Not so, many years ago. It's always interesting to delve back in the corridors of your mind, then update on the changes that lead to today...
In about my twelfth year, I used to pass it very often, as I walked to various places in my Zululand village. Each time I would stop, just to admire the sheer size and stateliness of it.
To my young eyes it was huge. Leather-bound, with distinctive corners on the edges where you turned the pages, it hinted mysteriously at the contents, with a one-word title, Minutes.
One of the most exciting things each week was my trip into the shop. There was a high counter there, with Mrs Ellis behind it. No doubt my anticipation touched her, because I always made sure to be there right on time. Her eyes would twinkle when she spotted me. She'd kindly say, “Now, I think I might know why you're here today!”
The suspense heightened as she made a point of rummaging in all the parcels and magazines there, before emerging with my two beloved publications. They were always rolled and secured by a band of brown paper in the middle. My name and address was printed on that, so it was all very personal.
Treats of the Week!
One was School Friend. The other was Girl’s Crystal. It felt so grown up to be a subscriber, and I adored reading those two magazines! I would read and reread them each week, carefully studying the comic stories in them. There were articles too.
They were pure and simple. If people in them didn't get along, natural and unwanted consequences would always follow. The message was clear. Behave well, or some mysterious force from the sky would ensure your come-uppance.
Karma wasn't really a commonly used term way back then, but the principle was the same.
I never went into the mechanics of those emergency delays. All I knew was my magazines were late.
I hesitantly asked Mrs Ellis what it was used for. She explained it must have been special ordered a long time ago, and probably would never actually be used. Like a circling shark I moved in. I asked outright if that was the case, could I please have it?
Mrs Ellis looked at me in surprise.
“I can't see anyone else would want it. Tell you what, if you can carry it, you can have it,” and she laughed out loud.
I didn't need to be told twice. Within seconds the book was hefted up into my arms.
I must have looked like an ant carrying an impossibly huge burden as I set off down Tally’s Hill, awkwardly clutching my 12 lb prize!
Fortunately it wasn't wrapped. It wasn't hard to hang onto, but it definitely seemed to have more than four corners!
Still in my library...
That huge book survived manhandling and annoyance from my sisters, being always in the way at cleaning time, and most significantly later on in life, an argument about its necessity when I only possessed very limited space in one trunk to pack for its long and no doubt rough sea journey to Canada.
It sits in the living room now, not yet displayed to its full advantage, the cover still solid and firm, those corners flaunting its self-importance. Inside, in my best handwriting, those recipes from so long ago.
If so, I'd love to know about it and hope you'll share it with me and the the WarnerWords readers below, in the comments.
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'til next time,