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While watching a construction container being hoisted on to the back of a lift truck last summer, I noticed, as the container slowly crawled to nearly a vertical position, before the bottom rails lined up with the rollers on the truck, some books spilling out of a box. The books fell toward the back of the container and tumbled about in disarray. Being the bookworm that I am, my curiosity got the better of me, and I asked the driver of the truck to hold the positioning of the container while I had a look.
The container was ordered from our company, and placed just outside the garage of an old, yet, elaborate looking house, which was apparently being vacated. Or, at least being relinquished of much of its content, which was no longer wanted for whatever reason.
At any rate, I climbed up, and over the back gate of the container to see if I could salvage one or more binding of what I feared would be a wealth of wasted knowledge, had I not at least had a look. Delightfully surprised, my efforts did not go unrewarded, as I did find a few intriguing books that afternoon, which I put aside and brought home with me later that night.
In retrospect, I am still a little piqued at myself, for as hindsight would have it, there were many other treasures of the lettered sort in that container. All of which I knew would soon become a permanent part of the landscape, at the local mountain known as the landfill. Oh well, I suppose that some would say, ashes to ashes, and dust to dust, at least they did have somewhat of a proper burial. Nonetheless, as it really wasn’t the time, or the place for me to go on an essay extrication, right on the street in front of the scroll scrapping customer’s house, I probably shouldn’t feel so badly. But, I still do.
On a more cheerful note, however, there is the book which inspired this little discourse. Which, I must say, in and of itself, is a treasure to me. Though not the most academic of finds, and was certainly never up for any literary awards, this book enraptured me with mystique, and a nostalgic thirst to unravel the mystery which I found within it. Not mid way through a spellbinding narrative, or while nearing the end of a paper edged suspense thriller, but right there on the front page, when I first opened it.
Okay, first, please understand that I do realize that it may only be me who is so enthralled over this find. Number one because I do hold the content within the book, published in 1894, by Hope Publishing Company in Chicago, Illinois, very near and dear to my heart. And secondly, though I am a nondenominational believer in my Lord, and Savior, Jesus Christ, there are many timeless enlightening, and inspirational songs within the 1894 edition of the Pentecostal Hymns combined editions one and two. And thirdly, even though many mentions of the Rapture, are found within four hundred and eighty Gospel Hymns, which, in my book is enough to write home about eternally, that is not the enraptured fix, which took hold of my intrigued heart and mind that day. The thing which still to this day tugs at my heart-strings, is a simple little note found there on the front page of the book when I opened it.
Now I feel a little intrusive for leading you up to this point, where you are probably expecting me to expose some bewilderingly surreal spiritual secret, or some sort of romantic message in a bottle. And, if it truly does turn out to be just a big let down for you, I apologize. However, for the rest of you hopeless romantics out there, I feel that, at least if not at this moment upon finishing this little read, and once I disclose what the little note did say, that you too will find the person who wrote the note, taking you back in time somewhat, even if but for only one moment of awe-inspiring curiosity, and spiritual connection.
The note quite simply caused me to put myself in the shoes of the person who wrote it. In fact, even at this moment as I write about it I still get the same feeling of deja-vu, that I felt the first time I read the note. It’s not as if there was any deep revelation to the meaning of life, or a heart wrenching love letter on the face of the little note, as I hope I adequately explained earlier.
No, it was just that it caused me to wonder if maybe the person was sending this book to a loved one, with the little note explaining why it meant something extra special to them. Was he or she sitting on a church pew, when they wrote the note and passed it to their wife, or husband, across the lap of someone else who was sitting in a little Pentecostal church meeting, sometime in the past, between the years of 1891, and 1991 ? And that of course, could only be if the person had lived to be a hundred years old and was still sitting, and writing from a church pew somewhere out there in 1991.
So, please don’t be let down too much when I tell you what this little note said. Instead, if you can, try to imagine the feeling that came over me when I read it. And still does come over me, even as I sit here at this moment looking at the book and writing about it. The feeling that back some time within the last 119 years, someone who is no longer with us on earth today; Someone who probably, lived and loved much as we all do; Picked up a little book, opened it to the front page, saw the date, and was deeply touched with a feeling of nostalgia, and purpose, or soulful destiny. A feeling strong enough to inspire them to write a note and place it on the front page of the same book which I also found. A feeling strong enough to survive the expanse of time, of who knows, some, 25, 50, or, quite possibly even 100 years to that fateful day a year ago, when I first opened that same little book, to that same front page where they placed it, and read the note which simply said: ” Notice the date I was born in 1891, lacks 3 years of me.” So even at whatever age this person was when they wrote the note, the book in which I found sometime assuredly after they had passed away, was just as nostalgic and touching to them then, as it is to me to this very day.