We have lost a good friend. Marlys O’Brien is the reason we have a library in Pine River. She is the reason we have a Kitchigami Regional Library system at all. As a young woman she rode around the countryside carrying books to farmers and their families when they were too busy to leave the fields.
During the 1960’s she worked with the state of Minnesota to create the Kitchigami Regional Library System which serves Beltrami, Cass and Crow Wing counties. The Head office was and is located in Pine River.
When I first came to live at the Pine River Library, the Regional Library had just move out of the building that was once an old clinic with the remainder of the librarians “headquartered” in a garage next door, the book mobile parked in a portion, the front of the building being The Pine River Public Library.
I lived in the alley behind. Muriel and then library assistant, Don Corbin, took me in. Marlys had already retired at that time, but she was a friend to all.
Among the wonderful things about her including her love of her library was her love of people. She loved to do story time for the children and was especially fond of stories about frogs.
There were birthday parties for the staff each month honoring whoever had a birthday in that particular month. Everyone would cluster around the table in the back of the building (garage) and have coffee and cake.
And! If you worked at the library you got your birthday off! That was Maryls’ doing.
Marlys had a book review program on the radio as well. She would check out piles of books looking for just the right one to review on the radio.
After we of the Pine River Library moved to our new building, Marlys would come in often. She always treated me well, saying, “Browser always knows how to make a friend.” So did you, Marlys. So did you.
Take a minute out of your day to thank your lucky stars that the world has been blessed by people like Marlys O’Brien.
Until next time, I remain...
Browser, the Library cat
Printed in the Pine River Journal 26 June 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Fellow readers! I recently read a book that knocked my socks off - or would have if I wore socks. Normally in spring I consider very carefully what I read. This time of year I spend a great deal of time out of doors. With the rains this year, however, I have read voraciously.
Dean Koontz has become a favorite of mine because of his Odd Thomas series, so when I had read all of those (except the new one, "Odd Hours," which just arrived on our shelves of our library and has a long reserve list). I tried another recent novel of his, "The Good Guy" had a certain appeal base on title alone. Who doesn't like a good guy? According to "The American Heritage Dictionary," the word "good" is defined as "superior to the average valuable," sound like me!
I gravitate to novels that chronicle an ordinary person doing extraordinary things. This book is certainly no exception. It begins in a bar with a very normal guy suddenly thrust into a situation that defies explanation. Our hero, Tim Carrier, is certainly no super hero. He's a brick and stone mason like his father before him. As he sits on the stool in his friend's bar drinking his simple beer, he is approached by a gentleman who mistakes him for a killer for hire. Money and a photograph are thrust into his hand. The gentleman leaves the bar quickly. Mulling over this development, Tim is approached by a second man. This man is the killer for hire, of course. Predictable? Not Dean Koontz! Never! Tim, posing as the hirer, insists that he has change his mind. The killer is welcome to the money but the contract is off. Not!
Thus begins a journey that kept me up all night. There is a girl, of course. There is always a girl. This one is not beautiful, thank goodness. I would have been disappointed in Mr. Koontz had the girl been ethereal or breathtaking. She is unusual, I like unusual. Gives me something to chew on and whispers of foreshadowing. She has a '39 Ford parked in her kitchen and a past about which she refuses to speak, though she assures Tim that is involves nothing whatsoever that would entice someone to kill her. Tim, too, is more than he appears, though we, the readers, are teased only with hints of what this might be. Classic Koontz.
This journey through a couple of days in the lives of two seemingly normal, even boring people, is fast paced and full of quick twists and turns. There are even a couple of dogs, though no cats, perish the thought. Unlike many Koontz classics, there is no supernatural of sci-fi intervention. No need for magic. The story is magic enough.
-Browser, the library cat
Published in the Pine River Journal 19 June 2008