Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lost Lore, or, Reading Rescue

My daughter and I almost effected a book rescue last weekend. As we drove down the street toward home, eagerly anticipating lunch when we arrived, we saw a book in the middle of the road. Yes, just existing there quietly in the middle of the street--shocking, but true. What could I do?

I knew immediately I had to turn around and rescue it. Despite the traffic and despite the setback in the feeding schedule, we had to go back. I quickly steered Jimmy (the children's name for one of our vehicles; the pickup is conveniently called Jerry) into the unfamiliar turn lane, which finally roused my daughter's attention. She had her nose buried deep in a book.

"What are you doing, Mom?" she inquired (note the strong verb). "Z, there's a book in the road back there."

Scarcely had the words left my mouth before she exclaimed, "What?! A book? In the road?"

"Yes," I answered, "And we're going back to rescue it. I think it might be a library book."

"What?! Not a library book! We have to go back!"

"Yes, I know. Here's the plan: I'm going to drive around the block and find a convenient place to pull over. If it's safe, I want you to jump out and grab it."

"Got it, Mom."

"Don't unbuckle yet, we're not there!"

"Oh, okay."

We pulled to the stop sign and signaled for the right turn that would take us to the intersection where I had seen the unfortunate volume. Was it a library book? The glassy cover had made it seem so. But there was no orange sticker--oh wait, that's only at Hayden. Yes, I was pretty sure. The book belonged to John Q. Public. Or duty was clear.

Accelerating out onto the road (I can't say into traffic because this piece of road is really small and it just wouldn't be true), we looked toward the place where the victim awaited rescue. Just beyond the next stop sign. The book was almost in sight. Z was peering through the windshield, hand on her buckle, personal music device safely stowed next to her own borrowed novel resting on the console, ready to make her move.

But as we braked at the stop sign we realized the intersection was empty. Nothing remained but asphalt. The book had vanished! Glancing to the right we saw a white car accelerating, moving to the left back into traffic. Ahhh, another book lover.

So glad to know we're not alone in the world. Satisfied, we turned toward home where lunch still waited.

(Of course, there could be an alternative ending or two, like the person was really a book thief who had safely purloined another volume, most likely from the library, sticking some poor soul with a lost book fine and a permanent blot in the library records--Loser. Book Loser. What could be worse than that?)

1 comment:

Jenny Mertes said...

What a wonderful story. I'm so proud to see you have raised a book lover like yourself. I admire both of you for being willing to effect a rescue (and for using that word properly), even though the rescue wasn't needed in the end.