My hiking buddy called needing an outing today. She, like me and so many others, is a little down over the lack of work situation.
We had lunch one of the three sit - down restaurants in town and headed to our local thrift store, Sun Thrift. We each budgeted $10 for the outing and each stayed on budget. She found a cool garden decorating book and several book shelf organizers. I got a man's fleece shirt (1.99!), a cool soap dish that will "go" with my bead display items (1.49), a shot glass for an ongoing glass stringer organizing project (.49), 2 ramekins perfect for olive oil and herbs - my favorite appetizer (1.49 each).
But the thing I got a huge kick out of was a book (which I didn't buy) . I've always loved old books, especially the ones with notes written in them. I think they are a glimpse into someone else's inner thoughts.
Years ago, before Burbank became the trendy hangout it is now, there was an used cookbook store on the main drag. I adored that store and taught myself how to cook with books from there. I belonged to a cooking group then and planned many of our gatherings with finds from that store.
But my favorite cookbook, River Road Recipes, was my best find there. It was one I had failed to buy when I was living in the south and in the late eighties, I had a hard time finding one out here. Until I saw it in the used cookbook shop. The best part of this find, the reason I treasure that copy so, is the handwriting in the margin.
Whoever cooked from and loved this book before me has my exact taste in food. Her notes make every dish perfect! They are often simple pieces of advice: "double the recipe, add more garlic, needs 1t. more pepper." I feel like this woman made me a better cook and I adore every bit of advice added to an already favorite book.
Which brings me back to my book find today. It was one of those little photo books with sweet sayings inside. I picked it up because it had a sad little girl with an even sadder looking dog on the cover. The caption beside it in the book was, "If a mistake was made, neither one of us did it."
What caught my eye was a photo of a little boy in school, sobbing his heart out. The saying was something to the tune of "Mommy will make it better." But the handwriting at the bottom got my attention: "Honey, do you remember your first day at Franklin St. School? It looked a lot like this!"
Inside the back cover was a very loving note to "Larry." It was clear the note was from his mother and that she loved her son very much. I flipped to the front, looking for a date. I was thinking this heirloom must have been given away in mistake or that maybe the son had died after treasuring this book for years.
In the front, I found out that it was given to Larry in honor of his name day. For those of you Americans who don't have scads of European friends, Name Days a celebrated far more often and with more importance than one's birthday. This fact is one of the few things that drives me insane about my BFF. Every birthday party my godson has had, I threw it. She just doesn't see the importance of having one! I can understand...everyone knows your name. They look at the calendar and know it's your day. Over there, only close friends and family would mention your birthday.
And sure enough there was a date to commemorate Larry's name day: 4/20/08.
Glad he was sentimental enough to keep that gift from his mother for such a long time!