All of us who live in Northern California are aware of our beautiful our natural scenery. Why not become inspired to go out an enjoy it? Glen Ellen resident Tracy Salecedo is the author of many hiking guides centering on Northern California. She will be speaking about her latest and most popular works, including Hiking through History San Francisco Bay Area and Hiking Waterfalls in Northern California.
Sonoma seems to have embraced spring--we've got the mustard blossoms, we've got tourists, we've got mail deliverers in their shorts, but especially, everyone is spring cleaning! As you read Clutter Busting and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and decide to rid yourself of the books that are no longer bringing you joy, please note our used book policy (please follow the link for complete info!)---
-We can only take two grocery sized bags/boxes of books at once. This is generally about 50 or less books.
Events in December and January
Here's a quick look at the events scheduled in December and January--we'll give you more info on each as they approach...
Don't forget our book star program continues through the month of December--please buy a book for a deserving Sonoma Valley child.
Sunday, January 1st, noon-5:00 p.m. Annual 50% OFF one-day only calendar sale.
Thursday, January 12th, 7:00 p.m. Terri Tate reads from A Crooked Smile:A Memoir.
Maybe it's just the end of the year, a time when all kinds of sordid trash is tossed out, but I came across two articles in the newspaper this morning that really made me scratch my head and wonder what kind of planet we're living on. The first story had to do with the response of a white high school teacher in Ohio, who, after hearing one of his African American students say he wanted to become president someday, replied, "We don't need another black president." Now, this teacher has been suspended over the remark, which is why it became news, I suppose, but the larger question is how does a person like that, someone who is ostensibly charged with fostering the hopes and dreams of students end up in a classroom in the first place. And I can only imagine what a gratuitous slap it was to that high school student. The fact is, we do need more black presidents. We also need Latino presidents, Jewish presidents, female presidents, gay presidents, atheist presidents (by the way, turns out we've had a few of those already, though they were rather mum about it). We need all kinds of qualified people to be president. That's the promise of American life, that anyone who works hard enough can rise to the top of the heap. It's not, or it shouldn't be, at any rate, a private club for white Protestant males. Up till now, there have only been a couple of "gate crashers"-first John F. Kennedy, and now, Barack Obama. That's good, but it doesn't yet reflect the broader demographics of this country. As for me, I'm wishing that kid in Ohio who wants to be president good luck; he'll need it with teachers like that.
The second strange story I read concerned a young man in Texas who was arrested and jailed for failing to return an overdue library book. Honest. They put him in jail. Apparently, this is one of the many creative ways they define "theft" nowadays in Texas. Not to get too far into the weeds about this, but the book was three years late. The young man had an excuse, of course, which was that he couldn't return it any earlier because he checked it out just before starting a three year prison sentence for robbery. Okay, this fellow is no peach, and he's probably not aiming to be a future president, but sending someone to the slammer for a library book seems, well, excessive was the word that first came to mind. But really, the correct word should be (and I say this with all due respect to librarians everywhere) "crazy." By the by, our literary felon has learned a valuable lesson from this experience: he says he will never again set foot in a public library, that if he ever wants another book he will buy it from Amazon (Congratulations, you won another convert, Mr. Bezos!).
To me, the real kicker in this story is that the book he "stole" was a study guide for the GED. He was just trying to graduate from high school. That was his crime, but who knows, maybe in the great state of Texas that's exactly what it is. I give up.
One of the last phrases my dad said to my mom before he drifted off forever in his hospital bed was to "be brave." I've been pondering that for over ten years now. Did he really mean, be brave? Or just act brave? And is there a difference? Was "be brave" some kind of secret expression between them? He and she came out of a different era, of course, when times were tough and a big premium was placed on character and bravery and such. That's how they got through the Great Depression and World War II, by being brave. That's what we believe.
But what does that mean? I've concluded, after much thought, that being brave, or acting brave, which is just pretending to be brave, has a lot more to do with enduring. Bad things happen and you soldier on. And you do this not because of some mystical inner quality of strength you possess, not because you're an American and Americans are rugged individuals, but because, in the end, you have no choice. Oh, you could curl up and die, I suppose, and there are a few very frail souls who do that when they lose their dog or their spouse or the stock market plunges. Most of us though, thankfully, have enough moxie to still get up the next morning; we drink our coffee, glance at the newspaper, go about our lives. Are we hurt? You bet. Is there a hole left that will never be filled? Probably so. But we trudge on, and that's a blessing, not just for ourselves, but for civilization at large.
Whenever I consider bravery I am reminded of that glorious passage in Catch-22, where Captain Nately (I think that was his name), a 20-year old pilot, a kid from Yale, is sitting in a whore house in Rome, talking politics with a 107-year old Italian gentleman. The old guy says he is a very moral man, that when Mussolini came to power he was all for him. Then, when Hitler's tanks rolled in, again, he raised his arm in salute. Now that the Americans have liberated us, he shouts "viva America!" Nately, the idealist, thinks this is appeasement, opportunism, or at best, mealy-mouthed double talk. Don't you stand for something? Wouldn't you rather die on your feet, he asks, than live on your knees? The old man gently corrects him. No, no, he says, you live on your feet and die on your knees. And right after their chat, Nately strolls out the door and gets killed by a sniper.
Bravery is what gets you through to tomorrow. We can stand for all kinds of causes, but bad things happen all the time, and life, as any alcoholic can tell you, is a day by day event. In that sense, we are all brave, I suppose. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is just keep your head down and dig a deeper foxhole.