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It was just a casual pick up of a free local events paper, and normally I do not even see that publication. As I casually flipped the pages my eyes landed on a FREE BOOKS notice. That got my attention for sure – I love to collect unusual and old children’s books and I read and reread that delicious notice. Bring bags and take what you want, the notice continued, to my delight.

The hard part was that the sale was to start while I was still at work. After my brief reactions of feeling bereft, I remembered how many times I had asked God to save me what He would want me to have, and I asked again. I would miss the first two hours. I got my bag ready, went to work the next day and delighted in the fun that faced me later that afternoon….finding a treasure. Right after work I asked God again to save me what I should have, and drove to the library. But at the desk I found out that I was at the wrong library. They did not even know what I was talking about. Wow. Oh no.

There was not going to be enough time to go home, find and reread the notice in the paper, and head out again that day. The sale would be going on the next afternoon, and I would have to just take a deep breath, believe in God’s provision still, and try again. And not think a lot about how many folks were picking over the books by now. Driving to the second library, a very old one in a smaller town, I prayed and pictured a large angel casually sitting on the children’s book table, swinging his legs. Amusing.

Down in the library basement were several tables set up with lots of books neatly arranged. Only one other person was there. Energized and focused, I perused the books on all the tables, gathering a few to mostly give away to others…they were free. The book types seemed a bit bleak for finding something special. It was getting close to closing time, so I scanned the kid table quickly again, quickly picked up two that were at least hardbacks, and did not bother to even look at them. I could give them away, or take them to the school I worked at. Then I drove home. It was okay that it was not so great, I thought. The hunt was fun anyway.

It was a while after I got home that I dumped out the books I had gathered, from the bag, and made a give-away pile. At the very bottom was one small book I had snatched, but not perused. Small, reddish brown, and old looking. I took a good look at the cover and title and I brightened like a star. “A Pilgrims Journal of Plymouth Plantation in 1620 by William Bradford and Others of The Mayflower Company.”  Edited by a famous children’s book author of a different era.

I was quite excited. Just two days earlier, my husband and I had shown a documentary about the pilgrims to some young people. Here was a journal in most of the original language about the same topic, with simple line drawings and old fashioned look. God had saved me my treasure after all. Last minute, hidden, almost not even found, but so very appreciated.  Sometimes that is the best present of all.