Mary Strachan Scriver
2 min readDec 15, 2021


It was late afternoon in the university library and despite the tall windows and ubiquitous reading lamps, the big room was full of shadows. Jock came in dressed for winter in bulky sweats, his hands jammed into his pockets, almost forgetting to stop whistling. He was beginning to be good at it. As a football player, he liked the image of himself as an amateur musician despite his almost threatening appearance.

His pretty girlfriend was at one of the long library tables, closely examining a book though she had already gathered a wall of them in front of her. Settling across the table, he made a face at her over her wall. She smiled and acknowledged him but didn’t look up for long.

“What do you say,” he insisted, “If we just take a little break and go to some hot blue beach somewhere?”

That got a laugh, but not consent. “That would mean a plane trip south. Have you got the money for two round-trip tickets? “

“Hey, if our team wins the next couple of games, we’re gonna be noticed, and then I’m such a star, that I’m bound to get a professional contract. I’ll be rich! We could get married!”

“If I don’t pass this class, I won’t get a degree and can’t make us a living.”

“Won’t happen,” declared Jock. “I brought us the mail.” He dug a packet of envelopes out of the depths of his sweatshirt belly pocket. Most of it was obviously junk, advertising. The girl paid very little attention.

“HEY! Here’s something! Free pizza at the Bear Den. Let’s go!”

“Right now?”

“Sure — why wait? It’s time to eat!

But I’ve got to return these books and then I’ll have to find them again.”

“I’ll help. Let’s go.

As they went out of the door, Jock said, “If I make a lot of money, we could get a dog!” She smiled.

They did both go for pizza and, eventually, get a dog. And this is the story they told their grandkids. Hunting and gathering in a library is a good thing to do. But don’t forget adventure.



Mary Strachan Scriver

Born in Portland when all was calm just before WWII. Educated formally at NU and U of Chicago Div School. Clergy for ten years. Always happy on high prairie.