Thursday, September 10, 2020

It will come to me......

 ......... I occasionally (very occasionally) read the personal essay in the Globe and Mail. I know all of them are worth reading, as they are all personal accounts of life experiences and all of them are beautifully written. Somehow, however, I just can't bring myself to read a post on a topic I'm not interested in (in which I have no interest).

Now, I did read the one written by a woman who reads all the obituaries daily. It was both humbling and hilarious. I'll never forget the line she quoted from one deceased woman: "If you are reading this, I'm passed my best before date."

I also read the essay from a person in Newfoundland, who wrote about a deceased aunt who made her presence felt, almost daily, in his life. I have borrowed his phrase "go figure" and use it often.

These are kindred souls - OK I'm a little off beat myself and yes, I do read the occasional (very occasional) obituary - "never cease to know for whom the bell tolls."

Today, however, I read a post from the most kindred of kindred souls. It was by a woman, who from the age of 16, has dreamed of owning a full set of the Oxford English Dictionary - all 20 volumes. She has, in fact, for the last 40 years gone to book sales, hunted or haunted used book stores, and literally (can I use this word here?) spent 3/4 of a lifetime searching for her dream. She did say that you could buy a full set new for about $1,200.00. I think I would spare the time and the mold and just save up to buy a brand new set!

She even had a mental picture of how she would display the books. They would be inside a glass topped coffee table, spines up so anyone could look up a word at anytime. Well, lo and behold didn't her partner of a few years actually have the coffee table built and the volumes purchased as a Christmas gift one year. This is true love from a kindred spirit.

Why do I feel so close to her? Well, many years ago, when my mother asked what sort of graduation gift I wanted, when I finished university, I said I wanted the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. I spared them the expense of the two volume one and suggested the single volume. Its spine still measures 3.5" across and cost nearly $100.00 then. (This measurement is an aside for all those who went through university, as I did, with a measuring tape. I read the books with the narrowest spines and skipped the rest. However I did read all the poetry and then some.)

I still remember salivating over the 20 or so volumes on the library shelf, wondering what treasures they held. In fact, once I even looked up a word I couldn't find in any of the shorter volumes - "suttles." It means scraps, as in scraps of cloth and is used more often by people living on the east coast of Canada. I was fascinated by the company "Suttles and Seawinds" (they're still around btw.) and wanted to know the exact meaning of the word. Their products are quilts and dresses made from beautifully coordinated scraps of fabric.

Life has a way of taking very divergent themes and bringing them together in one piece or is that pieces?

The title of the post? When you can't find a word you need in a conversation, may I suggest a dictionary or 20.

The pictures? My suttles, sewn or knit together.

Have a meaningful day!

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