Scene - opening night, Ocean City. Place - "Yours, Mine, and Ours," theoretically a trip for souvenirs for the family. It worked out that way, of course, but along the way there were a few things in the store that made me go gooey in the knees. One of them, I just had to have for my own.
If you want to turn a kid at heart into a kid again, this is the sort of thing you show him. I had a Mach 5 die-cast when I was a boy, but the original was lost during the five-part epic "Furious Race Across the Barren Deserts." (AKA "I lost it in a sandbox when I was eight.") I made five "Did you know the Mysterious Racer X is really Speed's older brother?" jokes on my way to the counter with this. Then, circling back through the store, I saw something equally unexpected, and equally delightful.
This isn't a first edition, of course, but a reprint from 1961. It's in fine shape. For all my love of these stories, I'm only familiar with the Sterling Holloway-voiced bear of the Disney cartoons, and as wonderful as he is (and they are), it's different to sit with a hardback like this, and to smell it and feel the paper turn and to shut it at the end with that satisfying, acoustic book sound.
Paid and left, and the surprises kept coming... Walking back to my room, I saw a certain life-sized bear of little brain waving to the cars and shaking hands with children in front of the Hobby Horse.
Naturally, I had to get this shot, at any cost. It took the entire weekend before I could assemble bear, book, and camera. (Wasn't that a movie?) I actually stalked Winnie-the-Pooh. Clearly, nostalgia had made me utterly, officially insane. Luckily, he didn't hold that against me; he even signed my book. (Being a bear of little brain, he spelled his own name wrong, even though it's on the cover AND printed on the page he signed - and have I mentioned insane yet?)
In between those purchases and the picture, I paid my mandatory visit to the OC's sine qua non of pizza vending.
These folks have been slinging pies for fifty years now, and yet there are a number of other optimists working the same trade in town - heck, even up and down the boardwalk. Of course, Mack and Manco's has three locations within ten minute's walk, which should tell you something about market share. I loves me some sausage slice with a birch beer, so those other guys were straight out of luck. Even got a mug to mark the occasion.
Here's part one and part two, if you need catching up...