Books played a large part in my life from the time I learned to read. Mom was a big reader, which is obviously where I got my love for books. Obvious, because Dad was not a reader. This was a dichotomy in our house as Mom always had a book or two underway and Dad read the newspaper, the fire magazines, and occasionally, Field & Stream. A short article at a time was his limit. At his job, he read large amounts of material, digesting reports, studies, and memos. Because of that, I always thought reading was work for him, not something to be enjoyed.
My favorite days in school were when the Scholastic Book order came in. This was second only to the day in which I pored over the newsprint catalog with that periods selections in it; trying to decide what to order. Mom enjoyed this as well, and her job was to establish the limitations and the budget, as I would have ordered practically everything in the flyer. Dad mainly gritted his teeth; avoiding offering his opinion on the whole process. He knew there was little sense in voicing his thoughts as Mom insisted we should have books and read, and deep down, he knew this was the right thing to do from an educational standpoint.
I still remember the thrill of watching the teacher unpack the cardboard box and separate each student's order. Carrying them home, it was a major decision which one to start with. It really didn't matter, as I usually read two or three books at a time anyway.
Writing my own book took it to the next level, and holding the first printed copy in my hand was like Scholastic day multiplied exponentially. The only thing missing was Mom seeing the book. Oh, there would have been a short lecture on the profanity in some of the stories, but she understood that's how it really was. Any thoughts she might have had on that would have been overwhelmed with reading the stories about her husband, son, and grandson.
The second best part is Dad actually reading it. The process took a few months, but he did it; kind of neat as it is the first entire book he's read in probably more than thirty years. He now is more than pleased to quote from it on a regular basis--especially the stories involving him.
I'm glad he was still here to read it.
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