Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dewey (copy)

The year was 1988 and the town of Spencer, Iowa was experiencing a bitterly cold winter. While Vicki Myron entered the library that Monday morning, she reflected on the weekend’s average temperature of minus 15 degrees with a visible shiver. She flipped the lights on and headed back to the break room to start coffee. Other employees filtered in as another work week began.

Vicky walked the aisles of books as the coffee perked then made her rounds into the backroom. There she found library assistant, Jean, standing in front of the book drop box. Instead of opening the lid of the hinged box and gathering books, Jean stood motionless. She had heard a noise and was afraid an animal might be trapped inside.

When it happened again it did not sound like an animal, but “an old man struggling to clear his throat.” This was impossible. Whatever manner of animal, it had to be small. The book slot was only a few inches wide to discourage people from throwing anything other than books and videos inside; although, occasional firecrackers made it through.

They tentatively raised the lid together and a gush of arctic air blew past. Normally, the metal box was cold during the winter, but this was wrong. It felt colder than the outside air since someone had jammed a paperback sideways forcing the return slot open. Vicki later said, “You could have kept frozen meat in there.”

Tucked in the corner, amongst the books, was a small gray animal. As the ladies peered closer the animal raised its head and took a look before lowering it again. It was a kitten, and it was extremely cold and weak.

As Vicki lifted it from the metal container, the kitten began to shake violently. They tried wrapping him in towels, but he still shook. Believing a warm bath might help, they filled the kitchen sink and slowly lowered his body into the water. The cat showed no resistance and Jean began to massage soap into his fur.

The water shown gray as Vicki lifted the kitten from the sink and began to dry him with a hair dryer they use for hot glue projects. “Within thirty seconds, I was holding a beautiful, long-haired orange tabby.”

This is the true story of Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron with help from Bret Witter.

Another excellent review can be found at Nonanon's new blog Citizen Reader.

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