The gift of a lifetime

Jake MabeHalls, Obits

The things you remember when a parent dies. Learning to ride a bike. Learning to shave. Learning to throw a football. Learning to drive.

And also, from my stepfather Mike McConkey, who died May 6, learning to love libraries. (Services are today, 05/10/22, for Mike McConkey of Halls. Find details here.)

When I was about 10, Mike took my sister and me to our local branch library. Already a reader, I looked at all the books in wonder. And I got the best gift of all – a library card!

Mike was a jock straight out of central casting, big, strong and tough. But he was a reader and a one-time English teacher. He knew about the magical world that a good book can deliver.

Of all the things Mike taught or gave me, that library card is the most precious. I’ve got two today, one for Knox County and one for Franklin County, Florida. They’re a golden ticket.

I’m not one to give advice to parents. But, if you have young children and don’t already, please take your kids to the library in his memory. Let the young ones enjoy Storytime. Get the older ones a card.

A gateway to knowledge is the gift of a lifetime.

Jake Mabe worked for publisher/editor Sandra Clark from 1998 to 2014, when health sidelined him. For Knox County Public Library info, visit

View all obituaries

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *