I enjoy former Walla Wallan Molly Larson Cook's monthly newsletter that shoots into my inbox from her place at Coupeville, Wash., on Whidbey Island.
In her January newsletter, author Molly reminisced about the summer reading program put on by the local library in her youth.
One year, it held a "Wheel of Fortune"-style program that "in some cases, really was a wheel of fortune, at least to me."
On each visit to the library, Molly spun the big Las Vegas casino-style wheel that was divided into Dewey decimal classifications. To get the prize at the end of the summer, Molly said participants had to read books from every numerical category.
"It was an ingenious way to expand our youthful knowledge and interest, and over the years I still do this -- without the wheel, of course."
Most recently, she sought something in the 500 Natural Sciences and Mathematics section. "I came home with a fascinating book, "The Calculus Wars: Newton, Liebnitz, and the Greatest Mathematical Clash of All Time,' which I would certainly never have just picked up off the shelf.
Author-science writer-editor Jason Socrates Bardi "has a real knack for making a complex topic readable for the likes of me. Kind of like a younger Tracy Kidder. The book is entertaining as well as informative and it's enlightening to know that intellectual snarkiness goes back at least 400 years," she said.
"Next time you're at the library, try the Dewey decimal Wheel of Fortune. You won't win a car or a thousand bucks, but you'll go home with a reward. Count on it."
Molly has a website at www.skylarkwritingstudio.com.
222The 39-year-old ex-methamphetamine addict is trekking 5,000 miles cross-country for meth abuse awareness and for the lives of some of his friends.
Several publications have recorded his progress, including the Syracuse (Neb.) Journal-Democrat.
His mission involves a 5,000-mile trek across the country and possibly impacting the lives of some of his friends at home.
Toting a 75-pound backpack that reads "If I can walk 5,000 miles in the hope of helping one person, what can you do with a little hope?" Rik told the SJ-D that he mulled a number of ideas to help his friends at home get clean, but the hike seemed the healthiest. He has lost 10 pounds since starting the campaign.
He was caught in the downward spiral of addiction for seven years before getting clean about 10 months ago.
The Sidney (Neb.) Sun-Telegraph reported on Nov. 10 that Rik still sees that he's exhibiting patterns of addiction. But, "I'll tell them that there is hope. There is life outside of meth."
He's self-funding the trip with a message directed toward current addicts. "Start taking responsibility for your own actions and stop asking everyone else to," he said in the SJ-D. "Once you face the choices that you made to get you into meth then you can start making the right choices to get out of it."
He added, "Face your addiction head on and give yourself the power to overcome it. Stop laying the blame on the substance. It's not what got you to this point. It was a result of your choices in life."
By Dec. 4 he was in Nebraska City. He camps in tents most of the time, including spots one county sheriff's department helped him secure en route.
He started out in Boise and had already traversed 1,300 miles and expected to tackle 3,700 more, he told the SJ-D. His route will take him through Alabama's south end where he'll make a sharp turn and head west to San Diego.
He saved money for this journey over the past year and accepts donations. His pace is about 20-25 miles per day. He accepts the occasional ride as it provides more opportunities to share his message. His children, ages 15, 13, 11 and 9, helped plan his trip. He can be followed on Facebook. In one recent post, Rik said, "This morning we received a voice-mail that made us both smile. A person that we came into contact with through our travels checked herself into rehab. It is moments like this that make every inch of the walk and every moment we dedicate to this endeavor worth it."
Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or afternoons at 526-8313.