A library carol

RECENTLY I came across some notes made in my library days; across the bottom of the page I'd scrawled, ``People ought to listen more slowly!'' Among the jottings that evidently led me to that conclusion were these easy-to-decipher examples: ``Do you have the wrath of grapes?'' ``I want a book about the Abdominal Snowman.'' ``I have to make a book report on Hugo by Less Miserables.''

``Baroque'' required some questioning before I realized the youngster was making a report on artists and needed Georges Braque. Requests often came in clusters, so I was ready when the next student asked for the ``Greek of Toledo,'' and we quickly found material on el Greco.

An eighth grader at the dictionary one day with a list of words having to do with law gave up in disgust and showed me that the word bannister had nothing to do with it at all. ``Could it have been barrister?'' I asked.

Another said she needed antidotes. I asked the nature of the ailment. She corrected me, ``Not ailments. I need stories. You know - that famous people said.''

But there was, on my sheet of paper, no mention of another incident; perhaps because it had nothing to do with faulty hearing, rather with splendid hearing.

A lady came in one evening and requested music for her choir at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church. She couldn't remember the title but said she could sing it and proceeded to do just that in the most beautiful contralto I'd ever heard. When she finished, those in the packed reading room burst into applause, and one white-haired gentleman at the back, in the newspaper section, raised his hand and said, ``Dvorak's `New World' Symphony.'' The lady and I thanked him and went away to find it.

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