I think I was born with the love of reading. I remember in elementary school, when we lived at Travis Air Force Base, the library would have a summer reading contest. My siblings and I, along with friends, made many a bike ride to the library to exchange books and pick out new ones. Books were a way to escape into another world, forget about the present, and live someone else’s life for a short while. Reading is an opportunity to experience things outside of my ordinary day to day existence.
One of the first books I remember enjoying was Harriet the Spy. Harriet seemed so worldly. She noticed and documented everything. I was envious of her spy notebook she carried with her everywhere and her observational skills. She led an intriguing spy life that seemed very grown up at the time. A life that was exciting and adventurous, even if the mysteries were in her own neighborhood and home. That progressed to Trixie Beldon who was a little older than Harriet and always found herself in the middle of dangerous trips to new places. She traveled outside of her immediate surroundings to more remote destinations like farms, ranches, and abandoned houses and always seemed to stumble across a mystery no matter where she went. I was sad when I finished a book, wishing such exciting things would happen to me, and always eager to begin the next story.
Since those early days, I have experienced heartache with many people to include Anne Frank, and other victims of the Holocaust. I have traveled the underground railroad with fear, holding my breath at just the right times, moving stealthily with anticipation. I have anguished in under-developed countries as children were used to beg for money, and women were killed without a thought. I have worn sandals and a robe as I stood among the crowds, listening to Jesus preach the Sermon on the Mount. I have been in the mind of a dog as it so innocently, made sense of the world around it, showing truly noble character traits of loyalty and unconditional love. I have been with individuals as they died, witnessed their decline and held their hand during their last breath. I have lived among the rich in Charleston and worried about how many people would attend the party I was hosting. As a bail bond agent, I have chased fugitives while stuffing donuts in my mouth. I have volunteered in a Chinese orphanage where the babies were all but left in their cribs to stare at the ceiling for 24 hours a day, and I’ve run an all girl’s filling station.
I have read textbooks of all topics, research articles to learn the latest and greatest counseling news, gardening magazines, and blogs. There is no more amazing place than a library. In no one single building can you find stories that will take you anywhere, anytime, anyway. History, news, deeds, testimonies. In no one single place can you smell that unique scent of a book, examine the binding, feel the texture of the cover and pages, lose yourself for hours before the clock ticks and the doors lock, until tomorrow.