Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Baby Elephant in the Room


  Would I like a copy of the National Audubon Society's Baby Elephant Folio of Audubon's Birds of America? For free? You bet I would! After greeting Teresa's Uncle Vernon and his daughter Kelly at their home in Mesa Arizona last fall, the first thing I noticed was this magnificent tome laying horizontally on a shelf under the TV.
  We only had two days in Mesa so what with chatting with Vern and Kelly, hiking in a desert park under the broiling sun, and exploring thrift stores, I knew I would not have time to check out Audubon's take on the roadrunner, but I made a mental note for future reference.
  As we were packing up to leave, I was surprised to see Teresa lugging Birds of A. out to the car. "Vern wants us to donate it to the Roseau library," she said. I made a sound like an American bittern. I eyed my wife as a kingfisher would eye the great blue heron who had just eaten his breakfast minnow.
  I was sick I tell you till Kelly took me aside. "He wants you to have it," she said. It turns out Teresa had negotiated the library deal. Yes I have way too many books and where would I put this furniture sized volume when we're trying to downsize. And yes more people could enjoy the book at the library than if it was languishing in my private library. Vern sensed my mental state and announced that if the library didn't want the book I should take it.
  The bounce returned to my step because I knew how hard it is to donate even brand new books to the library. You have to get approval from regional headquarters and outside donations gum up their procurement procedure.
  But once we got home Teresa dutifully brought the book to the library. The librarian was amazed and gratified. "We'll set it out so people can enjoy it while I see if we can put it in our system," she said. We returned to the library a couple of weeks later and the librarian said that headquarters had rejected the book as too big. Ha! As I cradled the book in my arms I was reminded of the time we lost one of the kids in a big crowd at the beach. The child was only lost for five minutes, but you get the picture.

My benefactor...and his niece


WannaskaWriter said...

Well,it's not like you could get another book so easily as making another kid. I mean really, great books aren't so plentiful as people imagine. And kids? Well, "Let's give it another try, baby..."

Chairman Joe said...

I knew you'd get it.

Catherine Stenzel said...

And to add to the line of thought: Books stay nicely on their shelves when you don't need them; can't say the same for kids. Books will stay with you far into your old age; kids? well that's another story. Big books are serviceable in many ways including as door stops, as weights to take the wrinkles out of whatever; as leaf pressers, and so on. Kids? What are they good for? Having none myself, and with no regrets, I'll leave that question for others to answer. I haven't noticed anything having a kid would do for me other than make me poorer than I already am. Witfully yours, CS

Chairman Joe said...

Kids will make you poorer, but you didn't need that money anyway. They grow up to be your friends. And if they have kids themselves, you get all messy about them. I don't know. I believe it's a positive thing.