Bouquets for the Deserving

A lot of people around here call them Walgreen’s bags, but they’re officially known as T-sacks, because, in their unused state, they look like sleeveless T-shirts. I frequently call them Potash bags, since Potash Bros. Supermarket has been sending them over for years our customers to use at the Book Fair. They have myriad uses, and I am glad they were invented.

However—and I think I have mentioned this before—they are NOT the ideal container for donated books if you have more than, say, fifty or sixty books. The gentleman who last week brought me 800 books in 120 T-sacks was so very proud of himself for getting these delivered to me that I did not say anything about it.

And this is very wrong, rum dumpling. There’s a motivational poem about it, in fact, all about how praise should be given where it’s due WHEN it’s due. “Do not wait ‘til life is over and he’s underneath the clover,” says the poet, “For he cannot read his tombstone when he’s dead.”

Therefore, I would like to send out words of praise to some of the people who have recently made my life so much more interesting.

This is for the nice couple who brought me all those bags of splendid books on Carl Sandburg…and one navy blue sock.

Let’s put up a rah-yay for the lady who gave me the old books with the covers falling off, saying, “Just put a ridiculous price on these and some idiot will buy them. You do it with all the other books.”

I would weep to forget to give a shout for the lady who brought me volume 2 of her copy of War and Peace, reminding me, “I sent in the other volume when I finished it in November: now you can put this with the other one.”

“I’m afraid these are a bit dusty,” said the gentleman who brought me his father’s collection of old newspapers. I’m afraid not all of what was on the edges was dust, sir. And, um, I don’t think it was dust that chewed the bottom margins.

Let us pay proper tribute to the lady who called me to say she had a library of nearly two thousand hardcover books in the areas of history and biography, and could I please pick them up by Sunday. (She gets a rare double cheer because, of course, she added, “And can you bring boxes? I don’t have any.”)

I am especially inspired by the people who said they enjoyed reading our instructions on how to bring in books, and added, in the next breath, “I brought all my old textbooks and magazines.” No, chocolate chowder, they are not kidding: they always turn out to be telling the exact truth.

This is for two different—and apparently entirely unrelated—donors who seem to have stacked the books for donation in their laundry room and spilled liquid detergent on the top five. (They let them dry out first, it seems to me, but a book soaked with scented soap is never quite the same again: it doesn’t TRUST you the way it used to.)

While we’re at it, this is for all of you who stack up the books to be donated next to the bags of cat litter in the basement. The odor of cat litter—and it is unused car litter, for those of you shuddering—is also not a major selling point in favor of the books.

I could go on, but a Hall of Fame of this magnitude might exhaust our web capacity. Anyway, here’s to you folks who keep this from being a job of mere, boring progress from bag to Book Fair. I bow in your direction, knowing myself to be of too humble a talent to salute you as fully as you deserve, and hope it will not be long before you get that long, lush eulogy you so truly deserve.

(I may send flowers…in Potash bags.)

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