Time for May Flowers, Pilgrim | Page 47 | Newberry

Time for May Flowers, Pilgrim

It is May, something I am aware of more from the calendar than the weather. This means that I can move from the phone inquiries that begin, “Your website says you can’t take books between April 1 and April 30: does that mean you don’t want books in April?” to the ones that begin “Your website says you don’t want my books in April; do you want them in May?” (I answer that with a chirpy “Yes” and do not add “I’d like to see whether you colored inside the lines.”)

April was the month that people brought me books in triple-bagged, triple-tied garbage bags, a dozen old suitcases, an Oreo display box, and a strawberry box. I mention this last because the strawberry box was clearly labeled across the bottom “It Is Illegal To Reuse This Box.” Alas, the person did not get a receipt, so I cannot turn the miscreant in to the proper authorities. I am going to ask my Congressman if we can’t get that stamped on, well, some other fruit boxes.

May, on the other hand, is a month full of bright promise. On the same day that I found we had been given the Smurf Singalong album, a donor asked me whether I was collecting books for the Brandeis Sale or the Newberry one. It is the month somebody gave me a book signed by Carol Burnett AND the month somebody asked if I would sell all her grandparents’ furniture on eBay. (“We need to have it all done by May ninth,” she said. “What do you mean by WE?” I replied. Can this relationship be saved? I hope not.)

April saw people honking at the loading dock to lure me out into the wind and icy rain to unload their copies of The DaVinci Code and Think and Grow Rich. May is…not a lot different, so far. (It’s not the DaVinci Code; it’s the sleet in my whiskers.)

April was the month when the lady started to say, “I have some really interesting books in there,” but paused, looked me over, and went on, “But I don’t know if you’re interested in books.” April was the month when at least six people stepped back to let me unload their books, and then told me I should get somebody else, iforming me. “Books are heavy.” They tell me April is thirty days long. It SEEMED like fifty-three.

But it’s May now: a month of new possibilities, a month when nobody will ask me to drive out to Galena to look over their magazines and take what I want, a month when donors will not come bang on the back door just as I have taken my first bite of lunch, a month when if they DO break into my lunch it will be because they have leatherbound books signed by Abraham Lincoln or eighteenth century newspapers or first editions of Alice in Wonderland or A Christmas Carol. May will be a month….

Oh, pshaw. Did I mention the Smurf Singalong album? You and I both know THAT’S the kind of month it’s going to be. As long as you don’t fill the Snuggie boxes with National Geographics and at least put a newspaper across that hole in the banana box so The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood doesn’t fall on my toe, I shall be content. And I don’t suppose eating all your lunch at one sitting is healthy anyhow. 

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