June 19, 2011

What My Father Read to Me...

Circa 1974
When I was young I was a Daddy's Girl. I loved my dad- and all that he taught me. He instilled in me a love for reading and not only that, he helped learn to critique and think about what I was reading. When I was in fourth grade, he read The Hobbit to me. Every night before I went to bed, he would read to me. Now, I don't know that I understood every word of that book, but I loved it- I loved the language and the way he read it to me as if I DID understand it. 
The next year, we read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe together. I so wanted to be Lucy and stand in that snow covered wonderland. I could taste the Turkish Delight and I cried big, sobbing tears with Aslan died. I remember that my dad had to stop reading just to console me. My dad was crazy about science fiction. I remember him reading A Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy and Dune. He took me to see  The Empire Strikes Back at the drive in theater.  I would sit in his den while he talked on his HAM radio... KA0DYI. He collected and restored antique radios and he taught himself how to play the guitar. We would sing "Little Brown Jug" and "Drunkin' Sailor" and loads of other songs that I can't remember right now. When I was in 8th grade, life as I knew it changed. My father had a tumor on his optic nerve and he lost vision in both eyes. He developed several complications and lost his kidney function and got meningitis. We almost lost him.  He pulled through and adjusted to life without vision. He taught himself braille- to my amazement- and got books and newspapers in the mail. He received books on tape as well, but I knew it wasn't the same as him reading the words on that page. Of all the things he lost when he got sick, I think he may have missed reading the most. 
The years passed and I grew up, life got complicated and I drifted away from my family. The last time I talked with my dad was on my wedding day 14 years ago this fall. He passed away 6 years ago, and I never got to thank him for making me the reader I am today. I didn't get to say a lot of things. 
Don't take life for granted, dear blog readers. In the words of The Beatles, "Life is very short and there's no time for fussing and fighting my friends." Hug your dad, hug your kids.  Tell people how you feel every day, before it's too late. Read with your kids, make your kids feel important, be patient and answer all of their questions, no matter how silly they may seem... they will remember and they will be thankful.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That is very touching...I thank,*you*, mrs. Butcher for instilling my love of reading and I thank god that I have such an amazing librarian as you! I am so lucky to know you! Addy