Today, while fact-checking on a name for a friend, I happened upon some things that had belonged to Gramma Peggy. After she passed away, Sharlene asked if I wanted some of her books to put into cabins. These included two written by Justine Kerfoot, an anthology edited by John Henricksson, and a hardcover copy of Snowshoe Country by Florence Page Jaques. All are excellent cabin books--on the shelf or end table, they are perfect for perusing while on vacation in the woods. Some I had read, some I hadn't, and now I am determined to read them all, straight through, just as I am doing with John's book that I recently mentioned.
The nice thing about these books, as John put it to me, is that you can just pick them up and read a chapter at a time. A little slice of northwoods living, written in someone else's words, can be just the thing to put a person into a relaxed state of mind. If one can actually be in the woods at the time, well then, all the better. It makes the experience richer, to look out the window and gaze at the exact same scenery and wildlife as you are reading about. How cool is that? Better than virtual reality, hands down.
Peggy's books from Justine were inscribed to her. I've been in many a used book store, and have seen books similarly marked. Of course, they were meaningless to me, and in a way it seemed sad that a gift like that would end up in such an impersonal location. Yet, I realize that we cannot hold onto everything that we've been given, because we end up with too much. So it is right to send them to a venue where someone new can find them and derive enjoyment from them. That's the whole idea behind reuse and recycle. I just get a little sentimental at times. The memories that we have from giving a gift, or from reading the book, should be enough to hold on to, rather than the object itself.
Actually, I find myself trying to focus on that principle more and more these days. I probably will never get around to re-reading everything that I think that I will. And if I do want to, the internet makes it easy to locate those old titles. In the meantime, I know that it will be a rewarding experience to hold and read the same copy that Peggy once held, as I am reading stories about her woods. And there may even be a mention of her in some of those pages. I
think that I will definitely be keeping at least some of these original copies, as someday my grandchildren--Peg's great-great grandchildren--may want to read them, too.