Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Talking Music, Books and Other "Important Things"

Of course, it's music that has the prominent place in our "When Swing Was King" presentations at area nursing homes and assisted living facilities. But the conversations we enjoy with the residents afterwards cover all kinds of topics...including books.

At one of our recent programs -- we do 12 or 13 every month -- we sat with Mary, one of "When Swing Was King's" biggest fans at this particular facility. Mary was a librarian back in the day and we had a wonderful time talking about books. She couldn't remember her favorite authors but when we got round to summer reading projects for kids, card catalogs, the Dewey decimal system, and other things, her memories became quite keen. For instance, she spoke of how angry she used to get when people mistreated books. "I think the teenagers were the worst. Bending the pages. Breaking the spine. Underlining and writing in the margins. You'd think no one ever taught them how to care for other people's property, especially a book. But then, maybe they never were taught. Still, they should have some respect, some common sense about such things!"

Something came up that made me mention our book club, the Notting Hill Napoleons, and Mary thought that was just the grandest thing. "Oh, my goodness. How wonderful for you all!" Then she asked in a hushed tone, "Is there any way you could take this around the whole country? Wouldn't that just be the best thing? Oh, to start people reading books again and talking about them together. And you drink coffee and have cake too? What a nice thing! You know, it's the same as you and your wife do with the music from the old times, isn't it? You love it and you learn about it and then you share it with other people. Oh, you two are doing such important things!"


Sometimes you need another's perspective to appreciate anew that the little things (when they are colored by kindness, respect and affection) are the biggest things of all. Thanks so much, Mary.