I was going through my bookcases last night, pulling out a book here and there, reading a paragraph and then moving on. Browsing through my own library is like visiting with old friends. Each book represents certain times in my life and this little ritual brought back a flood of memories.
Harry Potter is winking at me from the third shelf down and instantly it is summer time, my lips and nose are sunburnt and I’m scouring the book section of Wal-Mart. There are some sordid romance novels, a Family Homes cookbook that I bought on my last visit to town, Harry Potter and the Bible in Spanish.
Harry Potter it is then.
I bought the first two books in the series along with spaghetti, pop tarts, 12 cans of Bacon Bean Soup and Dr. Pepper. I am officially set. On returning to my truck I find that my dog has decided to come in search of me and has jumped out of my pickup. I retrieve her from the friendly Canadians RV-ing their way through the United States and off we go.
We read the first Harry Potter book out loud as a family when I was about 13 and then we were told we weren’t allowed to read any more. Standing in the aisle at Wal-Mart I am 19 and have been living on my own now for a grand total of 4 months…if I want to read a book that was forbidden in childhood, I’ll jolly well do it. Guilt prickles at me the whole way back to camp. But soon I am devouring those books every spare minute, during lunch and late into the night…I can’t wait to finish the rest of the series and the guilty conscious is forgotten.
I pick up The Diary of A Farmer’s Wife next. I found it in a thrift shop in Bath, England when I was 11 and bought it with my allowance. Some lady had found the diary and had it published, old English way of talking that was common in the 1700’s, misspelt words and all. Leaning against the door I read a page and instantly it is winter-time in Tuscarora and there is a crock pot of spicy beef stew bubbling on the counter and 4 loaves of fresh bread I made the night before. We’ve been feeding heifers all morning and the house smells amazing when boss and crew troop into my house for lunch. Most days everyone has a lunch packed but today we all just tuck into what was going to be my supper and I think that it tastes better because it is shared. The Diary of A Farmer’s Wife is sitting on the kitchen table where I had left it from breakfast that morning and the boys tease me mercilessly about it. I don’t care. I like reading about her day to day struggles and her recipies and one day I will try her rabbit pie.
Food and books are clearly linked in my mind
Last night as I flipped through the pages, stains and pieces of dirt fell from the leaves of many different books, and each one had a different memory associated with it. I spent a good hour, going back through time, visiting with old friends as it were. As I shelved the last one I couldn’t help but wonder what memories I will have for the new books that will join the ranks of my ever increasing library and what foods I will think about when I read them.
Speaking of which….I’m hungry. J
xo xo Liz