Dawn Sisson, one of the fine front desk clerks at the Hood River Hotel, was driving to work the other morning when she saw a library book lying in the road.
It had settled into a striped-off triangle where two lanes merge into a freeway on-ramp. She was moving too fast to stop and pick the book up.
Later, she happened to overhear one of our guests asking if anyone at the hotel had found a library book.
Pamela Nagashima and her husband, Hajime, had been down at Marina Park in Hood River, helping their visiting nephew with windsurfing lessons.
Loading up to return to the hotel, Nagashima set the book on top of her car, and forgot about it. Heading onto the freeway, the book — “The Reluctant Communist: My Desertion, Court-Martial and Forty-Year Imprisonment in North Korea” by Charles Robert Jenkins — slid off the roof of their car.
“Dawn was checking me out that morning, and heard me asking about the book, and she froze,” Nagashima says. “She said, ‘I swear I saw a book back by the freeway.’”
Nagashima went back, and found it where Sisson had seen it. It was pretty dinged up. Bent cover. Holes where gravel had punctured pages. Tire tracks.
“It looked like IT had been in North Korea for 40 years,” Nagashima says.
When she got back to Portland, she took it to the Multnomah County Library, and told the same story, somewhat chagrined. They charged her $10, roughly half its original value.
Nagashima was grateful, for several reasons. She doesn’t like to lose books. And she was able to finish this one: She had 15 pages left to read when she lost it.
So she sent Sisson a “thank you” card.
“That was indeed my lost library book lying in the highway,” Nagashima wrote. “I am so grateful to you for spotting it and mentioning it to me Tuesday morning. A little the worse for wear, but I brushed out the gravel and ironed the pages with a clothes iron, and it looks OK.”
Nagashima has no clue if the library will return the damaged volume to circulation. But if you happen to check the title out from the Multnomah County Library and wonder what the heck happened to it, now you know.