I went out with my wife yesterday. We spent the day together because it was our anniversary. I’m glad she planned it because I couldn’t of planned what she did.
We had two ladies from our fellowship tag team to watch the kids so we were literally off at 9:30AM and got back a little after 9PM. What follows is a recount of our day.
First, we went out to breakfast at La Peep. This is a breakfast store up in Nashville, the Belle Mead area. My wife, Natanya, went there when she was little but hasn’t been back since so this was very special. We both enjoyed our meals. The highlight for Natanya was this freshly squeezed orange juice. She let me have a sip, it tasted…real. I’m not sure what we get from the grocery store, though.
After breakfast it was off to McKay’s, a used bookstore where you trade in books if you want. They now have CDs and DVDs as well as some electronics. I’m a big fan of the Easton Press. I decided several years ago, in light of the digital revolution, that I would try to not buy physical books anymore. That is, unless they are good books and they are published by the Easton Press. So, we went into McKay’s and I made a beeline for the Easton Press books. Most of them were in decent condition. I ended up buying “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stow. I haven’t read that so I’m looking forward to working through it. Natanya didn’t find any books. So, off we went again.
Natanya asked me if I wanted to go to another bookstore, I said….yes. The next one is called “Elder’s Bookstore.” McKay’s was busy, very busy, and I enjoyed the moment we finally left. Elder’s was an entirely different story. As soon as we went in the atmosphere was noticeably different. It was quiet and the smell of old books, not paperback but hardcover books hung in the air. There was an invitation, unspoken in the air. It was the invitation to sit, think, learn, study, and contemplate.
I was truly awestruck. The bustle of Nashville was outside, inside was pure sanctuary. The books were old and most pertained to history. You really didn’t want to just touch them. It almost seemed disrespectful and some shelves actually had a note on them saying you needed to ask before you handled the books. I felt like I had walked into another world.
I strolled over to a section that was devoted entirely to, you guessed it, the Easton Press! Natanya found two books that were priced very low due to being defaced. They two titles were, “Devotional Classics” and “Spiritual Classics.” I found a copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy still shrink wrapped for $25! We gathered them together and went to the front. The gentleman talked with us a little bit and noted that he had a copy of Emily Dickinson’s Poems for $15, Easton Press of course. Let me think about that….yes!
He was an older man named Randy Elder and his wife sat in a desk facing him. His desk was made of ornate woodwork and I could tell it was all hard wood, ornately made. I had the impression that he knew his trade and that he was…wise. Honestly, I wanted to pull up a chair and talk to him about whatever. It turns out his father started the business during the Great Depression. Eventually, he (Randy) took the business over. I’m not sure how old he is but I would put him in his sixties.
Natanya and I both enjoyed visiting that bookstore. The atmosphere, the books, the man and his wife who were calm and wise made us want to stay there much longer. However, it was soon time to go and we did go happily with our newfound treasures.
Next we went to the wood shop, I go there most Mondays anyway. Natanya helped me organized some things. I had made drawers for one of the work benches and there are bins there with tools and materials which all need to go into drawers. She is good with these things. She grew up in her father’s woodshop so I’m a blessed man to have her as my wife.
From the shop we went to Buffalo Wild Wings. Not to be haughty but the blazing wings, well, I really don’t think they are that hot. I had five “blazing” wings, and five “wild.” It was really good. Natanya did something, I don’t remember what the flavor was but it was mild. We enjoyed our food.
Finally, we went to Arrington Vineyards. The sun was setting so the day was cooling. It had been in the mid 90s during the middle of the day. Natanya had packed some things for us and we had a little picnic there. Then she read out loud from one of the books she had secured at Elder’s store. She read a bit from Henry Nouwen on solitude. He wrote about the difficulty we have of getting quiet and meditating. Yep, big problem for me. The reading was very helpful and we talked about it for a while.
I’m recognizing a hunger and need in my soul for more solitude. I’ll sometimes look for distractions and noise because I’m not sure what to do with myself when things are quiet. Strangely enough going to that bookstore and reading that piece from Nouwen helped to quieten my spirit, calm me. It really is a matter of trusting in God, nothing more nothing less, trust.
I love my wife! It was a good day and I’m glad she declared it.