Photography: Kevin Syms
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Reading is one of those guilty pleasures these days, cerebral vacations stolen despite a world bent on having the highest speed communication. Selfish as readers might seem, we prove they are a generous lot willing to share their indulgence with thoughtful abandon. We hope that taking some precious time to peruse these musings gives you some inspiration for future literary adventures.
Cheryl Welch, owner of Chapter One bookstore, is well known in Ketchum for her generous heart, support of the community and, of course, her love of books. She started working at Chapter One 32 years ago.
Welch prides herself on the fact that her bookstore is a local favorite. “The store has always had a warm, cozy atmosphere,” she says. The daily run on The New York Times has made longtime customers lifelong friends. There is a children’s corner where kids can sit and investigate the world of reading. And an organic, raw food juice bar feeds the body while the mind is exploring.
Indeed, Chapter One is no ordinary bookstore. “I try to have a diverse selection,” says Welch.
Welch’s collection is extraordinary and most of which is personally reviewed by members of her sales team. In addition, Chapter One offers a selection of wonderful books about animals.
“My all-time favorite book is Hesse’s Siddhartha,” says Welch. “I read it in college and it opened my mind to the Eastern spiritual traditions. It was an eye-opening experience.”
Cheryl’s love of animals is evident in her latest book favorite,
Ralph Hefler’s Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant that Ever Lived.
“It’s a story about a friendship which lasted 70 years between a man and an elephant,” says Welch. “They were both born on the same day on a small farm in Germany.”
According to the book’s back cover material, “Modoc is one of the most amazing true animal stories ever told. Raised together in a small German circus town, a boy and an elephant (Bram and Modoc) form a bond that would last their entire lives, and would be tested time and again: through a near fatal shipwreck in the Indian ocean, an apprenticeship with the legendary Mahout trainers in the Indian teak forests, and their eventual rise to circus stardom in 1940s New York City.”
A review in the Detroit Free Press says, “Modoc is a love story, a gut wrenching, Saturday afternoon kind of love story that should not be attempted without a full box of tissues within easy reach.”
“Modoc is a wonderful story,” she says. “I have never sold this book to anyone who didn’t love it.”
Welch’s chosen passage depicts Bram and Mo as they cling to life during the aftermath of a shipwreck . . .
What seemed to be more important that anything, including the dangers of the sea, was being with Bram. At times, he would nestle up to her ear and tell her stories about the barn, the circus, Gertie, Mutte, and Curpo. It was as comforting to Bram as it was to Mo.
That night Bram counted twenty-seven people still clinging to life. The ocean was calm, the water warm, all was quiet except for the occasional moan. Bram had fastened a piece of rope into a support sling to help Mo rest her trunk. It would last awhile, then break, and he’d have to start over again. Many times he and Hands joined together, acting as a human rope, lifting the top portion of her trunk above water so she could breathe. They knew without Mo nobody would last more than a few hours.
By Bram’s mental watch, it was about ten o’clock in the evening when they heard it . . . >>>