As certain elected officials have informed me, I often wear a confused look in public.

Okay, never mind, my wife joins the chorus.

As I frequently reply, that is not confusion, per se, but my normal visage as I spend most days in a state of confusion.

Not sure if it has to do with Michael, pretty sure the general outward projection hasn’t changed that much, but then I am hardly the judge.

Maybe I’ll try the Voice or, appropriately, the new reality show based on misery enjoying company: the Bachelor?

All of this is a strange path to explaining how wobbly I became upon learning that Nancy Brockman had announced her retirement as Coordinator for Gulf County Libraries.

A feather would have overdone it.

Mrs. Brockman (and I choked every time “Nancy” came out my mouth, there are just people in my job that deserve that kind of respect) is just one of the good ones, one of those that somehow, someway, formulate the glue that binds a community.

While calling attention to her not in the slightest.

And, my gracious, did not she not turn the two county libraries into community centers, places of welcome to anybody.

I, as many of a certain generation, grew up around libraries.

My parents, my grandparents, weren’t far removed the time when books, reading the daily newspaper, heck, reading the bubble gum wrapper comprised a day’s entertainment.

There were radios and in time televisions, but for my mother free time (her term, not my brothers’ and sisters’) after school was out was best spent at the local library.

And if the car was unavailable, she would march the five youngest of her brood right on down to that library branch, mileage a thing of the mind.

It was, on the other hand, the only time I can remember be able to cross Central Ave., a treat which ended when I was hit by a car.

(As I told my parents, I never claimed to be the sharpest blade in the drawer).

On the weekends, my parents doled out the bus fair and pointed to the bus stop two corners up from where we were ordered, and usually obeyed (75/25), to travel to the museum of art, where we were enrolled in classes.

Might have been to get rid of six kids now that I think of it….

Anyway, summer vacations were a special blast.

No matter what might be happening, what bee’s nest we were stirring or mischief with the school doors we were into, one hour after lunch was always set aside for reading a book.

We could have come home with a bear trap on our leg, but the hour after lunch, break out a book.

Comic books did not count and the hour was kept better than any NFL clock referee.

So, I have a natural affection for the local library and there have been few librarians in my time in this community who have engaged the library with its community like Nancy Brockman.

(I am attesting here and now and I will divulge my theory later, but I will have a messy keyboard and few more klatterings if I call her “Nancy” again).

Mrs. Brockman will, of course, deflect any credit onto other s.

The Friends of the Gulf County Libraries is in for due share, book programs, audio book catalogs, those are filled by the Friends and the group deserves every plaudit.

And without that foundation maybe Mrs. Brockman doesn’t achieve all that she has achieved.

Expanding programs for both young and old and in between; there is now a sewing class for heaven’s sake, all part of making the library a community hang-out.

The use of the computers banks, concerts and other performances; there is above and there is beyond.

And those who know her well would attest Mrs. Brockman’s been doing this far longer that her stint with the Gulf County Libraries.

Her reputation with the district school system, from classroom paraprofessional to media specialist was flawless and her loss to the school system, a sad day for the district though Mrs. Brockman would never say a harsh word, proved the libraries’ gain.

As for my theory for my admiration of Mrs. Brockman I turn to my wife, and to so many teachers and educators of our youngest and most needy children.

They deserve a special classification, a “first responders” or “firefighters” or “law enforcement” titles of their own.

When you see it up close, people of heart, soul and grace working to reach the mind of a two-year-old or three-year-old, it is something rare, something of talent unreachable by any pro ballplayer.

It is indefinable. When you consider these are children ages 0-5, if that doesn’t define “first responder” I am not sure what does.

And it manifests in Mrs. Brockman and so I cringe when, in my mind, I diminish her with “Nancy.”

When I finish here, I will be calling a counselor.

But in the meantime, please join the Friends for a reception in Brockman’s honor, 10:30 a.m. until 12 p.m. ET Saturday, Oct. 26 and light refreshments will be served.

.

.