I don't remember the first book I ever read. 

But I found one that reminded me of one of the first this weekend at the Used Book Sale at Fort Missoula. 

Sure my eyes were drawn to the entire box of Clancy's works. The classic stack of matching volumes of Hemingway. But it was over in the specialty section where the memories came back past the hundreds of thousands of pages I've read over the decades. 

Dennis Bragg photo
Dennis Bragg photo

The real prize was in the collector's section.

I spied a volume on the "Life of Daniel Boone". And it was a beauty. The Friends of the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, who organized the 60,000 volumes for the sale, proudly showed me it dated all the way back to the 1860s. Likely it was the prized possession of some early, literate, and well-off Montana pioneer who was proud to have the history of such an iconic American settler on his shelves, showing it off to friends and neighbors. 

For me, it was a reminder of those first adventures I greedily consumed as a young boy, probably in 4th grade. A volume that first convinced me I should grow up to be a mountain man. Or at least should embrace all that was amazing about the great outdoors. Carefully thumbing through the book it was a tactile reminder of the years gone by, and a reflection of whether I'd really accomplished those boyhood dreams. 

As I've thought about seeing that book during the setup for the sale this week, I've realized that I had experienced those adventures, and many, many more. Sometimes in person, sometimes in my mind's eye. But always because of the books I've read. 

The sale continues through Sunday afternoon at Fort Missoula, appropriately in the Heritage Hall. And I'd encourage you to not only shop for yourself, but take along those young readers, and open their eyes to the adventures that await them. 

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