“What was I scared of?”

Dr. Seuss

Sharon Stevens


Our carton of milk outdated today, June 12, 2013.

That doesn’t mean it needs to gurgle down the garbage disposal drain. This just means if I leave it in the refrigerator for another day or two the milk may sour, spoil, decay, or become odoriferous. I don’t know about you but spoiled milk is not palatable on any level, not even for cooking.

The outdate occurred on the same day I read in the Amarillo Globe News that this was the anniversary of the birthday of Anne Frank. But more lovely than that was the mention of this day in history that it was the time Anne received her diary, really an autograph book, on her thirteenth birthday in 1942. Her very first writing…“ I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.”

The day my milk outdated also coincided with the funeral of Mary Huntington. Mrs. Huntington was the librarian at the old Canyon Public Library for so many years. She is the one who kept the library going when others felt it needed to be closed. Also she, with the help of her volunteers and co-workers transferred and adapted all the codes from the Dewey Decimal system to switch to the computer database for the Harrington Consortium. She also volunteered at her daughter’s elementary class to help the kids with their reading, and the whole family pitched in and taught the children chess.

Mary meant more to me than anyone can ever know! When our girls were small I would take them into the library every week and we would check out a mountain of books to read at home. I told Mary that I was a failure as a mother as I just couldn’t seem to read Dr. Seuss. So even though I didn’t discourage the girls from checking out his books I didn’t encourage them either. She was such a tiny, mild mannered, little munchkin, and she looked at me sweetly and kindly and told me. “It’s because you are trying to READ Dr. Seuss”. Then she went on to explain that Seuss is not one you can read. She encouraged me to enjoy, and sing, and use expression and it will all come together. It worked and I have loved this man and MOST of his writings ever since.

As I pour out my milk and replace it with a new carton in the refrigerator I will remember Anne Frank and Mary Huntington. And I don’t mean this in a bad way or any disrespect. Quite the opposite. I know this is a lousy way to express endearment, but please bear with me. Milk, fruits, vegetables, dip, canned goods, etc. will always carry an expiration date of a time that will end. Nothing can last forever that we put in our bodies. Our brain, bones, and organs need sustenance that will separate what we put in our mouths to what can be broken down and used for fuel.

Books are different. Once they are written they NEVER expire. The stories they carry will last forever and never get old, a tangible expression of so many letters chained to words, connecting to sentences, linking to thoughts. They can be read over and over, and then read again. Books can be shared and dissected, treasured or argued, once and again.

Isn’t that a lovely sentiment? Timeless. Everlasting. Forever. Never a death, never an expiration date. Heart and soul always intact. Never spoiled, never soured. Right there on the page in front of me. What treasures, what a gift!

The only problem is, so many books, so little time. I’m the one with the expiration date.


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