I picked up Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte last week from the library. From the first page it is fresh and alive with excitement and energy. Verve is a good word for this book; intelligent verve. It's better than I remembered and this is the fourth time I've gotten lost in Jane's story. I am so glad to read it this summer. It's full and big and a good summertime read.
This reading has me noticing the little kindnesses that make such a difference to child Jane.
Little kindnesses have been on my mind since I finished reading All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. The hero, John Grady Cole, lives in a wild and complex place for a good part of the tale. Near the end strangers share food with him, or sympathize with his troubles. And he has had them, so like Jane, the kindnesses are especially meaningful.
Today at the busy grocery store a clerk motioned us into her self-check out line.
"Are you sure?" I asked. "We have a lot of stuff here!" I was eyeing the full cart doubtfully and the lack of a place to really put groceries in the line.
But she chattily and cheerfully checked out the onions, wine, buttermilk, broccoli plus all else while skillfully keeping bags and items straight. She was entertaining us like a showman. The three children watched her and answered her questions and asked her questions back and all of us were influenced by her nonchalant joie de vivre.
She made the visit. And I like grocery shopping, usually. But she made the visit sparkle and sing and sit up straight with enthusiasm.
Jane, John Grady, and I all appreciate the kindnesses of strangers.