The excitement within encyclopedias

Published 7:30 am Saturday, July 9, 2022

Dawn was so excited she couldn’t stand still. She heard the whistle before the train came in view. “I hope this is the day,” she thought as the powerful engine rolled to a squeaking stop. “Hurry, hurry,” she shouted, bouncing up and down. Mrs. Little, the postmaster, had retrieved two mail bags. She was hurrying to the little post office to begin sorting the mail. People were already lining up at the call window to receive their mail.

As she was about to turn away in disappointment, trying to hold back her tears, Dawn saw Bear leap off the depot porch and rush to pick up several boxes the mail clerk handed down. She considered Bear her special friend. He had protected her from an attack by a drove of wasps. Her parents believed he saved her life that day.

When Dawn saw the boxes, she knew they were her special birthday gift from her mother and daddy. She couldn’t wait to rip into one of the boxes. There they were; the set of encyclopedias she wanted for so long. She believed her parents purchased them to help her make the transition from the little county school she attended to enter a city high school.

I thought about Dawn’s story when I was searching among my late husband’s book shelves. I found our set of encyclopedias we had bought for our children. They used them; so did a friend’s son. Both my husband and I used them for various reasons. Occasionally I enjoy pulling one out to look for something. Like most people these days, I find it easier to search for what I need by turning to the Internet. I wonder if publishers even print them any more in this digital age. I think it is a little sad. If you are like me and love books, you are always thrilled when you open a brand new book and experience that “New book scent.”

For several years, my husband spent most of his days writing and researching as he completed several books. He liked researching despite his struggle with failing eyesight from Macular Degeneration. That is why I was so surprised when he bought a set of encyclopedias from a yard sale. When I asked him why since we had a set already, he had a logical explanation. He did not want to cut anything out of our perfectly good volumes, so he used his yard sale set while researching. That turned out well.

Just like Dawn, when I pick up one of our encyclopedias, I am thankful for them, and for the memories they trigger. I wonder if she remembers how she jumped up and down in delight over her special birthday gift.