Friday, November 23, 2018

traveling library 2

My mom talked about reading books over and over again as a child.  She talked about pretending that she had not read the books before, could not remember the endings, so that she could be surprised.  

I have lately wondered about those books of mom's.  How did those books get to her?  How many books?  What kind of boxes carried these books to children who were living in Saskatchewan in the 30's and 40's?  WHICH books did she read?  And why did I never ask mom when she was here to be asked??  So I have begun to ask questions of libraries ... in Beechy and Herbert, and to ask questions of friends.  The answers are beginning to come, but in the meantime I've been wondering, and writing about what might have happened when my mom was little, and loved to read. 

As soon as the snow began to cover the dirt, the wind would tear across the field to toss it aside till the brown showed through again. She watched the hare take off across the field, only movement giving it away.  The white fur was overtaking brown of his coat, matching the earth's shifting colors.  The road would likely disappear under the snow by morning.

She kept her eye on the horizon where the road vanished over the hills, waiting for the horses to appear.  It was a game to try to figure out how far away things were on these prairies.  Things that traveled along the road were unfairly easy to judge, as they knew that journey well.  The hills were nothing majestic, but they played on her horizon.  From the north side there was a sudden rise against the sky and she could see the line of the land shift upward.  Standing on the side of the hill facing east showed her the waves of prairie rolling away for ever.

If the books came from that direction, she would eventually see a speck heading towards her.  Steadily it would grow larger till she could see which horse was pulling the cart on its round. If the books were coming from town, the horse would just pop over the hill, almost in her neighbor's yard.

The horse popped into sight today - the dark head bobbing as she pulled the cart with six large wooden boxes.  As the boxes were pulled onto the yard she and Helen pulled on their boots, wrapped their winter jackets around their shoulders, and flew out the door. 
"Did you like those?" the driver asked as she handed back the books from his last visit.  
"Yes. Oh yes."
No choosing this time.  She was working her way through the rows of books - letting the library choose what order she read.  She had discovered that the books she loved eventually came back to her, and the books she read while waiting for her favorites were at least a doorway from this little house.  Colder weather had begun to close them all in for the winter months.

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