THE ALPHABETIC BOOK CUJB/Ron Nyren ONE NOVEMBER AFTERNOON, my father closed the stationery store half an hour early to prepare for the arrival of the Alphabetic Book Club. He thought our front lawn needed to be raked first, even though I insisted it would be too dark for Mr. Barr and Mr. Jelticoe to notice by the time they arrived. Because I had spent the afternoon straightening up the stockroom, raking seemed like more of the same, as if leaves were only another kind of paper. I wondered if we would have to separate walnut leaves from oak and maple leaves and pUe them aU in different corners of the yard. My father could be very meticulous. At the store, the black ballpoint pens were not allowed to touch the red ones. The large manila envelopes had to lie with their open ends away from the aisles, as if to discourage customers from reaching in to feel the inside. The packs of red, yellow, green and blue index cards had to be arranged to follow And yet my father's mild temperament did not permit him to give instructions. He hoped his two clerks--and I, though at thirteen I
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 2002
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