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Always room for more books

I will decline to buy almost everything I see, but can always justify purchasing another book.

By Connie Scharlau / November 28, 2005



I went to a craft fair recently and saw lots of interesting stuff, such as ceramic noisemakers that the grandchildren would love, a wool-felt wall hanging of fanciful forget-me-nots, and a watercolor print that captures the feeling of our farm.

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So what did I come home with? Wrong question. The correct question would be, "Did I find any books?" Yes, yes, yes. It was actually the only book I saw at the fair. Less than half price, it lay beneath a fringed table lamp on a bedside table painted white.

It was Lois Wyse's "Friend to Friend: Letters Only a Woman Could Write." I didn't buy it right away. I walked away and bought an ice cream cone to aid my musings. On a bench out of the sun, I ate every delicious lick of the chocolate cone, thinking all the while of that book.

Women and their lives - my favorite topic. I saw that Colette, Abigail Adams, and Harriet Beecher Stowe were included. Letters. Goodness knows I need help in that regard. Perhaps the book would hold patterns for letters of my own.

Lois Wyse is still writing, I thought. I had bought one of her first books long ago as a newlywed. I think it was called "Love Poems for the Very Married." I've watched her life unfold in parallel to my own from newlywed to grandparent, but I never knew that she also had an interest in the history of women.

"Friend to Friend." Less than half price.

I turned round, climbed the hill, and took the book to the man behind the counter.

We chatted about his accent (South African) and the book. Then I walked to the car with my only purchase of the day, marveling at how I will decline to buy almost everything I see but can always justify buying another book.

After all, I told myself: You don't need fancy dish towels. The grandchildren wouldn't be impressed with artsy ceramic rattles. You have no spare wall space for the wool felt or the watercolor.

Ah, but the book. No matter that books cover every surface in my home. No matter that books are piled high beside every chair and bed in the house. No matter that every bookcase is filled to overflowing. It's OK; there's always room for another.

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