As a youngster I used to love the long awaited summer trips out to the far land of Iowa visiting family and living life Amish, something my sister Janice and I sincerely planned to do when we were FINALLY 8 & 10. (Glad we got deterred from that one, that's a story for another day) But, probably one of the biggest highlights of the trip was spending hours in Grandpa's bookstore, Brookside Books, a messy little metal building that had books stashed in every possible space. Since my parents were shunned, their money was not accepted so we always made out like book bandits with the stash we went home with each summer visit tho I am sure us being the grandchildren they only saw once every 2 years or so made a small difference in that arrangement also. Once Grandpa actually did let my sister pay ten cents for one of the whole sets of Janette Oke books. Many of the books I treasure are from those days and still sit on prominent places in my bookshelf. Some of them Grandma actually wrote our names in. Those are the extra special ones!
I don't remember my Dad's family, the Marners being readers like mama's but Dad definitely stepped up to bat on the reading thing. As long as I can remember Sunday afternoons were spent with us kids sprawled out all over the living room and Dad sitting there reading to us until he nodded off. We never wanted him to quit and always begged him to continue. I don't have any idea how many times we read the Laura Ingles' "Little House on the Prairie" series or the Mother Westwind animal series about Jimmy Skunk and his friends or many of the other goldie oldies I have big plans to read with my own children. Somewhere along the line we read Wilson Rawls' "Summer of the Monkeys" which is still one of my favorites today. Mom often read to us too. I can still hear the exact way her tones changed as she read Farmer Brown..."said Farmer Brown, Tra la, Tra le. Today's my birthday, lucky me..."
Those are the days I long for, when books magically transported us away to Avonlea and down into the hollar with Jayberry spying for monkeys or staying warm in the cold sod house with Laura and Mary. Technology has changed how children are raised now. Books are often considered boring and set on shelves collecting dust. Tvs, Ipads and cell phones have robbed us of precious moments bonding while reading stories together. I am guilty. How sad!
My children do have books, many books! My hubby didn't always understand why I have the unquenchable thirst to buy every old book I see or why the children would need another book for every birthday or holiday or why one would need to fill 5 bookshelves with books of all things, but he is learning. Now he even says someday he will build me a room for my books. I am looking forward to that. Meanwhile I stash books everywhere in hopes that my children will get a sweet taste of the world outside our box experienced simply by picking up a book and gazing at the pages. I am trying to be more intentional about putting aside what I am doing and reading to them when they ask. Some days when I inwardly groan and moan about how many times I already read the same old story over and over like small children happen to prefer and all I really want to do is just move along to another subject and read something else, it's then I remember how many memories are forming in their minds and how maybe someday they will look back and remember my exact tone when I read them the Hungry Caterpillar or Green Eggs and Ham and hopefully the legacy I leave will carry on with the gift I have experienced ~ a heritage of stories, reading and a lifetime of love. I'm telling you..It's the little things.
The other evening Abby was getting tired and was begging for her favorite story which currently is "the Hungry Caterpillar". She finally took matters into her own hands and began "reading" by herself. My apologies to those of you who watched this already, but hey it's too cute to not share with the world right?!