Shared Things

February 2, 2017

I pulled A Man Called Ove out of our Little Free Library that is in front of our house, and our niece loaned me a book by the same author, Fredrik Backman, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and I read them both about a month or so ago. Both books are about grief, a topic almost always welcome to me, since when the subject crops up unexpectedly, can throw me for a loop. I’ve found that I’d really rather make a trip to that particular place with my eyes open. That way, it’s like a visit to a dear aunt who always seems to have a whole pack of unopened Butter Rum Lifesavers in her purse saved just for my little 5 or 10 year old self, along with her unstated instructions that I don’t have to share unless I want to – a memory to surprise and savor, or to save for a rainy day.

Elsa’s grandmother (in My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry) was a storyteller who knew that “no stories can live without children listening to them.” (p 231) Her stories were made up but they helped Elsa (and others with 8 year old souls) with real life things.

Miploris is the most beautiful of all the kingdoms of the Land-of-Almost-Awake….no one lives there, [the houses] are only used for storage. For [it] is where all fairy creatures bring their sorrow, and where all leftover sorrow is stored. For an eternity of all fairy tales.

People in the real world always say…that the sadness and loss and aching pain of the heart will ‘lessen as time passes,’ but it isn’t true. Sorrow and loss are constant, but if we all had to go through our whole lives carrying them the whole time, we wouldn’t be able to stand it. …So in the end we just pack it into bags and find somewhere to leave it.

This is what Miploris is: a kingdom where lone storytelling travelers come slowly wandering from all directions, dragging unwieldy luggage full of sorrow. A place where they can put it down and go back to life. And when the travelers turn back, they do so with lighter steps, because Miploris is constructed in such a way that irrespective of what direction you leave it, you always have the sun up ahead and the wind at your back.

The Miplorisians gather up all the suitcases and sacks and bags of sorrow and carefully make a note of them in little pads. They scrupulously catalogue every kind of sadness and pining. Things are kept in very good order in Miploris…. you can’t put up with disorder when it comes to sorrow, say the Miplorisians. (pp. 220 – 221)

Sometimes people tap dance, sometimes they’re storytellers; they play ukuleles, they make cookies — all to share.

Once every other week, Alf…drives Maud and Lennart to a large building where they get to sit in a little room and wait for a very long time. And when Sam enters through a small door with two large security guards, Lennart gets out some coffee and Maud produces some cookies. Because cookies are the most important thing. And probably a lot of people think Maud and Lennart shouldn’t do that, and that types like Sam shouldn’t even be allowed to live, let alone eat cookies. And those people are probably right. And they’re probably wrong too. But Maud shays she’s firstly a grandmother and secondly a mother-in-law and thirdly a mother, and this is what grandmothers and mothers-in-law and mothers do. They fight for the good. And Lennart drinks coffee and agrees. And Maud bakes cookies…. (p. 367)

So. Just more reasons why one of the first questions I ask new guests when booking on the phone is “What is your favorite cookie??” You just never know, unless you ask, what the best kind is to share.

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Location, Location, Location.

You might notice the WAC Administration Building cupola out of the corner of your eye as you walk onto Simply Bed & Bread's brick path, since our house is just a stone's throw away from the college. Or it might be the ...
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