"Meet Brandon Mull, author of Fablehaven. Thursday, Sept. 18th at 7pm at the Pleasant Grove Library."
I saw the sign on the door of Sego Lily Elementary and promptly added the event to our family calendar. William has already devoured the book Fablehaven and is currently sinking his teeth into the sequel, Rise of the Evening Star. He comes home from school and begs to go lay on his bed and read more. At the park I have to require that he bike 5 laps before he can read another chapter. (we go to the park for a physically active time) In the van we have had to keep the lights on during long evening trips because he can't bear to put it down and rest. At this very moment I am sure that John is on the boat trying to get him to tube and he is saying "Hang on, I've got to finish this part." He took the book to the lake this afternoon. Needless to say, the creative characters of these books have captured this son of ours, and Mr. Mull is satisfying his NEED to READ!
I had planned a trip to Price the weekend of CHS Homecoming and figured that it would work perfectly to attend Will's 6pm soccer game, hit the book signing at 7pm and be off to my hometown by at least 8. WRONG! We pulled up to the library that evening and from the number of nonexistent parking stalls I could quickly see that this would not be as slick a stop as I had anticipated. We finally found a spot and walked toward the crowd. Brandon Mull had just finished his presentation (of which I was unaware) and there was a line formed of fans waiting to meet him. Many spectators were still seated, and I assumed that they were simply lingering after the speech or letting their kids go wait in line while they relaxed. Come to find out those seated were waiting to be called up for their turn to JOIN the line. It was THAT crowded. Amidst the running around of 2 rambunctious daughters and while hauling around a very inhibiting infant car seat I began to explain to Will that we would probably not be able to brave the crowds and stay to meet this hero of his. He first tried to come up with some solutions, then tried begging that we just wait. Next came the puppy dog eyes and his chin started to quiver. I had been the one to build this up for him so much- because of my own library junkieness, and now I was telling him that we would have to turn around and walk out when Brandon Mull was only one room and FIVE HUNDRED FIFTY patrons away!
"But I wanted to get a poster." Will explained to me as a final attempt at convincing me to stay. A nearby Mom suggested he go check with the library staff at the front desk to see if they had any extra. Because of my heavy car seat and buzzing entourage of children, and because we were in a hurry to get on the road, I directed Will to run up around the building and inquire about a poster or bookmark. By the time I gathered myself and made it to the circulation desk myself, I saw something that made my heart melt. A sweet, brown haired librarian was leaning over so as to be able to hear Will's shakey voice better as he recited to her his name and telephone number. Apparently her warmness and helpful sincerity dispelled any guidelines about stranger danger. Obviously there were no more unclaimed posters in the library. But she wasn't about to tell that to this little boy and leave him hanging, library book clutched to his chest and tears streaming down under his fogged up glasses. "I'll see if I can find one after the event is over. And if not, I have some friends at Deseret Book." She looked up at me and smiled as she uttered these hope filled sentences to my little boy. I thanked her, and we went on our way discussing how glad we were that all hope was not lost. On the way out Will asked if he could just SEE Brandon Mull- so I pointed to the door where those who had just met him were exiting and said, "Go peek in there." Will did more than just peek. He weaseled past the door guard and decided that he'd see if anyone told him he couldn't just join right in at the back of that room's line, only about 20 people long. When I noticed what he'd done, I apologetically squeezed myself through the door and right past Brandon Mull to go gather my desperate Fablehaven fan. This sent him over the top. Coming so close with no success had crushed him. On the way to the van he threw quite a fit. When we got in he opened his book and escaped the situation his well meaning but despicably disappointing mother had caused.
I got on the website the next morning and discovered that, after an appearance in Sandy, Brandon Mull was on his way to book signings in Texas for the rest of the month. Hmm. I thought. Maybe he'll at least end up with a poster. I wasn't going to bring it up again for fear that life may get in the way of this sweet librarian's intentions resulting in no memorabilia for Will. Boy was I wrong. When we got back home we heard the sweetest voice saying this on our answering machine. "This message is for William. This is Linda at the P.G. Library. I just wanted him to know that I did find a poster for him and if it's OK I could drop it by this weekend. " I still have the machine saved so that I can listen to it when I need my faith in humanity restored :)
She came, she delivered, and William now has this huge poster right above his favorite reading spot in his bedroom. It was addressed personally to him, by the author himself, at ten minutes after midnight.
In visiting with sweet Linda Bethers we learned that she is the author of the retelling of the story Christmas Oranges which was published as a picture book in 2002. She will actually be at the PG library presenting the story on Nov. 13th.
Today when Caroline wrecked during the Stake 5K I caught up to her and sat on the ground to comfort her. I wiped a few tears and wondered if I should encourage her to get back on her bike or offer her a spot in the double stroller. Not a minute later a woman on her bike came past and saw our predicament. Low and behold, she had put in her bike trailer that morning a box of band aids. Any Mom knows what kind of get up and go power that can give to a skinned 5 year old. "She rescued us!" I told Caroline. "We can finish the race!" We thanked our kind runningmate and continued on 'til we had passed the balloons marking the finish line and arrived at the monstrous chocolate chip muffin table. A happy ending indeed.
Thinking back on the redheaded woman I will call the "Band aid Biker" and on our friend "Linda the Librarian", I had the impression that there truly are angels among us. I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Spencer W. Kimball...
"God does notice us, and he watches over us. But usually it is through another person that he attends to our needs. Therefore it is vital that we serve one another."