I'm sitting under the large, metal pavilion in a plastic chair alongside the kids. All of the other volunteers have left, so I'm alone -- as I have been the past two days. Mr. Patrick sits at the front of the room, reading a story about Moses. The kids, ranging from 5 to 18 years, listen intently as I panic about the time that ticks by on my watch. 5:27 p.m., it reads. Somehow, five weeks has dwindled down to three minutes, and I am not ready to leave.
It was the morning after France had beaten Croatia to win the 2018 World Cup. I sat on a plane at 8 a.m., preparing to land at Charles De Gaulle Airport. My mother, sister and I boarded a train, and in just a few stops, we were standing in the heart of Paris with our suitcases in hand.
When I was a kid, I read a book in which one of the characters had the ability to see into the past. If she concentrated, she could watch everything that had ever happened in a certain place. I've often wished I could have that power, but never more so than when strolling the steep narrow streets of Portugal.
If you look up Good Old Books online, you'll find that the Leland, Michigan, used and rare bookstore is only open from mid-May to mid-October. But if, on a cold winter afternoon, you walk up to a gray-blue, bi-level home with an "OLD, RARE BOOKS" sign posted in the yard, you'll find a note signed by George and Mary Ball.