model in bikini, bedecked with plastic flowers, sand and other mementoes of summer.  A jazz band followed, with several dozen official mourners in black, and one in a stunning white dress following close behind. There must have been 22 instruments tooting their horns louder than 110 brass trombones. An enthusiastic red silken-clad accordionist practically pranced as she played.

The “parade” started at the north end of the Bethany Boardwalk and proceeded south to the bandstand in the middle of town, where a program ensued.   There were speeches.  A representative from Habitat for Humanity, recipient this year of funds raised with the sale of t-shirts and at an event last Friday, told of the need for low income housing in Sussex County.   The band played “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” “You Are My Sunshine” and other favorites, ending with “God Bless America” before the bugler played “Taps” as the sun set in the West. People sang along.

The Tour, with The Author bedecked with green beads over her blue and white  striped shirt and white pants (last day for those this year) joined several hundred others in following the casket.  We waved and talked to people and The Author was interviewed on camera by a local TV personality.  She plugged “Scone by Scone” as well as our long connection with Bethany Beach and the equally long break from our last visit here.

Scone by Scone Book Tour Rest in Peace Summer 2018
Deedie joining in on Death of Summer Jazz Festival

To participate in a timely way, we left the beach in Dewey and our dear near-daughter Alisa and husband, Greg, in mid-afternoon. A sweltering day with the sun out in full force, we were glad to be by the delightful sea. 

As with Aretha and John, summer will live on.  We have but a few more days, but our memories will last forever. 

The Tour is here through the week, leaving Saturday for a reading in Chestertown, MD, home of Washington College and near the home of John Barth, The Author’s college advisor.  He’s no longer spending his summers on the Maryland Eastern Shore and declined an invite to attend the Chestertown event at Bookplate, a book store where he is well known. Fortunately, it’s now the home of Matthew Swanson and Robbie Behr, brilliant young authors. We’ve known Matthew since he was three and he’s agreed to introduce The Author, who happens to be his former mother-in-law, but that’s a story for another time.

After that we’re back on the road, starting in suburban Philadelphia, Baltimore and Northern Virginia.