Friday, November 16, 2007

a multi-generational book

(This post was written by Russ.)
When I stopped by my father's place today he was cleaning out his bookshelves.

"You gave me this one," he said, handing me a hardback copy of Sailing Alone Around The World by Capt. Joshua Slocum. "Then you gave me a copy of The Complete Joshua Slocum. Why don't you take this one with you?"

On the way home, I thought about the book. The first time I saw the book was when I was a child, and my father had a tattered paperback copy held together with a rubber band. Slocum was a down-on-his-luck sea captain who was given the Spray, a sloop that had moldered for years in a field. After rebuilding it, he became the first person to perform a solo circumnavigation, having great adventures along the way.

Slocum wrote with a lovely, light touch that was just about ideal for young folks to read - apparently, edited versions were on school reading lists back before the Great War. Lots of good lessons there, about solving problems, seeing the world, experience and competence - and in general, life and how to live it.

I know I've always loved the book, and I already had Slocum's book on the mental list of books that any child of mine should have around. This copy - from son to father, then father to son and eventually to another generation - well, it's special, isn't it?

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