Book Signing Day

Marla Kay Etheredge gets a signed copy of Selections From Josephine's Journal on January 23, 2008, the day First National Bank of Tennessee in Livingston hosted a book signing day for author Josephine Bundaberry (aka Emily Sells).


January 23, 2008 is a date I will always remember. It was a very special day in my life, one that I had no inkling would ever take place when I accidentally began my writing career back in 2001. The special day I’m referring to is my book signing day hosted by First National Bank of Tennessee at the East Main street branch. I would like to take this opportunity to try and express my deep gratitude and say thank you to the many people involved in the making of that unforgettable day.

The actual planning and idea for a book signing day began with Senior Vice President of FNB, Marla Kay Etheredge, one of my faithful readers. When she heard that I was in the process of getting a book printed, she suggested that when the book was ready, the bank host a book signing day. At the time we first talked about the possibility of such a thing, I must admit I was more than a little reluctant to agree. My first thought was, what if we do plan to have a book signing day and no one shows up? I could just picture myself sitting there with a very red face surrounded by a ton of books and no one coming by to get one. As it turned out, that was definitely not the case.

When the actual day did arrive, it did not look too promising as far as the weather goes. Between seven and eight o’clock that morning, a light coating of ice formed on the trees, grass, and everybody’s vehicles, followed by some light snow flurries. I have been wishing for more than one winter now to have just one more good snowfall, and for a few minutes, it looked like that might be a possibility. That’s when that old saying Bro. Clarence Stewart had came to my mind once more, ‘be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.’ After my husband loaded several boxes of books into the car, we proceeded on our way to get everything set up. But first, we wanted to get a picture of the marquee at the West main street branch of the bank that announced the book signing. With that done, it was time to get everything set up. A banner with information about the book signing had been placed near the parking lot at the East Main street branch and a nice announcement stood on an easel at the front door entrance to the bank. Even before 9:00 a.m., a few folks came by to get a copy of my book. At this point, I began to think that just maybe we might actually have just a few people show up after all. But I never expected the number of people who did end up coming by. Most of the entire day, a steady stream of people stopped in. The day officially began with a little ceremony by Ronald Dishman, County Historian, who presented me with a certificate especially prepared by his wife, Collette, that paid tribute to my writing. Ronald and Collette also had a beautiful bouquet of flowers delivered to the bank, as did Circuit Judge John A. Turnbull and wife Delores. Another one of the happiest moments I had was when I looked up and there stood Sam and Helen Brooks who had driven all the way from South Pittsburg, Tennessee just to attend. Sam’s story is one of those included in my book, and is one of my all time favorites. I was thrilled to see them.

I want to say a special thanks to these folks who traveled from out of town to attend. Chancellor Ronald Thurman and his administrative assistant, Alda Levendosky from Cookeville; Attorney Robert R. Ramsey of Crossville; Attorney Craig Fickling of Cookeville. Legal assistants Anita Williams, Linda Scantland, Teresa Gilbert, and Heather Jones who work in one of Cookeville’s larger law firms came up to attend. John Raleigh Needham drove over from Harriman, Tennessee, just especially for this event. Jo Ann Hatch of Byrdstown was present, as was Janie L. (Stephens) Keisling of Safety Harbor, Florida. I also received a special congratulatory email from Clarence and Mary Lou Stewart of White House, Tennessee. Others who couldn’t attend but sent best wishes prior to the book signing day were Sonya (Ray) Haskins of Nashville; Charlie and Mary Jo Ray, Alene Savage, Nola Mae Needham, and Paulette Sidwell, all of Livingston.

Some of the local people who attended included Livingston Mayor Curtis Hayes; Overton County Tax Assessor Larry King; General Sessions Judge John R. Officer; Circuit Court Clerk Johnny Brown; Attorney Bruce E. Myers and his legal assistant, Cindy Warden; Mike Gilpatrick, Director of Schools, Attorney Jeanne Schmitzer; Attorney Tony Maxwell; Millard V. Oakley, his wife, J.J., and granddaughter, Kendall. Carson Oliver, owner/editor of the Overton County News stopped in to see how things were going, and Beth Underwood, along with son, Colton, from the newspaper was there to make pictures. Mrs. Rose Hart Dale who provided information for two of my stories was also in attendance.

But just as important are the many other people who took time to come by and I am so grateful to every single one of them. I met some people for the first time who told me they never missed a story in my newspaper column. Many of my oldest and closest friends and classmates were there for me. My family members who attended were my brother, Phillip McCormick and wife Betty, their granddaughter (my great-niece), Tyler McCormick, my sister, Sue Poindexter, and my cousin, Mary Belle Jolly. A nice leather book that contained gold engraved words "Josephine’s Journal" was sent to me by our son, Michael K. Sells, of Dalhart, Texas, as a special gift for the occasion. It was for signatures of those who attended, but I’m sorry to say that in the midst of such an exciting day, I missed getting everyone present to sign.

All the bank employees were so cordial and made us feel so welcome while we were there. A very special thank you goes to Marla Kay Etheredge, Charles Maynord, Marty Maynord, and Jim Evans for making this day possible. With the help of these four people, along with the extremely nice publicity done by the good folks at the Overton County News, it was definitely day I’ll long remember as a milestone in my life.