my precarious childhood

One in five children who embarked with their families for California from 1841 to 1865  never made it. They died from accidents, illnesses, starvation, cold and, in the case of six Oatman children, from an Indian raid.  ~”Pioneer Children”, Kathleen Holder~

 

Wow.  All we had to worry about in my 1970’s childhood was getting knocked in the head with the infamous Klacker balls. 

I FEEL LIKE SUCH A PANSY.

In light of the tremendous hardships faced by the folks who lived even a mere 100 years ago, I am almost (ALMOST) too embarrassed to blog about those things that we considered Unspeakably Dangerous in my own childhood.

Conversely, I’m often amused by the things we, as modern-day parents, worry about with our children.  And I cogitated on the matter.

I LIKE THAT WORD.  ‘COGITATE’.

COJ-EH-TATE.

COGITATE.

So.  Without further adieu, I present you with my own personal, seriously cogitated-upon list of the Top Eight Most Dangerous Things in Lisa’s Childhood.

Side note: I couldn’t conjure up ten things.  You’ll have to live with eight. 
My sincerest apologies, I don’t have an editor to rein me in. 

 

#8 – LAWN JARTS
I would love to know the thought process behind the invention of Jarts.  Take heavy metal spears of the deadly impaling variety, attach them to aerodynamic plastic wings and turn the kids loose.  Please.  Toss these at one another.  Remember to aim for the yellow circle.  The winner is the team where no one has sustained a punctured lung.

In retrospect, I have to admit to being a little awed that we didn’t lose a single kid at the campground.  And that when the Mighty Jarts came a bit too close, rather than being mortally fearful for our lives, we laughed. 

WE LAUGHED.  ‘OOOH, MAN THAT WAS CLOSE!’

Ha.  Ha.

AHEM.

 

#7 – KLACKER BALLS
I vividly remember the glorious day my dad brought home these little beauties for my older brother and I.   Dad walked in the door one evening, a lopsided grin on his face, hands hidden behind his back.

What’s your favorite color?”
“Umm. PINK!”
“Okay.  What’s your second favorite color?”
“Ummmmmm.  YELLOW!”

Long story short, we ended up with green and blue.  Sadly, I think I knocked some of the wind out of his
gift-giving sails. 

Dad, I’m sorry. 

I LOVE GREEN.  I DO.

And I especially loved how, when we got tired of trying (unsuccessfully) to make these stupid balls click clack over-under-over-under in the manner for which they were designed, we could use them (successfully) as weapons.  Flung end-over-end, they could cause some serious noggin damage. 

But I only heard about that from my friends.

I’D NEVER TRY THAT MYSELF.  (SORRY, JEFF)

 

#6  FINDING (AND EATING) STRAY FOOD
File this tidbit under Inconsequential Things You Can’t Fathom Why You Remember, But You Do.  I have always been a huge fan of sweets.  I believe that … some how … some way … my father was really Willy Wonka. 

SO.

When I was a small child under the age of six years old … I know this because I can’t remember my younger brother being anywhere in this memory.  He would show up in my memories sometime after … like we’re talking six days after … I embarked upon my seventh year of life. 

VERY CONVENIENT BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION STEALER, YOU.

ANYHOO.

My mom carted my older brother and I with her back to her small hometown for the planning of their high school reunion.   While the moms were doing whatever moms did to task out the purchase of  paper products and balloons, I remember wandering outside near the old red brick school building.   Suddenly, and without warning, the heavens moved, the planets aligned and I stumbled upon the Great Childhood Find of Lisa’s Short, Yet Sweet, Life.

AN UNOPENED HOSTESS CUPCAKE PACKAGE.  FOR REAL.

And, of course.   Well.

PUH-LEASE.  I WAS SIX YEARS OLD (OR YOUNGER).

Although what I took from this whole experience was the mortified look on my mother’s face when she found chocolate cake crumbs between my wee little teeth.  And she hadn’t given me a cupcake.  Please, mom.  Don’t make me spit it out.

I’M BEGGING YOU.  I SWEAR IT DIDN’T TASTE LIKE IT WAS POISONED?!

 

#5 JUMP ROPES
We had very simple toys when I was a child.  Everyone had very simple toys.  One of my favorite possessions was my jump rope which could be used in a plethora of ways.  Tethered to the back of a bike, it provided hours of entertainment whilst pulling one another around on rollerskates.  Let me interject, however, that corners were always quite problematic.  

WATCH OUT FOR …

And when you wanted to actually utilitze the toy for it’s intended purpose (i.e. jumping rope) and were lacking a third-party to twirl the contraption, why you could just tie one end of it to the fence.  Instant twirler.  Unfortunately, as these things sometimes go, Bad Lisa gets a smarty aleck idea that (generally) ends very, very badly.

One ‘live’ jump rope holder.  One fence post.  

‘LET’S PLAY HIGH WATER, LOW WATER!’

The premise of this game is to gradually raise the rope a few inches each turn in order for the other participant, such as one’s brother, to jump over with (pre-determined) incremental increases to the height.  A real skill-building exercise I suppose if you’re going to be an …. I don’t know … when you grow up.

These type of situations tended to bring out the Ornery Lisa.  ‘Low water.’  HOP.  ‘Low water.’  HOP A LITTLE HIGHER.  ‘Low water.’  I MEAN HIGH WATER.  And gosh, if Ornery Lisa didn’t yank that rope straight horizontal.

KNEECAPS HITTING THE CEMENT PAVEMENT IS A RATHER DISTURBING SOUND. (SORRY, JEFF)

 

#4 ERRANT BASEBALLS
Lest you think I was the only Really Rotten Child of the 70’s, I also appeared to have some friends who were of the same disposition.  My junior high friend, Christine, was a baseball pitcher.  So.  Jeff, Christine, and I took the opportunity one sunny spring afternoon to head over to the schoolyard to putz around.  Since I am not, nor ever have been, coordinated in any even remote fashion, I sat on the school porch and watched this particular event unfold.   I am proud to tell y’all that this is probably one of the few times in my childhood I was not directly involved in torturing my poor brother.

I WONDER WHY HE DOESN’T TALK TO ME ANY MORE?

Sad.  But he really doesn’t. 

SIGH.

Anyhoo.  Christine got a few good pitches in and then It Happened.  Jeff’s looking down, chucking at the dirt with the tip of the bat.  Christine dislodges the ball from her paw with alarming speed.  And there is dead silence.

ONE MISSISSIPPI.  TWO MISSISSIPPI.  THREE MISSISSIPPI.

Then.  THEN.  Chris yells, ‘HEADS UP’.

Which Jeff does.  Bad timing.  REALLY BAD TIMING.

My first thought was, ‘Boy, that’s a heckova lot of blood coming out of his nose?!’

My second thought was, ‘I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS.’

I SWEAR.

 

#3 TRUANCY
A disclaimer to my Dearest Mother. If you are reading this blog, please know I think you and dad did a smashing job raising me.  And, that even with all the Right Information and Parental Threatening, I sometimes did things I knew I shouldn’t do.  And, ya know, the important thing is that  ultimately I grew up to be a very responsible, hard-working, tax-paying, honest, charming, loveable mother and wife. 

PLEASE DON’T GROUND ME.  I’M 48 YEARS OLD. 
MY FRIENDS WILL LAUGH.
 

Every once in awhile the Teenage Lisa got a Bad Idea stuck her head and started coloring outside of the lines. One day, Two Friends Who Shall Historically Remain Nameless, and I got on the bus heading towards school like we did every other day.   However, with the most gentlest of persuasion, the origin of which I (honestly) don’t remember, on that particular day we ended up at the mall.  Then Pizza Hut.  Then more mall. 

I suppose school went on without us.  I also suppose that we were good enough kids overall that my parents never received the phone call that we’d skipped town.  Or at least English class.  Well.  And math.  Maybe a little American Government.  Phys Ed.  Band.

UMMMM.

It happened exactly once.  It wasn’t nearly as entertaining as we envisioned it to be.  

PARANOIA IS THE ULTIMATE BUZZ KILL

 

#2 PRE-SEATBELT LAWS
Anyway you slice it, three children in the backseat of a cramped 1970’s car, on a vacation that consists of 3,000 miles from Ohio to California in four days presents unique issues.  Limited space.  No air conditioning.  Hours and hours of sameness. 

AND NO ONE WANTS TO SIT IN THE MIDDLE
AND STRADDLE THE FLOOR HUMP.

I think the hump was technically known as the T-R-A-N-S-M-I-S-S-I-O-N.   However, to us kids, it was simply considered The Place Where You Did Not Want to Be Stuck. And as fate would have it, by the time you sped into Nevada the little brother who has been straddling the Floor Hump for a few days, wants to take a nap.

DO NOT LAY YOUR SWEATY LITTLE TODDLER HEAD ON MY LAP. 

Gawd love the 70’s.  Because it was only during that narrow window of time, in a seemingly lawless (clueless) United States, would one ever have the opportunity to allow their child to stretch out in the back window of your car.  To nap.  Seatbelt-less.

IN THE BACK WINDOW.  AT 55 MILES AN HOUR.

Stranger than fiction, I tell ya.  I wish I’d have thought to take a picture.

 

#1 COOKIE DOUGH
And.  The #1 most dangerous problem (in my mind) from my childhood?   According to the government, consuming raw eggs is cause for grave concern as they may (or, let’s be fair here, may not) carry salmonella.  And that can make you sick. 

VERY, VERY SICK.  SOMETIMES AS IN DEAD SICK.

Cookie dough nearly always has raw eggs.  I am here to tell you that I’ve eaten raw cookie dough from the time I walked into kindergarten to, well, last weekend.   Sometimes, in the realm of Things Deemed Dangerous, you have to live a little on the edge.

BUT JARTS?  YEAH.  STILL A REALLY BAD IDEA.

an analogy from a simple mind

It’s a game, a game, a game that we’re playing.  But I don’t mind,
cause I don’t make the rules.
~Bay City Rollers~

Clarification:  Based on the commentary I’ve received regarding this blog, I feel it necessary for the sake of my Real Family’s peace and good name, to advise my readers that this blog is not a true story.  You must savor and ponder the analogy (that is, if you have time to waste).  

Subtle (apparently way too subtle) hint: 
Bay City Roller song lyric preceding the blog.  Think Events of This Week.

PS:  My friend, Connie, advises that this is known as ‘satire’.  I bow to her wisdom and command of the English language.

The other day I conjured up a terribly brilliant (if I do say so myself) idea that I would create an Official Website for the Family of Baa the Magnificent.  Or at least Baa of Relatively Insignificant (But Always Striving for More) Fame.  The momentum for this project built to such irresistible proportions in my own mind, I decided to announce it.  Or blurt it out.  In either event, some magical force finally released the Incredibly Awesome Far-Out News from my wee little fingertips to the Internet masses.

AND THERE IT WAS.

As expected, all my friends thought I was the shazizzle.  And they fawned all over me.  No shocker there.  Pffft.  Because.  Well.  The public has been waiting a long time in both joyful, and somewhat painful, anticipation for the coming of the Stories from the Life of Baa.

IT WAS DAY OF GOOD FEELINGS INDEED.

My mind eagerly churned with all the never-before-seen family reunion photos I could share.  Oh my goodness, all the ludicrous tales I could tell.  Ho ho ho! And just think of all the secret recipe jelly preserves and cross-stitch pillows I could sell in the Online Family Store. 

WE’D EVEN ACCEPT PAYPAL.

Unfortunately. Once my (in my opinion, ungrateful and quasi-crazy) family got wind of the Official Project, I soon discovered that Uncle Wilbur wasn’t nearly as keen as I thought he would be to share his life with others.  And in no uncertain terms told me I’d best mind my P’s & Q’s.  Uncle Wilbur always was a money-grubbing nincompoop anyway.  Now.  All my friends think so too.

TAKE THAT UNCLE WILBUR.

Then Aunt Gladys said if I was going to toss all her showgirl Polaroids out for the world to see, she was certainly entitled to some cabbage for her efforts.

THAT WOMAN HAS THE NERVE.

All I was trying to do was get a little promotion for myself… I mean … my family … and this is what I get?  Next time, I might just say pooh on them and call it my Un-Official Family Website like Lawyer Bart told me I should have in the beginning.

For the record, I’m glad you all agree with me. 

IT’S WHAT KEEPS US FRIENDS.

genie lamps

Whilst browsing through Pier 1 Imports the other day I came across some awfully charming, what I would call but certainly not officially called, Genie Lamps.  And as my mind is wont to do, when I left the store (sans the aforementioned bric-a-brac) I ruminated ‘What would I ask for if I had my very own Genie Lamp and the opportunity for three wishes?’  Ummm.  Evidence of exactly why ‘shopping’ and ‘Lisa’ are not One With the Universe.

I THINK IT’S CALLED IN-ABILITY TO FOCUS.

So.  I discarded my first wish notion, although not without some angst, that I would hook up with Russell Crowe.  Because, well, I mean really. Maybe all the tabloids are right and he’s just a big mean guy with a penchant for throwing phones at people who sit on his last nerve?

WHAT A WASTED WISH THAT WOULD BE,
MR. GLADIATOR.

Then, because I tend to always err on the side of practicality, I made a mental list.  Well.  I would have written it down, but folks, I was driving home from Pier 1 and if y’all can’t text while operating a motor vehicle, writing with a pen and paper probably isn’t too brilliant either.

ANYHOOOOO.

I would wish … that I could be more spontaneous.  That while I find a un-explainable sense of serentity in organization and planning and things being in direct order, sometimes … maybe once or twice or ten times in my life … I’d love to just do something on a whim.   How exhilirating would that be?

OR CONVERSELY, VERY FRIGHTENING.

Umm.  Inner Self, please contain yourself for a few.  Okay?

I would wish … that I spent less time doing things I ‘had’ to do and more times doing things that are meaningless.  I have a difficult time even sitting through a television show if there’s an un-done task that requires attention.  Yes, I know.  There’s something really, really wrong with that.  I think I held my breath too many times when I was young and damaged something in my noggin.

JUST LIKE MY MOM SAID I WOULD.

I would wish … that I was an exercise fanatic.  Okay.  That would imply I like to exercise at all and that it would merely take some infintismal step to become a ‘fanatic’.  Let me rephrase.  I wish I enjoyed exercising. 

PERIOD.

I would wish … that I was bohemian.

STOP LAUGHING. 

Ready?

Okay.  I so deeply admire women who live life freely, comfortable in their own skin.  Who wear flow-y cotton dresses and don’t feel compelled to actually iron them. Whose skin requires no artificial enhancement (i.e. the world of Mary Kay) or whose hair can be washed, fluffed and sexy without any counterfeit products (i.e. hairspray, specifically Sebastian Shaper).  Who are gentle and kind hearted and wise.  And most importantly, would never spin through a drive-thru or feed their family things from styrofoam packaging.

I THINK YOU GET THE PICTURE.  I’M JUST DEPRESSING MYSELF NOW.

I would wish … to be the woman who can look beautiful naturally, live in the woods in a secluded cabin with a little vegetable garden, and not be afraid of bears or things from Friday the 13th movies.

I would wish … I had more down time.  Completely alone time.  Tending to other people’s needs and the demands of my job daily sometimes feel like an albatross around my neck. 

PLEASE NO LETTERS FROM PETA ABOUT ABUSING OUR FRIEND, THE ALBATROSS.

I would wish … that when my children were growing up I would have give them more license to stumble on their paths and to learn through the experience, right or wrong, versus my attempts to mold them into who The Children I Thought They Should Be.  Because really, who likes mold-y children anyway?

I would wish … that I loved myself more, sooner in my life and not wasted so much time in Years of Doubt About The Worth of Lisa.  I am not perfect.  But I am uniquely me.

And finally, I wish that I had better math skills to know that I am way over my three wish limit.

something (kinda) different

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. 
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

 

For the past three years as a most heartfelt thanks to readers of ‘The Realm of Baa’, I’ve held a simple contest and given away a gift card.  It was the very least I could do in an expression of appreciation for y’all humoring me and my writing endeavors.  And as always, I thank y’all so much.   It’s such an incredible feeling to get a message from someone telling me that a blog touched them in a special way. 

BECAUSE THAT TOUCHES ME BACK.

This year, however, I’m going to do something completely different.  Well.  Not completely.  Let’s leave it at ‘kinda’ different.  I wish I could take credit for this clever idea, but I actually heard about it today on the radio.  And because it stuck with me all day, I’m going to take it as a sign upon which I am compelled to act.

ARE YOU SITTING ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEATS?

No?

Hmmm.

ANYHOOO.

This year, beginning on Saturday and for the next 14 days  I’m going to do an anonymous ‘good deed’ for someone.  This will be my own personal Pay It Forward event for the next two weeks.  Y’all gave me warm fuzzies this year. 

I WANNA GIVE SOMEONE WARM FUZZIES TOO.

I’ve decided I’m going to begin the adventure at the office with one of my co-workers.  The guy I have in mind has a habit of hanging up on me.  Regularly.

IMAGINE THAT? 

In his defense, it’s a tough, fast-paced business and we all get more than a little stressed each and every day.  I’d imagine severing our connection is his way of eliminating an annoyance (i.e. me).   I told him the other day that I’ve never been hung up more in my life before working here.

AND THEN HE HUNG UP ON ME.

Okay, I’m kidding.  He actually waited a full two days after that conversation before he hung up on me again.

BUT.

Knowing we all have so much goodness in our life, I challenge y’all to Pay It Forward this season.  The premise is that it doesn’t have to be anything ‘big’, just a simple kindness to someone who crosses your path on that particular day. 

Give a homeless person a few dollars.  Clean the snow off someone’s car.  Fill up your husband/wife’s gas tank.  Bring back a scone for a co-worker when you go out to lunch.  Pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru.  Although I must interject the last time I did that a few months ago, the cashier said, ‘Ma’am, his bill is $10.42.’

WHAT?!  DID HE BUY YOU COMPLETELY OUT OF DONUTS?!  FOR PETE’S SAKE.

But.  I turned over my Tim Horton’s reloadable card and thanked the good Lord I had an extra $10.42.  Because not everyone does.

SO.

I’d keep you posted on how my adventure turns out, however, it’s going to be anonymous.

I wish y’all a most blessed Christmas.

channeling betty

We never know the love of the parent till we become parents ourselves.
~Henry Ward Beecher~

    

Some of the most unnerving moments in my life have come in the form of saying-and-or-doing things that I swore I would never say-and-or-do.  I’ve been doing this a lot lately. 

I THINK I’M POSSESSED.

The litmus test will be when I can spider scale the walls and emote green pea-soupy stuff.  But.  We haven’t had to call the priest just yet.

Moving on.

Oldest son is home for the long holiday weekend.  In typical college student fashion, he deposits his dirty clothes in the laundry room, spends exactly 30 minutes, give or take 45 seconds, catching us up on his life while simultaneously engaging in a texting marathon with his friends. 

Suddenly he has Other Plans.  And he’s gone.  

In his absence, we, His Parents Being of Questionable Intellect, do his laundry, bake and cook his favorite foods, and anxiously await the moment the Firstborn Son’s shadow will darken the doorstep again.

THEN WE BEGIN TO STEW. 

The Conversation About The Ungrateful Child begins.

When the Husband and I were first married one of the Big Issues we faced was my relationship with his parents.  Elizabeth aka Betty and Fred loved their children with every fiber of their being.  Their family was structured in the stereotypical Italian manner.  My father-in-law’s father, Florindo, arrived in America directly from Italy with every homeland tradition deeply engrained.   When you married, you were part of their family, because wasn’t it great to be Italian? 

And.  While much was given, in return, much was expected.

However.  I don’t want to leave you with the impression this was always a bad thing.  Sometimes it worked in your favor.  I can recall the time when I was dating the Husband and received a speeding ticket driving home late at night.  A $100 speeding ticket in 1982 was some pretty hefty coin.  What did his mama do?  Without blinking an eye, she opened her purse, and pulled out five $20 bills she’d won at Bingo that night.  Problem solved.  The Italian family way.

IO AMO LA MIA FAMIGLIA!

My family is of English descent with no ethnic traditions.  We grew up.  We moved out.  We became adults and waved bye-bye.  No emotional expectations, we were free to move about the cabin.

When the Husband and I brought our sons into the world, we erred on the side of Italian over-indulgence. 

And much was expected in return.

Flash forward to this weekend.  Son had been in town, but out and about for about 48 hours doing His Thing.  About 3:00 am this morning I woke up, noted his car was not yet home, and began stewing in a very non-typical English way.   I picked up my cell phone from the nightstand and texted that the next time he comes home maybe he should  just stay with his friends and come to visit us when it was convenient for him to do so. 

‘I am very disappointed in the way you’re acting.’

OHMYGAWD.   I’M CHANNELING BETTY.

Honestly, it was quite an epiphany to see things from her perspective.  She’s been gone since 1984, but when I say my prayers this evening, I’m going to give her a little shout out and say, ‘I FINALLY GET YOU.’

Because if she were here, she’d cuff her grandson on the back of the head and in pure ‘Moonstruck’ fashion, tell him to ‘SNAP OUTTA IT!’. 

Betty.  My new hero.

i didn’t know what i didn’t know

If you hold a cat by the tail, you learn things you could not learn any other way.
~Mark Twain~

 

My oldest son is nearly 21 years old.  It is with great pride that I tell you he knows everything.  Just like I did when I was 21 years old. 

AHEM.

The other day, whilst engaged in a deep and meaningful conversation, his father and I tried to explain to him that how he felt at this point in his life would change over time.  He wouldn’t feel the same at 30 or 40 years old as he does at 21 years old.  For purposes of our conversation, 40 was about as far as I  was willing to age to illustrate my story.

ANYHOOOO.

His father and I, being formed of powerful light and sage-ness, imparted the knowledge to him that his opinions would change, his life would alter course many times whether by choice or circumstance, life would beat him up a little and he’d be the same person … and yet different.  He would view life differently based on his experiences.

He laughed.  And assured me that he would be who he is now and forever more, amen.

Well. He wouldn’t say ‘amen’ because for all his Catholic upbringing, not to mention the tens of thousands of dollars spent on a Jesuit education, he’s kinda chucked that as well.

OY VEY.

However.  I left that conversation with the realization that you can’t interpret someone’s life for them.  He will have to learn in the same manner we did. 

One day at a time, one pleasure at a time, one scar at a time.

I have learned that …

… with every year that passes, I am wiser, tougher and more thankful for the smallest of things.

… sometimes the events I considered to be the worst, most painful things in my life, were ultimately the experiences that taught me the most about who I really am.  Those circumstances brought about change that wouldn’t have happened in any other way.  And that when I was raw to the bone and felt utterly abandoned, I was also the most open to other possibilities.

… raising babies is physically demanding, but older children can be mentally and emotionally draining in equal parts.  Once you have babies, you are tethered to another human being for the rest of your life.  They are yours, for better or worse.  Your life is henceforth changed forever.

That being said, I know that …

… as a mother you love your children in the same, unfathomable measure, with no favor of one over the other. However.  As you love them for the unique beings they are, you love them differently.  Having ten years between my sons, there were many agonizing nights I laid awake while pregnant with our second son, worrying about how I could possibly love another son as much as I do our first.  But you do.  

AND YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO TRY.

I believe that …

… religion is not faith.  What matters most is not how I worship, but who I worship.  God wants a relationship, not a dog-and-pony show.

… no one else needs to believe what I believe in order to make it true for me.  I don’t need agreement to validate my faith. 

… if everyone allowed everyone else to follow their hearts and conscience in the manner of faith, I think God would be a whole lot happier with us.

I sometimes ponder why …

… I’m middle aged, but in my mind’s eye I rarely view myself beyond my 21-year old self.  Even when I’m coloring my gray roots.  Even when I catch a glimpse of my post-nursing breasts in the mirror.  Even when I flex my hands and note the loss of elasticity of the skin on the backs of them, which is really starting to creep me out, by the way.  My middle-aged self never shows up. I’m still kinda diggin’ on Lisa at 21.  She was always the nicest girl to me. 

I think when I’m 80 and have to face hard facts, it’s going to come as quite a shock to my geezer-ly system.

WHAT THE … ?!  WHAT DID YOU DO WITH LISA?!

In the realm of relationships, life has taught me that …

… if a friend makes you feel small in order to make themselves feel big, they’re not a friend.

… sometimes blood is not thicker than water.

… if you are merely an audience for a friend’s non-stop drama, you need to find a better way to spend your time.

… you can’t expect one person to fulfill all your needs.  At some point, that person is going to resent the burden.

… a true friend is invaluable.  And if you’re as fortunate as I am to have a best friend who knows more about you than anyone on the planet and you trust that person implicitly to take your secrets to the grave, you are very blessed indeed.

What wisdom I would most wish to impart upon my son is that life is very, very short.  And in the blink of an eye, he’s going to be middle-age too and he’ll see how very little he really knew at 21.

SO THERE, MR. SMARTY PANTS.

the evil mr. kindle

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. 
~William Wordsworth~

I am a simple gal.  Hence, I believe from the depths of my soul that there are some things in life upon which we should not attempt to improve. 

For example, books.  Books are satisfying in and of themselves.  They just have to ‘be’ and they’re fulfilling. Books have existed for centuries just fine thankyouverramuch without the necessity of a major overhaul. 

So.

I would love to write to the person who invented the Kindle or the Nook or any other electronic device with which one would bypass the pleasures of good old-fashioned paper and glue.  I’d simply ask him ‘Why?!’  What possessed you?  Why all the hate?

WHAT DID BOOKS EVER DO TO YOU?

And dadgum it, I’d write that letter on paper.  Real paper. I wouldn’t even send him an electronic email.  Maybe with his paper phobia, he also has an aversion to stationery.

TAKE THAT, BOOK WRECKER.

In fairness, being a lifelong book connoisseur, I totally get the initial appeal of a Kindle. It’s sleek, it’s compact, and it can hold a treasure trove of literature.  Books can be downloaded in minutes.  Wherever you have Internet connectivity, whatever the time of day, books are yours for the taking.

And a credit card number.

Ooooh.  Ahhhh.

VERY SEXY.

However. I have implicitly and repeatedly beseeched my husband and sons to not, for even one moment of their valuable lives, consider gifting me with the Kindle Beast this Christmas.  I am not the least bit tempted by the seduction.

Please give me a moment while I go hug all my Real Books.

WHEW.

We all feel a little better now, don’t we?

I find reading to be pleasurable on a myriad of levels. Outside of the pure joy of being completely immersed in a really good storyline, there is something vital about the tangible feel of paper, the smell of fresh ink in a new book. And yes, for the record, I do sniff books when I open them. Each and every one I buy.  And old books, why those especially wind me up with their comforting aroma of mustiness. 

OH QUIRKY ME.

I love big glossy photos in magazines.  Not that my house will ever resemble anything even remotely akin to Martha Stewart’s ‘Living’. Sometimes it’s just healthy to pretend. I savor the abbreviated snippets of articles wherein it’s necessary to shuffle forward 62 pages to find out the Rest of the Story.  A new-fangled, fun way to read.  Half here, half there.

WAY CLEVER.

And there is an honest sense of inner peace when I turn the tissue-thin pages of my Bible and hear the whispery-soft crinkle of the paper in the stillness of the early morning.

SIGH.

So.

For all the Kindle and Nook Lovers of the World, please remember the roots of your book obsession.  Was it merely the words or was there more?

Dig deep, ponder thoughtfully.

THERE WILL BE A QUIZ AT THE END OF THIS BLOG.

The deal clincher for me was the day I walked into Barnes & Noble, past the Nook counter.  On this particular day, a very distraught woman was being told that not only had her Nook painfully and unexpectedly expired, it also took a few hundred dollars worth of irretrievable books with it to the grave.

And me?  Well. I walked over to the ‘Newly-Released Best Sellers’ shelf picked up a hardcover book … and inhaled deeply.