Recently, I had a book crisis on hand. My Mary was having a major birthday in August. It was now late May and I couldn't figure out any new good gift for her.
She has everything she needs or wants, she informs me.
Yet, in many relationships, you always want to celebrate your soul mates birth into this world. The problem is and has always been, finding that very special gift.
Days of lost thought on this until I realized Mary was a book person who read all the time. She devoured books like some people devour chocolate.
Living in Clinton, Ky. means that I live in not only a food desert, but a bookstore desert as well. Books a Million has a large book store 65 miles away in Paducah, Ky. Barnes and Noble have a similar large book operation 75 miles away in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Jackson, Tenn., some 70 miles away also has a Barnes & Noble store.
These are long ways to go for the privilege of touching new books. Traveling these great time suckers was out of the question. This left me the option of ordering a book either on line or by telephone.
After all that, there was still the question of which book. Luckily, that morning I watched as Nashville "rock star" writer and historian, Jon Meacham, on MSNBC Morning Joe, talk about his newest book, "Songs of America."
Perfect! What better gift for someone who God had given a great singing voice and book lover then this new book. Also, what if I could get it signed in the process.
The odds seem impossible! Yet, in this journey we call Life, risks and being bold with action is how sometimes we define the future. With a mere chance of securing the right gift for my Mary, this would be time well spent.
Nashville is a rare combination of songs, cultural, history, urbanization, small town values and the creative spirits of writers and dreamers. There are several out of print bookstores in the city. Yet, the local readership population has come to love one bookstore that markets the best in new books. This is Parnassus Books.
I call the store for help. A soft voice over the phone assures me that my book selection is the right book for Mary. Credit card purchased. I asked if Jon Meacham had signed any books for them. The soft voice replied that he was away on a national book tour with country singer Tim McGraw, co-author of their book, "Songs of America" and would get to their book store soon.
Pushing fate again, I asked if would be possible for him to not only sign the book but also speak to Mary about music.
May soon became June. The first of July quickly followed. Mary's birth day is August 10. Time was now getting very tight for my book experiment to work as a special gift, seem flawed.
The soft voice from Parnassus calls on August 1. Meacham had signed books for them over the weekend. She laughed and said that my special order was being shipped to me by overnight express.
End of story. Afternoon on August 10, Mary opens her birthday present. She smiled at the fact of her favorite historian had signed his newest book. It took her a few more seconds to read out loud his note to her, "Mary, keep making your beautiful music" Jon Meacham.
I mentioned to the book store staff, that my Mary was one of the leaders for our annual Gospel Sing. Once a year, 20 some local musicians share in sing along, with over 300 people, in the enjoyment of old gospel time music.
The book served as a perfect host for a few words, to bond for a brief moment, a writer with another writer and song person. For her, this was the stuff of what legends are made from.
Enjoy the art of reading!