Category Archives: humor

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

The Monday 300-lb. Stove

Jack and I bought some forested land, and began hunting a good deal on a wood stove. When a brand-new one popped up on marketplace super-cheap, the nice man we bought it from loaded it into our truck with his brother. They slid a cheap piece of plywood under it to keep the legs from digging the carpet.

There it lay for the next three weeks, feet toward the steering wheel, aimlessly humming a tune to itself as it waited… and waited… and waited….

We tried friends, family, neighbors. Everybody was busy. It’s a hard time of life and a hard time of year. Plus, we really hate to be those sweet-but-annoying elderly neighbors who need help every twenty minutes.

But when my opportunity to pick up a full load of donations for a community project coincided with the stove still taking up 2/3 of the trunk, Jack and I did some math and hatched a plan.

We gathered every quilt, duvet, and rug in the house, including a sheep fleece headed to some community work of its own next week. We added three tarps, drove to the property, and piled the soft stuff as high as the bumper of the car, fleece below a tarp to avoid the barnyard smell. Positioning the car’s bumper right at the edge of the softy pile, we wiggled the stove out moving each corner of the plywood a couple of inches at a time, left right, left right, until the inevitable was about to happen. When the stove tilted, I held it in place while Jack raced to the driver’s seat and pulled the car forward a foot.

Thing came down like gentle snow.

We rocked it onto its feet, covered it with tarps, kissed each other soundly, and piled the soft stuff back into the car so I can wrap it around the furniture and other donations going to the community project.

Neither of us went to the hospital. We didn’t hurt the stove. We are still married we didn’t swear once.

Next up: how do the elderly couple get the stove up four steps into the house? Good question. We’ll figure it out. Or hold a barbecue and invite strong friends.

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Filed under home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch