The gift bag was heavy and unexpected. I had known the woman who gave it to me since I first arrived on this island of misfit toys though we had never exchanged anything more than a hug and agreeting.
" You have to be gentle unwrapping it."
Following her advice, I gingerly pulled back the wrapping paper. I knew from the cover that it had seen its share of use, passing through who knows how many hands, sitting on who knows how many bookshelves.
The card from her gave a brief snapshot of its history, at least where it started with her:
Bought over 30 years ago for a dollar in a bookshop that no longer exists. Piqued her interest by the title and the fact that it was printed in 1883 in her hometown of Hartford, CT.
She couldn't recall if she had actually read the book in that time span, but came across it as she was clearing her bookcase to make room for new additions. Wondered who she could give it to..
" So I am passing it on to you, an avid book lover and "noted woman'"
It was the most touching gift I had gotten in recent memory. Taking it home and gently flipping the pages, I came across the receipt she had gotten all those years ago. Now it proudly sits on my bookshelf to begin its new life with me.