Donkeys, Birds, J.D. Salinger, and G. F. Handel

Back to school! This past weekend (pre-back to school), I spent Saturday morning as I am want to do: a trip downtown for yoga, a visit to the local bakery (cranberry orange muffin…so good), grocery shopping, home to fix chicken fiesta chowder and watch The Last Station. During my trip to the farmer’s market I discovered that the vendor from whom I usually buy my eggs had already sold out, so I went to another egg stand operated by a mom and her 8-ish year old son. As I was fishing out my money to pay for my purchase, the Egg Lady began chatting with the female customer standing in line behind me.
Egg Lady turns to her son and says, “Tell her (the other lady, not me) what happened to you the other day.”
Egg Boy sweetly replies, “I fell off the donkey and got a concussion.”
My immediate reaction was to laugh right out loud, but since that was not the response of the lady to whom the comment was addressed, I felt it improper to even let a giggle escape. I guess enough city(ish) girl remains in me causing me to forget that living in rural Oklahoma means people raise chickens, sell the eggs, and let their kids ride on donkeys.

After this entertaining visit to the farmer’s market, the fun continued as I went to Wal-Mart. At least in the Midwest, going to Wal-Mart on a Saturday is an exercise in futility. Be ready to see people you didn’t expect to run into and be prepared to spend both more time and money than you anticipated. As I was eyeing the bananas, my eye also caught a guy walking around in the store with a bare chest and bare feet. Um, excuse me? But I thought there used to be 1.) a big sign posted on the door to just about any public place stating, NO SHOES, NO SHIRT, NO SERVICE and 2.) the last I checked, isn’t there a little retired grandma lady greeting people/standing guard at the entrance to Wal-Mart whose job it is to enforce thought #1.)? Bizarre. As I continued through the fruit section I ran into one of our Library student workers who is a treat to be around. As we were chatting she looked behind me and stated, “There’s a bird in the donuts.” Perplexed, I turned around, and sure enough, a bird had flown into the store and found itself content among the case displaying boxed donuts. Just about that time we saw a manager walking toward us, whom we flagged down and pointed out said bird in said donut case. Over the next few minutes we enjoyed watching Wal-Mart bakery workers try to catch the bird with an impromptu and improvised bird net (empty donut box). After seeing an open spot in the 20 Items or Less lane, I made a hasty exit to check out, not waiting around to see how the bird drama concluded. Hopefully the bird was apprehended successfully and the donut case was cleaned thoroughly.

Monday kicked off the start of our fall semester and I am so thankful I had the summer to become accustomed to working, meet a few people around campus, and complete all of my new employee paperwork. Many of the new faculty started working just last week, trying quickly to get a key to their office or have their e-mail account assigned, all of which would have stressed me out to no end!

The past few days have been busy indeed, assisting students with questions on how to find materials for assignments, contacting professors about scheduling instruction sessions for their courses, and planning for these times of instruction. I’ve already encountered a few students who obviously look lost. Their glassy eyed stare at a stack of books almost shouts, “Help me! I’m a Freshman and don’t know what to do!” It’s exciting that they’re making a conscious decision to visit the library, are taking the time to look around, and are learning what we have to offer! After coming to the rescue of a few new students I hope they have gotten a good impression of how the Library is a place filled with friendly people, who love to help students find helpful information. Yesterday, as I was leaving my office, I saw one such lost looking young lady. I quietly asked her, “Excuse me? Do you need help finding anything?” She looked relieved as she responded to me in a pleasant Oklahoma drawl, “Yeas. I’hm lookin’ for The Catcher in the Rah(Rye)?” Thankfully, the PS’s (Library of Congress classification for American Literature) are right outside my door, thus I see them every time I leave my office. Skillfully I told her, “Follow me,” leading her right to the modern classic without having to perform a search in our OPAC. “Wow! Yew knew rahght where ta look! Oh, thees is great, ‘specially cause I gotta read, like, half of it, before class tomarrah.” While I entertained the idea of making her think I possessed mad-ninja-library skills, I told her my office was just across the hall, hence my frequent passing of the Salinger selection. I wished her happy reading and left the Library with a huge smile on my face, loving being a librarian during moments like these. Plus, with all that is new and all that I haven’t yet learned, it made me feel doubly good to actually know how to do something/where to go without having to think or ask somebody else.

While I haven’t had any teaching responsibilities this week I already have four classes to instruct next Wednesday and Thursday! I’m also excited about participating in my first online webinar next Tuesday, sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) to equip librarians to learn more about new fall fiction titles released for younger readers. Coincidentally, next Tuesday is also when Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins’ newest book in the Hunger Games trilogy, is released. Bring on the excitement!

Lastly, a high note in the week (literally) came last night when I joined the local community chorus! I heard about the group last week but wasn’t for sure if the schedule would resume the first week of the semester or not. Yesterday afternoon I contacted the University choral professor who also conducts the community chorus and found out the first rehearsal began last night, blissfully glad I didn’t have any mid-evening plans to interfere in attending the first rehearsal. Though the chorus is comprised primarily of college students, the community members who sing bring a little maturity to the operation (musically, experience, work ethic, etc.). This semester we will be working on Handel’s Messiah, which we will perform in early December – just in time for Christmas! The goal of last evening was to sight-read portions of it and count sing the rhythms vs. the text. Since I have performed Messiah twice, and excerpts from it various other times, the term “sight reading” didn’t exactly apply to me. Several of the freshmen sopranos sitting around me asked, “You’ve sung this before, haven’t you?” And yet I must remember I was once the young undergraduate music major who had never before sung Messiah. It’s been a few years since I’ve done any count singing (1& 2& T& 4&), so it was a nice challenge to help me brush up on specific intervals and some of the more technical passages. I walked away a slightly vocally fatigued, but my heart was jubilant as strains of the Hallelujah chorus rumbled around my brain. I forgot how good it felt to be musically exhausted and will look forward to Tuesday nights in weeks to come.

Inspired by the book I’m currently reading and the muffin I ate at the bakery Saturday morning, tonight I fired up my oven to try two new baking projects: chocolate stack loaf from Better Homes & Gardens, and a modified cranberry (lemon) orange muffin recipe from Yum.


One thought on “Donkeys, Birds, J.D. Salinger, and G. F. Handel

  1. Sarah! I just finished the book you are reading. What did you think of it? I really liked it. Honestly the last few chapters had me glued to the pages! So interesting. It was just all unexpected for me. :)Also, I have thought of you for 2 other reasons: 1) all this Eat,Pray,Love hooplah. When you & I read the book a couple of years ago… 2) I made the tortilla, turkey, rice, veggie, ranch wrap thing today for lunch :)They closed 4 of the 5 libraries in the city I live in! How sad is that? It is a poor library system (meaning the variety is not a lot). I use my bf’s library system (SOOOO much better) but not as good as the system I worked for in CO!Hope you are well! Alaska

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