Do You Need a Pencil?
I love to read. I love the total escapism that comes from delving into a book and not wanting to put it down. The weight of a book in my hands and quite often the smell of old pages have entranced me many a time. I now have the luxury of owning an electronic reading device and can have my choice of any reading selection in mere seconds. But, not too long ago I was dependent upon our small town library.
When I first moved to Smalltownland I was determined to get assimilated and one of my very first outings was to the local library. It was quite close to the historic house we owned at the time and I trotted on over with a toddler in tow.
And what a sight to behold when I walked into the front door. The building was small with shelves around the walls of the room and maybe five free standing shelves. Two ladies, with a dog mind you, were enjoying some iced tea at a table. A handful of people were browsing the shelves and there were several ladies working at the counter. I was immediately greeted and I didn't need to explain myself. Everyone knew who I was....where I came from....who my parents were....the name of my son and that he had been born north of the Mason Dixon Line.
One of the ladies graciously offered to read the tiny Deerslayer a story while I browsed. Upon inquiring, I was told that I wouldn't need a library card....they all knew where I lived.
After I had made my selections I actually had to fill out the cards in the back of the books. Something I had not done since...high school maybe? As I was filling out one of the cards the elderly lady asked me if I really liked, "that kind of book". It happened to be a romance novel and I told her that yes, on occasion, I did read romance novels. Well....she informed me that, if I wanted, I could fill out the card in pencil....so my name could be erased later.
I must have given her quite the puzzled look because she then explained that some of the town ladies didn't like for their names to be left...."in those kind of books".
I was brazen and wrote my name in pen.....for the whole town to see....and talk about later.
And on my next trip to the library I used the back door....like a real local.