Wednesday, February 4, 2015

This a file photo of our Book Lovers Club
Normally, since today is the first Wednesday of the month, our Book Lovers would gather round our dining room table and nibble on popcorn and Lois' home made cookies.  Not today.  Today we have giant flakes of snow filling the sky and piling themselves on our deck railing like elongated slices of angel food cake!  We are hunkered down, no doubt finding time to keep our noses in our books!

The cast of characters in our Club has changed, as our precious, aging members are moving on to the next world.  This is sad for us but we understand that death is part of life.  It's not the part we like but we must accept it and cling to the delightful, happy and wonderful memories we have made.

In the above photo, the lady in front, wearing polka dots and a sweet smile has left us.  She was ill for only a short while when she was taken from us.  What we will always remember about Marge is her famous popcorn, her unbelievably beautiful handwriting and her original poems.  Marge taught me how to knit and she was a dear neighbor.  She was 94 when she died.  We all miss Marge more than we can express.

The woman in brown slacks and jacket on the left of the picture is Gena.  Bless her heart, she has endured any number of health issues and seemed to be at death's door but with her daughter's faithful care and Gena's own will, she has weathered a good many storms in recent times.  It was my good fortune to encounter her as we delivered Meals on Wheels to a friend of hers.  I was so pleased to see her doing so well and looking so fine! Gena loves to read the works of Christian authors.  She is also passionate about tending to her flowers!

Gena is standing beside a lady in red.  This our local librarian, Susie Kerner. Susie was a special guest on the day this photo was snapped.  Since then Susie and I have become members of a Writers Group.   She has a wonderful sense of humor, loves books as much as our members do and she is a wonderful contribution to our little town!  We always enjoy Susie's book reviews in our local paper.  She tells us that Tecumseh library patrons prefer mysteries and fiction. Recently she shared a true story about the Holocaust.

Beside Susie, wearing a striped blouse, is Bert.  She left us too quickly after learning she had a serious health issue.  Bert doctored for this but during her treatment she took a bad tumble and in the blink of an eye she was taken from us.  We miss Bert hosting our meetings, showing us her art work and knitting projects.  I never pass Bert's former home but what I miss seeing her in the yard or walking to the grocery store, even at the tender age of 90. Little Bert was generous, caring and read voraciously.  She leaned toward fiction and biographies.

Judy, dressed in blue, and Lois, wearing glasses, are on the back row.  Lois is a member of the original group who chartered the Book Lovers Club.  She taught school before her retirement, lives on a farm and makes a fine President.  The teacher in her is apparent as she prepares for each meeting by sharing jokes, puzzles an bits of trivia with us.  Lois enjoys reading on a variety of topics; most recently she reads the newspaper aloud to her husband, who is plagued with eye ailments.  She manages to find a lot of how-to and home care volumes. We can always count on Lois to bring home made cookies to every meeting!

Judy lives in the country and serves us as Treasurer. She wears many hats: Advisory Board member for South East Nebraska Community Action (SENCA), officer for the VFW Auxiliary and President of the SE Nebraska Tourism group.  She is a community minded woman who appreciates books and takes a special interest in Native American culture and history.  It was Judy who invited me to join the Club, for which I am eternally grateful. Judy has a special interest in WWII as well as Barney Oldfield's career.

That woman with her hair piled up on top of her head is yours truly.  My reading choices are mostly biographies, and non-fiction. I own way too many books and I want more!  *my bad...

We have other members who are not pictured.  Little Elna is a faithful member; I cannot recall why she is not present for this photo.  She loves to read titles by Christian authors, historical books with a sprinkling of fiction.  LaRue is another original member of  the Book Lovers Club; she lives in an assisted living facility.  The last time I saw LaRue she was impeccably groomed, stylishly dressed and cheery as ever.  LaRue is a tiny mite; she is no bigger than a minute!  She says she enjoys receiving the minutes of our meetings in the mail.

Our newest member has not attended many meetings because we meet while she is in class at Peru State College!  She devours fiction and loves to read as much as any of the Book Lovers.  She is studying English and will graduate in August as a non traditional student.  She reports she is reading some heavy duty English literature!

You can tell we are a motley crew.  But we are bound by our interest in books, our devotion to one another and the fun we have at our meetings.  Not only are we Book Lovers; we are people lovers, as well.

Some clubs have one book that all their members read and then have a discussion at their meetings.  Our members read whatever strikes their fancy and report on their impression of their choice.  The rest of the meeting is taken up with a bit of business, snacks and coffee, and local news! There are hugs all around when it's time to go home.

When I think about the Members and those members who have made their transition, I am filled with gratitude that I was allowed to sit in this circle.

Connie Baum
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