Kepler's Bookstore re-opened its doors this morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by throngs of supportive readers who cheered on Clark Kepler and his dedicated staff. Cafe Borrone distributed free cookies while Mayor Winkler announced a city proclamation thanking Daniel Mendez and all the other tireless volunteers and investors for saving the cultural landmark of Menlo Park. Throughout the afternoon, a jazz band serenaded the festive plaza, as the crowd descended upon the store shelves. As of this moment--5 minutes to closure--the checkout lines have still not receded, and the number of neighbors who signed up for Kepler's Membership far surpassed anyone's expectations.
As my son and I spoke to Clark today, his determined but friendly demeanor reminded me of Jimmy Stewart in Frank Capra's classic film It's A Wonderful Life (re-enacted here by bunnies). Upon his father's death, George Bailey reluctantly set aside his personal ambitions to assume the family business, for the good of Bedford Falls. Many years later, when circumstances beyond his control threatened to bankrupt the business, George felt responsible for the failure, and sank into a state of despondency. But as George reflected upon his contributions and importance within his community, he felt a renewed sense of purpose; meanwhile, all his grateful neighbors converged upon his home with unexpected pledges of financial and emotional support that saved his troubled business.
Substitute Menlo Park for Bedford Falls, and you have the story of Clark Kepler. Perhaps today, just like George Bailey, Clark realized that he is a more successful man than he had thought.
So here's to Clark, the richest man in town!