Mr. C searched and searched and finally found me a copy of Chautauqua, by Day Keene and Dwight Vincent Babcock. He has a reputation for being both a miracle-worker and a conjurer: One example out of many happened ages ago, as we walked into a pop-up book sale by the SPCA. I remarked with some longing how I wished I could find a copy of the heavy, forest-green Lutheran hymnal from the days when I was a schoolgirl. Within two minutes of entering the mad carnival of a bookshop, Mr. C disappeared amidst the teetering and ramshackle stacks of books and returned, presenting me with a copy of the hymnal. “Is this it?” he asked. I should’ve known.
It’s been a long, long time since I read a book this good and necessary for my soul. As Walter Hale, the fictional Superintendent of the Taylor and Martin Chautauqua, so beautifully said:
“Now you take the crocus. Compared to a rose it’s not much of a flower. I never saw one taller than three inches. They don’t smell particularly good. They only come in four colors, white, purple, striped and the yellow varieties. But they’re smart. They stay out of sight most of the time. Then after a long, hard winter when man is hungry for beauty and beauty becomes almost a physical need, what happens? The crocus pops up through what’s left of the snow. Not one, thousands of them. Everywhere a man looks, all he can see is crocus. And long after the first and last roses of summer, a man remembers the sight because it filled a need.”
Chautauqua filled a need. There’s no question about that. The fun is in knowing I didn’t even know there was a need in the first place. I guess that happens in a busy life. I’m grateful though. And this book will be one I read over and over again.
‘Till next time.