My husband and I recently returned from a wonderful visit with our three daughters, two sons-in-law, two granddaughters and just-turned-one-year-old-grandson. With each passing day, time seemed to fall faster and faster through the vacation hourglass. So we made a conscious effort to stay present and savor each moment.
And there were many moments. We read aloud countless books, took leisurely walks, looked at old family photos and took many new videos as well. And of course, we ate - like kings and queens from morning until almost bedtime every single day.
Whenever our family gathers, there is always an abundance of food with an ever-eclectic variety of choices. Our clan includes die hard carnivores, passionate vegans, gluten-free nibblers and all-out dessert lovers. And yet, somehow, it all works, and deliciously so.
At any given meal one could find biscuits and gravy, fresh salad, spinach and blueberry smoothies, homemade guacamole, the soup de jour, all followed by roasted s'mores on the patio. Never-ending family feasts.
And despite my intent to stay in complete vacation mode, I have to admit my mind did meander down the work-path a time or two. The first time was when I was enjoying a spicy bowl of dynamic southwest chili our oldest daughter made. The second time was when I was head over heels in taste bud heaven when our youngest daughter presented us with her wildly sublime pumpkin curry stew.
One might question the connection between bowls of delicious soups and the public library, but to me it was pretty apparent. First, each soup was teeming with unique goodness, just as every public library has its own individual approach, style and staff. And although our daughters' two soups were as different in taste and texture as culinarily possible, both were equally warm, filling and incredibly delicious. So too, all public libraries share a common vision to provide free, open, nonjudgmental access to materials and services.
I also observed how each of our family members approached and enjoyed their respective bowls of soup. Some of us kept it plain and savored each spoonful of simple goodness, just as it was. Others took tidbit offerings on the table - from toasted garlic croutons to dollops of sour cream - and made our bowls sing with variety.
The same can be said for one's approach to the public library and all it has to offer. You can keep it pretty traditional and check out great books and maybe a movie or documentary to enjoy. Others might prefer to dig a bit deeper across the table of library offerings and download books to listen to or come to a sewing class or an enlightening program with a Pulitzer Prize winning author.
The great thing is that the choices are yours and you can always decide how you want to access and enjoy your public library. And all of us at Neill Public Library are ever-ready to assist you - in person, on the phone or online. We'll help you find just what you want, or need, and also let you know about some new things on the library's ever-changing menu. We're ready, willing and happy to serve you - no bowls, spoons (or money) needed. So bring your appetite for information, recreation and education. There’s a veritable feast ready for you to explore and savor. Enjoy!