Sitting at Crystal’s book signing last night was an amazing event.
She was signing books for friends, family and invited guests, with wide smiles and loving arms to complement her words. What was touching was seeing this family event unfold. Guests bringing babies, Tonya bringing her daughter and daughter’s friend, several friends cheering and eating various sweets, and parents attentive to guests who were brimming with love and pride. What was so touching was seeing the proud parents mix and mingle throughout the crowd, taking snapshots. Tonya and I had the brief fortune of meeting and talking with Crystal’s mom and dad. Each were so happy for their daughter. Talking with her father, one could feel the radiance of his pride and sincere fondness of his daughter. He shared fondly of her love of books, and of the deep pride he felt seeing her live and fulfill her dream. He shared of how she loved books from since being a little girl, that the two became fast friends and ever since were inseparable.
My exchange with him reminds me of my own father. He too made it his mission to unfold the possibilities of the word and world in my hands, doing so one book at a time. He would scour old book stores and bring back something for me to read, sometimes leaving for work early (as if he didn’t already have a far commute from the Bronx to Brooklyn), to avail time to search for gems before descending into the tunnels to work. He would go through dumpsters to retrieve old notebooks, one time finding for me a composition book full of copious notes about equations, which really came in handy in high school. He brought home books about stars and angels. He was especially fond of bringing old and worn books. Something about their antiquity appealed to him, regardless of topic. There is something about his commitment to making sure that as many words and worlds were possible in my hands that above all things from him, books and an education are among the most cherished gifts I harbor from him.
I was most honored that as we were leaving, Crystal’s father returned and said goodbye, and shook our hands again.
Meeting Crystal’s dad and hearing him share the love and pride of his daughter touched my heart.
And warmed the memories of my father within my hands.