Saturday, May 31, 2014

Play Ball

When I was growing up in the McLean Addition in Beckley, West Virginia, our yard was full of different kinds of balls.

In our backyard, Dad cemented a tall pole with a ball hanging from the end of a string called a Tetherball. I would stand on the opposite side of the pole from one of my friends. One of us would hit the ball clockwise and the other counterclockwise. The goal was to wind the rope all the way around the pole until the ball stops.

For hours on end I would play with my friends, hoping that the home court advantage would help me win. Although, I didn’t have a chance when my tall brother easily swung the ball over my head. Even when I jumped high I couldn’t stop him from winning.

We usually had a badminton net set up in the yard and we’d play volleyball. We also used the volleyball to play foursquare in the street.

My brother and I would shoot basketball in the backyard on a dirt court. Again, with his height, he had a real advantage over me.

I also threw baseball with him. Actually, my baseball throwing days were short lived because I hit him in the nose causing a nosebleed and broken nose.

One of my other fun toys was a clear ball with glitter inside called a Super Ball. I remember the advertisement, Super Balls snap nearly all the way back; thrown down by an average adult, it can leap over a three-story building.”

Nerf balls came onto the market in 1969. It broke one of the biggest no-no’s in the world: No playing ball in the house. It kept me from breaking my brother’s nose again.

I still had some of these same kinds of balls in a box in my garage. Today’s gift was to give away my tetherball, volleyball and basketball to Goodwill. It will make space for other kinds of balls that I play with today—golf and tennis balls.

In Giving,


Friday, May 30, 2014

I Didn’t Do My Homework Because . . .

Some classic excuses for not doing homework reported by the National Education Association are:
  • A kindergarten student actually told me once: “I'm sorry my homework isn't here. My mother forgot to do it for me yesterday.”
  • One of my fourth graders told me, "I had a cold over the weekend and I was sneezing a lot. I didn't want you to get sick if I sneezed on my homework, so I didn't do it."
  • The best homework excuse I've ever heard was back in the day when we had students typing outlines for their research papers. One young man explained that he didn't have the task completed because his "typewriter didn't come with Roman numerals on it."
  • “Once a student came in with a math paper with burnt edges. He spilled milk on it and put it in the microwave to dry. It caught fire.”
  • “My grandma spilled her beer on it.”
  • “I did my homework in my head and left it at home.”
    And my favorite:
  • “I didn’t do my homework because I was at a rally for higher teacher pay.”
Kids will use almost any excuse to get out of homework. When I became an adult, I realized that the older I got, the smarter my parents got. Now I can finally appreciate that when my parents told me to do something I didn’t want to, it was for a good reason. I want to support those students who have chosen to put their excuses behind them and pursue an education.

Today’s gift was to make a donation to the school where I teach leadership classes in an MBA program—Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. The students will have no excuse for not doing their homework, if they have people who believe in and support them.

In Giving,

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lobster Reunion

Last week, I returned home from a reunion with my college roommates. Today, I had another college reunion with our friend, Buzz. He lives in Houston, but he came to Oregon with his girlfriend who owns property in our neighborhood.

Buzz, whose real name is Charles, is a great cook. Of course, I didn’t appreciate his talents because in college my mantra was, “See food and eat it” without much thought whether it was gourmet or not. Once  he taught me how to cook something that I had never eaten—Maine lobster.

Buzz lived in a house with six other guys who rarely cooked. They had gotten a tip that someone was selling fresh lobsters about 30 miles away just across the Pennsylvania border in Port Marion. They brought back live lobsters and the party was planned for that evening.

We borrowed a huge pot to boil the water. Then Buzz showed me how to put them in, one by one. I heard a squeal and looked around to see who was there. Then he told me that it was the lobster squealing as it went into the boiling water. Woah, that was really cool. Later, I learned that it was steam escaping through the shell.

We ate a large quantities of ‘ster that night, dripping in lots of butter. I don’t remember anything else that we had with it, but over the last 35 years on the rare occasion that I cook lobster, I remember that very first time when I learned how to cook it.

Buzz wanted to take us out to dinner. For today’s gift, however, I cooked dinner for him and his girlfriend. We had fish fresh from the Pacific—Steelhead and King Salmon. Of course, it can’t compare to lobster, but it brought back memories and was a great reunion.

In Giving,

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Camp is a Four Letter Word

Remember having camp-outs in your backyard when you were a kid? Well, I was too scared to actually stay out in the dark so I had my camping experience during the day.

My friends and I would create a tent from a card table draped with a bed sheet. Sometimes we’d just head to the woods and pile up sticks and leaves for a make believe bonfire while we told ghost stories. They didn’t seem as scary in the light of day.

Several times, I invited my friends for a slumber party. We’d “rough it” with our sleeping bags on the living room floor. When I was 12, my Girl Scout Troop travelled to Camp Anne Bailey for a long weekend. We slept in tents that were elevated on wooden platforms. After a soaking rain we sat around the campfire and ate hamburger, potato and carrots wrapped in foil that had been buried in the fire. For dessert we had s'mores and fried apple pies.

My most vivid memory is of the locusts that descend on West Virginia every seven years. To get to our tent we had to walk on a path under a trellis, which had thousands of locusts hanging from it. Besides being really loud, they were in our sleeping bags as well as every piece of clothing that I owned.

After that experience I wonder why I ever agreed to go on a six-week camping trip around the country after my junior year of college. When I returned from that trip, my attraction to camping was waning. Although, I still went on an occasional camping trip until about 15 years ago. “Camp” had become a four-letter word! In 2001, we rented a motor home to travel around the country. Ahhh, the luxury of a warm bed, heat and an indoor bathroom was just my kind of camping.

Call me spoiled but I finally decided that I wasn’t going to use my camping gear any longer. Today’s gift was to take the camp stove, lantern and propane heater and give it to Goodwill. So, maybe camp isn’t a four-letter word when it is followed by the word motorhome.

In Giving,

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Gone Fishin’

My grandparent’s relatives lived on Opossum Creek near the tri-cities of Bristol, Virginia; Kingsport, and Johnson City, Tennessee. As a child it was an outdoor playground for me. I would swing above the cold, tranquil creek on an old tire hanging from a tree. At night I watched the fireflies light up the darkness while sitting on the wide front porch of the old, white farmhouse. The men would play horseshoes while the women were in the kitchen canning and baking, and I played hide and seek with distant cousins in the corn stalks. We ran through the garden jumping over the beans, cucumbers and tomatoes. It was the first time that I really understood that vegetables come from somewhere besides a grocery store.

Memories of Opossum Creek included many firsts for me. At the ripe “old” age of 8 was the first time a boy tried to kiss me. Sheree helped hide me behind the green metal glider on the screened-in back porch so he was unsuccessful. My uncle worked for Eastman Kodak. One day he took me to his office. It was the first time I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up—a photographer and develop photos in the dark room, hopefully not with the little boy who tried to kiss me.

But the “first” that really sticks out in my mind is asking Granddad if he would take me fishing. He was busy catching up with the relatives, but he said he’d help me make a fishing pole.

We found a couple of sticks that were just the right length. He showed me how to whittle the end and create a notch to tie the fishing line. Then he attached a bright red bobber and fish hook. He handed me the worm, but I squeamishly turned away. He put it on the hook and sent me to the small stream that emptied into Opossum Creek.

As I sat under a tree on the bank by the water, I felt like little Opie on the Andy Griffith Show. Then, I felt a tug on my pole. I pulled back and suddenly it started pulling me towards the water. I yanked. It tugged. It was a test of wills. Finally, I fell back on the grass and pulled it out of the creek. Granddad hadn’t told me what to do if I caught something.

I ran as fast as I could with the fish flopping back and forth on the end of the fishing line. I darted in the front door of the house, through the living room and dining room screaming, “I caught a fish. I caught a fish.” Everyone was in the screened-in porch at the back of the house. The room fell silent as the fish wiggled and dripped on the floor.

They told me that no one had ever caught a fish in that creek. I guess I could have won some kind of award, but all I got was, “Get that thing out of here!”
I was reminded of this when I found my old fly fishing rod from many years ago. But that fishing experience didn’t go as well. Even after taking lessons, my fishing line seemed to always be wrapped around the tree limb and not in the water.

Today’s gift was to give the fishing pole to Goodwill so that some other budding young fisherman can experience the joy of fishing. Regardless of whether they catch anything or not, I’m sure they will have fish tales to tell.

In Giving,

Monday, May 26, 2014

I’m not a victim, Mike

This was posted by Mike Rowe star of the television show, Dirty Jobs:
Say hi to Retired Staff Sargent Travis Mills, formerly of the 82nd Airborne, US Army.

As you can see, Travis has undergone a few structural modifications, most visibly in the leg department. Likewise, his left arm is more machine than flesh, and though his right arm appears to be around my waist, it really isn’t. Like the rest of his limbs, it’s been missing in action for some time.

I met Travis a few weeks ago in DC at The Science and Engineering Festival and spent a half hour talking, mostly about Dirty Jobs. He wanted to tell me how much he and his buddies appreciated that show while on active duty. He wanted to know what it was like to work in so many “difficult and dangerous situations.”

Can you imagine? How exactly does one answer a question like that from a guy like this?

On the day we met, I was a little stressed out. I had just moderated a panel on the main stage, and I was rushing to the other end of the Convention Center to meet with a bunch of CEO’s to discuss mikeroweWORKS. I was late, and there were three-hundred and fifty thousand people between me and where I needed to go, all of whom wanted to say hello and take a photo. My security team was cutting a swath through the crowd, and I was trying very hard not to look like a complete douche. Then one of the event organizers ran over and grabbed my arm.

“Hey Mike, there’s a guy backstage who really wants to say hello.”

“That’s nice,” I said. “Tell him to get out here and do it.” I was walking fast, head down, determined to maintain forward momentum. If you stop in a situation like that, you never get started again.

“Well,” said the guy, “it would be easier if you came to him. It’ll just take a second.”

“Why? His legs broken?”

“Uhh...not exactly. But he’s just around the corner. I think he was in the war.”

I told the security guys to sit tight and followed the guy down a long hallway, looking at my watch as we fast-walked into the backstage area. Then we ducked behind a blue curtain, and Travis Mills stood up to greet me. Actually, he kind of unfolded himself from a chair and came toward me with a very wide smile. He then extended a prosthetic arm and offered a plastic hand, which I automatically shook.

“Mike Rowe! What an honor! I’m Travis Mills, and I’m very, very pleased to meet you.”

I’ve seen a lot of things over the years, and I’ve gotten good at pretending there’s nothing unusual when there clearly is. But I was completely unprepared for this.

“Ahh...shit,” I said. “What happened?”

“IED. Afghanistan.”

“Damn. I’m sorry.”

“No big deal. It’s been two years now. I’m good. Tell me something though - are you gonna do anymore Dirty Jobs?”


“Dirty Jobs, man! When are we gonna see some new ones?”

“Well Travis, that show was cancelled. I’m working on something new though that I think will be just as good. Maybe better.”

“Hey, that’s great! I got new legs and you got a new show! Tell me all about it!”

That’s how the conversation started. My show. My foundation. My book, etc. But I eventually steered it back to him and learned that Travis is one of only five quadruple amputees to survive that level of injury in the recent wars. He has a motto: Never Give Up - Never Quit. He has a Foundation. He’s featured in a new documentary. He also has a wife and a kid and a deeply personal commitment to help other wounded Vets cope with their injuries. But when I asked why I hadn’t seen him in any of the typical commercials and PSA’s for wounded veterans, his answer was stunning. He said he didn’t consider himself to be wounded.

“I’m not a victim, Mike. And I refuse to be portrayed that way. Case closed.”

Fact is, Travis is missing more than a few original parts; he’s missing all traces of self-pity. And that presents a challenge for mortals like me. Because it’s a hell of a thing to feel put out because a crowd of fans are making me late for an important meeting and then listen to a guy with no arms or legs tell me how lucky he is and how much he appreciates all my hard work.

That’s called a gut-check, and I could use one from time to time. Especially on Memorial Day, when the biggest decisions I face are what to grill and which type of frosty beverage to enjoy. This year, as I resolve these and other important issues, I’ll think of Travis Mills. A guy who went out on a limb for me, in every way possible.

Thanks Travis.

And Happy Memorial Day to you all.


Today’s gift was to give a donation to the Travis Mills Foundation to benefit and assist wounded and injured veterans.

I typically end my blog with “In Giving,” but it just doesn’t seem sufficient when I hear what Travis gave so . . .

In Honor of service men and women who gave so much for our freedom,

Sunday, May 25, 2014

In a Field of Poppies

In Flander's Field
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow,
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead.
Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved and now we lie,
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw,
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us, who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow,
In Flanders Fields.
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

This poem was one of the most memorable war poems ever written. The author, Dr. McCrae, became a surgeon in 1900 after graduating from the University of Toronto. Then for 17 days he treated injured men. He said that it was impossible to get used to the suffering, the screams, and the blood.

McCrae later wrote, "I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days. Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done."

One death particularly affected McCrae. A shell burst on May 2, 1915 killed a young friend and former student, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer of Ottawa. He was buried later that day in the little cemetery outside McCrae's dressing station, and McCrae had performed the funeral ceremony in the absence of the chaplain.

The next day, sitting on the back of an ambulance McCrae vented his anguish by composing a poem. In the nearby cemetery, which we see in many of the Memorial Day photos, he saw the wild poppies. He spent twenty minutes of precious rest time scribbling fifteen lines of verse in a notebook. The major was no stranger to writing, having authored several medical texts besides dabbling in poetry.

Cyril Allinson, a twenty-two year old sergeant major, was delivering mail that day when he spotted McCrae. The major looked up as Allinson approached, then went on writing while the sergeant major stood there quietly. "His face was very tired but calm as he wrote," Allinson recalled. "He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer's grave."

When McCrae finished five minutes later, he took his mail from Allinson and, without saying a word, handed his pad to him. Allinson said, "The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene."

In fact, it was very nearly not published. Dissatisfied with it, McCrae tossed the poem away, but a fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on December 8, 1915.

Today’s gift was to give a donation to the VFW to support all that have served and memorialized by a young doctor sitting beside a field of poppies.

In Giving and Remembering,

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Heat Oregon

Giving warmth and power to Oregonians facing hardships
This past February, temperatures in Portland, Oregon were setting records for bitter cold temperatures. Lonnie Frison had no heat in his home. He actually had a furnace in his home, but he couldn’t afford to purchase oil. Lonnie is a U.S. Army veteran and disabled due to a work injury. He relies on disability insurance and his veteran’s pension to live from day to day. Lonnie reached out to Heat Oregon to get help. Through donations, Heat Oregon was able to give Lonnie money to buy the oil he needed to keep him warm through the rest of the cold season.

In addition to the story about Lonnie, the Heat Oregon newsletter also printed these stories:

A widowed farmer from southern Oregon was doing okay with his heating bills month-to-month. Then last winter he fell and broke his wrist causing additional financial hardships; with help from Heat Oregon, he was able to keep his heat on last winter.

After being hit by a car the day after Christmas and nearly killed, “Janice” spent 36 days in the hospital. Her heating bill fell behind due to her exorbitant medical bills. Heat Oregon was able to help her out with enough energy assistance to keep her power and heat on all winter.

With temperatures in the negative 20 degrees, a quadriplegic living just east of Salem had troubles keeping up with his heating bill in his mobile home. With Heat Oregon’s help, he was able to get through the winter and keep his heat on.

Today’s gift was a donation to Heat Oregon to help more people keep their heat on next winter.

In Giving,


Friday, May 23, 2014

International Birthday Celebrations

Countries celebrate birthday in many different ways. For instance:

In Ireland the birthday child is lifted upside down and “bumped” on the floor for good luck.  The number of bumps given is the age of the child plus one for extra good luck. 

In Vietnam the people do not know or acknowledge the exact day they were born. Everyone’s birthday is celebrated on New Year’s Day, or Tet. A baby turns one on Tet no matter when he/she was born that year. On the first morning of Tet, adults congratulate children on becoming a year older by presenting them with red envelopes that contain “lucky money.”

In Israel the child whose birthday it is wears a crown made from leaves or flowers and sits in a chair decorated in streamers. Guests dance around the chair singing. The parents lift the chair while the child sits in it. 

In Mexico there are two celebrations for a birthday. The first one is a quiet party with relatives and close family friends and a blessing from a priest. The second celebration includes lots of friends. The piñata, a decorated bag or jug shaped like an animal and filled with candles, toys, and coins, is hung from the ceiling. The blindfolded birthday child hits it with a pole to release the contents for everyone to enjoy.

In Germany the children are never given homework or chores on their birthday. The house is decorated and the dining or kitchen table has a special wooden birthday wreath with small holes for candles and a place in the center for the tall “Life” candle. The Life candle is lit each year on the child’s birthday until they reach the age of twelve. 

Today’s gift was to support my friend, Marla, who had asked us to help her celebrate the last day of her 50’s by joining her for a Hospice run/walk. She asked for no presents, but just to join her in the walk and then come to her house for birthday cake. I was unable to attend so I made a donation to Klamath Falls Hospice in Marla’s honor. This is such a great idea for a birthday that I may just do something like it for mine!

In Giving,


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Beckley Dogs Rule

These signs made me smile:

This inspired me to give today’s gift—voting for Beckley, West Virginia to be awarded $100,000 to create a Dog Park. The winner will be the highest percentage of votes to city’s population. If they win, Beckley’s dogs will rule with their own park.

In Giving,

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Living in Pleasantville

My mother lives in a neighborhood that looks like it is from the movie set for Pleasantville. Every bush, tree and lawn is perfectly manicured. The streets look like they have been freshly painted black. It is very much like a traditional neighborhood design.

In the first half of last century, housing developments were built around neighbors visiting with each other. The kids played on the sidewalks and in the streets in front of the houses. Most often, homes were within walking distance to local markets where everybody gathered to learn the local news.

Neighborhoods today, however, are much more impersonal. Most of the time people drive their car into their “bat cave” (garage) and don’t emerge until they drive to work the next morning. In my Mom’s development, the cars are parked in their own small driveway. If someone’s car hasn’t been moved or if they haven’t been seen, the neighbors call to check if the person is okay. Her neighborhood is a 55 and older community. There are numerous activities like Bingo, Dominoes, Bridge, Water Aerobics and seasonal parties.

Today’s gift was to help Mom’s neighbor by offering her some of the food that we had made for dinner. Her neighbor and husband were so excited to have their dinner plans taken care of in “Pleasantville”.

In Giving,

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Among the Angels Among Us

On the television show The Office that aired from 2005-13, Rainn Wilson played the role of the analytical, left brained character, Dwight. He worked for the fictional paper company, Dunder Miflin in Scranton, New Jersey. Recently, Rainn was the commencement speaker at the University of Southern California.

He offered some thoughts on happiness for the soon-to-be graduates. "Happiness is so fleeting—it’s like cotton candy," Rainn said. "It looks amazing, delightful, fluffy and pink. You joyously eat it and almost immediately regret your decision. Your fingers are sticky, you're undergoing an insulin crash from the half-pound of sugar you just sucked down, and you're hungry again almost immediately."

But Rainn had a warning on how to find that happiness: "In this me-me-me culture, focus on yourself and you will find only misery, depression, emptiness. Focus on helping others and you will find joy, contentment, gratitude and buckets and buckets of eudaimonia."

Today’s gift was to buy lunch for my mother’s friend, Betty. When I asked her what she does in her spare time, she replied, “I write cards to people who need inspiration. I spend a lot of my days doing that.” My mother has been the recipient of her kindness receiving multiple cards and gifts, just when she needs it most. I felt that I was among an angel among us.

In Giving,

Watch the video of Rainn’s speech here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Walking Down the Memory of Sunnyside Lane

Morgantown is the home of West Virginia University. Besides a good education, it is known for other things, some not as impressive as others. Last week when I was in Colorado, my friend Craig asked, “What is your alma mater?” I proudly said WVU and he responded, “Don’t they burn the couches there?” I knew exactly what he was talking about.

This rowdy tradition started when I was in school in the late 1970’s. The football stadium was in an area called Sunnyside along with numerous bars and beer joints. In the beginning, students sacrificed their furniture building a bonfire in the streets when our football team beat Pitt. In later years, fires were a symbol of just finishing the game, regardless of who won.

Authorities were stymied about how to stop the unsafe tradition. Then someone decided to try an experiment—prior to football season they would orchestrate a citywide clean up. Any student that had old furniture that needed disposed set it on the sidewalk in front of their house and garbage collectors gathered it for free. For the most part it worked. Some students, however, were wise to the plan and held on to their old furniture so that they could literally add fuel to the fire.

Driving down Sunnyside Avenue today surprised me. On one side of the road was new construction of high-rise apartment buildings, replacing the old houses. On the other side were houses with boards across the windows spray-painted, “Condemned.” Of course, I’ll be the first to say that the houses should have been condemned long ago when I lived there 35 years ago, but it still made me sad to see the tradition of Sunnyside now overtaken by modern buildings.

The building that housed Choosy Mothers, Pie Pizzeria and the College Inn bar were still there, but the businesses had been replaced by an insurance agency along with some vacant space. As we strolled down the street, my college roommate and I reminisced about the good times we had listening to music, eating pizza and subs. Times change, but we still have the memories.

Today’s gift was to make a donation at Taco Bell to help a high school student in Morgantown buy needed books and supplies so they can finish high school. Then they will be able to create their own college memories and later walk down their own Memory (Sunnyside) Lane.

In Giving,

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Girls Gone Wiles

Have you ever wondered about the lives of your college friends? Maybe you are curious if they have had parallel lives with yours? This weekend I had the opportunity to find out about my four college roommates. This is what I discovered:
  • All of us are in long term relationships—20 plus years
  • All of us have careers
  • All are strong and independent women who have an ability to connect with each other each time we meet
  • One was a manager of over 1200 people in a country outside the United States and another found fame in country music
  • Three live in states bordering the one where we went to college
  • One has been to every state and one has been to all but two states
  • Between the five of us we have visited every continent except Australia
  • Two live on the land where their parents raised them
  • Three of the five have no children
  • Between us, we own 14 different pieces of property
  • Three of us are self-employed
  • Each of us is very creative
  • We’ve enjoyed being with each other for the entire weekend without ever leaving the house 
Today’s gift was to give a photo book that I made to my four roommates to reminisce about the good times. Connected for life, we have grown to our fifties from teenagers launched by the street we lived on in college—Wiles Street.

In Giving,

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Puppies, Babies and Mounds Candy Bars

Two types of stories give me cause to pause—babies and dogs. I read a story today that touched my heart.

Animal therapy is a new form of treatment being used in Army installations, including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Fort Bragg. Military personnel are finding that therapy dogs help with post-traumatic stress disorder.

A German shepherd, Lexy is being used as a co-therapist. Other dogs routinely work as service animals and are often used for animal-assisted therapy, including visiting patients in the hospitals.

Lexy's move into therapy was unexpected. Her owner decided to put her new puppy through the training when she realized she was less of a guard dog and more of a calm cuddler. So, Lexy went through about 2 1/2 years of training before she was able to pin on her rank—lieutenant colonel—and become certified as Fort Bragg's only therapy dog. On her vest, Lexy sports an Army Ranger tab and a spray of other badges and patches that she was given by patients.

When I was buying snacks in the San Francisco Airport, the cashier asked if I would like to select and purchase one for military personnel. She told me that she marks it, puts in a box and sends it to the USO in the airport for distribution. Even though I couldn’t send a puppy, I certainly hope that a soldier will find a little bit of comfort in the Mounds bar that was bought just for them.

In Giving,

Friday, May 16, 2014

Attraction to Books

Ever since I started reading about Dick, Jane and their dog, Spot, I have been attracted to books. When I was in the sixth grade, an entire series was written about Pippi, a young red haired girl with pigtails who was always getting herself into laughable predicaments. When I had saved up enough of my allowance money, I bought the affordable soft cover books. As soon as it arrived, I would shut my door, curl up on my bed underneath posters of Donny Osmond, Bobby Goldsboro and David Cassidy and savor every page. My mother would have to call me multiple times for dinner.

For the expensive hardback books I went to the city library and checked out Nancy Drew mysteries. I also liked to read books about horses like Black Beauty and donkeys like Brighty of the Grand Canyon. When school started in the fall, I would get a sticker for the number of books that I read over the summer.

I still love books, which was mentioned by our packers the last time we moved. We have slowly been discarding ones that have thick dust on the covers and tops of the pages, which is a pretty good indication that we haven’t opened them in a long time.

Today’s gift was to take a box of these old books to the library. Although my favorite childhood books are long gone, some of our books have been moved from one location to another since 1980. My college textbooks are still used in interior design classes today, albeit an updated version, but the principles are still the same. I’m sure some budding young interior designer will marvel at this prize when they find it in the little Klamath Falls Library. My attraction to books will help them learn, plus it will help reduce our future moving costs.

In Giving,