Regarding Robert Burns, his fans – new and old – on tonight’s Burns Night…

Apparently, tonight is Burns Night. I say ‘apparently’ because I don’t wish for it to seem as though I know a lot about it. I know he was quite a handsome fellow, at least in a particular picture. Robert_burns

The other day I bought a book of his poems. I was thinking of buying one at Barnes and Noble, but they didn’t have an inexpensive one in stock – I guess they aren’t celebrating Burns Night – and I knew a  local used bookshop had one, so I went there to get it. I had popped into the store some days before to check if they had his works, but I didn’t buy it then; I wasn’t thrilled with the edition. Nothing too romantic about this copy. But, when I returned to buy it, I was VERY glad that I had not gotten one at B&N. Why? I found an inscription inside that I’d not noticed before. This one wasn’t too old, 1957, but it made so many wonderful ideas pop into my mind as I mused what it said and the moment of its purchase by its original owners’.

Here’s the inscription:

burns inside

I imagined a couple on a lengthier trip than we take nowadays in an overcast and wet Scotland. I imagined the 1950s styles in solid, non-synthetic fabrics they might have worn.  She might have worn a hat, him too, actually. I imagined a vintage pocketbook, something heavy, dark and, perhaps, compartmentalized, and the couple was arm in arm as they gazed at his house and browsed the gift shop. They cared enough about their having purchased this book at this site to commemorate it by noting it. Probably with a fountain pen. Maybe.

And, then, I imagined them in some old roadster-type car motoring to and from this part of their holiday excursion in the countryside. And, I imagined how they’d gotten to Scotland. What must the plane have looked like back then? But it was probably a ship, wasn’t it? They took an ocean liner. And this book was carried up a boarding ramp in a trunk or old luggage of some kind.

And, while I know, that I’m probably completely wrong with some of this imagery and am probably using some really faulty terminology, you’ve got to admit that a used book can make for some wonderfully romantic fantasies, don’t you?

burns outside


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