April 10, 2009
My Old Dictionary
I pulled down my old dictionary and the cover pulled from the spine when I opened it. The sound it made was similar to a favored pair of pants ripping at the seam when they're exhausted (or the caboose has widened too much).
The old dictionary belonged to my mother. It was a gift to her from my grandparents when she got her Masters Degree. Though I have a newer dictionary, I prefer to use this one.
When I open the book the soft thin pages feel like silk between my fingers. The aroma that rises from it's pages is indescribable, not musty or fresh. I can see a faint tinge bordering each page. It darkens in the top corners.
If I were a detective, I could pull out my spyglass, brush, and fingerprint dust to expose the identities that made their discoveries here. I think of the little hands that held this big book and used it to learn. I wonder how many of them made it big or did nothing at all? If I were a detective, I could tell you.
This old dictionary has certainly seen better days. It worked during it's prime in my mother's classrooms. It molded and enhanced many minds in it's day. It retired to my mother's bookshelf and rested there until I filed it next to my dictionary.
I will continue to use this old dictionary because it likes to be used, whether or not it's spine is broken.