Words of Gold

Jeannette Buck

There has been more rain than sun recently and that is the sort of weather that sends me looking for a good book to read. I have more than a few to choose from. I’ve collected books most of my adult life. However, I can’t claim to have read them all, not by a long shot.

Since I have never had any real sense of order, the book titles on the shelves next to my favorite chair are random and unrelated. For more years than I can remember I belonged to a book club. Rarely a month went by in which I didn’t succumb to the enticing promises of the book being offered.

Did I read all of them? No. Some didn’t live up to my expectations. Others just got lost over time in the corners of closets and book cases. I have given many away to other readers and dropped boxes of them off now and then at the local library.

A few years ago I was introduced to an e-reader. Although at times I miss the feel of a real book with pages enclosed between covers in my hands, these days I do most of my reading on my Kindle and still, my shelves are full of the real thing.

From where I sit:

  • Within reach of my hand is a copy of Mary O’Hara’s “Green Grass of Wyoming,” one of two that I found at a yard sale several years ago. I think they cost me a total of 50 cents. When I read the book years after Miss Howe read it aloud to us at the Gold School, I had to laugh when I realized that she had certainly cleaned the language up a bit.
  • Jumbled along side each other are Fanny Flag’s “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café” and a second one of hers that I have yet to read titled “I Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven.” I guess I’m in no hurry.
  • I’ve always been a history nut and there on the top shelf is David McCullough’s “John Adams” along side his “1776.” Two biographies of Abraham Lincoln keep company with “Finding Her Voice,” a history of women in country music,
  • I’m not sure when I discovered Olive Ann Burns’ wonderful novel “Cold Sassy Tree.” I read it through very quickly the first time as I tend to do. Then, fascinated, I began all over again and took a much slower trip through the tale.
  • Rick Bragg’s “Ava’s Man” and “All Over But the Shoutin’” also brought me back for a second read, or two or three.

Well.

I could go on all day. There are paper backs, hard covers, weatherworn elderly books which were given to me by relatives who were cleaning off their shelves; there are school yearbooks, craft books and the entire Foxfire series. A

nd I haven’t even begun to discuss the bookcase in the bedroom. Nor, come to think of it, have I mentioned the list on the Kindle...

Messy and disorganized they are, for sure. But each book, in it’s own way, is a realization of my childhood dream.

No, I haven’t read them all, And I don’t remember much about some that I have read. However, there are others which I will never forget, both their content and the author’s perfect and magic way with words.

Umm, there is Bess Streeter Aldrich’s “A Lantern in Her Hand.” I haven’t read that in years. Excuse me, please. I think I may be due for a visit with Abbie Deal...

Jeannette Buck is a lifelong resident of the Gold area who, since listening to her Grandma Williams’ stories as a child, has been deeply interested in local lore and history.