When I sieved out the following list of B-word prompts, I was struck by how many of them could apply to me. Rather than choosing only one, here are some random thoughts about a few of them.
My home town is halfway up the East coast of Lake Huron, in Ontario. It has 3 miles of lovely warm, soft, white sand beach. It has become a vacation haven, and tourism is a large part of its financial wellbeing.
The town to the south gets only 1 mile of shoreline. The tiny tourist village to the north sits in the center of 10 miles of sandy shore. Access to the water is good, and the swimming is wonderful but, in both cases, the sand barely reaches above the water level, and their beaches are flat, hard and damp.
My mother constantly read to me as a child, and I learned to read quite young. I became a bibliophile, a lover of books. I am also a logophile, a lover of words, but all the wonderful words are in the wonderful books, so we’ll discuss that later.
Ray Bradbury said, “Libraries raised me.” My tiny little town had a tiny little library, about the size of a medium house. It was only open two days a week. The volunteer librarian was a former teacher. It was here that I learned early, the value of linguistic precision.
The fine for late books was 2 cents, biweekly. The intent was for 2 cents, per book, for each of the 2 weekly open days. I stood beside a man who went and got a dictionary to show the librarian that ‘biweekly’ also meant ‘every two weeks.’ He would pay 2 cents, but not the 8 cents that she demanded.
A local man became a mining engineer. He located an ore field in Northern Ontario, staked a claim, and sold the rights to a mining firm which would extract the minerals. With the initial payout and ongoing royalties, he retired early, as the town’s richest resident.
He and his wife were great readers, but they never had children. When his wife died, and he was facing his own mortality, he donated a large portion of his fortune to the municipality, to be used to build a library in memorial to his wife. We got a fairly large (for a small town) new library, right beside the Town Hall. His bequest bought lots more books, and an annuity paid for hired staff.
When I moved 100 miles to Kitchener for employment, it was easy to pack my luggage. I had very little. I also had to pack my baggage – my propensity for procrastination, my learning disorders, my neurological syndrome which causes poor physical control and lousy short-term memory, as well as my autistic-type inability to read social cues, and make and hold friends.
I am more methodical, determined, and tenacious; I would never be described as bold. Having survived an interesting, if not terribly thrilling life, now in the twilight of my years, I can put these thoughts and remembrances down, and publish them in my blog. 😀