Needless to say I never met him but if I did the first thing I would say to him would be, "Thank you."
I had just been in a small town back in my home area. While there I visited the grave of my parents and an aunt and uncle, my dad's brother and his wife. All four, special people in my life. Something I always do when I go back to that area.
Earlier that day I had been in the library in my hometown area (Terre Haute, Indina) a few minutes north of where I was now. I had just left the local library and thought "I think I'll just take a drive around the town square." Something I had done more times that I could count in my youth. Sadly as I drove the square I was reminded of a line from an Alan Jackson song:
"I go back now and the stores are all empty--except for an old coke sign dated 1950"
Making a loop I saw the old fountain/soda shop that I used to frequent. Back then it was Arnold's News stand. Surprising It appeared to still be in operation. So I stopped, parked the car and went in. I I even got a cherry coke that they had from the fountain.
As I sat in one of the old booths from years gone by I took out a folder. I wanted to read some of the papers I had copied while at both libraries. I had gone to this last library as I wanted to look about some local history of my grandparents and read some of the sports pages from the time I was in high school in that area.
I had copied pictures, articles and box scores. Yes, I am even vain enough to say, I copied the article that had listed yours truly as "Honorable Mention" on the all tournament team in the Indiana state high school sectionals. Earlier I had driven by the old gym where that sectional was held. The gym thankfully is still standing but no longer used by the high school there for their play. I had worked the doors open enough for me to squeeze in and take one more look at the old gym.You know I think I even heard the thump of a ball bouncing, the yell of an old cheerleader and the ref's whistle. The old scoreboard was still hanging in the southwest corner of the gym.
Now why the thank you Andrew Carnegie. I do sometimes get side-tracked. The small library where I had spent a good part of the day was a Andrew Carnegie library. Andrew Carnegie at one time was said to be the world's wealthiest man. He believed so much in education and gave much of his wealth away so cities and towns could have a library. It is said that 1,689 library were built with the monies he gave. The library in this town was built from his money, built in 1905. I believe this picture is of the library in Sullivan, Indiana. Along with the library in Terre Haute I had often stopped at this library for some research. Side note: You know a lot of those old "rich guys" in our country's history get an unfair rap regarding their wealth. Not all of them "robbed everyone." Some certainly gave back.
I go to the library often. Often means two-three times a week. From a very early age of our grand kids I started the practice of taking them to the library. Yes often it was done under the bribe of "ice-cream/ cookies afterwards." I firmly believe if a kid/ child will read, learn to like books, they will get themselves educated in some manner. One of the questions I try to often ask my grand kids is "What are you reading?"
So Mr. Carnegie I say thank you and I think a lot of folks do also.