Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com


Home of Jenny the Pirate



This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.


We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.


 Nice is different than good.


Oh and ...

I flunked charm school.

So what.

Can't write anything.

= Jennifer =

Causing considerable consternation
to many fine folk since 1957

Pepper and me ... Seattle 1962



Belay That!

This blog does not contain and its author will not condone profanity, crude language, or verbal abuse. Commenters, you are welcome to speak your mind but do not cuss or I will delete either the word or your entire comment, depending on my mood. Continued use of bad words or inappropriate sentiments will result in the offending individual being banned, after which they'll be obliged to walk the plank. Thankee for your understanding and compliance.

= Jenny the Pirate =

Hoist The Colors


I am a Blue Star Mother




Insist on yourself; never imitate.

Your own gift you can present

every moment

with the cumulative force

of a whole life’s cultivation;

but of the adopted talent of another

you have only an extemporaneous

half possession.

That which each can do best,

none but his Maker can teach him.

= Ralph Waldo Emerson =



The Black Velvet Coat

In The Market, As It Were






Contributor to

American Cemetery

published by Kates-Boylston

A Pistol With One Shot

Ecstatically shooting everything in sight using my beloved Nikon D3100 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens and AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G prime lens.

Also capturing outrageous beauty left and right with my Nikon D7000 blissfully married to my Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D AF prime glass. Don't be jeal.

And then there was the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f:3.5-5.6G ED VR II zoom. We're done here.

Dying Is A Day Worth Living For

I am a taphophile

Word. Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Great things are happening at

Find A Grave

If you don't believe me, click the pics.


Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson



When I am gone

Please remember me

 As a heartfelt laugh,

 As a tenderness.

 Hold fast to the image of me

When my soul was on fire,

The light of love shining

Through my eyes.

Remember me when I was singing

And seemed to know my way.

Remember always

When we were together

And time stood still.

Remember most not what I did,

Or who I was;

Oh please remember me

For what I always desired to be:

A smile on the face of God.

David Robert Brooks



 Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.


Keep To The Code








You Want To Find This
The Promise Of Redemption

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I BELIEVED, AND THEREFORE HAVE I SPOKEN; we also believe, and therefore speak;

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it, have never known it again.

~ Ronald Reagan

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Not Without My Effects

My Compass Works Fine

The Courage Of Our Hearts




Daft Like Jack

 "I can name fingers and point names ..."

And We'll Sing It All The Time
  • Elements Series: Fire
    Elements Series: Fire
    by Peter Kater
  • Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    by Danny Wright
  • Grace
    Old World Records
  • The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    Stone Angel Music, Inc.
  • Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Real Music
  • Copia
    Temporary Residence Ltd.
  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
    Spring Hill Music
  • Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
  • The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    by William Voegeli
  • The Art of Memoir
    The Art of Memoir
    by Mary Karr
  • The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    by Emily Dickinson
  • Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    by John W. Harper
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    by William Zinsser
  • Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    by Steven Milloy
  • The Amateur
    The Amateur
    by Edward Klein
  • Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    by Matt Barber, Paul Hair
  • In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    by Tod Benoit
  • Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    by Candace Savage
  • Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    by John Marzluff Ph.D., Tony Angell
  • Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    by Andrew Breitbart
  • 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    by Paul Kengor
  • Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    by Bernd Heinrich
  • Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    by Matthew Rolston
  • Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    by Todd Harra, Ken McKenzie
  • America's Steadfast Dream
    America's Steadfast Dream
    by E. Merrill Root
  • Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    by Alexandra Day
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    by Lynne Truss
  • The American Way of Death Revisited
    The American Way of Death Revisited
    by Jessica Mitford
  • In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    Master Books
  • Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    by Peter Schweizer
  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    by Brannon Howse
  • Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    by Eleanor Alexander
Easy On The Goods
  • Waiting for
    Waiting for "Superman"
    starring Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
  • The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor
  • Bernie
    starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
  • Remember the Night
    Remember the Night
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
    The Ox-Bow Incident
    starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe
  • The Bad Seed
    The Bad Seed
    starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden
  • Shadow of a Doubt
    Shadow of a Doubt
    starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers
  • The More The Merrier
    The More The Merrier
    starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Bruce Bennett, Ann Savage
  • Act of Valor
    Act of Valor
    starring Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
  • Deep Water
    Deep Water
    starring Tilda Swinton, Donald Crowhurst, Jean Badin, Clare Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst
  • Sunset Boulevard
    Sunset Boulevard
    starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark
  • Penny Serenade
    Penny Serenade
    starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edgar Buchanan, Beulah Bondi
  • Double Indemnity
    Double Indemnity
    starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
  • Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    starring Gary Anthony Williams
  • Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Passion River
  • It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
  • Stella Dallas
    Stella Dallas
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • The Iron Lady
    The Iron Lady
    starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head, Alexandra Roach
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    starring Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde
  • The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    starring Red Balloon
  • Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
  • The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    starring Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
  • My Dog Skip
    My Dog Skip
    starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon
  • Sabrina
    starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee, Ray Collins
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
  • Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, John Loder
  • The Trip To Bountiful
    The Trip To Bountiful
  • Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
    Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
That Dog Is Never Going To Move



Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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That would be a yes

On September sixteenth, Andrew proposed marriage to Miss Brittany Lauren James.

She said yes.

This past weekend a whole bunch of us went to Atlanta, to see the Braves play their penultimate home game of the season.

Brittany was sporting her beautiful sparkling engagement ring, and glowing as brides-to-be are prone to do.

Andrew looked proud of himself too. And happy.

They've chosen a date and place for their nuptials: March 10, 2018, in Asheville, North Carolina.

A sort of destination wedding is planned. It will be charming and romantic and we're all looking forward to it.

I wanted all of you to be among the first to know, haaahaha. I'll thank you not to snicker.

The reason I waited more than a week is, I wanted to get these officially-engaged photos of the ecstatic couple, to show you.

Even so, these are not the official engagement photos. We'll take those in a month or so, when there's some pretty leaf color.

In Atlanta we checked into our hotel, then made our way to the ball park. It was as hot as it should have been when we visited in July, at which time the temperatures were more fall-like.

But, once we got settled in our seats and I had an ice-cold Diet Coke in my hand and the sun went below the stadium roof, it was a beautiful night.

We took a Uber from the ball park back to our hotel. That was a first for me and so pleasant. Our driver's name was Achilles and he was from Cameroon.

Achilles confided in me (I rode in front) that on some days he likes being a Uber driver, and on other days not so much. What else is new, I wondered.

Before leaving Atlanta the next day, we all went to the iconic Silver Skillet for lunch. It looks the same as the day it opened in 1956, only it's more than sixty years older. The tables and booths are tiny, as though people were smaller back then.

The restaurant has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and has had a part in countless movies, TV shows, and music videos.

A few of us had breakfast, which is served all day. The coffee was good. The ham was salty, the biscuits were fluffy, and the grits were hot. No surprises there.

Andrew and Brittany posed for me some more. They were glad to do it. Millennials are so comfortable in front of a camera. Maybe it's all those phone selfies, and social media.

Whatever the reason, you'll be seeing more of these twitterpated cuties, so stay tuned.

And that is all for now.


Happy Tuesday


There's no crying in baseball

Photo Credit: ChicagoNowI know. I know I know I know I know.

Almost doesn't count.

Except -- as TG is fond of reminding me -- in the case of horseshoes, hand grenades, and the atom bomb.

This was none of those things.

Not by a long shot.

This is about the moment I almost met Theo Epstein.

Allow me to elaborate.

TG and I went to Chicago in mid-August, to take in a Cubs game at Wrigley. 

We tooled into the Windy City on a Tuesday, in the early afternoon. We checked into our Wrigleyville hotel and made our way to the ball park.

The weather was perfect and we went through the gate in time to (each) receive a free Kris Bryant action figure.

Then TG got me a Coke in a commemorative cup depicting the iconic final out of the 2016 Word Series, wherein Kris Bryant flung the ball flawlessly into the waiting glove of my favorite Cub, first-baseman Anthony Rizzo.

We were psyched.

Except, the Cubs lost the game. Oh they'd won the night before, and they won the next night -- rather spectacularly. But our game? Nah.

Okay let's be positive: We were there, absorbing Wrigley and Chicago and Cubs culture. My favorite Cubs pitcher, Kyle "The Professor" Hendricks, was on the mound.

I got a few pictures, but not nearly enough.

So it was that the next day, after enjoying a delicious breakfast at a diner across the street from our hotel, TG and I checked out of said accommodations and went back to Wrigley Field.

I wanted to walk around without the game-time crowd, and check out a thing or two not shackled by the time restraints one feels on game night.

I wandered through the Cubs Store, and admired the 2016 World Series trophy.

When I'd had my fill, TG went to get the car -- parked across the street, next to the Wrigleyville Firehouse on Waveland Avenue -- and I waited, admiring both the firehouse and the Wrigley Rooftop buildings beside it.

School children on some sort of a trip filed past me wearing neon green t-shirts. The metal detectors flashed green too, at the many entrances to the old stadium.

I glanced behind me just in time to see a man emerge from the innards of the ball park, a cagey-looking door held open for him by a security guard. There was no one else around; just me and the man, who walked directly towards me.

He was dressed in business casual: dark slacks with a knife-edge crease, leather loafers, pale-blue shirt open at the collar, no tie, and an expensive-looking sport coat.

When the sharp-dressed man got close enough to me that I could have brushed a piece of lint from his bespoke lapel (which contained no lint), he looked right at me and smiled. Such blue eyes. I think I was already smiling because I was just so happy to be there.

Then he passed me and walked directly toward a building that contains the Chicago Cubs executive offices.

And in that instant I knew that the man was Theo Epstein, President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, the man credited with guiding the club to their first World Series win in one-hundred-eight years.

And that he was getting away.

Everything slowed to slower than slow-mo. In my mind I was raising my hand in a come baaaack gesture (that he wouldn't have seen), and saying loudly but not unlady-likely voice (which he wouldn't have heard, since it was only in my head):

Thhheeeeeeooooooooo ... 

And then the glossy doors of the office building, with the giant LED screen just inside, flashing images of Cub glories past and present, swallowed him and he was gone.

I'd missed my shot. And even though it was close, as you know, a miss is as good as a mile. 

Regrets? I've had a few. And that will always be one of them.

I missed my chance to have a selfie with Theo Epstein on a gorgeous August morning with Wrigley Field itself as the backdrop.

When TG pulled our car to the curb sixty seconds later, I was sputtering and stammering and managed to explain that Theo Epstein had just walked right by me and smiled and I -- the pirate -- had been mute. Unable to speak.

That's not something you see very often.

TG chuckled and kidded me about being such a noodle. I berated myself as we drove away from Wrigleyville, out onto Lake Shore Drive and back east.

As Wayne Gretzky said: You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don't take.

Why didn't I speak? I wondered. Ah well. Perhaps there will be a next time.

Here are some sweet kids who, on a recent occasion at British Columbia Children's Hospital in Vancouver, really did meet Captain Jack Sparrow.

An experience they're not likely to forget, any more than my almost-selfie with Theo on a fabled Chicago sidewalk, will fade from my memory.

And that is all for now.



Happy Wednesday


In which we pawty like a hurricane

OK so we survived Hurricane Irma. Thank you for asking.

There were scary moments on Monday, of the tropical storm variety. Nothing like what those who rode out hurricane-force winds to the west and south of us, endured.

But still.

Columbia was treated to twenty-four hours of nonstop rain, and high winds that thrashed all day long. Andrew helped put a large plastic tarp on the roof of our added-on sun room when it began leaking wind-driven rain water at the seams.

We were fortunate in that when our power winked out, it stayed out for less than an hour. No sooner had I lit the utility candles than it was time to extinguish them.

But we lost our beautiful mature Dogwood. TG discovered it uprooted, lying with its branches and already-changing leaves sprawled over the ground of our side yard, on Tuesday.

I wish I'd known last fall that our tree was reddening for the last time, and in the spring, singing its swan song of lush pink blossoms. I assumed it would always be there, its boughs a lovely sight from the upstairs guest room window.

Last Friday as we all made our way to Rock Hill, South Carolina, for daughter Stephanie's birthday party, we encountered many spates of stop-and-go traffic on I-77 northbound.

There were lots of Florida license plates.

But that traffic paled in comparison to what snaked along in the northbound lane as we traveled back south, several hours later.

An all-but-unbroken line of white lights, stretching for many miles.

For our latest pawty we met at Cracker Barrel in Rock Hill. I know: painfully bourgeois! Those biscuits though.

Speaking only for moi, I love breakfast for dinner. CraBar is a natural choice when you need your eggs-sausage-grits fix along with the biscuits.

And those teensy-weensy jam and preserves thingies! Joy in a flat thimble. Never mind you have to peel four of them open, in order to have a decent amount of gooey sweetness to decorate said biscuits.

Ah well. Merica.

Yes our Andrew is home safe once again, and he joined us. The two Andrews, TG, and Joel sat at one end of our pushed-together line of tables, and all the girls gathered at the other end.

Like a little Quaker dinner table. Much gabbing and laughter ensued. Festive bright Mylar balloons floated over our heads. I took pictures with my phone.

I had brought a birthday cake too, and candles, and plates/napkins/forks to use at dessert time.

Our server, Alex, was divine. He was courteous and helpful, and so friendly. He kept the beverages refreshed and brought us everything we required, even presenting the birthday girl with a free sundae. 

Yes! She ate the sundae and a piece of her cake. Girl knows how to pawty down.

Our meal concluded, I presented the cake and pushed four squiggly candles into the top, and lit them. We sang to Stephanie, who then blew out the flames, looking much younger than her thirty-seven years.

Everyone passed their red pawty plates down so I could load them with slabs of white cake and buttercream icing. For my portion, I only licked the knife; there was no room for cake. Because biscuits.

Oh well; cake, as far as I know, is not leaving the planet. I'll have some next time.

Following the decimation of our store-bought dessert, it was Andrew's idea for the pawty to continue outside, on the wide country-style porch. A gaggle of presents had been patiently waiting.

And so we did. It was a beautiful night. Stephanie sat in a rocking chair and opened her gifts while the kids ran around in circles.

She received lots of lovely things and appreciated them all. A gold-tone bolo-clasp bracelet featuring a disc set with multicolored stones, a gift from her father and me, was a particular favorite.

We girls all adore trinkets and a well-stocked jewelry box.

And then it was time to fill up the vehicles once more, and head for home. Irma, down south, was churning just offshore. Nobody really knew what the next few days would bring.

In a week it will be officially autumn. How special. We have another pawty planned -- right around the corner -- just to celebrate.

I'll tell you about it when the happy memories have been made.

And that is all for now, except to say that I wish you a wonderful day.


Happy Thursday


I face my fears. And the librarians.

OK there's something you need to know about me.

Libraries strike fear in my heart.

I love lending libraries. That is, I love the stuff that is available to be borrowed from lending libraries. That would be the books. And assorted other media.

But when I darken the door of a lending library, I am instantly intimidated. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end; I look over my shoulder, then glance furtively in the other directions.

I feel instantly and irreparably guilty. Of something. As though, before I can dot another i, a sternly bespectacled librarian wearing a beige acrylic cardigan, her graying hair arranged in a matronly bun, is going to come forward and order that I be clapped in irons.

There is good reason for my paranoia.

The librarians -- without fail, every time I show up -- find some grounds on which to rebuke me.

Me! You read that correctly: they correct me. And I do nothing to deserve it. 

Well; nearly nothing. I mean, sure. I've had the occasional overdue book. Hasn't everybody?

But it's rare. Extremely rare. Especially now, when, thirty-six hours into your temporary borrow-ship of a book, the library begins pelting your email with reminders that you have an almost-due book.

You can't even enjoy the "free" library materials for fear you'll fail to renew or return them in time, thus incurring a fee.

It's nerve-wracking.

In my case, if the librarians aren't telling me to be quiet or to pay some imaginary fine, they're lightly rapping me on the knuckles for failing to perform as expected.

Case in point: See that picture above, of the book Gone With the Wind?

(That's my personal volume, by the way. It's not, and was never, borrowed from a library).

A few years ago my library announced a photography contest. Naturally, I threw my hat into the ring. I forget the actual theme but it's obvious from the picture I entered, it had something to do with the consumption of books.

Anyway. I waited and waited and waited and waited to get word that I had won, placed, or shown in the contest. There was going to be a Sunday-afternoon soiree at the library, honoring said winners. There would be refreshments.

But, receiving no notice that my presence was required for polite applause, store-bought butter cookies, and a plastic cupful of warm lemonade, I forgot all about it.

Except, long afterwards, I did get a perfunctory email from the library saying that I'd WON the contest and to come over there and pick up my prize and my photo entry, which they didn't want lying around any longer.

When I presented at the reference desk and said why I'd come, I asked the unsmiling librarian as she shoved my photo and a Shutterfly coupon toward me:

Why didn't you let me know I'd won the contest? I would have come to the little party! 

We were hoping all of the participants would care enough to come, whether they'd won anything or not, was her chilly reply.

Oh. Bad bad pirate, only cares enough to show up if she's getting recognition. I got the message.

Several months ago I was using one of the library's twelve-square-foot study rooms to conduct a tutoring session. It was late afternoon on a rainy day; my elementary-age student was barely awake.

In a conversational tone, I was reading to the boy and asking him questions about the story.

Next thing you know, a librarian appeared at the glass-windowed door. She wore a pained expression. Opening the door enough to peer around into the room, she said I was being too loud.

There had been complaints. I would need to pipe down.

Oh. Super-bad pirate, so loud and boisterous in a library. When would I ever learn.

Perhaps the most frustrating to me is the random levying of fines. As in, it seems that no matter how conscientious I am about returning materials, when I go to check out a book, I am told that I owe money to the library.

I can crank my car, back out of my garage, and be walking into the library in exactly five minutes. I drive by said library at least ten times a week. It's not as though I avoid taking things back, or like it's some sort of hardship.

And yet my record is sullied with book-hoarding transgressions, multiple procrastinatory infractions, and ample evidence of hopeless recidivism resulting in frequent fines.

Once, I went to check out a book and was told that I'd failed to return a DVD many weeks previous, and that there was a block on my card, not to mention a hefty fine. Or I could simply pay for them to buy a new DVD, thus wiping the slate clean.

I knew I'd returned the DVD -- on time -- and I said as much. I asked the librarian to go and look on the shelf.

She did. The DVD was right where it ought to have been. Clearing her throat and adjusting her glasses, the librarian granted me pardon and expunged the incident from my record.

But I was traumatized. Not to mention fuming.

So it was that several weeks ago when I went to the library to check out a few audio books for TG and I to listen to while we drove two thousand miles on vacation, I stiffened in anticipation of being accused, as the librarian scanned my card, of owing money for imaginary late-returned materials.

Even though I knew I didn't.

But she said nothing. Clean! I checked out my materials and left the library without being detained for crimes against the system. It felt so good to walk out into the hot summer day, a free woman.

I returned the three audio books the day before they were due. I remember because the chunky box that sits outside at the curb so that you don't have to get out of your car in order to return things, was stuffed so full that the fat vinyl cases wouldn't go in unless I pulled up ten feet, got out of my car, and walked back to shove them down the blasted thing's throat. 

A week or so later, I was back to claim a book I'd requested held in reserve. I handed over my library card. My crimes and faults were reflected from the computer screen into the glasses of the librarian.

She said: You owe sixty cents. Twenty cents apiece for three items.

But I returned those things last week, the day before they were due, I said. I don't owe anything.

This is from October of Twenty-Sixteen, she elaborated.

? ? ? ? ?

Why, I wondered, wasn't that information divulged when I checked out the audio books in early August? I mean, why wait to share the good news that I am once again in arrears?

It's a mystery. Even more of a conundrum is how the fines levied are for things you can't even remember having checked out, it's been so long ago.

But I was assured that there was no block on my card this time, and I didn't have to pay the sixty cents that day. I was free to check out my book and leave the library without wearing an electronic anklet.

Why didn't I simply open my wallet, take out two quarters and a dime, pay the blasted thing and be done with it? You may be asking yourself. After all, you can't fight City Hall.

It was a matter of principle. I was going to keep my sixty cents out of the library's till for as long as possible.

I'll be paying it soon, though. I just received an email telling me that my library card will expire in ten days. And no, you can't renew it online; you have to show up in person. Naturally; they can't guilt you nearly as effectively from the cold remove of a computer screen.

Hey -- have you ever heard of a library card having to be renewed? Neither had I, until a few years ago.

Glutton for punishment that apparently I am, I'll be submitting to the librarians once more in the near future. After all, I can't live without a library card.

Without one, where would I get my regular dose of guilt and shame?

And that is all for now.


Happy Wednesday