This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Wednesday, December 27, 2000

December 27, 2000 - The Search for Peace

Yes, yes, it's good to spend time with family. And there are many magical moments around the holidays. There's the sound of Christmas carols, possibly the best music in the world. There's the moment when the last present is assembled, boxed, wrapped, and placed under the tree. There's the excited screech of the children, stampeding down the steps. There's that moment when all the opened presents are stacked, all the trash has been picked up, and that glazed look of satiation appears on every face.

But what's missing too often in our holiday season is something you see on all the holiday cards: peace.

There's just too much to do. Race up to this store, place that order on the phone, pick out the cards, purge the mailing list -- and all while maintaining the other business of life. In America, the Land of Plenty, we have plenty of everything. Except peace.

Well, I've given this a lot of thought, and I've come up with a simple, one word solution. (And it's not the word I bet you think it will be.)


It started when I took a business trip back to the Midwest. I got put up in a funky little hotel downtown. I set my things in the closet, and wandered into the bathroom to set out my toothbrush and other travel necessities.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear but ... possibly the biggest bathtub I have ever seen. A big, magnificent, curving bathtub. It had those puffy white handles for the waterspout that always remind me of the gloved hands of Mickey Mouse. I love those.

Well, I had all sorts of things I was going to do. Hit the streets. Call friends. Follow up on some of the business of the day. Busy, busy, busy. Instead, I ran a hot bath.

The water came up almost to my neck. I was able to lie back and have the water slosh around my chin.

So I sat in a bathtub for about an hour.

And I knew peace.

It happens that for many years, the Philip S. Miller Library had a bathtub in the children's room. It was piled up with various stuffed animals.

It was very popular. Children crawled into the big tub and played with the toys, or read. A couple of times, local seamstresses donated huge bathtub cushions, custom made to protect little heads from cracking against the enameled iron. (And it's not easy to get a cushion to fit the interior curves of an old-timey bathtub.)

One day, a three year old girl found the bathtub irresistible. As her father poked around the best sellers, this sweet little girl demonstrated her good breeding. She had been taught, you see, that one removed one's clothes before getting into the bathtub. When the father came around the corner a few minutes later, he found his daughter in the library's bathtub -- stark naked.

She had a big grin on her face. His expression was more ... complex.

A combination of various factors -- more comfortable furniture, more bookshelves, those cracked heads -- finally led us to remove the bathtub. It now sits, forlorn and overturned, exposed to the elements, right behind the administrative offices on the south side of the building.

But I'm thinking of turning it over, and maybe slipping out there every now and then during the day.

I am thinking of peace.

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