Thursday, July 31, 2008


The Cubes. For the first time in my life I have an "office." Okay, its more like a cubicle. It is located behind the door that states Library Personel Only, in big black letters. The door is an offwhite, perhaps slightly greyish door. It has a shiny silver knob on it. I push said knob down, said door opens. Walk down the hallway and to your left are a couple of offices, there is a pile of books there, too. On the right is a small room that has lockers in it, but that room also is full of library carts, or H-carts. The next room down on the right is the "triangle." Its a room that is somewhat triangularly shaped. That is where my "office" is located. I am in the middle. To the left is Jeff, he was just awarded his PhD. in History (long live the Humanities major!) To my right is Chalanda. I haven't had an opportunity to talk to either of them much, but they seem like nice folks.

I started my new job as a reference librarian this past Tuesday. I was, to say the least, a bit frightened by the prospect. I've been selling books for the last eight years. Actually "being" a librarian was more of an etheral thought, I never quite believed it would happen, but happen it has. I have a cubicle! I also have a computer, and a phone. I have arrived! Now I can watch
Office Space with a better understanding. Actually, I hope not.

This is where I work. I am a parttime reference librarian. I am going to be paid well, but there will be no benefits (at least not right away). But I think the benefits to my resume and experience gained will be just as, if not more, valuable. One of the things I am most excited about is the regular schedule. I will be working mainly days during the week. I will be keeping some hours at my current job (retail) but hopefully just a few days a week (read that no more than three).

I have found myself sort of pinching myself. Making sure its for real. I keep expecting a call that says "DWC, we were just pullin your chain..." that hasn't happened yet; so, I guess I'm in like Flynn, at least for the foreseeable future.

I am tempered in my enthusiasm by one thing: this position is funded for a year. It might not be around next year, but I do take comfort in the fact that it was funded last year. I got this position kind of by accident. A friend of mine and former classmate had the position before me, your faithful narrator. He, Brad, recently got a job in Atlanta and one day I stopped by to wish him Godspeed, fair-the-well, and heartfelt congratulations. Suddenly, I had a brain enema. I carry my resume and references wherever I go. I handed said resume and references to Brad and asked him to forward them to the person in charge. He did so and added his own letter of recommendation. A few days later I got an email from the guy in charge of reference asking me to come by for an interview. So I did.

This is a blessing on many fronts. Experience wise this is tremendous, but so too financially. I'll be able to pay bills that have been dogging me for awhile (read that credit card bills). For this I am most excited.

I can honestly say this now: "Hello, I'm a librarian" and mean it. That feels so good. Really, it does.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lazy Sunday

Sunday is such an odd day. Particularly this time of year. After church there isn't much to do; no football to watch. The baseball season hasn't yet really started to heat up. sure I could have watched Baseball Tonight on ESPN been "treated" to another game between two of the teams I could care less about: Yankees and Red Sox. As far as I can tell they are the only two teams in the country. The "Rivalry" is truly getting to be old hat with me.

It was a nice day, so I spent a little time outside. I cleaned up some of the shed in the back, went through some more books of my dad's. Most of them were ratty and old. That's the reason for and the result of leaving them in the shed to begin with. They weren't that important to begin wit. So, they sat outside in the shed in the cold, the heat, the rain, and snow. Too bad.

I read a little today. I've been reading the book Here if You Need Me. I don't like it all that much. Thought, I am glad I'm reading it becasue I am at least learning something about Universal Universalist thought and "theology." The author, Kate Braestrup, is a good writer, but that doesn't mean the book is all that well written. Its okay, I suppose, but it'll be pitched into the "going to half-price books" bag after I'm through with it.

At one point, I watched the Brickyard 400 on ESPN. I was actually surprised that I could watch it. I figured that it would be blacked out in the Indy area like the 500 is. I don't make it a habit of watching Nascar. I'm not even sure who won, I think the guy was racing a blue car, but I could be wrong. The only thing I do know is that Tony Stewart didn't win and that made me happy. Watching cars heavy laden with brightly colored ads, which in effect turn them into four wheeled, fast moving billboards, going around and around in a large oval (in the case of the Brickyard 400, 160 times) doesn't do much for me. If I had my choice I think I'd rather watch golf, maybe. I don't know much about Nascar, but I do know that I don't like Tony Stewart. I don't have a favorite driver, but I always root against Stewart. I know, I know, that makes me a bad Hoosier, so be it. I just don't like the guy and I wish someone would shut him up.

I also watched some vapid show on MTv. Something called From G's to Gentlemen. I'm not sure I understood the premise. I pretty much stuck with the Brickyard.

This evening mom and finished watching the movie version of Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. Its a sad, somewhat depressing, but at the same time uplifting movie. I guess it fits the Irish way of looking at the world. I think I'll either try and read the book, or see if I can find it on cd and listen to it on my way to and from work.

And now, I'm listening to Pipe Dreams. A music show on NPR. I enjoy listening to it on Sunday nights, followed by Hearts of Space, an ambient/newage music show.

So, I'm winding down for the night. Watching Emma, the white cat, drink water from my water glass. She can reach the water with her tongue. Sometimes she sticks her whole paw into the water and licks it dry. Its not something I encourage, trust me.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Accident, a Redux

The reason why we went to Accident in the first place to attend the ordination service of Rev. David Oester, recently graduated from Concordia Seminary, Ft. Wayne, IN. Rev. Oester is the guy in the middle of the picture. His family used to be members of the church my father served in the Cove, about four miles outside of town. But there was some turmoil in the church a few years before we arrived. His family transferred to a congregation in Glen Savage. Long story short, the pastor at the church resigned because of health issues and the were without a pastor, so David and another layman stepped up and conducted services. It was a proud day for David and his family. His cousin, Rev. Jim Oester, preached a wonderful sermon. Rev. Jim Oester also gave the homily at my father's "graveside" service back in February. Jim is the tall, thin man on the left of the picture. Jim obviously took very good notes and paid very close attention in his "how to preach classes."

Shortly after my father died, my mom and I contacted David Oester and asked him if he would like my father's stoles. He had two sets. The older ones (the ones on the left) were his originals. The ones he got when he was first ordained (in 1962) The second set was purchased sometime in the '80's I think. We took both sets up and gave them both to him. He decided to keep the newer set, we're supposed to get the older set back, eventually. I think I like that idea. For some reason, I have an attachment to the older ones. That sounds silly, but I think you understand what I mean; I can't quite find the words for it. I have a picture of my father on his ordination day. He is pictured in his robes and his red stole (do you spell it stole or stoal, for some reason, I've never known, ah well).

The "excuse" to go to Accident as Rev. David Oester's ordination. But this picture should give a good you a good idea as to the "reason" we went to Accident. This picture is of the Cove. A valley about four miles outside of town. We lived here from 1986 to 1995. I honestly believe that Accident made me who I am today. I lived in that valley for almost ten years. I didn't have cable and my friends from school were too far away for me to visit regularly, so I learned how to read. I knew how to read, but I didn't know how to read. I didn't know how to get enjoyment out of it, I didn't know that books could do that things they do. I also had a topnotch library system that allowed me to get just about anything I wanted. It is because of Accident that I went to college and eventually got my masters. But more importantly, I found my faith there. Its where I got my bible that I use to this day. When the Concordia Self-Study Bible first came out, Concordia Publishing House sent a couple of gratis copies of the Self-Study, it had (it is now covered with duct tape) a red binding. It was, in short an ideal place for someone like myself to grow up and discover the world. I learned about the circle of life there. I was able to watch calves being born (kind of an ugly, scary experience) and I have seen dead cows decay naturally. I was able to be a part of live church life cycles, too: baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and funerals. The seed of faith that had been planted in my heart was fertilized, tended to, and grew in that little valley. William Carlos Williams wrote in his long poem Patterson the following:
My surface is myself.
Under which
to witness, youth is
buried. Roots?

Everybody has roots

Accident is my roots. I have two, to quote Kinky Friedman, "spiritual homes;" the first is New York. That's my genealogical roots and New York City just holds a special place in my heart, but Accident, that's something more to me. That's roots, right there. I'm a part of Accident and Accident is a part of me.

This is one of the pictures I took at the
Adventure Sports Center International. Its the manmade whitewater rafting river that I wrote about in my last last post. It was actually quite amazing to see. The it looked like a great big, rock festooned floom that you might see in an amusement park or something like that. It looked like fun, but the prices a bit high. Though, I was informed that they have a "local wednesdays" which means that local folk can do the rapids for 20 bucks a pop. That's more my style.

This picture was snapped on Route 40 near Grantsville, MD. Its just kind of shows the thick forest that covers the land of Garrett County. Rte 40 is a thin, two and four lane highway. It goes east to west. One day a friend of mine and I went to a small bar/restaraunt called the Anchor for some beer and wings. It was almost by definition, a dive bar. I loved it immediately. Sadly, I've gotten used to the clean, well lit places. This place was not so much dirty, nor very dark, but there was certain greasy feeling to it. Okay, let me put it this way: when I asked what they had on draft (like a typical whiteboy suburbanite) the bartender, a woman that looked like she might also double as the bouncer on a rough saturday night looked at me and said "we don't have draft, just bottles." So, to make myself look even more like a tourist I asked what they had in bottles... she rattled off a bunch of different brands, you know that good old whitebread beer: miller, millerlite, bud, budlite, etc, etc. Then she said the magic words: "Iron City." I stopped her right there and ordered me an Iron City. That beer is cheap, but man, is it good! And the wings.... friends, if you're ever even near Addison, PA on rte 40, stop at the Anchor and get you some wings! That's all I have to say about that, to quote Mr. Gump.

It was a wonderful time. It was something I needed. This was the first vacation vacation I'd been on since February. I'd used all my vacation and personal time helping out when my dad got sick. So, for both my mom and I it was a welcome break. I think we both felt a lot better about life and ourselves when we came back. Though,I must admit, there is a bit of shock and not a little let-down coming back to the 'burbs after beig amongst all the beauty of the Garrett County nature.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Went to Accident, Didn't Want to Leave

Its always a bit of a let down to come home from a vacation. This time it was particularly so. My mom and I went to Western Maryland, Accident, to be exact, for a few days. For two days I did nothing, and I mean this almost literally, except sit on a porch and look out on to God's great creation. Let me put it to you this way, this is how "rural" Garrett County is: there aren't any Starbucks in the immediate area. I'm not really sure where a Starbucks is and I'm okay with that. It was a big deal, and I mean a huge deal, when Garrett County got its first McDonald's in the late 80's or early 90's.

I had an opportunity to visit with Rev. Chaz Lehman and his newly minted bride. They had just gotten home from their honeymoon when I walked by and introduced myself. This was the first time I'd been back to Accident (The Cove) since my father's death in February, so I took the opportunity to visit his grave, I'd wished I'd had a bucket of water and some rags, a bird had crapped on it sometime in the past. I wiped it off the best I could, but alas there was some left. He would of been well pleased with his spot in the cemetery, he is next to Harvey and Pauline Harmon, two of his perishoners. Down the row is Hubert Thomas as well as Paul Thomas and a few others.

The high school I went to has gotten noticably bigger in physical plant than it was when I was there. I'd say its probably almost doubled in size. So much for the little school.

We also had the opportunity to check out a fairly new attraction down in McHenry. Its a manmade whitewater river. Its much more fancy than something you'd see in a water park. From what I understand the US Whitewater Olympic Team was doing some practicing there the day we were atop that particular mountain.

I said to someone last week that Accident was my home. I was asked how long I'd lived there and I said just about ten years. He then asked me how long I'd lived here in Indiana. I told him just about six years. He looked at me and said "so, Indiana is your home." Well, I guess, but I live here. Accident and Garrett County and Western Maryland are my home collective. I grew up there, for the most part. I lived there from my sixth grade year to my first sophomore year in college, when I graduated from Garrett Community College. We didn't move until 1999, I was in Clarion University by then. Going to Accident is much more than a trip, no sometimes, to me its almost a pilgrimage.

We are safely home and my vacation ends on Monday. Soon, another adventure will start. I'll enter the world of university librarian. But for the time being, I'll let the pleasant memories of Accident wash over me in tranquility.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I had a dentist appointment this morning. I don't like going to the dentist. Never have, probably never will. I'm somewhat uncomfortable with people sticking their latex covered fingers into my mouth. My mouth is only so big and yet there's two sets of fingers, the dentist and his assisstant, pushing and pulling and poking. Its not much fun. The right side of my face, particularly my tongue is numb. My bone doesn't feel like bone so much as an old piece of wood. The dentist assisstant, a cute girl named Bonnie, described the feeling as "poofy." As good a description as any I suppose.

Whenever I go to the dentist I alway have two images in my head. The first is, of course, the sadistic dentist in Little Shop of Horrors. The other is the Bill Cosby doing his imitation of what happens when you've gotten your mouth numbed by novicaine. Funniest thing ever.

The tricky thing about going to the dentist is the afterdentist part. Getting something to drink is a bit difficult. The tongue being two sizes too big is another. And the third, at least for me, is the fear of biting off my lip, but that's the breaks kid, as they say. Thems the breaks.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bookshelves, Once Again

I am essentially done cleaning my father's office. I took the last batch of books, 13 boxes, to HalfPriceBooks this afternoon. That was the second of two loads, actually. The first was taken earlier in the morning. All told, today's "haul," if I can call it that amounted to fifty bucks. We were able to get roughly 200 dollars for everything. That's about a hundred dollars more than we were offered by a "bookdealer" who came to look at my dad's library about two weeks ago.

As I've written earlier, my dad had very definite interests, mainly World War II, presidential history, and Civil War. There were other topics, but those were the main three. A few years back he decided to take off all the dustcovers of his books. He did this to "make more room" on his shelves. It wouldn't of been so bad if he hadn't thrown away said covers, but he did. So, as a result the value of the books (monetarily to a collector, let's say) was cut by more than half. I have learned that the book collector doesn't necesarily care about what's inside the book, so long as the bookcover is pretty.

I should have kept count of how many box loads I took out. I probably took about twenty boxes today all told; I kept using the same boxes over and over again. So, now I have his empty bookcases. There are actually five. Three of them match, the other two don't match. The other two are from Walmart, or someplace like that and we're going to get rid of them. One of the bottom shelves is broken, but the other bookcase looks to be in pretty good shape. The other three, are big 'cases. They were made by a parishoner of my dad's in South Dakota. They're probaly close to 45 years old, if not a bit older than that and they are still in pretty good shape. They're banged up a bit, that shouldn't be surprising since they moved around the country five or six times. They have little black lines on them, those lines are actually kind of endearing. My father took a Sharpie marker to them one time. He marked off where the shelves went on each case so he could set his books up liek they were before we moved. I used to get on him about that, telling him to clean them off, but he wouldn't and, in retrospect, I'm kind of glad he didn't. It is those kind of things that bring a smile to me when I think about him.

Today, after I was all done with the books I sat down on the rug in his old office and just looked at the empty shelves. I smiled a little bit and I think I might of choked up a bit, too. It is strange the attachment we put on inanimate objects. Those bookcases: 7' tall, 39" wide, blonde wood. They are on hand, just bookcases. Well built bookcases, but bookcases. However, they are more than that, at least to me and my mom. Soon, I will start moving some of my books onto my dad's shelves. I guess they are technically "mine," now, but I will alway refer to them as "my dad's shelves." I know that I've used the picture that sits atop this entry before, but for some reason, I really love that picture. It doesn't show all of his books, but it shows the vast majority of them.

It has been a cathartic excercise, this. Sifting through a life through books, I know I've written that before, please forgive my repetion. But it has been a good experience. Going through his books, touching them, it has been act of "letting go." I didn't cry or really mourn my father's death. I think part of the reason is my Faith in the Word of God, but also the fact that I had a month with him after he got sick. We were able to say our goodbyes, it wasn't a surprise. In fact, on some level there might have been relief, as horrible as that might sound. I knew that if he had survived he would have hated life. So, I was able to talk to him as I went through his books. I found myself "asking" him why'd you get this book dad? Did you ever even read this one? I flipped through each book to look for things he might have squirreled away. I found piced of paper that held his place where he left off reading, I found pamphlets from places he went to that had something to do with the topic of the book (I didn't find any money or anything like, though).

On a weird level, it was fun. I enjoyed going through the things. It was also satisfying on another level being able to discover him. Yes, he is missed, but I'll always have him through his bookcases. And for that, I am well pleased and grateful.

Friday, July 04, 2008

A Found Picture

I was digging around on my "my pictures" program this evening when I found this picture. Its a picture of my father and my two cats (Woody, on the left, and Emma, on the right). I haven't the foggiest idea what they are looking at, or why my father is smiling. Its seems to be have taken in the fall, or winter. Either way, it is a snapshot that really captures him and his general outlook on life. I just thought I'd share it. In its own way it is a beautiful picture.