"A Canticle for Leibowitz", "Some Luck", Customer Service, Dr. Jekyll, Jane Smiley, Minimum Effort, Mrs. Hyde, New Port Richey Florida, New Port Richey Library, Superlative Service, Walter M. Miller Jr., Working? Or just clocked in?
To land where words are both bound and free; I visited my local library. T’was Hyde I did encounter first, her attention to detail was quite curt. Simple inquiry I did extend, bare-bones reply Hyde quickly kenned. “Pardon me,” asked I of her pleasant face, “But there’s a volume I do chase. Can you, will you, tell me please, who’s written the book for which I seek? I know its name but author not, would you be so kind for me to look it up?”
“Tell me the title, I’ll give you the scribe. What’s name of the volume for which you long to subscribe?”
“The name of the book,” I said in reply, “count stars above, is Some Luck.”
With gambler’s face her screen she did scan and in reply said, “Jane Smiley.”
“Marvelous! Great! Fantastic news! And one more boon may I ask of you?”
Hyde’s face of pretty, acquiescent wax again looked my way, her jaw was lax; In response to my garrulous prattle her brows lifted skyward as though I were puerile. Corners of her mouth smiled but not her eyes, “How else may I help you?” she inquired. Though her words were pleasant her tone chastised.
“Well I was wondering, hoping I guess, if you could tell me if Some Luck in this library now rests?”
“Nope,” she said with a glance at her screen. I walked away feeling quite small and a bit murine.
Fortnight passed and again I returned, for a different book I now yearned. My son from half a continent away a simple game he wished to play. Together we’d read a common volume and after it’s digestion we would dissect it and explore its theorems. Walked into New Port Richey Library and a different lexicological custodian attended me. Her face and manner were welcoming delight and again I put to her my repeated plight. “There’s a book I desire but its author I know not, if I tell you its name can you tell me if it you’ve got?”
“Sure,” she said with eyes keen and bright, “For what do you search? What will bring you delight?”
“The book is called, it’s rather quaint, A Canticle for Leibowitz, a man who is a futuristic long dead Saint.”
Her eyes shot up, hand cupped her ear, “Forgive me, darling, I didn’t hear. Would you be so kind as to repeat the name of the book you hope to find?”
I smiled and replied, “It is a mouthful, but perhaps I’ll try spelling some of the words for you. Would that make the task of Grail search a simpler task for a knight of your worth?”
“Why bless you heart! You know it might. What’s the second word you did site?”
“Canticle,” I did reply, “a chant or hymn of Biblical sighs. You spell it c, a, n, t, i, c, l, e: Would you look that up for me?”
“Be happy to,” she said with a true grin, “but what’s that fellow’s last name again?”
“Leibowitz,” I replied with a nod. “Not sure how it’s spelled but let’s give it a try? L, e, b, o, w, i, t, z. Can we try that? See if it fits?”
“Works for me, let’s spin the wheel, nothing’s gained if cards we don’t deal.” After a moment her eyes rose then fell, she looked at me and said, “Wellllll, I found the book but it’s not here. Let me check something else for you, my dear.” After a minute, maybe three, she got right back to me. “We don’t own it but if you’d like we can try an inter-library loan for thee.”
I looked at her quite thunderstruck. This NPR gal had great pluck! Then a cog in my head did spin and I replied with a grin. “That’d be perfect, that’d be swell! Can you check on one more thing as well? I’d love to find another book about Iowa, state I forsook. It’s by a gal named Jane Smiley and its called Some Luck you see.”
She tapped some keys and then looked up, with a face full of triumph. “Some Luck is available electronically, have you a kindle from which to read?”
I assured her that indeed I did and headed home feeling exquisite. Doctor Jekyll had replaced Misses Hyde and performed her job with obvious pride. Service above a minimum helps to bridge deep chasms. Now I know that when I look for helping hands whom it is that I shall seek. For it’s sad but very true Doctor Jekyll and Misses Hyde both at same establishment do abide.