As I mentioned the other day, I’ve become involved in a little basement-clearing project because I have many idle hours to fill … okay, not actually true. I have very little time on my hands, but the fact of the matter is, purging is just plain fun. Yes, I’m a sicko.
Part of the process involves raking through our yards of books. I’ll keep anything I’d enjoy re-reading or lending, but everything else must go. Three boxes of books were delivered to Goodwill yesterday. A handful of tomes for tweens went to a friend’s granddaughter. A few collections for very young kiddies are spoken for, boxed and ready for pick-up.
I picked up one particular hardcover volume, unsure how it arrived at our house. It’s a Reader’s Digest compilation and on the cover it says: Strange Stories Amazing Facts: Stories that are Bizarre Unusual, Odd Astonishing Incredible… But True [sic]. (I’ll tell you what’s bizarre and unusual, it’s the casual dismissal of essential commas in favour of a clean cover design.)
As I opened the book, a piece of paper fell out. It was a note I’d never seen before, handwritten by my grandmother ten years ago. The note is addressed to my husband and reads:
I read only 2 stories in this book – I hope you don’t mind getting it “2nd hand” but it is good and I wish you to have it. I hope you enjoy it! Have a good Xmas!
My grandmother died in 2009. We weren’t extremely close, but we always stayed in touch. So finding this letter was, in a way, like receiving a message from beyond.
And as I flipped through the strange stories amazing facts, I discovered something else. Tucked inside the book was a pressed pink rose. Not only had my grandmother read from this book, she’d used it to preserve a flower – which she eventually forgot about before passing it on to my husband.
I’ll never know the significance of the rose and why she chose to keep it. But I was touched to find it, and to read her letter. In a way, it was a gift all over again.
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