Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Book Room

(Sabbath Blog #15)

I’m old enough to remember when corporal punishment was meted out to students by teachers. The most dreaded words that could be directed at you by a teacher at my elementary school were “Go to the book room.” That was where the torture was administered. The lessons one learned in the book room were not communicated by a book but rather by the “board of education.”

In case you’re wondering, I got sent there once. It was for talking with a girl after the teacher had warned us that if anyone uttered one more word that person would go the book room. I was in the second grade. It wasn’t much of a whipping; I guess that the punishment was tailored to fit the crime.

We have a book room at our house. It’s actually our fourth bedroom but we call it the study. A few weeks ago Debra decided to undertake the renovation of that room. She took all the carpet up, cleaned the hardwood floors, scraped the wallpaper from the walls, and painted the room. She added some very appealing decorative touches. I was proud that it took me only three nights and some help from my construction supervisor neighbor to install a new ceiling fan.

Because the room is our study, it contains bookcases that in turn contain books. Debra had to remove all the books from the bookcases so that the bookcases could be removed so that the carpet could be taken up. She stacked the books on the landing at the top of the stairs. My wife said, “When you get a chance, please go through the books and decide which ones we can get rid of before we put them back in the study.” It was a reasonable request but it took me weeks to get around to fulfilling it. I finally completed the task yesterday.

I don’t know how many hundreds of books we have at home. I’m surrounded by hundreds more in my study at the church. When I had finished going through all the ones at the house, I had only one box of books that I was willing to get rid of and half of those were paperbacks of which we also have hardback copies! But, we did at least get the books organized and arranged; the study looks good and will look better when we locate one more good-sized bookcase.

It’s just hard for me to get rid of books. They are my companions and friends. They have taught me things I need to know, provided me with escapism when I needed to get away, and have given me adventures that I would otherwise never have had. They’ve been my traveling companions and my partners in education. They’ve been with me in good times and in bad. I like being with them and having them with me.

So now if someone was to say to me, “Go to the book room,” I would not be filled with dread. I would gladly climb the stairs, filled with anticipation of what I might discover there this time.

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