For those who have been following me and my author journey, you know that I’ve been posting pics and videos of things I’ve been gathering to prepare for my first vendor event as an author, which just so happens to be for a Juneteenth Soul Festival. I have shared the highlights of getting my stickers, to table décor, to bookmarks, to my recent beautiful wooden character cutout display. Well, the week of the event, I reached out to the event coordinator to inquire about the specific details on the location of the event and if I need to bring anything additional for setup. Apparently, I may have missed or been left off of one of the communications that was forwarded that mentioned bringing a tent. Hmm…Being a part of a children’s author Facebook group, I had seen a few authors use tents but others not so much, so I did a little research on finding the perfect tent. Bingo, I found one! Only available online from the sporting goods store and it’s purple, I think it’s a winner. So I posted on my fellow authors’ FB group page to see if this was a good one. Most people replied that it was a nice color but if looking for something long-term, it may be beneficial to get a while one as some events require that color. A white one? Not as fun as purple but ok. By the time I made a decision, it was already Friday evening. I figured it was now last minute and I still had some other things to finish up in prep for the early morning setup. I said to myself “I’ll be alright without a tent. It’s only like 6 hours. I’ve been in the sun longer than that in STL & Mississippi”. I load everything I need into my vehicle this evening so that I have no chance of forgetting anything.
Saturday morning, I wake Mariah (10 year old daughter) up as we head to the event for setup. I took her along for two reasons: (1) It’s always good to have an extra hand to assist with events, whether it’s décor or helping the little kids color and put their paper hats on, etc. (2) She has this grand idea of having her own little business at the present age, so I want o allow her the experience of seeing how sales go at vendor events and interactions with customers. She has done very well as cookie booths previously with being a Girl Scout, but the more experience, the better. The vendors are supposed to begin setting up around 10 but we arrive closer to 9:30 to ensure we have a dedicated place to park and get familiar with where we need to setup. Plus, the area that we were in was a little, what the kids call today, ‘sus’, so wanted to scope out the surroundings and also begin to interact to network and meet other vendors. I park rather close to my table so if I need to run back and forth, I’m only a few feet away from the car. By 10:30, we are all setup and sitting in our chairs. My table is decked out (see pics below) with my books, little coloring hats that read “Happy Juneteenth” for kids to color and wear, crayons, hand sanitizer, character cutout in the front, and my retractable banner that reads “Meet the Author”. Typical kid-fashion, Mariah says “can I get something to drink? When are we going to eat?” I’m thinking, “Girl, we haven’t even started getting customers in yet and you’re already making requests?” But I am a considerate mom and her dad packed us a nice cooler of beverages and snacks in the car so I tell her that she can feel free to grab some water, snacks, and chill out with the air on in the car for a bit. The event is open to the public around 12pm so at this point we have an hour remaining. I begin to keep busy by finding ways to prevent my banner from blowing down with the wind, re-stacking my books, putting stickers on my bags, and straightening items on the table. As I adjust my little coloring hats and crayons, I notice that my table cloth and the hats looked soiled. By golly, these crayons have melted. OMG! First lesson learned, be sure to store your crayons away from direct sunlight lol. As I look around, everyone has a tent, except me. I’m ok though and keep telling myself “girl you’re an OG triple OG from St. Louis”. This heat is nothing. Plus, I was loving the sun on my back and made myself laugh thinking of remixing the Soul Glo song with Melanin Glo.
It’s finally noon and folks are starting to arrive. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. My heart felt proud to be amongst so many African-American entrepreneurs and the true atmosphere of soul, from the music playing to the soul food/authentic cuisine food trucks. My booth is sandwiched between vendors on my left selling bath bombs/beauty butters and vendors on my right selling sunglasses and hot girl summer clothing. They were making a nice amt of sales and I was just standing there waving thinking “come on now, we have to get this book into the community for these kids. Support African-American authors!” And then, I made my first sale! Throw the confetti. It went very smoothly and felt so good to give them a bag with my autographed book inside. Unfortunately, while I was processing their payment, I started seeing black spots and stomach started hurting from IBS flare-up. So I quickly sat down once I was done with the customer. I can recall one of my fellow authors expressing how important it was to look presentable and stand up as if you’re interested in them but I think I was taking that a little too much to heart. Mariah went and grabbed herself a large slush. I drank a few mini bottles of water, ran to the car for a 5 minute “cool-off”, then returned to ask Mariah to get me a slush as well. By that time, it was about 2pm. Sales were really picking up. Surprisingly, I had a lot of dads and granddads that bought the book for their little ones. So word to the wise, don’t forget about the fellas. One grandfather really wanted me to give him good reasons as to why he should purchase the book and what makes it unique. He shared that kids today do so much online, why would they want a hardcover book. I explained that many teachers advocate for daily reading and at the age range that this book was created for, they like to touch, feel, and learn the orientation of turning pages, reading from left to right. I also shared that many kids love reading this book more than once as they may whip it out each time they lose a tooth as they can relate to it. He was then sold! He also had a customer waiting behind him. I felt special like “wow I have a line” lol. After they left, I felt horrible. The slush was making my stomach pains worse and I know I looked weird as I grabbed a blanket to cover my shoulders so that the sun was directly beaming on them. Soon, one of the event coordinators came over to give out raffle tickets to the vendors. I let her know that I was probably going to head out soon as I was feeling ill. She asked if I wanted to move my table over to the patio but it seemed like too large of an effort. She then summoned some buff guys to come help. As I stood up, things were getting black in my eyesight and I felt myself getting weak. They panicked and shouted “we need to call 911”. I then freak out like “no, I’m alright” in thinking of this being a big scene out here in public with my daughter being worried. Meanwhile, my hubby Mike was on his way with the boys to attend the event but was about 25 minutes away. I know I’m not the lightest feather but these two guys lifted me up chair-style and carried me into the bar & grill that we were outside of. Little known fact that this place was seen on Bar Rescue J. They sit me down in a booth and a lot of very helpful people begin to help me cool down from wiping my neck with a cool towel to giving me an ice cold cup of water to drink. Then suddenly, someone pours ice down my back. I panic like “noo I’m going to cool down too fast and go into shock!” Two people are on the phone with 911. One guy is telling them “I don’t know her but she needs help. Yes she’s unconscious”. I’m like “no I’m not! Tell them I’m alert & oriented x3, stable, just need fluids”. He’s not paying any attention. Soon, the paramedics enter the bar. I don’t believe they ever checked my temperature but checked my heart rate and blood pressure. The paramedic guy goes “hmm…your heart rate is good but blood pressure is a little low. Let me check it again”. He checks it again and same result saying “your blood pressure is 85/49. It’s low so we need to start an IV, get you to the hospital for some quick hydration”. I ask if I can just rehydrate myself on oral fluids as I am feeling better already but he was worried about the BP and said the oral fluids would take too long. In my head, I’m thinking about this ambulance bill and thinking about the Gina Yashere joke where taking a limo to the hospital would be much cheaper lol. I surrender and agree to go. He starts the IV then directs me to hop on the stretcher. I tell him, “I feel like I’m about to throw up”. He’s like hurry up and slide onto the stretcher. I snap back like “sir, I’m about to throw up” and see a random red cup sitting on the table and throw up in it. He then asked “is she eating on ice?” But someone replied to him saying “no she just threw up in that cup”. If you could read my face and thoughts, I look at him like sir did you expect me to hop on the stretcher and just throw up on my lap? Thank heavens for the co-coordinator Xandrea who got help to load all my stuff into my car and stood next to Mariah until her dad arrived, which was about 5 min after I was whisked away. This was my first-ever ambulance ride as a patient (rode once with a relative when I was little just as company). It was quite interesting. Once we arrive to the hospital, I instantly think of the Martin episode where they joke about a hospital for character Tommy called “killa county”. I remember deciding not to deliver my baby here as we saw police cars actively on the outside when driving by. I’m like “oh no!” Sigh, here we go. They push me into the ER hallway and sit there until the dr comes. Meanwhile, I see a patient with a neck brace walking pass as a worker tells him to wait in the lobby. I’m thinking “if he has a neck brace and has to sit and wait, I’m probably next. Let me get out of here”. I had to use the restroom so they show me where it is. One word: gross. While I was in there trying to give a urine sample and figure out how to “not touch anything”, the paramedic knocked on the door like Mrs. Malone are you done? Dude, if I was done, I’d be outside the door. After returning to the stretcher, the dr receives the report from the paramedic and as the paramedic says “we picked her up from the Juneteenth festival”. The dr then asks “what is Juneteenth?”. The paramedic is obviously struggling to answer replying “you haven’t heard of Juneteenth? It just became a federal holiday”. I wanted to pull out the Juneteenth informational guide on them but was too weak to give that effort at the moment. The dr then asks me how I’m feeling and if I had something to eat or drink today. I told him that I had not eaten a full meal but kept drinking water and a small Slush. He asked “what is a slush?”. I reply “A slush. Slushie? A frozen drink.” He’s like “oh an alcoholic beverage?” I’m like “no way! Just a frozen drink of chopped ice and flavored syrup”. They then escort me into this shared room with about 8 other people. They were out of recliner chairs so they had me sit in a chair you would find in a restaurant or dining hall, minimal cushion in other words. It’s freezing cold with no warm blankets in sight. A nurse soon comes over to assess me and obtain some medical history from me. Meanwhile, there are other people and patients sitting as close to me as a driver is to a passenger, listening to all my personal info, computer screen visible facing the public, and HIPAA is out the window. I’m ready to go RIGHT NOW!! The nurse then starts my fluids. She later brings me a turkey sandwich meal. By this time, it’s been two hours and I feel well enough to go home. The dr finally comes back to ask how I’m feeling and I perk up like “oh much better sir. Thank you!”. He kindly tells me that he will get my discharge papers ready and I can go home as he oddly rubs my back like cleaning a windshield window lol. Mike and the kids pull up right on time to start our journey back home after picking up our other car from the event. I guess with pretty much being in the house for the past year due to the shutdown, my body has to be retrained on tolerating the sun and certain levels of heat. The morale of the story is: No matter how strong you think you are, the sun will win every time, so don’t forget to bring your tent! Stay tuned for more summer fun and head over to the Santa Meets the Tooth Fairy section of the website for more info on my next author appearance, fun reader activity sheets, and more!
Yo! Mama Mesh