Once afternoon a month I volunteer at the Malaga Cove Library used book sale to benefit the Palos Verdes Library District. I have several circles of friends and acquaintances and my library circle is a wonderful one. I've been deeply connected with libraries all of my life and so four years ago a friend suggested I serve on an advisory board and volunteer at the book sales. I now serve on another library board, too, but it's being with people who love books and libraries that makes my heart sing.
It was this friend, Pat, seen here with one of her grandsons, Daniel, that first got me involved.
She is in charge of the silent auction for our big library gala coming up on Sat., March 12, 2011, among many other things that she does for the community. Friends groups at libraries play a huge role in the services a library can bring in this day of budgetary cuts in government. Themed “Around the World in an Evening,” this money hat was Pat's idea. It will be part of the silent auction. If I could elect a woman of the year in my life it would be Pat. She has a very sick husband at home but she still manages to juggle community service in her schedule. In the years I've known her, Pat has been a model of graceful aging.
But, I realized today what sheer joy it is to cashier each month at the sales. Hundreds of people come through on book sale weekends and many of them are "regulars" so we see families grow, and hear people's stories. I've grown so fond of so many of our customers and it's like seeing a slice of life right here in our community. Our shared bond is the love of books and libraries. I just got friended on FaceBook by a young man I met only this afternoon; he came to the book sale for the first time. We have one regular who recently lost her second son and she didn't come today. That worries me. Upstairs at the library there was a talk going on about the history of Rancho Palos Verdes, as well as the chess club and the origami club. My favorite Scottish couple came with their new teacup puppy who baptized the floor in excitement, and another couple and their daughter visited and shopped and I remember how young the girls were when I first started volunteering. Peacocks were strutting in the drive way and Daniel, the young man above, came to visit his granny and became the carrier of books to people's cars. The upstairs librarians poked their heads in now and again; Pat has all kinds of home baked goodies in the kitchen on book sale weekends.
Where am I going with all this? What should I write tonight, I asked myself? And I realized that tonight, even though I'm tired and had to do reading for a class tomorrow at church, I had a warm glow from all the interaction I had with several groups of people, including my hair dresser at 8 a.m. The beauty shop is another casual circle of friends I see every five weeks. And then there's church, my work friends, my ongoing friendship group of old friends, my art group friends, my Mac user group friends. And though I'm not with my family a lot, I do see the ones who live locally almost every week.
Of the five sisters in my family, now only three including me, left, only two of us have continued to volunteer and stay active. The two of us are naturally gregarious--and Betty is 87. She is another role model of aging.
And yet, I wonder if you are like this, too, I have a great need for solitude each day. As I age, I am so aware of how wonderful it is to feel relatively good and to mostly look forward to each day as it unfolds.
But, I'm also aware of the serendipity of where one is plunked down in life and the paths so many people struggle down each day. God knows that my own paths have often been rocky. Today I am aware of how blessed I am and I am grateful about where I am in my life at age 73.