The other day I stopped by the thrift store again.

I have a routine. When I drop my father at the nursing home where my mother had been — he likes to visit some of the employees — I make a quick trip to the thrift store. One is just down the road from the other.

I headed for the bookshelves where I found a worker was pulling books off and tossing them into a box.

“Are you getting rid of those?” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied. “Who would want them?” She picked up a paperback novel that had obviously either sat in the rain or been dropped in the toilet and held it out to me.

“I might like some of these picture books,” I said, pulling one out of the box.

I hit the mother lode that day.

Bedraggled, colored-in, torn, falling apart books are my favorite. I have no guilt cutting them up. I feel as though I’m giving them a new life.

When I made Laurel a coupon book for her 13th birthday, I cut up our personal copy of Tikki Tikki Tembo (author – Arlene Mosel, illustrator – Blair Lent). The book about the younger brother with a short name and the older brother with a very long name was a favorite with my children.

Chang is tenacious about getting help for his brother, the title character.

I think that’s what I love about the story. Brother looking out for brother.

For Laurel, my youngest daughter, a girl with seven older siblings, she has a lot of people to look out for — and a lot of people who look out for her. I thought it was okay to use that book. A good reminder.

Because that’s what family is all about — life/love in brokenness and care for one another.

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