About twenty people sit on folding chairs in the meeting room of the Priest River library, a comfortable space with modern reddish brown walls above a pine wainscot. Framed photographs of Priest River’s early days adorn the walls and a large projector screen dominates the front of the room. On the screen is a slide showing the colorfully illustrated covers of five books. From where I sit, the room is a sea of mostly salt and pepper hair (more salt than pepper), but the faces are friendly and everybody’s eyes sparkle with kindness and anticipation.
We’re here to listen to author Rae Ellen Lee discuss her latest book, “A Field Guide to Geezers: An Illustrated Look at a Curious Branch of Hominids.”
The Field Guide is written in the style of traditional field guides, classifying the species and detailing the habitat and notable behaviors for identification and educational purposes. “Recognition is step number one in any branch of natural science,” Lee writes very seriously in the introduction, before she goes on to write quite hilariously about the various species of geezer.
In case anyone hasn’t yet cottoned on, this is a humor book. “Let’s get one thing straight,” Lee writes in the book’s disclaimer, “this guide is based on fraudulent and shoddy research methods…Think of it as a grass-roots attempt to share anecdotal evidence, turned up during decades of observation.” It’s been a long time since the disclaimer of the book has so piqued my interest.
Lee is also quick to point out that age isn’t a prerequisite for being a geezer. Although, it’s true, most geezers are of “a certain age,” being a geezer, she says, is “a sassy state of mind.” It’s a state in which you don’t really care what others think of you, the latest styles and trends are meaningless, and you’ve been liberated enough to speak your mind. Dear lord, I think I’m a geezer!
As she goes through the various species of geezer, I am struck by just how many of these types of geezer I know personally. I’ve observed, am related to, or currently share my life with every single type of geezer that Lee describes. Geezers are everywhere. There’s the geezer that prefers to live in a well-appointed hunting cabin, the geezer who convenes weekly with other geezers at the “Table of Wisdom” at the local cafe, and the one who always has his nose in a car manual – that is, when he’s not working on an actual car.
Rae Ellen Lee is herself an exceptional character. Her life has been the subject of two of her books so far, “I Only Cuss When I’m Sailing” and “My Next Husband Will Be Normal: A St. John Adventure.” Her fictional tale, “The Bluebird House,” (a “paranormal, historical, romance-adventure novel with a mystery and some mountain man recipes”) is set in a mining camp brothel that she herself lived in and renovated. Finally, her second novel “Cheating the Hog: A Sawmill, a Tragedy, a Few Gutsy Women” belies her deep connection to the Inland Northwest and the people who live here. And now we have A Field Guide to Geezers, based on years of research and, let me tell you, one does not become a Geezerologist without knowing plenty of geezers. Personally, I just think she’s an all-around awesome lady and a very talented writer.
If you want to learn more about Rae Ellen Lee or read any of the above-mentioned books, check out her Amazon page or her website at www.RaeEllenLee.com. I’m off to read my signed copy of The Bluebird House. Honestly, how could I resist a paranormal historical romance-adventure novel with recipes?!
P.S. Many thanks to Rae Ellen Lee for inviting me to this event, and to the Priest River library for hosting. Additional thanks to geezers everywhere. You are loved and appreciated, and Rae Ellen’s book shows it!