See Clifford the leopard in the foreground?
He's keeping watch over my books
The weather gods ae playing tricks on us. They give us a couple of sunny, bright days so that we think fall is here in all its glory—and then they turn the world drizzly and gray. I swear this weekend I looked at the extended forecast and it was for seventies Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. But if today got to 70 it was in some other state. Here, it was drizzly and gray, not really cool but the kind of damp that makes you feel a chill. I had turned the heat off but turned it on again this evening. Rain forecast for the morning—my new winter rye grass will appreciate that.
It was the kind of day that it’s good to have a project or else one (this one anyway) might mope and grouse the day around. Mary Dulle came to help me finish sorting my bookcase. Saying “help me” is a misnomer, because Mary does all the work and I sit and pass judgement on titles like some sort of authority. She can do all the bending, standing, reaching that I can’t, and she graciously includes dusting shelves and tops of books. Today she even asked for a broom and swept up some spider eggs. Above and beyond.
We divided books into those that I want on my shelves, those that can go to the storage locker (extras of books I’ve written and by far the biggest category we had—anybody wants to buy a book just let me know; I can probably open a store), and books that I will give to the library’s used-book store. What I kept on the shelves we roughly organized into books I had written or had chapters, essays, etc., in, books by good friends of mine, and books that I cared about. I was delighted to find some treasures—a few cookbooks that I thought had been lost in the great deluge that ruined most of my cookbooks, a book of William Barney’s poetry—the Fort Worth postman who became a Texas poet laureate, two copies of Bartlett’s Quotations (who needs two?). and other treasures.
One half-shelf holds old books of sentimental value—hymnals from my childhood and a copy of the songbook that my dad and I used to sing out of on Sunday nights—he’d play the piano and we’d both sing, though neither of us could carry a tune in a bushel basket. There’s a copy of Get Thee Behind Me, a preacher’s kid’s (pk) account of trying to counter sin—a book that made me laugh when I was a kid with a dad who was a pk—and a terribly worn copy of Foster-Harris’ invaluable guide, The Look of the Old West. I used that research tool a lot when I was writing westerns. Lots of treasures.
We were dusty and dirty by the time we went to the Black Rooster for sandwiches. I’m a fan of that bakery, and it puzzles me that some of my friends aren’t. Chicken salad on a croissant—what’s not to like?
But the upshot of the day is that I have neatly arranged bookshelves with some room to display family photos and the like, and an accessible shelf for office supplies. Well, it will be accessible when we get one box and two shopping bags of books to storage. Then even I can get to printer paper and book mailers.
Doing this massive undertaking with Mary made it fun instead of a chore, and she was the one who pointed out it was better to be busy than to mope. There’s nothing like a good neighbor and friend.