Saturday, September 26, 2009
I actually had a good day yesterday. The little Hannah Montana wannabe and I went to the local mall as they didn't have school. Even the damage to our checking account that she did at her favorite accessories store didn't darken the day.
As we were walking around the mall, we stumbled upon a used book sale sponsored by a local literacy group. I've been to these sales before and have the time of my life browsing through box after box full of books. My mom seems to think I'll be like Burgess Meredith in that old Twilight Zone episode. Minus the glasses, of course.
While Cheyenne looked through the children's section, I headed for the classic literature section not far from where she was. The mall was fairly empty, and I was able to keep an eye on her at all times. Being nine and autistic, I try to foster independence in her whenever I can, so I took this opportunity to do so. And Mom was never out of sight. We enjoyed this time.
I happened upon a couple of Stephen King books to add to my collection of his older (and best) works. Not too bad. Scored a copy of the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe. Sweet! A couple of boxes later, I found The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I felt like I had just found the Holy Grail. I paid for my books, rounded up Cheyenne, and headed home.
The kids stayed at Grandma's last night so the hubby and I could have a long-overdue date night. In deciding what we wanted to do after dinner, I told him I wanted to go back to the book sale. Deep down inside, I was hoping that lightning would strike twice and I could find a copy of Atlas Shrugged. Back to the mall we went.
In scouring through more boxes that had been brought out since earlier that day, I came across my favorite book of all time, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I would've taken someone's arm off to get that book.
I was approached by an older gentleman in his mid- to late 60's when I grabbed the Dickens book. He was a volunteer helping with the sale.
"Looks like someone found something they like," he said.
"Yeah. My favorite. Great story."
We struck up a conversation as I continued on my quest for Rand. He said he used to teach literature before he retired, so the conversation stayed on the subject of that. I told him about how excited I was about finding Ayn's book earlier in the day. That's when the conversation took a nasty turn.
"Her works are garbage," he said. "She did nothing but promote selfishness in her stories." I was stunned.
I explained that I felt that it's important to read things that may not fit with one's beliefs so as to stay educated and not remain ignorant. It was a matter of choice by the individual (knowing he evidently advocates collectivism). He suddenly had work to do on the other side of center court. Fine with me, pal!
What happened next was my inspiration to write this post. It completely restored my faith in what the next generation of potential leaders may produce.
A young man in his late teens, possibly very early 20's, approached me. "Excuse me," he said. I looked up to see a young man who was wearing his baseball hat sideways, an AC/DC t-shirt, and blue jeans. He instantly reminded me of my Limbaugh baby minus the hat.
"I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but I just wanted to say that he's [the older man] full of shit. I've read both The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and they're awesome books." If I hadn't been there when my older son was born, I'd swear this was his twin, right down to political ideology.
We started a conversation while we continued looking through the books. This young man was courteous, respectful, clean, and intelligent. I asked him if he had ever read Anthem by Ayn Rand. Having replied to the negative, he immediately took out his cell phone and made himself a note to secure a copy at the library. We continued chatting until my husband called from Sears' tool department to check in. I wished the young man well and thanked him for being an open-minded thinker instead of an indoctrinated robot. We shook hands and parted.
To that wonderful young man should he stumble across this: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is young people such as yourself who give me hope for this nation in these very dark times. May God bless you in whatever path you choose in this life, and may He keep you safe on your journey. Stay strong in your beliefs. You are our hope.