Monday, 25 October 2010

We have been sorting books

for the upcoming 'garage sale' at my father's church. Yes we plan to donate some books to the book stall that I have, somehow, been inveigled into caring for.
I have no idea what else will turn up, if anything at all. Donations go to the church hall on Friday afternoon and evening ready for Saturday. More than that I do not know. I have not been told. No doubt the organiser will tell me I have a trestle table or some such in due course. I draw the line at attending the planning meetings.
But there are books we need to part with.
"Do we", I asked him, "need all those cookery books?"
" What cookery books?"
"Those. They belonged to Mum. I never use them."
I point to a shelf full. My father never uses them. He does not cook. I do that.
"I suppose we could get rid of those," he says.
I hastily transfer them to the pile of things that someone is coming to collect. As we do not own a car it is up to others to transfer things to the hall.
"And what's that lot?" he askd of another pile.
"Embroidery, sewing, patchwork - Mum's. I don't use them. There are people up there who might." (The church is at the top of the hill. We live at the bottom.)
He shrugs. Those things are of no interest to him.
"And we have some duplicate copies of other things," I tell my father.
"We do? Yes I suppose we might have."
I put out two copies of Jane Eyre and some paperbacks. There also some Readers' Digest books about household hints, emergency situtations that need to go. My mother collected those too and they have not been opened for years.
None of this seems to make much difference to the state of our shelves. I am not prepared to part with all the children's novels I have carefully collected over the years. My dictionaries are definitely staying where they are, so are my books on language and linguistics. Those books of quotations get used all the time - remember that card I made last week? Right. Leave them there. That book on islands? No, I need that. The one on French chateaus - I used that when I was researching the book. I might need it again. The folders are knitting stuff - old stuff. It's valuable. No, do not even consider asking me to part with any of those knitting books - have you any idea of what they sell for on E-bay? Right.
There are also his joke books - the books from which he used to get magician's 'patter' - and his gardening, theology, psychology, a Latin dictionary, woodwork and various biographies and autobiographies to be considered. No, he wants to keep all those -and I use the dictionary occasionally.
Tucked away behind it all is a paperback. It is a reproduction of an old Sears-Roebuck catalogue.
My sister found it in a charity shop years ago. It cost her ten cents Australian. She thought Dad might be interested in the Victoriana in it. He was. He still is. He goes off to drink the tea I have made for him. In the kitchen I can hear him chuckling over the elaborate Victorian language and claims.
I hastily remove three duplicate copies of joke books and put them on the pile of books to go to the sale. Perhaps someone else will get a good laugh out of those too.

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