Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Remembering Memorial Day

Monday is Memorial Day. What began as a day to commemorate soldiers who fought in the Civil War, has morphed into a day to remember all the people who have passed from our lives whether they served in the military or not.

There are Memorial Day ceremonies at various cemeteries in the area. The playing of Taps and 21 gun salutes are only part of the fare at these ceremonies.

Of the people who have passed through my life, my grandfather was a WWII veteran and my father-in-law fought in Korea. Naturally, I did not know either of those men during that time in their lives. I don't suppose I pay any more homage to them because they were veterans than any of the others who have passed through my life. If I went to the graves of my grandparents and paid tribute to the WW II veteran and didn't give any notice to his wife lying next to him, I think that might be a little callous. I appreciate what he did, but it didn't make up the sum of his life. The sum of his life for me involves the deep appreciation of the Sunday Comics and Green Acres. My father-in-law was a very patriotic person, but he didn't talk much of his time in Korea. I don't remember him as a soldier. That part of his life didn't intersect with mine. I remember him as an outspoken, opinionated man with a strong sense of humor; that is the sum of his life to me.

Today a friend of mine died. In the future I will remember her when Memorial Day comes around. She will join the ranks of others who have passed through my life. In memory of those that have served as good examples of how to live my life, and those whose deaths have reminded me that life is short; I am thankful.

Life is too short to waste on things that don't matter. Life is too short to waste being unhappy. Life is too short not to spend time doing things you enjoy. Life is too short not to remember the people who have gone before us and made our lives better just for being in them. Life is too short not to give homage to the veterans who fought to protect the lives we now live.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spring Cleaning/Weeding

It's that time of year again. The sun is shining, trees are budding, flowers are blooming, I'm sneezing, and my eyes are itching. Maybe that's why instead of spending time in the great outdoors, it's the time of year to do the deep clean inside the house.

I look around my house and see layers of clutter everywhere. Perhaps that's just because I spent some time cleaning the fridge over the weekend with Bravo TV's Hoarders: Buried Alive playing in the background. Things are not that bad in my house, but they aren't as great as the afters on that show either. What do you do with all that collected stuff? I read the other day that some people got rid of their junk by donating it to the tornado victims. Good grief. I don't want to be one of those people, so I'll wait until I can find some time to actually sort through my junk and reduce, reuse, recycle to the best of my ability.

Our library also has to go through some spring cleaning. It's actually called weeding. Pulling out seldom read books to make room on the shelves for current publications. We had to weed a lot to fit our collection into the new library, but much of what we got rid of should have been weeded out decades earlier. Now that it's a bit warmer out, some collections have been brought over from the old library. Nancy Drew finally found her way back and The Hardy Boys may be following soon. The classic young detectives stay while some of the paperback romances met with their demise today. There just isn't enough room on the shelves for everything.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. It certainly does take a bit of work. It's much easier to just toss and replace. That's not being a good steward of the earth though. It does amaze me how some people reduce, reuse, recycle. If you're super duper creative/crafty/artistic, there are all kinds of ways to "save the earth". Brian Dettmer amazes me.

Who knew you could do so much with a discarded book?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Reading Around the World

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. ~Mark Twain

Today was the day to finish up my flyer for the summer reading programs I run at the Marble and Coleraine Public Libraries. Again, the theme is:

After a few hours, I finally finished. Whew! It's hard to believe that it's really almost time for the summer reading program to begin. The kids only have three weeks left of school. How is that possible?? Seems like it was only last month that I was shipping them off on those frosty October mornings.

I'm kind of excited about the theme this year. I love traveling, it's even better in real life than it was for me as a kid reading about other countries and places in books. If you can't possibly leave your area in person, you can travel through books.

I've never been to England, except through Jane Austin and others. I've never been to Ireland, but Maeve Binchy has certainly painted a lovely picture of it in her books. I've never been to China but Pearl S. Buck certainly brought me there. Afghanistan was more beautiful than I ever would have pictured through the works of Khaled Hosseini. The list goes on and on of all the places I've been through the pages of books. It has been wonderful to then travel to some of the places I've read about. New York City, San Francisco, Florida, Mexico--my list of places traveled to is a lot shorter than my list of places I've read about.

Have you visited the places you've read about? Do you dream of the places you've read about? I could not possibly visit all the places I've read about. (The Discwold is a figment of author Terry Pratchett's imagination--so there will be no traveling there.)

When you travel somewhere you've read about, or haven't read about yet; drop us a postcard. We've gotten 2 so far. A big THANK YOU to Michelle R. for the postcard from the Cayman Islands and Katie A. for the postcard from Hawaii! I would love to get some more so that our youngest patrons can see some of the places that are on this great big world of ours.

Monday, May 9, 2011

In honor of mothers who read to their children

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be -
I had a mother who read to me.
~Strickland Gillilan

Do you remember the first book that you really made a connection with? Do you remember the person who read you that book? Do you remember where you were sitting? What else do you remember about it?

I remember sitting on the nubby brown polyester couch; my mother in the middle, my brothers on her left, I on her right. It was a warm summer day, the sun shining through the window behind us. It was the narrow window next to the front door, so the sun was slantedly shining across the right side of me. The curtains on the big windows in the room were closed, to help keep the room cool. She was reading Little House In The Big Woods. It was the part about Pa going to town, how far it was, and how long it took him. We asked how far it was (in a way we could comprehend--3 miles doesn't mean much when you're small.) We were amazed at how long it took Pa to get to town and back, when for us it was only a short car ride away.

My mother read to us every day; but that book, that day is what I remember best.

As a mother, I'm curious what my children will remember of their first real connection with a book. Will it be me they remember reading it? Or, will they remember something their dad read to them? Someone else? Was it a book they read themselves? What book will be associated with that memory? What was the day like? Was it night? Where were they sitting? Who else was there?

I wonder if my brothers share the same memory, or if they remember a different book at a different time. It's interesting to me, that story of people's first connections with books. Please, comment and share yours.