Talk about a jolt back to the past!
Over 20 years ago, a friend and I collaborated on a book about former members of Congress. It got published, received some nice praise and merited a few articles including one in The Washington Post. It seems like a lifetime ago.
But there I was on Sunday morning, blissfully combing through a wonderful private library at a local estate sale. Although I fully expected to find rare first editions, I did NOT expect to see my own book! I confess to pangs of an indistinguishable emotion when I saw the product of two years of hard work suddenly appearing from out of the ether in its bright blue cover. I can best describe it as seeing a high school flame years later; what was once of great importance and is now simply a reminder of a time and place.
Don’t get me wrong, I love this book, it truly changed my life from a stay-at-home mom who occasionally did freelance assignments to a working political journalist. Because of the book I had the opportunity to travel across the country, meeting some of the most interesting and occasionally notorious people who had ever served in the U.S. Congress. And it opened the doors to some unbelievable career opportunities for me.
However, I have not opened it in years since the stories inside the book are still fresh in my memory. What took me back when I did scan the pages were the acknowledgements. That is where I thanked friends who are thankfully still in my life, as well as The Old Man, my mother and the kids who had just started elementary school and have now grown into adults with their own careers. It took me back to a time before we ever even thought of The Old House.
I eventually snapped back to the present at the estate sale. I added my book to the others I had picked off the shelf in the dead stranger’s house, and proceeded to the checkout. That is where (if The Old Man is telling you the story) I went little nuts. As the young clerk started to tally up my purchases, I proclaimed that “I wrote this book and I’m not going to pay for it.”
“OK,” he responded. “How much is it?”
Whoops, I hadn’t checked on that. “It’s a dollar,” I told him.
“Well, we can let you have it,” he said with a smile.
As we walked down the driveway my moment of victory was short-lived when The Old Man said: “He didn’t check your ID against the book, did he?”