It's always fun writing a mailbag column where I get to share what my readers have to say. The last few weeks have brought in some of the best.
So many people either wrote in the online comment section or emailed me personally wanting to know what books I recommended to my European reader asking for my suggestions for good books, that I felt I had to give y'all an honest answer: zero.
As you recall, this was a young woman who had responded to a review I had written on Amazon and who wanted to exchange book titles so we could learn more about each other's cultures through good literature.
Her first suggestion to me was "The Gabriel Club" -- "A many-layered mystery, it brings to life a city, a river and a place (Budapest, Danube, and Central Europe)," she wrote.
Before I could respond with a book of my own, I received another email. One of their club members had died in a car wreck. She went on to say that this group of readers in their 20s, had been friends since grade school. I wrote back, expressing my sympathy -- and empathy -- since I had lost a son to a car wreck and knew well what they were going through.
I invited her to share with me memories of her dear friend. She sent me a few touching stories and then she emailed to say she was moving back in with her parents where she would have no access to a computer. She bid me a fond adieu and when I tried to wish her well, her email address was already defunct.
On a lighter note, my column about wearing clean underwear brought me nothing but laughs. The more delightful responses, however, were those I experienced face to face while speaking at a writing conference in Dublin, Ga.
As I read the first sentence, eyes lit up and everyone in the room started to chuckle. When I finished, hands started to pop up. A woman who looked to be in her 30s related that when she was a child she'd been in a car accident with a friend's family. They rushed her to the hospital and called her father, who was a policeman.
"There I was," she said, "lying on a table in the emergency room, scared to death, and my dad walked in, took my hand, leaned over and whispered in my ear, 'Are you wearing clean underwear?'"
An elderly lady couldn't wait to tell her story.
"My mother always bought us brand-new underwear when we went on vacation," she said. "We were driving along with the suitcase on top of the car. The strap broke and the suitcase popped open. We looked back and saw all our new underwear flying all over the roadside. We kids were all upset, but my mother was just proud that it was all clean."
What mother wouldn't be?
Susan Larson is a writer who lives in Lilburn. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.