E.B. White once wrote, “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” Plan the day, indeed—some days I want to retreat from the world! Then, a few weeks ago, I read a poem in the New York Times Magazine that presented a solution to the dilemma that E.B. White poses.
by Danusha Lameris
I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only those brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead-you first,” “I like your hat.”
In the little world that is RJ Julia, we do get to both save and savor. We have the honor and the good fortune to welcome you and we have been doing this for almost 30 years. This holiday season, let our bookstore be your retreat from the world. We want to thank you for your continued enthusiasm and goodwill and to extend our wishes for you and your family’s good health and well-being.
See you in the store,
Roxanne J. Coady
Founder, RJ Julia Booksellers