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May 2, 2020: You and Bright Lights Books

The phone call, received yesterday, takes you by surprise. It’s Vera, a VCRS volunteer who before the virus hit, assisted you in sorting books. She says that the powers that be at the recycling center are now allowing volunteers in small numbers to again give an assist.

Hearing this, you are dismayed. You had hoped that it would be a few more weeks before you got this call because you are in the thick of things on the home front. You have a routine, and right now you’re doing your fair share of home-based book and paper sorting. Hearing this, you are also relieved. You know full well that this is a good project and that getting the salvaged books out there is doing the local community a world of good. Plus, you liked to talk books. And the affirmation was more than a perk.

You told Vera that you’d be in today. And you were. You had to deal with a small traffic jam on 49th State Street – it was comprised of people wanting to get into the dump. You went around the outside of the line of cars, wonderous that so many are not considering the alternative for any of their goods, which is the recycling center.

You met up with the director in the parking lot and he said that from now on, the base of book operations is going to be the tent/warehouse building, located behind the

Jonee with books
Jonee with books

recycling center. He then said that he’d meet you over there. You walked into the shelter, and again took in the two dozen stacks of chest high gaylords, half of which were stacked on top of one another. Some had “done” written in magic marker on their sides – meaning these books had been sorted and were ready to ship off to the mill.

Steve set you up, procured pallets and empty cardboard boxes for the discards. And, you then began to sort. Shortly thereafter, you took a break and went into the main building in order to get some small cardboard boxes. While there, you met up with Vera, who had not heard that sorting was going on in the tent/warehouse area. No matter, you thought. You then started working with her.

The big find of the day was a box of Alaskana books. Now this previously thin section will be robust. There were also a lot of children’s books, as always, with a higher percentage of these books being for very little children.

There were far more boxes of books, three pallets worth, than you could sort in one day. And most likely, more are on the way. You felt overwhelmed in realizing this – your hope was that the number would be on the downswing and you’d have a small number of books to deal with.

You are now feeling very anxious about this deal. It’s summer and you have a lot going on, on the home front. You cannot now put in as many hours as before, without pay. You keep telling yourself to take a let’s wait and see attitude. In the meantime, think, out of sight out of mind.

Next: 123. 5/3/20: Spring, again

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