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|