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Joe Duley

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Father’s Day and libraries

What is Fathers Day Anyway

What is Father’s Day anyway?

Just another day (to me.)

OK. I’ll be honest and open and wish a very Happy Father’s Day to MY most loyal, devoted, always-there (except Sundays because he was closed) “father.” 

My father was a brick & mortar kinda guy…a dad who opened up the world and broadened my emotional (and unrecognized) intellectual horizons – without ever uttering a word to me. 

Basically, I learned much more from this father (a.k.a. the library) than I ever could have learned from an absentee biologic with whom I share my Irish surname.                                     By the way, just because a man’s little swimmers can fertilize an egg inside of a mommy, does not make said man a “dad.” At least not a good one.

Thus I could imagine I had a good dad when lost in the pages of literature. Snug in the arms of my father – the library.   

There, I could always have great dads (all of whom would always be there.)

And I could chose from the cream of the crop – anyone from Atticus Finch in “To Kill A Mocking Bird” to Bob Cratchit in “A Christmas Carol” to Professor Caractacus Pott in “Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang” all the way to the slightly naughty JAMES BOND in Ian Flemming novels. (The latter books was where I first saw “dirty words” in print and discovered innuendo.)

When I was a kid I would sneak into the Naval Academy’s or St. John’s College’s libraries to chill – and read – at my own slow pace. (I’m still proudly one of the slowest readers in Annapolis High School’s history. With a consistent C- GPA and record number of unexcused days-absent.) I never even once cracked-open a science book and only used my math book as a coaster for Ovaltine and Dr. Pepper.  

Not too many people at the time (mostly adults) knew the “wild mischievous kid” liked to read – albeit slowly – between “running around the streets” and tormenting teachers.
…So many times – especially during the humid months – I’d hook school and go to the library. Of course I’d also go to Pete’s Pool Hall before – and always after a good reading session – for a hot dog and a game of 9-Ball. But I would always go to my beloved library. 

To this day, the library helps nurture and capture my varied moods and personas as I explore the hallowed halls of my imagination’s inner sanctum. And run amok, slowly. At my own pace. 

So, hat’s off to the my childhood library on this Father’s Day!

The only dad I’ve ever known. 

In the library
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