Full-On Part-Time

It’s no secret that part-time posts almost inevitably end up occupying more of your time than the stated expectation, especially when the post itself doesn’t involve punch-in, punch-out That’s okay here, but my diary does fill up. Two miles, fruit breakfast, cleaned up, Morning Prayer, R&R for coffee, look-in at the Abingdon Surgery before my check-up, and on my way hopme I stopped off at Oxfam.

No fountain pens, alas, but I drifted to the children’s section to check out possible distractions for Thomas and Lydia when they come for their summer visit. Nothing stood out, so on my way out I ogled the vinyl and glanced at the ‘rare and antique’ book shelf… where I saw a copy of Mary Poppins Opens the Door. I was overwhelmed with a wave of memories; I encountered the Mary Poppins books (the books, mind you, not the film) in the lower floor of my grandmother’s house, devouring them whenever I visited, stricken at the end of each book when Mary Poppins left the Banks family on their own. These books that blended wit and outlandish imagination with disappointment and a faint note of bitterness told me the truth about the world in a way few books I had ever read did. They were revelatory. (It is no accident that P. L. Travers was a fellow traveler with British esotericists, particularly with the Gurdjieff circle.) When my grandmother died, her copies of the first four books went to my mother; when my mother died, I inherited them, and they are in the living room bookshelf right now.

Reader, that copy of Opens the Door was in my hands within moments (along with a copy of Don Camillo and the Prodigal Son, which I don’t think I’ve seen before). Thomas will take home a treat.

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