Never Been To Spain

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When I was little, I loved going to my grandparent’s house, not because there were warm hugs and cookies greeting me. No, that wasn’t the case at all. My grandparents – owned a globe. Our house had many things, a globe wasn’t one of them. While visiting, I use to sit, for long stretches of time, spinning the globe then quickly resting my fingertip on its surface. As my finger gently slid across its bumpy exterior, the globe would eventually come to a stop, and like a magic eight ball – provide me with a valuable answer – where I’d one day go.

It was obvious to me by owning this globe, that my grandparents were intellectuals of the highest echelon. Or so I thought when I was little. They did, after all, have a library too. The fact of which clinched my analysis of them. We didn’t have a library at home. We had scant books scattered here and there, and of course a pile of magazines in the bathroom. I sat for hours in my grandparent’s library and soaked up as much information as my ever absorbent mind would hold. They even had a book about the moon. It was my father’s book when he was young. After eyeballing this wealth of knowledge, it was apparent to me that my grandparent’s could have conversed with Einstein, had they wanted to.

As I sat on the orange vinyl sofa in their library, buried under volumes of encyclopedias, I would often let my eyes scan the surface of my grandfather’s desk. He was, as we were made very aware, the Ruler of all the family money. And according to my ten-year old analysis, this meant: he must have had a lot, as his money never ran out – which was odd, as ours always did – every month. No doubt, my grandparents were wealthy, or so I concluded. Proof of this wealth sat right on his desk. My grandfather didn’t buy ten stamps at a time like we did; he had an entire roll of stamps curled within a brass stamp dispenser. It was obvious that in addition to his funds, his stamps never ran out either. Tapping the brass dispenser with my small finger I imagined the President of the United States must have had a similar dispenser on his desk. Whereas my mom was always searching the bottom of her purse for a loose stamp.

To the side of the library, there was a camera closet as well; a  narrow storage area that held all of their cameras, new and old, their movie camera, projector, and all of their photo albums and movie reels. I probably don’t have to tell you how big of an event it was when my brother and I managed to talk our grandparents into having a movie night in which they would set up the projector and screen. When the library was turned to dusk, my brother and I sat enthralled while watching reel after reel of trips to Florida, my grandparent’s house as it was being built and harvest time on the farm. The only soundtrack filling the room was the music the projector offered as it hummed and clicked behind our heads.

In some manner of speaking there is still a part of me that emulates my grandparents. I’m not as delusional as I was then. I now know the nuts and bolts of the family history – the good, the bad and the ugly. And with all of that added knowledge I am left only, with added questions. I don’t have a library in my home. My home is a library. Next to my chair sits a globe. And almost every surface in my house contains at least one book, if not a stack. Some books have been read, some are saved for later, and many are stretched open – awaiting my return. With the advent of the internet, I’ve never felt the need to get an encyclopedia set. But my Google searches and hours of research prove that once again, I bury myself under volumes of information.

I haven’t – yet – made it to any of those places on which my fingertip landed, those many years ago. But I haven’t given up hope, and when the urge strikes, I never deny myself another spin.

It occurred to me that some of you might find it interesting to know the song I listen to when writing each post. I am never without music. This post was written while listening to: Never Been To Spain by Three Dog Night, one of my favorite bands.

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