“Never be ashamed of a scar. In the end, scars tell the story of our lives, everything that hurt us, and everything that healed us.” The Little Liar by Mitch Albom

In the Rochester Barnes & Noble, I found the end of the line behind a beautiful Asian woman. “Merry Christmas, my name is Iris,” I said.

She smiled. “Merry Christmas. My name is Jean.”

“I presume you’re also a fan of Mitch Albom’s stories.”

“Yes, and I work for his charity, the SAY Play training center in Detroit.”

I was aware of the orphanage Mitch founded in Haiti, yet hadn’t heard of his local charities for children. “Where in Detroit?”

“Van Dyke and Seven Mile Roads,” Jean said.

“That’s close to Algonac Street where my husband and I lived with our girls for seven years,” I replied.

The man closest to us in line said, “My brother and his family also lived on Algonac Street.”

Indeed, my children played with his niece and nephews.

In the midst of this spontaneous preview to Mitch’s book-signing, the author arrived at 7 p.m., stood on a chair, and addressed the line of readers that trailed from one end of the store to the other.

“This story is about a young boy named Nico who always tells the truth until the Nazis trick him into lying to persuade his townspeople into boarding box cars when they arrive in their town. The Nazis know if you tell a lie repeatedly, people will believe it, and the lie becomes the truth,” Mitch said.

His book-signing began.

Truth be told, I don’t read horror stories. Yet, I packed Mitch’s book in my carry-on for my flight to San Francisco.

I’d hoped to complete the story airborne, yet the young woman to my right fascinated me with her crochet project and conversation. Furthermore, the dark, cramped space discouraged reading.

Mitch’s little book waited until I returned home from my wonderful Christmas celebration with my two daughters, grandson, son-in-law and his parents, and two granddogs. I loved the exercise and companionship of walking the beach of the doggie park with my daughters and granddogs along San Francisco Bay.

Once home, unpacked, and laundry put away, I settled into my cozy reading space with Mitch’s story, told in Truth’s voice. I often paused at Truth’s profound guidance and resolutions. Page 142, particularly, as stated above.

What wisdom to include scars in the “the story of our lives”.

Dear Reader, the scar on my lower lip is from four years old when I climbed over the front porch’s railing, hit my lower lip, and my teeth cut open my flesh.

At age nine, I stood on a swing seat in a neighbor’s yard, pumping high as I could when the swing slipped from under my feet. The metal seat hit my upper lip with downward force, sliced it open, and chipped a front tooth.

True, nothing as nightmarish as a wound from a dog bite when a Nazi “ordered the hounds on a group of prisoners”. Nonetheless, it’s my truth. And it heals me.

Contact Iris at irisfarmletters@gmail.com