Just a mere thought. “Where the Red Fern Grows” hit me so hard that when my teacher, Miss Kennedy, put on the movie version in class, I bolted out of my seat and out of the classroom and out of the hallway, just so I wouldn’t have to hear a second of it. If we’re being honest, she must have thought I had diarrhea or something. I would NEVER run out of a classroom without permission, or at least a hall pass! There were also several Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley books that did it too.
I swear I only learned how to walk so that I could reach for books. I only learned how to talk so that I could ask for books. When I’m eating a meal with other people, I cross my legs in my chair and busy my hands because otherwise they’ll be reaching for books. I know how to rest (sort of) and I know how to relax (in odd ways) and I know how to dwell and I know how to STAY, but when I want to escape, I have one thing on my mind – and that’s books. (or magazines, Hallmark movies, and a good hug and kiss, but that’s a story for another day) Reading makes me escape. Dream. Imagine. Weep. Laugh. FEEL.
In high school, I used to sleep at my friend Rachel’s house with my other friend, Jessi. Jessi and I have been friends since 4th grade and still remain close to this day. Rachel had a children’s book called “I’ll Always Love You” by Hans Wilhelm tucked into her bookshelf. It’s a book about a little boy who gets a puppy and they grow up together. The dog gets older and older and eventually dies. The little boy is sad but he had said, “I’ll always love you” to his dog every night of the dog’s life.
Rachel and Jessi found me huddled in the corner of Rachel’s bedroom sobbing one night because I had found the book and read it. And I mean full on convulsing. It became a thing that every time we went to Rachel’s house, we’d both read the book to make ourselves cry. We were masochists, apparently. I forgot about that book after Rachel and I drifted apart.
I was having a particularly bad day with our elderly Husky, Stormy. We had spent the morning doing errands and then I drove Cassidy to work downtown and got myself a delicious egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast. Back at home, Stormy had the nerve to steal half of the sandwich right in front of me. I was so mad and while I was shouting and trying to get her to go outside, she ate the other half. In front of me. I was fuming. And I couldn’t believe the nerve. I went to work and I was muttering about it and balling my hands into fists. People probably thought I was insane. Oh, wait! This was The Haight in San Francisco. Never mind. I fit right in looking crazy. Anyway, I should have gotten over it fast but I didn’t for hours.
It wasn’t until I got home and found a package in the mail slot. I pulled out a book that had a post-it note that said, “Open Me” and had a drawn on smiley face on the cover. It was the book, “I’ll Always Love You.” I read maybe one page of it and burst into tears and hugged Stormy repeatedly. The book was sent by Jessi and it was truly a gift in every sense of the word. I got over that egg sandwich episode very fast. I’ll never get over the feeling, though. I don’t know that I’d want to either.
I’m linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday or #FTSF. This week’s topic is “Reading makes me…” And there’s time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on the matter: HERE.