It is that time of year when folks pause and give thanks, even if it’s only for enough of a pause between dinner and the Black Friday specials to digest Grandma’s gravy. Children cut out Gratitude Leaves and write down what makes them feel grateful, and widely separated families see each other face to face so they can renew their gratitude that, whatever their lot in life, they don’t live like Cousin Rudy. It is a time for expressing thanks.
I have prepared a vaguely similar blog. I like to think I express my gratitude throughout the year, even to those people who arrive at five minutes to closing on a night of sleet and ice with a car full of boxes and want their boxes back. But sometimes I may miss a few people in my rush of work, and I would like to cite a few things I am Almost Grateful For.
I am grateful that someone brought me this special 15th anniversary edition of Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October. What I am less grateful for is the knowledge that this book is now itself fifteen years old.
I am grateful to all those of you who will remember my warnings and NOT drop off books from Thursday to Sunday this weekend. I am grateful for this because I would hate to have you risk your life fighting past all the Black Friday shoppers (we are mere blocks from Best Buy, after all) when the building is CLOSED.
By the way, this seems a good time to point out that although the building is CLOSED, and we do not want any book donations, the World War I exhibits and the A.C. (Almost Christmas) McClurg bookstore on the first floor will, um, be open. There will be plenty of Black Friday specials at the bookstore. But the people there cannot, cannot take the time to come and haul your books in. I will be specially grateful, as I say, if you can wait until Cyber Monday.
I am always grateful for the odd clippings that come in books. I am happy to know that somebody is going to make a Doritos-flavored version of Mountain Dew. This is a timely warning, and I will thus not be frightened when I go down the…wait, will it be in the chips aisle or among the soda pops? I am also kind of grateful for the clipping about Peter Bergman, another one of the great unsung heroes of our time. Mr. Bergman is that man who looked out of your television and announced, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” I am not grateful to learn that he did this twenty-eight years ago. (What was I doing when all this time went by? Sorting books?)
I am almost bgrateful for this beautiful collection of dance cards from area high schools and colleges: they conjure up visions of girls in crinolines and boys in tuxes, gathered in the Sheraton Ballroom under the watchful eyes of the Guests of Honor: Brother Theodore, Sister Mary Wendolyn, etc. The problem is that so many people have fallen in love with this collection that I may have to rent a safe deposit box for it until I sort out the offers.
What it comes down to, as always, is that I am grateful to have a job where I can see and learn and read so much about so many different kinds of people. (Just looking up data for this blog, I read a previous Thanksgiving column and remembered what one of my late volunteers said about the fur coat she was getting rid of. Vintage stuff.) If these people can just remember I DON”T want to see or learn or read about them for the next four days, I can be completely grateful to get back to the old bookstand on Monday.