Strong Men: George and The Library

Everyone noticed George. He was tall, good looking with movie star hair and an easy smile. People always remember him as outgoing, funny and quick with a sarcastic joke. At social events, his acquaintances would grab my arm and say, “You’re George’s daughter? I love him!”

Dad and I are a lot alike in many ways, but especially in that he had a quiet side not many outside of family saw and that his favorite thing was reading.

Every week when I was young, we would wander the dusty stacks of the public library together and he would encourage me to take as many books as I liked from any section. He didn’t blink at eye at my three Nancy Drew mysteries, an astronomy textbook on constellations, a coffee table book on horse breeds and a book of Grimm fairy tales, as he lugged his Agatha Christie mysteries, John Michener historical fiction, Tom Clancy novel and a technical manual on repairing Fiats to the check-out desk. 

George consumed books and felt that everything is worth reading. Dad once read the Quran because he wanted to know what it actually said versus what people thought it said, and he read Dianetics because L Ron Hubbard was in the news and wanted to know what the fuss about Scientology was. When I scoffed at Dianetics, he asked how someone can debate ideas represented in these books if you never read it yourself.

That was the crux of consuming all this information. While everything was worth reading, not everything stood up to scrutiny and he expected you to have an opinion and be ready to engage on it. Conversations with George weren’t always easy. He would have made a good law school professor, except that he hated lawyers.

If Dad was alive and my age today, I like to think he would pour over blog posts and digital books and engage on message boards if he could have gotten over his deathly fear of computers first.

Thank you, George, for your love of the written word.  I miss you so much Dad.

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