Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Becoming a "Townie" in Buena Vista - The Library

We lie in my big king-sized bed this Wednesday morning and breathe a bit as a family after the running of too many days on end and the puking in between the running.  We should be able to ignore the calendar when we are sick, but somehow we don't.

Cecily brought the virus home having picked it up on the dangerous streets of downtown Buena Vista . . . or possibly from some sneezing child at preschool - one can never be sure where they unknowingly consent to host a virus.  Cecily shared it with Ewan.  This is no surprise as Ewan is forever seeking hugs and kisses we are bound to share a bit of whatever it is that lurks on us.  Ewan shared it with Jonah.  This is no surprise as Jonah cared for Ewan so tenderly at 11pm when he was throwing up in his bed the night before.  Jonah shared it with Matt, but Matt has not puked since 1991 so his will has become stronger than any virus that has made the attempt on him in the last twenty-one years.

So far Caroline and I remain undisturbed, but for the puke on my shirt and neck, sheets, towels, floors, rugs, beds, and toilets.  It's just not my puke.  While Jonah slept in my bed yesterday Caroline and I did two math lessons.  Jonah woke up periodically and read enough to finish The Two Towers and then gently beg me the rest of the day to pick up The Return of The King for him which was on hold at our local library.

Finally, around 3:00 pm the girls and I walked into the library where Tori, the twenty-something librarian was waiting at the counter.  Before we could even say "hello" she had fetched our book for us, laid it on the counter and asked with incredulity "He's finished The Two Towers already?"

"Yep, he's been sick today, laying in bed either reading or sleeping and then begging me 'Mom, please go get my book for me' ".

"I love this kid," Tori exclaims.

I love this town, I think.  Much as I miss, pine for, yearn for, try not to think too much about the Salt Lake City Library, no one ever knew my name at that library.  We had to have been some of their most frequent patrons, but no one ever saw us come through the door and had our books picked up and checked out for us without us so much as having to produce a library card or even give our names.

Susie is the sweet forty-something librarian who is a "townie" through and through.  Which is to say she is pure Virginian, mumbles softly in southern drawl such that one westerner must lean in closely and listen hard to translate the loosely shared English.  She wears cable knit sweaters with flowers or seasonal decor such as reindeer or elves on them.  Tori calls her 'The Goddess of the Library' because she knows all the answers - even if you have to listen hard to discern them.

Several weeks ago I had all four kids at this very small library in the middle of the day.  As I was checking our books out Susie leaned in close and whispered "Your kids behave real good."
"Thank you," I replied as we watched a band of children who did not belong to me stomp through loudly, throwing fits and pulling books off the shelf.  They are not bad kids, just unsupervised kids who spend the limbo hour between school and Mom-getting-off-work at the library because they have nowhere else to go.

Recently Jonah returned a movie (The Secret of Roan Inish which you should watch if you have not).  He jumped out of the van and ran in to deposit the movie which we are not allowed to put in the book-drop.  He came back saying "Man, Tori was in there.  I wanted to stay and talk.  For several days after I kept checking our account to see when they would apply the four dollar fine I knew we owed on the movie.  When it never appeared I knew Tori must have had a hand in it.

A few months before that Susie took pity on me when I was trying to pay my library fines which, at twelve dollars, were alarmingly high to her.  Again she leaned in close to me and said very softly "Don't tell nobody, but I'm gonna take half that off for ya."
"Ok, I won't tell nobody," I whispered.  "Thank you."

So consider yourself not told, because I don't want to betray The Goddess of the Library's trust.  Bad things might happen, and we can't live without the library.