There are things we take for granted. I'm sure there are things about your life that you think are perfectly normal things that everyone experiences, but, in fact, may be alien to me.
Bacon comes to mind for some reason.
Here in Memphis, the Central Library branch of the public libraries is magnificent. In appearance it looks less like a library and more like a museum of modern art or even a high end shopping mall. As I walk into the glass doors over pavement that is etched with images of Dr. Seuss as well as welcome messages in a variety of languages, including Arabic, there is a coolness that passes over my mind. The only way I can describe it is... I'm home.
It's without hesitation that I tell you now that I belong among books. If we lived in ancient Egypt, aside from the two coins over my eyes for the boat man, I would ask you to bury me with books.
All kinds. Comic. History. Literature. Cooking. I don't care. Keep your gold, bury me with books.
On the upper levels of the Central Library, there's an entire section devoted to genealogy. Stacks and stacks of books charting when people were born, where they moved to, when they died. The first time I walked past this section of the library is most likely similar to the experience that many people feel when they find out for the first time that there are people in the world who don't eat bacon. See, before that moment, they think everyone eats bacon and it doesn't occur to them that there are people out there who can't even conceive of this thing of which they have intimate and every day knowledge.
When I was young, my father would pull out a piece of paper and write a name at the top. More names came from that single name resulting in a long and wide triangle of names until finally one of the names would be mine. He would do the same for my mother's side of the family. At the time, this was just something fun, I thought. I realize now that it was more. It was the passing on of a story of great importance to my father. It was a story he wanted me to not only remember but own. It wasn't until years later that I found out that girls names weren't even put on those family trees, but that, in what I have to admit was an uncharacteristic act of feminism, my father was careful to include my name.
Anyway, until I walked past that section of the Central Branch, I never realized that some of those trees grow as the result of hours of study, countless minutes of sifting and detective work. That what would be drawn out on a piece of notebook paper for me once a month could only be found the corner of Walnut Grove and Poplar for others. It's just funny, you know, how you don't realize how important the important things can be.