Little Free Library by Kevin Kling

The coffee shop near my house is closed because of the pandemic.  I spent much of the last ten years there writing, meeting neighbors, catching up on gossip and oh…having coffee, so out of habit I still take the six block walk.

Along the way I pass several little free libraries, those boxes in front of houses that people put books for anyone to take or you can leave one you’re done reading.

One of the neighbors definitely leans politically to the left and another neighbor down the block leans hard to the right. For a while on the way to the coffee shop as a civic duty I’d take a book from one library and run it down the street to the other library and on the way home bring another one back. Until one day I discovered I was bringing the same book on Richard Nixon back and forth.

Over the years I’ve also learned to read my neighbors through their books. I have kept up with one family’s entire life, their home improvements, eating habits, child issues, medical conditions. One day as that neighbor was getting out of his car I blurted out,
“Hang in there man you two can work through it.”

Another time I yelled, “Try a little vinegar on a q-tip!”

Not long after that the family moved away but the library is still there. So for a while I was on my way to learning a whole new family and then the virus struck.

Now instead of books there are food items in the libraries. But not all is lost. Like the books I’m acquiring whole new insights about my neighbors. And even though the coffee shop is still closed, as part of my civic duty I’m bringing brown rice to one house and a can of SPAM back to the other.

About the contributor

Kevin Kling, storyteller/author, lives in Minnesota. His plays have been produced worldwide including off Broadway's Second Stage Theater. He has received numerous awards including the Whiting and an NEA grant and was named the Minneapolis Storyteller Laureate in 2014. He has written five books.

Related Articles

We Have Each Other

Felicia McCarthy reflects on the awful events surrounding George Floyd's death in Minnesota and the consequences for us all.

Making It Plain

Mike Smith reflects on our urge as writers to 'make something of' the reality that surrounds us.

Sunday Lunch with the Lawrences at Kiowa by Michael Paul Hogan

Poet, journalist, fiction writer and literary essayist, Michael Paul Hogan takes us to Kiowa Ranch, New Mexico in 1925 and a question asked of the host that has significance for us all.

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More Like This

The Stars and Bars by Aurora Lewis

Writing from personal experience, Aurora M Lewis explains why the Confederate flag should be banned.

Caged Owl – Anne Walsh Donnolly

Two years ago, at age fifty, I started to explore my sexuality in therapy. I experienced a wide range of emotions in...

Fuck Cancer and Capitalism: Fighting the Odds in 21st Century America

No one is ever prepared for the dreaded words: your husband’s got cancer. Like a bad Marcus Welby re-run, only real. I...

Mam

On the landing of our semi-detached house facing St Anne’s park on the northside of Dublin, we sat down to dinner all that summer....

Asking something from our words by Sandra Renew

Poet Sandra Renew reflects on the power of words in this engaging piece of short form prose.