When I first moved here, Reagan and I went to the Library a-ways down the road It’s run by two, older ladies, and the whole building is about the size of our kitchen and living room together. I got on the computer and printed off my Driver’s License application, then we looked around at the selection. I got it into my head that we should get some chicken books. We sort of got the giggles and the two older ladies kept sending us glances (even though we were the only ones in the building) so I had the bright idea to take all of their chicken books to read later.
Reagan swiped her card, considering I didn’t have a Tennessee License yet, we used hers. We laughed through the books and I learned a few things, and set them in a stack on my desk to go through later. We finally took the books back 3 weeks later. Reagan then got a letter from someone in an office of the state charging her with book damage and asking her to repay the library for the full amount that the 7 books were worth. I had just gotten home from the office and hadn’t even changed clothes yet. I told Reagan I would take care of it, and called the number on the back of the letter.
One of the old ladies answered and informed me that the books had sustained water damage, the pages were all stuck together, and they were no longer serviceable for the library’s purposes. I would be allowed to come look at the books and could keep them if I paid the full amount. Considering the chicken books sat at my desk the whole time, they didn’t leave the house, and I know I definitely did not spill water on them – I had to take a look for myself.
I went in on my way to work the next day, the two old ladies were sitting at the desk just about waiting for me. I explained why I was there, and that I would be paying for Reagan’s books to clear her card. When I mentioned I was going to pay, they seemed to relax a little. The younger of the two women solemnly brought me the familiar stack, setting them on the counter and gently sliding them over. I thumbed through the top copy called “Keep Chickens!” and tried not to laugh. The edges of the pages had a faint water stain going down the side, no bigger than my little finger. The pages didn’t stick, and the stain had no odor (I checked.)
Since I was paying for all of these at full price, I was happy to know that they were in excellent reading order. I pulled out my check book and the younger woman began hand writing separate receipts for each of the 7 books. Needless to say, I was standing at the counter for a while. I made the check out to their library branch and slid it over. The older woman firmly stamped each book with a blue stamp that read WITHDRAWN. I could almost feel all of the other, perfect books shudder.
I walked out with a spring in my step and the familiar stack of books in my arms. I was a little late for work and a lot poorer, but the books were rightfully mine. It’s hard to justify buying full-priced books that are all on the same topic, and now covered in library stickers and degrading stamps. But I plan to read them enough times that they would pay themselves over. Plus, now I could become the neighborhood chicken expert.