Message in a Bottle
Tom Sawyer, His Fence, and Moving the Bookstore

I am discouraged by the state of literacy amongst the youth of this island. Shocked, actually. When I was young we walked barefoot down country roads to the town library  where the friendly librarian offered up and we hungrily devoured the classics. Peter Rabbit, Anne of Green Gables, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Wind in the Willows, Mark Twain, Midsummer’s Night Dream. We learned of the wider world and how it works through reading. Life lessons.

For example: You learn that when a boy from Mississippi hands you a paintbrush and says how much fun it is to paint a fence you might want to consider the offer carefully. Basic stuff. Thus I was shocked when I told everyone how much fun it would be to move five tons of shelves and books so I could get our store re-carpeted and no one blinked an eye. Have these people never read about Tom Sawyer or Br’er Rabbit? Well, I am grateful the carpet job is behind us and I know I had fun, but I’m less sure about my hard-working, early-rising “volunteers.” To make amends and to further the education of islanders young and old, I will make all Mark Twain books half price for the month of July. The world is full of flimflam men and some of them might even take the guise of a kindly old bookseller…

With true gratitude and affection for you all,

—Roger

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