A few days ago, I drove slowly by my childhood home, reminiscing about a simpler time: a time without the hustle and bustle, a time without fear, and a time without a care in the world.
Oh, the memories of long ago………
The house still looked the same; although a different color and definitely smaller than I remembered. The barn was the same; just looked its age. Our orchard where we climbed trees, and sometimes ate apples with an occasional worm, was totally wiped off the earth. The egg house where we weighed and candled eggs was in pretty good shape, but the old smoke house, where I sometimes played was only half standing.
I also notice the pear tree that produced the biggest and most delicious pears was missing. Just thinking of those pears, made my mouth water. The outhouse was gone too! I should note that the pear tree grew next to the outhouse. That might explain the size and great taste!
However, I have managed to push the memory of the outhouse, and the cold seat in winter, way back in my mind! Although, Mom did have it looking pretty nice with a picture and a few magazines.
As I scanned the lower part of the yard, I noticed the outdoor fireplace where Mom grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, was still standing. Then, something caught my eye and prompt a feeling of emptiness, as I realized that my favorite place, a place where I read, acted out stories and could be anyone or anything I wanted to be, was gone.
Dad loved to read! I can still see him sitting in his chair after a hard day with an open Lonesome Dove book. Dad also loved to go to auctions, where he would bid and sometimes buy a box lot or two, filled with many contents. Sometimes, there would be books appropriate for me to read, and read them I did! One time there were two Nancy Drew books! I read them both within a couple of days. Dad made a real effort to look for box lots that had books in them. Needless to say, I always looked forward to seeing the surprises he brought home.
Thank you Dad, who now resides in heaven, for inspiring me and providing me with countless books that took me on adventures, stories that made me laugh, and stories that made me cry. But, most of all, stories that made me believe that I really could be anyone and anything I wanted to be.
The enchanting weeping willow……..
During the summer, I would hurry to get my chores done, then head down to the weeping willow tree, with the long branches holding slender, soft leaves. One summer, I asked Dad not to cut the branches, which were already quite long. He agreed, and the enchanting weeping willow took on a new look for me.
As I walked out the door with my book, Mom called me back and gave me an old blanket and pillow to use under my tree. I smiled and ran down the little hill, past the peony bush and through the branches. I shook the blanket like Mom did when she was putting new sheets on my bed, then, plopped the pillow down and got comfortable. It felt like I was sitting on a magic carpet.
On that afternoon, and every afternoon that summer, I entered through the branches, to a place that was just for me. A place where I could enjoy my books, and become one with each character. Each book took me on a new adventure and places I could only dream about. I acted out parts of my favorite stories, danced around the branches, sang songs, and daydreamed about living in a castle; and even wore my blanket like a queen’s robe.
Sometimes, I would drift off while reading and wake up to the sound of soft breezes meandering through feather like branches. It was very peaceful and very special. The weeping willow became a part of me that summer, and for many summers to come. As my love of reading grew so did my love of the willow.
I often found myself going under the branches when I wanted to think, when I was bullied, or when I wanted to cry. It was a place that always made me feel better. Just thinking about it now, brings back nice memories that tickle my heart.
My heartfelt wishes…….
The weeping willow was my enchanted place. Being under the branches allowed me a special place where I could be me. So dear readers, where is your enchanted place?
I would like to encourage you to find a special place for your children to read their favorite books. A place that stimulates their imagination and allows them to travel to places they can only dream about. Load up on the type of stories your child likes to read but also introduce different genres. Children are a wonderful blessing, read with them, encourage them and love them unconditionally.