Category Archives: between books

The Privilege of being Busy

Our last blog was Sept. 22 because that’s just before Jack went to Boston on a holiday with beloved friends. I stayed home because I’m going to a conference that starts Monday and somebody needed to watch Bruce, the cats, and the chickens on our sweet little homestead.

It’s gonna be okay

On Monday the garbage disposal went out. No problem, I can bail the sink.

On Tuesday, driving home from a meeting two hours away, my vehicle began making horrible sounds and got left in a town an hour away. A friend drove me home. (Thanks Donnamarie and it’s a wonderful thing to have friends who will make round trips for you.) Neighbors across the street, fighting their own battles with serious health issues, took time out to run over and let our doggie Bruce out because I was stranded so long. It was unexpected, catching up with Donnamarie after not seeing her for over a year. So pleasant, even if the ride was forced by difficult circumstances.

On Wednesday I drove our farm truck to an awards ceremony in a posh location. I resisted the urge to park my sheep-smelling vehicle in valet, but oh it was a temptation. I went to the posh location because one of our volunteers at the Inman Village Community Nourishment Project was receiving an award for being awesome and running a food program over the summer when we didn’t have any student volunteers to do it.

On Thursday I sent query letters on my first serious piece of fiction to four agents, and covered our garden in prep for winter. And had ice cream for supper, in a waffle cone.

Today I am headed back to Inman in a rental–they didn’t have one Wednesday which is why I drove the farm truck–to run our monthly outreach of free food, fun crafts, and listening to questions the Inman Village residents have about access to services. And hopefully answer them. I was able to get the rental because another beloved friend picked me up at home and took me to the rental place, despite being up to her eyebrows in care needs for her own extended family, including three elders and an accident-prone brother. It was lovely to catch up with Nora, in forced circumstances again, but we sat in the rental lot and talked for 15 minutes, just filling each other in on grace under pressure, aka Adulting 101.

Everything that happened this week was hard, and everything is based on something wonderful and resulted in something wonderful. I have a back-up vehicle. We have awesome volunteers. I can afford a garbage disposal, and chickens on my little one-acre homestead. My husband got to spend a week with dearly beloved friends from his home country. Covering the garden started with annoyance at wind gusts and curious chickens trapping themselves under the tarp, and ended with me laughing so hard I had to sit down as the chickens danced with the fluttering plastic.

Gratitude is an amazing framework. Not comparison, not denying our feelings, but being grateful for what we have.

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JUST ANOTHER REASON TO LOVE LIBRARIES

Notification came that a book I’d asked our local library to get was waiting for me. The next day, Jack and I were running a couple of early morning errands and wound up at the library about 5 minutes before it opened.

We weren’t the only ones waiting. On the porch paced a bearded man in t-shirt and baggy gym shorts. I’d seen him walking around town the past few weeks. He clutched two paperbacks at his side, the kind of thing a fifth or sixth grader might check out, History of the Flag or Rocks in the Painted Desert. Slim, floppy, full if information but not big words. I had noticed him about town because he usually carried a couple such books with him.

One of the librarians emerged from a side door, wearing a crisp black shirt, buttoned at cuffs and collar, and began watering the flowers on the porch troughs. He and Wandering Guy exchanged a few words, and then Crisp Shirt went back in via the same side door.

When the library opened, I followed Wandering Guy in. Since he was busy with Crisp Shirt Man at the desk, I browsed a few crochet magazines and checked the new releases. Apparently someone had come in from the side door behind Crisp Shirt—whose nametag read William, Keeper of Dungeons and Master of Disaster.

William at work

Our library does a weekly D&D game among its many side hustles. William is the kind of dignified person who works his desk with an air of holy priesthood fulfilling a scared duty, yet also somehow underemployed for his skills. He is awesome to watch with people.

As I noodled about killing time, the person who had gotten in the side door could be heard singing softly to herself, a tuneless version of Amazing Grace. She was on verse three when I got there and kept going until she ran out of breath around verse 8.

The silence filled the library. William finished with Wandering Guy, who cocked an ear in the direction of the now-missing hymn.

As I slid into place before William’s throne—I mean desk—Wandering Guy gave what can only be described as a tiny shrug, and started a cheerful, out-of-tune rendition of Bless the Lord O My Soul—the worship chorus, not the hymn full of thees and haths.

William’s eyes rolled, but he said nothing as he found my interlibrary loan. “Looks like a good read,” he said of The Drunken Botanist. “We thank you for your custom and hope you enjoy your perusal of this fine volume.”

It may have been a trick of the lighting, but I’m pretty sure William gave a slight yet courtly bow as he passed the book over the counter in both hands, akin to a cleric setting forth a quest.

I thanked William, waved to Wandering Singing Guy, and started out—at the exact moment the unseen woman in history began to harmonize on the Bless the Lord chorus.

I love libraries. You never know.

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Filed under between books, book reviews, bookstore management, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch