April 26, 2011

A Big Smile

In a couple of recent bloggings for for Heroes and Heartbreakers, I wrote about what is perhaps my most unique skill: the ability to match books with people. Previous to my two-year stint as a B&N bookseller, I never knew I had this savant-like skill, and it's what I miss most about working there.

Last month Lewis and Alice, two of my most favorite relatives, spent a couple of days with me while they were passing through town. Lewis, recently retired, wanted mostly to relax and read, so I lent him a book I thought he'd like...and he did. So I gave him another, this time knowing he'd be leaving my house with it, which should tell you how very much I like him, because I never give books to people knowing I won't get them back.

Later he emailed to say how much he'd enjoyed that second book, so I started thinking about additional recommendations. Not long thereafter we sat next to each other at one of the meals during the recent Benjamin family reunion. After talking about spirituality and nature, I wrote down a few titles I thought he'd enjoy. Lewis is a long-time fly fisherman and quite comfortable expressing his emotions—which no doubt accounts for the love so many of his patients expressed for him when he was their pediatrician—so one of the recommendations was for Mary Alice Monroe's Time is a River.

This morning he sent a most heartfelt thank you, written five minutes after finishing the book. It put a huge smile on my face and helped erased the worry I've felt since Rachael called a couple of days ago from the vending machine room in her dorm while the sirens blared in Conway. Conway, you see, is little more than a hop, skip, and a jump away from the town destroyed in Monday evening's tornado.

I've already added three more Mary Alice Monroe books to his short list: Sweetgrass, The Beach House, and Swimming Lessons. I hope he'll love them too.


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