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Antiquarian book fair

When we woke up this morning our backyard was practically under water. Surprise, surprise. The storm that flooded it (again) had woken us up in the middle of the night, giving us fair warning of what to expect, not that this spring's tendencies hadn't already done that. We have not seen the conduits in the neighborhood pond (drainage basin) for over a week now, the water level is so high. But in the wake of last night's storm was a brief respite, and our morning dawned clear and bright and warm.

Today was the Antiquarian Book Fair in Ann Arbor. It's been on our calendar for over a month now, an event we've been looking forward to, a chance to see, touch, and smell such books as we will probably never own, but love to hanker for. We leafed gently through a first edition Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Calvin found several early editions of other books from that series. Being an antiquarian book fair, not a library used book sale, we didn't expect to come home with armloads of great finds, but going seemed like a great way to share our love and respect for books with Calvin. He was the only child there and I think the ticket sellers were a little surprised, if not worried, by his attendance, but he was careful,, respectful the whole time, and clearly interested in the books. He asked several sellers if they had books by L. Frank Baum, and identified with genuine excitement, and to the surprise of many, such books as the Iliad and Arabian Nights. We can think of no better way to teach him the value and importance of things than to fully include him in our own enjoyment of them. And we did come home with a handful of pleasing finds, including the aforementioned Arabian Nights book, two d'Aualaire books (George Washington and Benjamin Franklin), and a 1950s edition of Winnie Ille Pu, or Winnie the Pooh in latin.

There was an additional joy to the morning, even aside from beautiful old books and beautiful weather, in visiting old haunts. The fair was set up in the Michigan Union Ballroom, the very place where Jon and I met, and later got married, so many years ago. The morning was warm with a gentle breeze, the sun bright, and, with many of the students gone for the summer, campus was quiet and clean. I realized this morning that, other than to attend Art Fair, when the campus is almost unrecognizable anyway, we have not taken Calvin to these places that are such giants in our past.

Now that the main University semesters are out for the summer the campus is quieter and more easily traversed, and while somewhere in the back of my mind I've been waiting for this before taking Calvin to the art and history museums, I'd forgotten to be aware that my chance had come. Now here it is. Seeing him on campus between the buildings that loom so largely through my past made him seem so much smaller to me, and this was only over by the Union, not on the main campus greens where I spent most of my waking, or walking, hours. Like taking him to the book fair, spending time on campus seems like a great way to share with him our value for that part of life, for continued learning, and learning, and learning. I feel fortunate to have the university, and all the opportunities it provides, so close by.

So we'll be back, although not likely this week. Since going to campus and visiting the buildings there means walking, the rain that is predicted for much of this week again is likely to put off our return for a while.

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