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Small adventures.   —   Kid Stuff

When I was a child in grade school I went to the town library every day after school. My sister and I were four grades apart, she being the eldest, which for a while put us in separate schools. After the last bell of the school day we’d meet each other on the dirt path that ran in between the two schools. We would walk together, though surely not hand-in-hand, to the library in town, lugging our book bags and stopping along the way to pick wild dandelions and save fuzzy caterpillars from the certain doom of the footpath. I would gather a fistful of dandelions and chase my older sister across the fields, promising that I would rub the golden dust of the flowers on her face if I caught up to her. And I often did. Laughing and screeching in a field of random weeds and grass we’d wrestle until both of us glowed with the gold from the dandelions. The twenty minute walk from the schools to the library often turned in to a forty minute walk with the last ten minutes of the trip spent busily picking grass from our hair, leaves from our shirts, and wiping the flower dust off of our cheeks.

Once inside the library we went our separate ways. She would disappear down aisles I never explored and I would head to my favorite corner near the window in the back where the sunspot was, it was warm and quiet and out of sight. I would make my rounds along the rows and rows of books and pile my pickings high in my arms and take them all back my favorite spot. I would stack the books around me in towers like a fortress and I would choose a book at random to begin, losing myself in the worlds of monsters and ghosts and brave children having wonderful adventures. Over the course of the next two hours I would carefully review each book to narrow the choices down to only a few, which I would then take home.

After my deliberate and routine book selection procedure I would then head over to the water fountain to take a sip of ice-cold water, which I had always thought tasted like pennies. Then I’d go to the large fish tank at the front of the library and spend countless minutes staring at the fish and being hypnotized by the ‘bloop, bloop’ of the tank water. The rest of the stay would be invested in finding my sister, stalking her and quietly making books fall on her head or leaping out from behind bookcases to give her a scare. She loved the attention. And I loved to be mean.

Close to suppertime my mother would come and pick us up. Fresh out of work she’d show up still in her work uniform from the veterinary office with tired eyes and a small smile. We’d run to the van and pile in with our bags and our books and sometimes, wilted dandelions, riding home in a comfortable silence while listening to Paul Harvey tell us “the rest of the story”.

Posted 4.7.2004

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