When the Knoxville Area Rescue Mission came to Dad’s to pick up what ended up being two trucks full of donations, one of the gentlemen looked at all of Dad’s books he said, “Wow. Your Dad must be a very smart guy.” Yeah, you could say that. One of the most common things people who knew my Dad have said to me recently is, “He’s the smartest guy I’ve ever known.” I could echo that sentiment until the end of my own life and never feel like I proclaimed it emphatically enough. It wasn’t that he knew everything, it was just that he typically knew something about everything. And not in a trivia kind of way. But in a useful, actual knowledge kind of way. He was like our own personal Wiki. If you were just curious about how something worked, or why something was the way it was, he could probably tell you. And if you needed proof of this, you could just look at his book collection.
I insisted upon taking pictures of Dad’s bookshelves before we boxed up the books for charity. Not only because he made all of his bookshelves, but because I wanted to be able to scan the high-resolution copies sometimes to see what all he had read. The sad thing is, these books only amounted to a small fraction of books he had read in his life. He had a ritual of checking out books from the library every 2 weeks or so since we were tiny children. He may not have read all of them cover to cover, but as my brother put it, he got exactly what he wanted out of all of them.
And if all of that wasn’t proof enough – I’ve been finding all of his To Do lists from the years in piles of paperwork. He didn’t keep them all, but because he would write other things that he would need to keep, we’ve found many to reference. My favorite was one MrZ found that just said what the title of this entry says: Eat, Run, Astronomy. (Let’s put aside the fact that he would have to remind himself to eat – I obviously did not inherit that trait. My lists usually start with STOP EATING.) All of the lists seemed to include some sort of topic he wanted to study that day. Sometimes he would spell it out, like the one I’m carrying around with me that says Learn: Spanish, Networking, C++. He didn’t feel like a day was complete if he hadn’t learned something new. Whether it was from an article in National Geographic or a passage in the $2 book he found on Sheep Shearing. (I was actually with him when he found that book at a wholesale store. He was very excited about it.)
I thought I’d share that about Dad, and show you some of his bookshelves. My brother and I kept a bunch that meant something to us (or to NikkiZ) but most have been taken by a charity in Knoxville. Which made Dad proud.