Never Too Old

A while back, I accompanied my 91-year-old grandmother to our public library. To say she’s an avid reader would be a gross understatement of fact.

I’m an avid reader.

She blows me out of the water.

Now, granted, she’s retired, and I’m not. She lives alone, and I don’t. She cooks for one, and I wallow in misery trying to cook (if you can call it that) for three. So, she’s got the time, and I don’t.

We moved her to town from the country this past spring, and I signed her up for a card, showed her the stacks she may be interested in and left it at that. She’d been taking herself to the library weekly since then—sometimes more than once a week—until pneumonia drug her down this fall and she needed a ride.

I’d thought about signing her up for the book mobile that comes to her neck of town. But, quite frankly, they don’t come frequently enough and there wouldn’t be enough books on the bus for her liking.

Before she moved, I’d load her up twice a year with flats of books from the library’s used book sale. Flats of them, like twenty to thirty per box. And she’d buzz through them at breakneck speed.

Then I thought, well, maybe she’s not really reading them. Maybe she’s skimming or “not getting” the story.

But I was wrong. I’d probe her about the plot or characters and she’d school me every time—as if she were living the storyline right along with them. So, yes. She was reading every word and “getting” the stories.

At any rate, she had difficulty remembering which titles she’d checked out. I told her to put a tiny mark somewhere in the book, like on the back cover—her initials or some symbol—so she could keep track.

We went to her favorite author’s shelf. The first ten books Grandma pulled had her tiny star in the back cover. It was a real struggle to find something that she hadn’t read. Then she only wanted to pick out two because she was still feeling tired.

I made her choose four, and she finished them all within the week. The library should give out some sort of a trophy for readers like her.

The takeaway?

I hope the stories I write inspire readers to grab the next one. And the next, and the next.

I hope I write enough tales that people have to put their initials (or tiny little stars) in the backs of tattered, taped-together copies.

I hope I’m never too old to enjoy a good yarn.

I hope I’m never too old to write one, either.

Thank you for hanging out for a bit. Check back on Mondays for a new blog and the first Friday of every month for a free fictional short, and be sure to visit my Amazon page.