Galway Kinnell

Galway Kinnell, MCPL Celebrity Judge (2006)

We did errands together, like sending letters at the Ambler Post Office.

Add a trip to Kilian Hardware, a real old-fashioned hardware store located in Philadelphia, PA, that specializes in functional and decorative hardware for wood doors and windows. Galway loved walking down the crowded, narrow aisles. He stopped to inspect surface bolts and adjustable catches. He used his Index fingers to illustrate the hooks he needed for a home renovation project. We discussed olive knuckle hinges. We got lost for what seemed hours on that April afternoon before the MCPL Awards Event.

As we made our way to the cashier to pay, Galway noticed his credit card was not in his wallet. Suddenly, the pleasant afternoon shifted to a game of hare and hounds with a sense of urgency.

We quickly returned to the Ambler post office. No luck. The distribution associate remembered us, but no card. He tore off a clean piece of an old envelope he had found in his suit jacket and wrote,

“Please allow Joanne Leva to accept my credit card, so she can send it to me at my home in Vermont.”

He signed it, Galway Kinnell.

After the pomp and circumstance of the MCPL Awards Event, and upon his return home, Galway sent me an email to say that he had left his credit card at a local bakery, and that they were holding it for him, so I didn’t have to worry. So everything worked out. And now I have this noble artifact, which I will treasure forever.

The following October I saw Galway at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival and I said to him, “I didn’t know you were going to be here!” And he said to me, “If I would have known you were going to be here, I would have baked you a cake!”

Rest in peace, Galway.

Read more about Galway Kinnell here