Monday, November 08, 2010

String Too Short to Be Saved

by Donald Hall

A co-worker once mentioned the tale of the guy who was cleaning out his grandparents' attic and found a small box neatly labeled "string too short to be saved" — because, even if it's too short to be saved, there's no sense throwing it out until you have a whole box of it, right? As someone with mild hoarding tendencies (but with moon in Virgo, so my shit would organized), I was intrigued, had occasion to tell other people and laugh about it, and mentioned it every now and then to my co-worker.

Though I'd thought the story might be apocryphal, I eventually got around to reading the book, which is a collection of reminiscences of the author's boyhood summers on his grandfather's farm in New Hampshire. The stories are old-fashioned in a sweet and comforting way, and the author's nostalgia (not without ambivalence) for the simple and rustic life rubbed off and gave me a sort of false nostalgia. I don't think he overly romanticized the older folks' vanishing way of life, but I can see how some people might find this book sappy. I rather enjoyed it, though; it was especially nice to read in the woods at the river's edge on a sunny afternoon.

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