Dad, Grief

Eat, Run, Astronomy

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.

One of Dad's Many bookshelves

21 thoughts on “Eat, Run, Astronomy”

  1. Wow! You Dad had a ton of books. I love to read too so I can appreciate his zest for reading and learning new things.

    It was very generous of you and your family to donate the books and like you said I’m sure your Dad was honored.

    I’ve been thinking about you a lot even though I don’t “know” you. Take care.

  2. Wow! His house looks a bit like mne. We love books here too. Great idea to donate them. I love scouring charity shops for new books.

  3. Wow! That’s a ton of books, not to mention an awesome variance in title/subject. What a cool tribute to your dad. I’m sure that the more meaningful titles will be great keepsakes – something you can read to feel close again.

    Sending hugs & comfort. Been keeping you all in my prayers.

  4. Am drooling all over those books, those lovely, luscious books. And the bookshelves.

    I love that you are writing these entries – it is great to get this in writing now, then the grandkids will always have it available to read. I wish I knew more details about my grandfather.

  5. HOLY BOOKS! I thought *I* read a lot. I would love to browse through those titles. Maybe skip the sheep shearing, though…

  6. Your dad sounds like an awesome man. I would have liked to have known him. His bookshelves are great. And his books are going to touch a lot of people. It’s wonderful that his love of books and learning (and pwawms) will continue on through you and your brother and your kids.

  7. Three disjointed comments:

    I love books, therefore, I love book readers.

    Did your dad make the bookcases?

    I think you should write a book called “Eat, Run, Astronomy” because it is that awesome of a title.

  8. That bookshelf in the top picture is gorgeous! Did you guys donate the bookshelves as well?

    I love these posts about your dad. They will be a great keepsake for you and your kids.

  9. Your Dad sounds a lot like my Dad. I used to think there wasn’t anything Dad didn’t know at least something about. Still do. I remember him taking volumes of encyclopedias with him to the bathroom (aka “the library”)! LOL

    When I grew up and got married, I was horrified to learn that not all men were like Dad. I remember telling my new husband, “What do you mean ‘call a plumber’, don’t YOU know how to fix it??” He didn’t, so I called Dad. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your stories of your Dad. What lucky girls we are to have such wonderful fathers!

  10. What a wonderful glimpse into his world. I always think bookcases show who you really are. Thank you for sharing.

  11. My husband is the same way with books and being able to learn quickly. He got a computer repair book, and just by reading the book can do most of the repairs to our computer.

  12. One of the ways I guage a person is the variety and quantity of books in their home. I think I would have really liked your Dad. 🙂

  13. wow. that is an amazing amount of books. just amazing. I may have that many books, but I can’t retain a damn thing.

  14. Your dad sounds like an amazing guy. What a great tribute that you were able to donate so many books, and what special treasures you’ve kept for your children by passing on special favorites. Thinking of you through this tough time!

  15. Wow, books! I sort of hope that is what my house looks like when I am old. Your Dad sounds like an amazing guy.

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