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A Senseless Act of Destruction

By RickO ~

A few weeks ago a friend died. She was a beautiful, gentle person in her early 50’s, struck down by cancer. She ran a small shop where she sold books, clothing, crystals, incense, world instruments and things like that. She was very much into the ideas of metaphysics, eastern philosophy and the wonders of the natural world. Hers was the type of little shop where you would go for a warm smile, some cheerful conversation and carton of Nag Champa. Her parents are hardcore fundamentalist Christians, the type that even view Catholics as infidels.

6.15.08As it turns out, one of the first things her parents did after their daughter’s death was to gather up her large collection of books and burn them. She had a substantial library on her favorite subjects, many rare and first editions, the passions of her life, literature so apparently repugnant to her parents that they saw fit to destroy it all even before she was laid to rest.

Her long-time boyfriend and companion, a man who knew her better than anyone in the world, was understandably grief-stricken over the loss of his love, but his sadness turned to an emotion there may not even be a name for when he learned of the destruction of the lifelong book collection. Among the pages of her treasured tomes was another of her valuables: A large collection of Silver Certificates, many worth a thousand times their face value; her life savings. She also saved letters and other important documents in this private safe place of hers.

Why didn’t she keep these things in a traditionally safer place, like a safe deposit box? Who knows? But it’s not up to anyone but her so it doesn’t matter. What matters more is that her parents, driven by the close-minded insanity of Christian fundamentalism, chose to unthinkingly destroy even more of their daughter than the disease that took her. Aside from the value of her savings, unimportant in the greater scheme of things, who knows what cherished memories of a beautiful life may have dropped from the pages of a book had her own parents spared them from the pyre? They certainly grieve, I assume at least, but I find sympathy a little harder to offer.

To our dear sweet friend, we love you, we miss you and wish you peaceful eternal rest among the stars.


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