I haven't written on this blog for a long time but on June 23rd, I did something that was blog worthy.
I met Jim Shore in person! This is something that I have always wanted to do, but he has never been close enough for me to actually do it. I actually have not bought many pieces in the last few years because as much as I love his work, I have a little of everything he has done. I have Angels and Cats and Santas, Witches, Nativities, Easter, Nursery Rhymes and Lighthouses, and Villages.........you get the idea.
Jim Shore was scheduled to be in Branson, Mo at Kringles from 12 -2. It helped a lot that it was our anniversary weekend so my husband made an extra effort to get me there. In fact, I didn't feel well that morning and I came very close to not going but he said "Well let's go and see what happens"
We started our day with breakfast in town at "Cookies" the local morning breakfast stop and headed out for our one hour drive to Branson.
The store opened at 9 and I had decided that I wanted to stand in line on the early end of the day instead of the late end, so we ended up at Kringles at 9:15. By 9:30 I had purchased my Blue and White Snowman and was the third in the line to see Jim Shore.
I started collecting Jim Shore in 2005 after coveting the snowman that I gave to my dear friend for her birthday.
In October I bought my first piece, the pumpkin, and asked for more for my birthday. Ask and you shall receive and I received 5 pieces for my birthday that year. That same Christmas, I hit a local Hallmark Store where they were selling all their Christmas pieces for half price. So now I was up to 10.
And that's the way it began, because there was something about those beautiful colors and those quilt patterns that made me smile and feel comforted just looking at the way the design and color came together to speak to my heart.
I was third in the line at Kringle's. I met 2 ladies from Columbus, Ohio. This was their 5th Jim Shore signing and their third time to be first in line! They worked together, and traveled together and shared their love of Jim Shore's work together. One of the ladies husband had driven them down to meet Jim Shore. So....they were quite the experts on how these things worked, and they were fun to talk and the time passed quickly.
At the very beginning my husband stood in line for me while I made my purchase. As I walked over to get in the line I heard a woman ask him for his receipt. He said "My wife is paying right now" She said "Ok, but if someone else comes with a receipt you have to let them in front of you" As soon as I secured my place in line I sent my husband off to Lowe's and told him not to come back until 11:30. He is a guy that likes to be on the move, standing in this line for 2 1/2 hours was not going to be fun for him no matter the circumstances.
I gave the woman at the back of the line who asked for receipts a title. I told her we would be calling her the "Enforcer" because she didn't make the rules but she enforced them. The woman who told everyone what to do we called "The Dictator" and the woman who chased people to the back of the line, or out of the signing area we called "The Bouncer" The ladies enjoyed it and by the end of the morning I heard them call each other by their assigned names.
It was rather comforting to me to hear that there were several other people in the line who owned as many pieces of Jim Shore as I did. A couple even had an inventory (like I do) and one had a database.
Around 11:30 we found out that Jim and his crew were over at the Hard Luck Diner eating lunch. After lunch he would come over to Kringle's, sign the pieces that people bought ahead of time and then he would come out and start signing.
Once he came out into the store things went very quickly. They had a table set up to unwrap your figurine, a table where he signed and a table where they re-boxed your signed figurine.
I don't get excited about many things, but I was definitely excited about this. My turn came quickly. I walked up to the table, having no idea what I was going to say, stuck out my hand and like a 15 year old meeting Paul McCartney, I said "My name is Glenda.............and I am your biggest fan!"
Ok, well that was really lame, but I finally found the words to say "You know I love your art, and I love your work but mostly I love the things that you represent in your work and how much heart each piece has in it. He reached out and hugged me and thanked me and he said "I love it when people understand that"
At this point, he was getting ready to sign my snowman. I asked him if he thought there was a chance he would ever do a series of Mary Poppins figurines, and he said "Yes there is a very good chance that he would do Mary Poppins in the future" Somewhere in the midst of this conversation, my snowman slipped off the table and broke! So they had to get me a new one (it was the last one they had)
He apologized profusely but I didn't care because I got to spend more time with him!
I said "That's my husband over there, can he take our picture?" He said "He wanted a picture of the man whose vacations he's been funding the last 7 years" Jim Shore has probably heard that before, but he laughed heartily and he hugged me again before I left.
I had so much fun, and he was so kind and so genuine that I think I need to start funding his vacations again.
I told my friends in the line that I only wanted to meet him once to say that I did it, but it was a lot of fun....I might be willing to try it again.
Some people are disappointed when they meet someone that they admire, I am happy to say that Jim Shore is exactly who I always expected he would be.
A genuinely nice person, who cares about the people who buy his work, loves God, and values his heritage, his country and family.