Saturday, April 2, 2011

Reading mother

As children we lived on a farm and had only an old-fashioned battery radio for entertainment. We had to amuse ourselves, and much of that centered around reading.

It was during Mom's early bedtime reading on the farm that the ancient poetry of the King James Bible seeped into my bones.

Later, with Dad was away working, we lived in town and Mom started reading us books. I remember plucking at the chenille on her apricot bedspread when the suspense became too much.

In Terrace, we rented at first while my parents house-hunted. When we were snug in a wee house on an acre of land and accustomed to riding the bus to our new school, Mom celebrated by reading us Kidnapped, Treasure Island and Robin Hood.

When Mom stopped reading to us, my elder sister, then entering her teens, took up the task. She began with The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes. When she stopped at the climax to ask us to predict what was going to happen, I internalized the structure of story.

In summer, we read outdoors, sitting on the trunk of an uprooted jack pine. The vertical root ball formed the wall of our hidden reading fort. Whenever I think of Holmes and Watson, I smell again the fresh air and soil of our backyard jack pine forest.

My parents married on April 2, 1945. Today I celebrate them for reading and instilling in their children an abiding love of books. As books morph into surprising new forms, reading lives on.

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