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6) Lending Books

Even if she had never been a writer, Walker Bugh had always prided herself on spreading the written word. She volunteered at Bilton's library, but also lent out books of her own, and she had many. Walker was probably the first person in the county to get a Kindle but couldn't help adding to her print collection which now extended past all the bookshelves in the house. She had a pile on her end table, a pile by her bed and a pile alongside her overstuffed bookcase in the back room.

In spite of the look of her haphazard library, she knew her titles, so when Walker went in search of one and found it missing, she remembered lending it to Dillface Donna a few months before. Dillface had borrowed the book the day after her New Year's resolution that she would read more than the local newspaper.

"Are you finished with Roses in the Snow?" she asked Donna the next day over coffee. Walker Bugh had read it in two sittings.

"I read some of it until I got to that scene in Rose's bed. It wasn't steamy enough for my taste."

Walker Bugh rolled her eyes. "Yeah, right. What were you looking for, Fifty Shades of Grey?"

"Grandma loved that book," Dillface exclaimed. "She was going to lend it to me, but one of her friends got to her first."

Walker Bugh's curiosity about Donna's grandmother was aroused, but she kept to the matter at hand. "I need to look up some quotes. Could you get the book back to me?"

Dillface Donna frowned at the bird feeder outside the window fluttering with chickadees and cardinals. "I lent it to Jenny," she finally said. "I'll get it back."

After Dillface Donna's admission, Walker Bugh didn't wait. The next morning, she went to The Great Pasty's Diner, ordered her usual West Egg scramble, and asked Jitterbug Jenny if she had finished the book.

"I loved Roses in the Snow!" Jenny exclaimed. "I stayed up nights until the very last page. I think it's in the back room."

When she came back with Walker Bugh's order, poached eggs instead of scrambled, she said, "I remember. I liked the book so much; I lent it to Karen. If she liked it as much as I did, she must be finished with it. I'll ask her about it the next time she comes in."

Walker Bugh finished her poached eggs and went to Dan Whitestone's Hardware. His wife, Karen, worked there and knew as much about nuts and bolts as Dan did, but when Walker Bugh asked her about Roses in the Snow instead of the latest weed clipper, Karen's cheery face fell.

"Jenny insisted I read it, but it didn't have enough history for me. I gave the book to the used book sale at the library before I even finished it. I'm sorry. I didn't know it was yours."

Walker returned home frustrated. Instead of working on her novel, she spent hours chasing one. She found her cat Sassafras napping on her keyboard. "That's it, Sassy Pants, I'm not lending out any more books."

Sassafras opened one eye, yawned, stretched and sniffed, then leaped from the desk knocking down a pile of books on the nearby shelf. She gave Walker a I-don't-believe-you-look then sauntered to her food bowl.

The following week, when the library set up for the book sale, Walker Bugh dashed in and bought her book back.

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Nancy Renko
Nancy Renko
Sep 07, 2022

My friend lent me “where the Crawdads Sing,” last January before she went to Florida. Yikes, I think she invited me to see the movie just so I would remember to return it to her!


Lenore Troia
Lenore Troia
Sep 06, 2022

This is the best chapter yet! I laughed and I gasped!! And the ending is perfect!! Loved the books all over the house imagery and the sequence of lending and losing a book. Really relatable!! Good stuff!!

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