Up early and ready to give away my World Book Night books, I turn into the parking lot of UNC Cancer Hospital this morning before 8:00 am. I know just where to go. Two and a half years ago I made that same drive every morning for four weeks. I was being treated for breast cancer. I had the first radiation appointment every morning so I could go to work immediately following my treatment. Every morning I was greeted by the parking valets who helped patients sicker than I out of their cars and into the hospital. That’s exactly where I started this morning. I walked up to the valets with my box of books and explained what I was doing and why I wanted to give them each a copy of the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. They were surprised and grateful; one wished me a blessed day.
I made my way back to the registration/scheduling desk. Two women I recognized from my time in the hospital were having their first cup of coffee of the morning together. With my box of books in hand, I approached them and explained how much I appreciated the care I had received and that the book was a small token of thanks to them for what they do daily.
There are always people in the waiting area of this part of the hospital. They are friends or family of patients or patients waiting for treatment. A woman sat in front of the computer placed there for their use. I walked over to her and asked if she was waiting for someone or a patient herself. She told me her husband was a patient. She was waiting on him. Giving her a copy of The Poisonwood Bible I said I hoped the book would help make time pass easier as she waited. She thanked me with tears in her eyes.
That’s how my day started. Books were a great solace to me when I was sick and tired from my cancer treatments. I hope everyone who signed up to be a World Book Night “Giver” has as much fun as I did putting my books into the hands of strangers with whom I shared time or experience. I know the people who receive the books will be touched by the act. I can’t wait until next year to do it again.