My Rock, My Refuge, My Library

To all of the wonderful libraries in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho my deepest thanks! Gail Chumbley, “River of January.”

Gail Chumbley


There was only one entrance off of the main arterial into the library parking lot. It wasn’t quite 10:00 AM yet, but spaces were filling up fast.

On foot, bebopping up the sidewalk, dressed completely in black, ear buds stuffed under his stocking cap, was the happiest Goth in creation. His belly jiggled over his black jeans, keeping time with his silent/screaming music.

A young mother followed close behind, a stack of books awkwardly vised under one arm, and she clutched her baby with the other, cautiously balancing both loads. Both visitors gathered at the same sealed entrance. The time was 9:58.

Old, young, the well dressed, alongside tattooed Walmart shoppers were preparing for their morning visit to the public library. How wonderful.

As the doors finally slid apart, this mass of incongruous patrons flocked inside, striding with purpose and authority to their appointed places. A no-nonsense aura filled the…

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