Is it weird that I’m in New York City to introduce my book “Lily Barlow, The Mystery of Jane Dough” at Book Expo 2018, and the thing I’m most excited about right now is that there’s a concrete pumper truck parked outside my hotel? The pumper truck, as it represents the world of construction, is desperately underrated. Everybody loves the dump trucks and the steam rollers, which are great in an obvious way, but the pumper doesn’t get the same attention.

I didn’t know there was such a truck until I met my husband, who sells building supplies. At that point, subtle building-material nuances began creeping into my vocabulary and into my life. I know products like DensGlass and companies like Armstrong. I could hand out citations for OSHA, because I know which workers are properly tied off and which ones aren’t. I know that contrast makes high visibility clothing even more visible. Oh, and I have a pair of sunglasses that will protect me if a nail gun is, for some reason, fired directly at my eye.

My husband introduced me to pumper trucks and my all-time favorite piece of construction equipment, the Gradall. He introduced me to the Sawzall, and it’s true, it does, it saws all. The river of teensy-weensy facts that he has memorized over the course of 25 years in the industry is broad and deep and seeps into my life at every turn. 

The pumper truck outside my hotel is like the cardinal sitting on a tree branch after someone you love passes away, like the butterfly that lands on the toe of your hiking boot when you pause along the Appalachian Trail—it’s rich with symbolism. It reminds me that this book is being unveiled at the Book Expo because someone loved me enough to fund my dream. That’s different than someone just encouraging you to follow your dream. No. He funded it. He invited me to take a sabbatical from teaching to write my story, and he supported my permanent resignation from teaching so I could start the second book. He invested money to get the book vetted by an attorney and more money to hire the publisher and more and more money here and there along the way.

And now, I’m in New York City, presenting my project to the industry and signing copies. I thought the story was the goal. I thought I just needed to write it. Once that happened, though, the goal morphed, and suddenly it became important that people read it. So Book Expo 2018 with Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press has been a crazy big experience. At this moment in time, I’m especially thankful for pumper trucks and publishers.

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