Any author who has a signing at Farm King can't be all bad. And, that he's scheduled to do so on my sister's birthday makes it perfect...
For those of you who don't live in this part of the country, Farm King is the bib-overalls crowd's version of a regional superstore. You can get, as the song goes, anything you want -- from work clothes (not office clothes, but real working outfits from Carhartt and USA Works and Dickey and Wrangler) to saddles and tack to auto parts to garden supplies (plants, planters, insecticides, ponds, and even fish in spring) to ducklings and chicks to dog food to fishing tackle to small kitchen appliances to cookies and milk, all at the neighborhood Farm King. Last month, I bought a pair of "dress jeans", a pair of hiking boots, a can of white spray paint, a Bondo kit to repair my corrugated fiberglas garage roof, a package of Archway Molasses cookies, and three petunias (subsequently, the flowers went the way of all good things left to the devices of a playful kitten). Mom picked up some socks, a bottle of silver polish, and some super-sour gummy worms. We thought about taking home one of the DVDs, but we'd already spent enough, and we didn't really need the DVD of "A Fish Called Wanda" since we already had it on VHS.
So, anyway, Farm King is a SUPER store, and not one whit pretentious, so we like to go there just to play, sometimes. In some ways, it was the predecessor to Lowe's, Home Depot, and such, but then, none of them ever carried Barbie dolls, pizza cutters, or glow-in-the-dark fishin' spinners. None of them carries bunny kibble or humane traps. None of them carries John Deere dinner plates, or Red Wing Engineer's boots with reinforced toes and the BNSF logo on the ankles. None of them carries bib-alls in waist sizes upward of 50 inches (I likes 'em roomy enough to invite a friend in ;-) and with big pockets for smuggling kittens into public places). And most of all, none of them stocks baseball-style caps with seed company labels on the fronts of their crowns, or with a big, golden-crowned green-and-gold ear of maize and the name "FARM KING" in crisp letters above it.
It doesn't get any better than that.