Thursday, June 11, 2009

Miracle Book? The picture is the best I could manage - my camera batteries were low and I didn't have time to run out to the store. Looking at the picture you'd never know that the book on the right is a miracle. Scuffy and olive green - but neverless a miracle. You see, it appeared out of nowhere.

This is all true but even today (it happened yesterday) I have a hard time believing it myself. The Quest of Mary Selwyn is the sequel to a book I found about ten years ago at a yard sale, Uncle Frank's Mary. I loved the first book but there was a problem. Without spoiling the plot for anyone who might someday read the books - UFM ends with a very annoying, unsatisfactory conclusion. You absolutely HAVE TO HAVE the sequel to know what happens to four main characters. The author leaves the reader with a doozy of a cliffhanger. It's like reading that the Titanic hit an iceberg and was filling with water and . . .read the sequel. So there was NO CHOICE. I had to have that sequel - wherein lies the problem.
This is a very rare book - first published in 1917. My search to find the sequel on any of the used book sites went on and on. A friend did some research at a college library and came to the conclusion that no such book existed. Somewhere inside I knew it had to exist - or I hoped anyway.
Somewhere during my search, I got one of my cousins interested in the books. A whiz at ebay, she found several of the original series (yes, it was a whole series) and was on the lookout for The Quest of Mary Selwyn. She
found a copy before I did - at a ridiculously reasonable price. The book on the left is hers - the blue one. After years of searching, I borrrowed her copy and read the book. The author did NOT disappoint! The conclusion of the story was one of those ones you remember always.
It also left me with a very - um - strange attitude. I coveted that book. I wanted my own copy. Which brought me to problem two. A few copies of The Quest began to appear on used book sites. The lowest priced one I saw was $1395. and yes, that's thousand. Gulp. While I did pay a LOT for one of the author's books - autographed, of course - there was no way I could pay that much for a book. Even my computer didn't cost that much!
So began my own quest for a lower priced book. I haunted yard sales, tag sales, garbage bins of books - hoping for that FIND. Zero. Nada. Nothing. I didn't quite give up ever owning my own copy of Mary Selwyn but it was somewhere up there with winning a lottery and buying a BMW.
Until yesterday. I set a goal to deep clean my bedroom before leaving on vacation. Yesterday I tackled the black hole of calcutta #2 (my closet being #1) - the dreaded built in bookshelves. They are so handy to stick things on that I have books, mugs, dolls, postcards, letters, cards, coins, bobby pins and various other stuff. The dust was so thick I chocked trying to wash it off.
So I'm virtuously cleaning off the shelf with my Mary Selwyn books - the pitiful few that I own - sigh - when I pull out a book I've never seen before and didn't recognize. (And yes, like a mother who knows her children's voices - I know my books! I can spot an empty slot and know what's missing.) I looked at the strange book with an eerie sense of where did this come from?
The Quest of Mary Selwyn - green cover. A book I didn't buy. A book no one gave me. A book I didn't own or steal or otherwise come into the possession of . . . a book I wanted more than any other book in the world was on my shelf. A miracle.
I now own a copy of The Quest of Mary Selwyn. I can return my cousin's - okay, I was going to return it anyway - honest - but I just liked having it for awhile. :) I own a book no one could have put there but God. Kind of gives new meaning to God giving us the desires of our heart. Pretty cool, huh?
There's even more of a mystery with this book. Scratched into the back cover with some kind of pencil are the cursive words, "Get my money in the bank in the morning." And no, I haven't a clue. But if God expects $1395, He's going to have to send it. :)