We all have family secrets. The kind that only our very closest friends and family know. Oh, I don’t mean the skeleton-in-the closet kind that, often, are best kept hidden. I mean the kind we have that, when discovered, cause us to grin a sheepish grin or maybe squirm and giggle nervously. You know, like the fact that you sometimes drink out of the milk carton or maybe occasionally don’t change your sheets for a couple of months or that you keep a secret stash of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in the sock drawer, while telling everyone you’re on a diet. Harmless stuff, pretty much, though I really don’t think you should drink out of that milk carton.
Okay, I know you’re probably reading eagerly now, thinking I’m going to tell you one of our secrets. And you’re right, though the photograph above probably already gave me away. But, in case it didn’t, here goes: We have upwards of eighteen books hidden amidst the dustballs under our couch.
Yes, I know, horrible…but true. It all started years ago in the first of our many tiny homes. Now there’s nothing wrong with tiny homes, but they can be a problem when you have approximately seven million books. Okay, not really. It just seems that way when we move. And it’s the reason our friends and family make themselves scarce every time we announce that we’re moving. They remember past moves when, in their naivete, they volunteered to help. Along about the five-hundredth one-hundred pound box of books, they all said the same thing: “Y’all have too many books!”
Now, we all know that it’s just not possible to have “too many books.” I mean, to me, that’s like saying, “You have too much money” (not that anyone’s ever said THAT to us) or “You have too many sunny days” or “You have too much chocolate.” Really, it’s more the fact that we have too little house and too few shelves.
But I digress. What actually happened is that years ago when I’d be curled up on the couch reading and would run across a word that I didn’t know, I’d want to look it up in the dictionary. But the dictionary would be in another room because we didn’t have a lot of space to spare in the living room. So, lazy person that I am, I was loath to interrupt my book to get up and get the dictionary. After all, I could usually figure out the word from its context. But the trouble is, I’d then have to guess at how to pronounce it. And I’d often guess wrong. Like the word “despot.” I knew what it meant, but I never looked it up. So, over the years, I can’t tell you how many times I said it “des-SPOT”, with the emphasis on the second syllable. And until a couple of years ago, no one corrected me. So I cringe to think of all the people who probably snickered into their sleeves and thought me ignorant. Which, of course, I was. But I didn’t want them thinking that.
Anyway, that’s when I realized that our couch had both plenty of room underneath AND a charming little skirt that could hide not only dustballs the size of Chihuahuas, but a lot of books, including our large collection of dictionaries and thesauri. So we’ve never had to get up to get the dictionary again.
Just remember, if you come to my house and want to look something up, do be careful when you stick your hand under there. Those dustballs can be a little scary. Not to mention the monstrous spiders. Or the lizards that we’ve found living in our couch through the years. But whatever you do, don’t go in our closets.
After all, there might be skeletons there.