I know I live a sheltered life. My parents were divorced when I was young, but they were both around. I had involved grandparents who lived in a nearby town, a stepfather who loved me.
I have a husband who loves me, I get along fine with my in-laws. My children are beautiful and intelligent, of course – I do admit to some bias here, however. I have good friends who I trust and confide in.
We are all reasonably well-educated, intelligent individuals, with talents and skills and creativity that are probably above average. We even have a rocket scientist in the family. But none of us are ever going to set the pond on fire, as my grandma might say. We’re just plain folks.
I am sorry to say that sometimes I take these things for granted. I try to let my family know how I feel about them. I try to let my friends know what a privilege it is to be part of their lives. I try to show my appreciation for my coworkers. I try to appreciate my own gifts, but sometimes, I get a little spoiled. I forget that plain trust is something precious, that is never guaranteed.
A woman came in, wanting to know if we had court transcripts. “No, we don’t, ma’m, I’m sorry.”
“They are public record, aren’t they?” she asked.
"I’m not sure," I answered. “We have old newspapers here, though. Would the trial be major enough to be in there?”
She shook her head. “I don’t think so,” she said. She sighed. “I don’t know for sure anymore.”
I just looked at her. She said, “ I met a great guy almost this time last year, and really loved him. We got married right away, about seven months ago. Just recently, an old friend of his started coming around, talking about old times.” She stopped, uncomfortable.
“It’s all right,” I said. “You don’t have to tell me.” I was tallying up – she knew him four months before she got married?
“But I don’t know what to do!” she said forcefully. “This friend’s version of the past is a completely different story than what my husband has told me. He did tell me that once, they’d gotten into some trouble, and that there was a trial. But he said he felt sorry and that he’d made it right.”
She cleared her throat. “This friend makes it sound like it was all some kind of sinister joke and not the only one my husband was involved in. He doesn’t sound sorry at all, and the way he describes my husband, it makes him sound like a completely different man than I married. How do I find out the truth? Just who did I marry, anyway?”
Eek. Double eek. Somehow they never covered this kind of question in library school.
“I’m sorry, “ I said gently. “ “This must be frightening for you.“
“Is there a way to find out?” she asked, insistent. ”I need to know.”
“Let me call and find out,” I said. “If the records are at the courthouse, you can still make it before they close today.”
“Oh, thank you,” she said. “I just need to find some answers. I really appreciate your help.”
I sent her to the right office in the courthouse and stood there thinking of all the people in my life who I trust utterly.
It was I who appreciated her help – to see just how valuable plain, unexciting truth can be.