I met another dead man today.
This one was an accomplished attorney in a high-powered Denver law firm. He taught himself German, Chinese, French and Spanish. He decompressed from his high-stress work by painting military miniatures — thousands of them. His wife would sit next to him while he painted the soldiers under a magnifying glass, and they would talk about the day. He collected books about military subjects, hunting, history and poetry.
He conformed to my theory that if you collect one thing (miniature soldiers), you collect two (military medals) or three things (books). This past Spring, he felt ill one day and died two weeks later. His widow is overwhelmed trying to deal with all the physical objects he left behind. She told me he had hundreds of pairs of socks that she gave away, then later had an intensely vivid dream that he demanded to know where his socks were. I remember my Mom having a dream where Dad came back, and it was as real to her as anything.
Books are how I meet these people. I’ll forget about the books in a few weeks. The people stick with me.