The books have landed.
This summer was a long parade of home projects, most of which required significant moving about of stuff in the upstairs part of the house. The old carpeting in our bedroom that was there when we moved into the place two decades ago was replaced. Lauren’s room was repainted, and with that as inspiration so was Tabitha’s. It was an unsettling summer that way, but now we’re mostly back into our places and the house looks nice.
Whenever you have a project or series of projects like that, it’s a nice opportunity to sort through all the stuff you’ve had to move and see whether you really want to move it back or whether it needs to be moved on somewhere else. As part of that process we ended up with a giant box of books left over, even after we had sorted through and taken the ones we thought friends or family might like and the ones we felt were worth saving for sentimental reasons.
It was quite a box.
But what can you do with a box of books these days? The girls are long since too old to be donating stuff to the old Montessori where they were in daycare – the kids there wouldn’t be up to that level. Trying to sell them at a garage sale is a lost cause, as I can attest from previous experience. And the used book store down the street ended its brief flicker of life more than a year ago.
I spent the better part of half an hour on the phone with the local hospital this weekend.
I figured that there are always kids in the children’s ward who are bored out of their minds and might appreciate a good book. Cell phone batteries run out of power, after all. And books are good for occupying minds that would otherwise head off in random directions, especially when faced with long hospital stays.
Everyone I spoke with at the hospital thought it was a lovely idea for me to bring this box of books over as a donation but none of them felt authorized to actually approve of the idea, so they would forward me on to the next person who would hear me out and then the process would repeat. It’s surprisingly hard to give stuff away these days.
Eventually someone said sure, just bring them on by.
It’s been a busy week, but today I finally got a chance to do that. Let me tell you, a box of books is a heavy thing to haul across a parking lot. You wouldn’t think paper would be heavy, but then I find that it helps to think of books as finely sliced lumber.
The folks at the door were happy to see me but had no idea whether this was something they could approve, so there was another round of the weekend’s activities – this time live – but at some point someone must have said it was fine. Rather than schlep the box up to the children’s ward by hand the person at the door smartly commandeered a wheelchair and I put the box in the seat. Away they went, with any luck to brighten up some kid’s otherwise lousy day.
I like the idea that these books are moving on to somewhere where they might make someone's day a little nicer.