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Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Gift of Reading, Key to a Good Life

By Rick Blumenberg  / @rickblumenberg
I grew up in a reading home. Mom and Dad would read the paper together, trading sections as each finished. Living in a home before the days of television (and even pre-electric for the first few years) I realize we didn’t have some of the distractions of our present day but some evenings every person in the family would have a book in hand, or, be listening to one. And that fostered a love of reading. When Mom was an older teenager, she wrote a column for the local newspaper about neighborhood happenings. She was paid with a subscription and years later, when I was growing up, we still got a free paper that she had earned for us.

One of my fondest early memories was when Dad took us to the library in Charleston, Missouri, and we went home with an armload of books! And I discovered that when we had read them we could take them back and get more! It was an awesome experience for a boy who couldn’t remember a life without reading and had just discovered to read for himself. All of our family members are readers and book lovers, and many of us are writers. Some time ago I wrote two of my favorite poems on the subject of reading. I share them with you here. I dedicate them to my family—past, present and future—and to their love of reading.

The Gift
I received it from my parents
a lifetime ago.
The family read together—
it was part of being home.
One reading, others listening,
or each with book in sheltered cove
In summer ’neath the shade tree
in winter by the stove.

We gave it to our children—
this gift of love received,
before they could know or understand
the words that we would read.
Dr. Zeus and Eggemier, The train that Tried
            and the Little Red Hen—
We watched their bright eyes sparkle
as reading would begin.

And now our children's children
are readers once again.
I don't know when it started.
I hope it never ends.
                                                --Rick Blumenberg

The Key
Read my child
            and no one can enslave you.
A book shall be your golden key
            to a strong unopened door.
With a book and time to read it
            the whole earth you can roam
And where others cannot travel
            you will be at home.

Read my child
            and travel far upon the deep.
Walk abroad on distant shores
            while others are asleep!
A book shall be your ocean barque
to sail the distant seas
And reading be your shining wing
            To ride upon the breeze.
                                    --Rick Blumenberg

I’m Rick Blumenberg and that’s My View from Tanner Creek.


Rick Blumenberg said...

My sister Carolyn's Facebook note:

"Oh by the way I read in the tree so as to not be found. But Mother was smarter than me and always knew where I was."

The reason, of course, was that Mom used to hide and read when she was young. One place they lived she said she had a spot upstairs where she could go and not be bothered.

It's inter-generational. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, did not know Mother did it too. Not sure who bought me my first book but was either you or Jeanne.

Rick Blumenberg said...

You're a lot like Mom, but I think in that way, we're all a lot like her. I don't remember buying you a book. Could have, but probably Jeanne. As you know, she loves books and reading too.