When a shelf holding a part of my personal library broke and books cascaded down on my head, I brought forth that word which had been relegated to the farthest reaches of my mind; weed. My collection of books spanned over thirty years and each one had been selected because, at the time anyway, I loved the book. Like a greedy chipmunk, I wanted to fill my cheeks—or shelves—with things for future use. However, unless I wanted my house to look like the woman’s in Sara Stewart’s The Library, I would have to divest my holdings.
As I scanned the shelves, I pulled out and fondly glanced through, some long ago favorites (no matter that my hands came away rather dusty). On The Road with Charles Kuralt, Five Smooth Stones, Lilies of the Field, Get Fuzzy: Groovitude had all at one time been worthy of purchase. There was even a strange book entitled The Grand Panjandrum and 1,999 Other Rare, Useful and Delightful Words and Expressions. (Did you know that “elflocks” is another name for matted hair?)
Almost weeping now, I moved on to the poetry section. Everyone should have a personal copy of the Complete Pelican Shakespeare, The Poetry of Robert Frost, The Norton Anthology of Poetry, And Still I Rise or The Prophet, shouldn’t they? What to do, what to do?!! My collection of classics abutted the poetry section and my eyes lit on Dodsworth, Summer of My German Soldier, Old Man and the Sea and Persuasion, among many others. Granted, I hadn’t picked up any of them in years but so what? They were still keepers. Needing a comfort break, I headed for the freezer and some Haagen-Dazs.
Fortified—and being made of sterner stuff—I waded back into the fray. I refused to look at my rather extensive collection of children’s books. Anything by Seuss, Wilder, the Woods, Willems, Sabuda, Hamilton, Myers or Greenfield was there to stay. Perhaps the cookbooks? My hand hovered over Deceptively Delicious, written by Jerry Seinfield’s health conscious wife, then touched Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader. Ann Byrn’s The Cake Mix Doctor was a contender but glancing through it and seeing the mouth watering illustrations, I put it back. In fact, I was sure that one day I would make something wonderful out of all of those books and when everyone asked me for the recipes, I would whip out the books.
Sighing deeply, I sat down finally in a chair and looked at my “friends.” I couldn’t get rid of any of them. With pursed lips and a narrowed gaze, I honed in on my clunky, outdated desktop computer, which took up almost an entire wall in the small room. Visions of a new laptop danced in my head, along with sleek new shelves, waiting to hold anything else I wanted, needed, to keep. Mentally dusting my hands in satisfaction, I shoved that distasteful word (weed) back into the deepest, darkest corner of my mind. Problem solved…for now.