Because of COVID, leaving home is rare, but she assured me I would be going to a place where there would be no other persons at all. But as I was heading out, my son decided to come along. It was 4 years ago when he and I had jumped into that jeep and headed up to Standing Rock together, so for old time's sake we were on the road again and he didn't want to miss what might be an adventure of sorts.
We turned into her driveway took our boxes, went behind her house and pushed open the yellow door to Carol's private library complete with a loft with a fireplace. Books of all sorts filled the shelves and we were astounded by the variety and quality of what we found. “Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house.” – Henry Ward Beecher who also said, "A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life."
And this building was truly well-furnished and certainly full of these necessities! Carol had been widowed by retired anesthesiologist, Malcolm Freeman, who had the books to prove it! along with medical texts and a cadre of calculus volumes, she explained as a subject he longed to master.
Books keep us learning and by stretching our brains, perhaps we will all be ready for what the future will be bringing. We found books for the LEAD Agency library and our popular Little Free Library to be taken home by our public readers. Novels, mysteries, Columbia History of the World, whole sets of the Little Golden Books, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, countless other children's books, a single copy of the Joy of Cooking, books on writing, grammar and Birds, Dogs and The Night Sky. There was a beautiful coffee table book with the art of Monet, Going Home, Jesus and Buddha as Brothers by Thieh Nhat Hanh and a signed copy of The Little Giant, the Life and Times of Speaker Carl Albert. The prize of them all was the rare book Griffin & Sabine.
How do you thank someone for gifts like these? You take time out to find the other kind of joy she left behind and fall back into the pile of leaves outside the door and laugh full-heartedly.
Who brought us there and why?
Carol Abernathy, formerly had taught 8th grade Civics, the equivalent of Home Eco, and had worked at Northeast Area Vo-Tech, but thirty years ago Carol Abernathy also wrote columns for the local newspapers entitled: "Table Talk" for the kind of things just regular people might find talked about around the kitchen table, and "Chin-up" after a Ponca City news column she had saved decades earlier. I read those columns and actually my writing style might be mimicking my memory of her writings.
Carol has left Commerce and all of us behind, moving to a brand new community and finding her way around those neighborhoods and will be finding her "what's next" there.
We can find kindness and we can mimic it until doing kind deeds can become what we do, much as Cori Stotts took on finding ways to make this Christmas one that children around here can find a bit more joyous, all made possible by the little acts of kindness given by countless others.
This will be a holiday season unlike any of us has experienced before. Let's remember to be kind, wear our masks and protect the people we love and heck, even people we definitely don't love!
I have been reading one of Chuck Neal's November Book Picks: Every Drop of Blood: The Momentous Second Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln and finding the shadows of hatred and racism flowing through it are still here in America. What divided our Nation is still alive. There is a darkness that was frightening then with blood-letting ruthless in the position for "our rights" and though we may not be stepping over the dead in our states as they were doing, we are facing more deaths as people define their "rights" to breath death in this other way upon others, even those closest to them.
We can learn from the past, and learn from those who lived during those times, even from a former slave who instructed us that, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” – Frederick Douglas.
Let's choose to be free. Let's choose to be kind. We will wait our turn for a vaccine. And we'll meet down at the library, we will meet at Chapters, we will gather round, keep our Chin up and Talk around the Table.
It doesn't cost anything to be kind and it really doesn't hurt anything either.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim