1956 - 2022
The Hometown Farmer's Market is a place I've been coming to since I've been old enough to walk. It's only open on Wednesday and a lot of the vendors set up their shops outside, so it's a place that we typically go to quite a bit in the Spring and Summer but not so much in the Fall and Winter.
It was 66 degrees yesterday, which is not at all typical for mid-February in Northeast Pennsylvania, so we decided to stop by after work. It's the first time that we've been here since last summer. One of the shops here that I was looking forward to visiting was a used bookstore that's in the back of the main building. I've found a lot of awesome things here over the years, but the main reason I wanted to stop was to talk with Ken. He's a hell of a nice guy who I've spent hours talking with about books, movies, and baseball, but especially about music and concerts that we've been to.
The store is still there and it's still open, but Ken wasn't there. A sign was tacked up out front to let his customers know that he passed away on September 24th of last year.
I didn't know him well, but I'm going to miss him. I don't make friends easily, but he was an extremely nice person who was easy to talk with and very knowledgeable about rock and new wave. Every time I came to the shop, we'd end up talking for an hour... and then hour and a half... and then two hours... and it felt like only 10 or 15 minutes had gone by.
In addition to being a bookseller and an encyclopedia of knowledge about rock music, Ken was an artist and he created a lot of framed collages that are still hanging in the store. The one that caught my eye last year wasn't really a collage like some of the others, but it was a framed collection of The Far Side comics that he cut out and arranged. I'm a big fan of Gary Larson's comics, and when I noticed this resting on a pile of books last summer, it started a conversation that Ken and I had about The Far Side, Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, and other newspaper comic strips. It was still there in the shop last night, so I bought it off of his friend who is now running the shop. I'm in the process of remodeling an area of my basement as a rec room to read, watch movies, play video games and listen to records, and I'm going to hang this on the wall above the table that's next to my recliner.
Thanks for being a good dude. Hope to see you on the other side someday.