Saturday, November 17, 2007

Reading and Romance

It is almost six o’clock in the evening. Although I’ve cleaned, straightened, cooked, and done laundry, I am still in my pajamas. Paul said, “If I ask you out on a date tonight would that be incentive enough for you to get dressed?” Yes, that would do it! We are going to Barnes and Noble for coffee and a book. We just discovered that a book we’ve been waiting for is now on sale. It is the eighth book in a series about the Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency. When we get home I’ll get my electric blanket ready, Paul and I will get our cups of hot red bush tea, and he’ll start reading to me.

A bedtime story has been a tradition from the first week we were married. Paul started reading the Winnie-the-Pooh series to me when I was eighteen, and from there we have spent many hours in the late evening reading all kinds of novels to each other. During the past year and a half we have come to the conclusion that romantic moments don’t just happen, they have to be planned. With all of life’s demands, it would be easy to forget we have a relationship to nurture, so I’m glad for the tradition Paul established early in our married life. Along with growing in our faith, taking time for reading together has kept us both from despair on a number of occasions.

Katy and Qavah are staying home with Paul Burton. They are about to watch a DVD of little stories about Madeline. We got the DVDs from the library and Qavah has watched them several times with all of us. She can quote them. We are happy to give her the experience of watching books come to life, and as the story begins it takes me back to when each of the children would cuddle up and listen to us read to them. They each had a book that became their favorite. It is our hope that they will all enjoy reading aloud to their spouses and their children, and enjoy it as much as we have.

In an old house in Paris covered with vines,
there were twelve little girls in two straight lines.
They left the house at half-past-nine,
in two straight lines, in rain or shine.
The smallest one was Madeline.

  1. Katy Says:

    Mom, what a joyful update! I’m thankful that my parents can still be friends after all of these years together.

    I have many happy memories of being read to when I was little. My favorite stories from childhood are “The Little House in the Big Woods,” “The Wheel on the School,” and “Corduroy”.

  2. Sandy Says:

    What a wonderful tradition to read to each other! It sounds very sweet and romantic. I hope you had a wonderful evening.

  3. Doris Harriff Says:

    The Campbells and the Harriffs - always with a nose in a book!

  4. Lillian Oliveira Says:

    My favorite stories were Bambi, and the Heidi stories. In grade school I discovered The Boxcar Children and The Five Little Peppers. Yes, reading takes us to wonderful places we’ve never been and never will be, yet we “live” there for awhile and it brings wonderful refreshing as well as enriching our understanding of other times and places and cultures. Reading aloud takes us to the places together! What a special way to nurture a relationship! I’ve been longing for you two to have some special time together, and I hope more is coming up soon. :-) Love, Aunt Lil

  5. Paul Burton Says:

    Those were such happy days. I still remember driving that fourteen hour trip to Michigan; dad driving, mom reading us ‘Hansi: The Girl Who Loved the Swastika’. and then the lighter reading of the ‘Francis’ books. Also ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, and ‘The Cat in the Hat’ were books of which I never grew tired.

    As I started to think about my “favorite” books from that time in my life I was struck by the realization that I have had more books read to me than some people ever read. What a blessing that was.


  6. Mike Theesfield Says:

    My most memorable being-read-to experiences were at school. I remember “Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine” (which I’ve rediscovered in recent years, along with others in the series), and a science fiction story from some years later (I was in sixth grade); I don’t remember the title, but these two boys who lived on a moon colony were exploring in some kind of vehicle, and they discoved this underground cavern that was lair to this large plant which had imprisoned (or not) some scientist who had gone missing some years before. Four years ago, I took a motorcycle trip back to Illinois where I grew up, and I had the good fortune to locate the teacher (along with two others) who read that one to my class.

    Much of my reading preference is nonfiction. I like books about aircraft, spacecraft, boats (especially cruising sailboats), cars, and motorcycles, and accounts of adventures with such, especially the sailboats and motorcycles. And Kitplanes is my favorite magazine.

    For fiction, sci-fi and fantasy are my favorites; I have copies of a couple of sci-fi anthologies for kids that I read in grade school, and I’m a big fan of Star Trek novels and other space opera. For fantasy, Forgotten Realms is probably my favorite; there are other similar series that I like, too. By the way, Aunt Lil, I’ve read “The Magician’s Nephew” and “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” in the Chronicles of Narnia, and I’ve started on “The Horse and his Boy.”

    Katy, I hope you’re holding up a little better today, and managing to enjoy a few things.

    Cousin Mike

  7. Patricia Hagsten Says:

    You two could easily be UME presenters!
    Hope Katy held up well and is refreshed today.
    What a serendipity Ib & I just experienced. This a.m. we worshipped at the First Presbyterian Church in Decatur, IL. My great-uncle pastored there back in the 1890’s … I had always hoped some day to worship there. Lo and behold we net the church historian who had compiled their sesquicentennial history and remembered his name! Then we were invited to a full chicken/ham dinner they were holding at 12 noon … and sat across from their music director … who was our/my choir director in Gladstone while he was completing 2 Ph.D.’s in music and is now on the staff here at Millekin University. We sat next to a couple whose son is an organic grower in northern California and discussed with the man the ways he might convert his local farm acreage to organic production. What fun we had all in all ….. so much better than our grabbing lunch from the cooler back at our Days Inn!!!

  8. Dawn Says:

    Thanks everyone! The stories you shared about the books you’ve enjoyed were fun for us to read. Our date last night was very refreshing. I will update the blog tomorrow after we take Katy to the hematologist. Her condition hasn’t changed too much today but she is up and dressed and ready for small group this evening. Hope you all had a great day of rest from your labors. Katy hoped for more comments on this post, so I won’t change it. If you have a favorite book or book series, tell us about it!

  9. Trisha Ferris Says:

    Dawn & Family,
    What a treat to see a comment from the Katy! (Yes, I meant to say “the” as in “the Donald”)
    I have no memories of being read to as a child, but once I could read for myself, there was no holding me back. One of the most exciting events would be when the bookmobile came to my spot on the road. And the few books I owned were read over & over. I loved Trixie Beldon & Nancy Drew. I read to my children until they said they wanted to read themselves & what a disappointment that was. But they have given me grandchildren & now I am reading the Narnia books to my 5 year old grandson, Eric.
    Love & prayers,

  10. Sara Says:

    I don’t remember being read to much when I was little but when Laura and James were little ,Rich and I would read to them all the time. I really enjoy reading to small children. I think that is what I miss most about teaching. When Jackie and I were in college she introduced me to C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia. They are great books. I also liked The Great Divorce by Lewis and Dawn, you gave me a book called Hinds Feet on High Places. I haven’t read these books in a very long time but they all influenced me a lot. Whenever I go to a book store my favorite section is the children’s section. I wish I still had little ones to read to. Well, you are all my heroes. You continue to amaze and bless me every single day. We are praying for you daily. I love you and miss you .

  11. Colin Says:

    I remember listening over and over and over… and over and over to Mom reading me Headlines, Corduroy, all the ones Paul Burton remembered, and others. I really look forward to being able to read to my kids at night. I have this idealized image in my mind of several children all sitting around my feet listening intently. In reality one will probably be wrestling with another, while a third picks their nose to the great distraction of a fourth. Ironically they’ll probably still remember much of it!

    I love that Dad still reads to Mom at night, and Jenn and I have really tried to keep that going as well on a semi-regular basis. I seem to remember that one of Dad’s tests to see if Mom was asleep for the night was to just say, “Rhubarb, Rhubard, Rhubarb.” If she didn’t say anything in response, that was it for the night. Otherwise she’d mumble, “I’m still awake - keep reading!”

    To Cousin Mike, you might also enjoy CS Lewis’ Sci-Fi Space Trilogy after you’ve finished with Narnia:
    - Out of the Silent Planet
    - Perelandra
    - That Hideous Strength

  12. Lael Moreland Says:

    What a sweet post! And such an interesting topic of comments. This is fun!
    I always run into books that I have forgotten about, but it is such a sweet feeling of remembering all of those favorite books from when I was really little.
    I remember corduroy too…it made me want a bear like that. I think that was probably the beginning of my obsession with cozy little teddy bears.
    How about Harold and the purple crayon?? Such fun books!
    Also… Pickles the Fire Cat. Wonderfully exciting book for me!
    Ah…so many good books.
    I love your habit of reading to eachother every night. How sweet. It’s a story that most of us would hope for ourselves.
    Your lives are truly inspiring to those who are able to see/read about it.

  13. Jes Says:

    I agree - a very fun topic! I was just visiting my parents this weekend and my mother has kept so many of the books we read as children. The bookshelf is packed with some very worn treasures! My parents have a wood burning stove in the living room that they use to take the chill off the air on winter nights…so we made a fire and the kids quickly found a lap to sit in…It brought back so many memories - the books definitly were showing signs of age but the stories were just as good as new!! One of my favorites was from the ‘great big book of Richard Scary’ stories….The Great Pie Mystery! I also loved A Bargin for Francis and Who’s Mouse Are You?….

    We started reading to our kids from the day we brought them home from the hospital! My new favorites as a mommy have to be Guess How Much I Love You…and I’ll Love You Forever!

    Katy - I hope the hematologist is able to come up with something today! Hang in there girl!

    Love you!

  14. Sophie Says:

    I agree, a very fun topic. I have such good memories of both my parents reading to me and my sisters. It has been really fun for me to relive it now that Calvin is old enough, I love re-reading all these stories that I have not read since I was very young. Calvin particularly loves the Little House series. He sometimes even asks to go to bed early just to read a chapter, which is extraordinary for a 4 year old boy! Hope this week brings blessings to your family.

    Sophie Wilhelm

  15. Heather Kirkwood Says:

    My favorite books as a kid were all of the Little House on the Prairie books. I used to go around all summer with a sun bonnet and long dress on - weird kid hugh. I also loved The Box Car Children, The Borrowers and Island of the Blue Dolphins.

  16. Kendall Pelish Says:

    On my way back from the 2006 New Atttitude conference I was reading Huck Finn in the back seat of a car packed with twenty somethings from church. One of ladies asked me to read the book aloud. This request struck me as very very odd because I hadn’t been read to in over a decade and long car rides always consisted mostly of jaming out to the radio. By the time it was too dark to read we had read a considerable amount and my attention had not waned at all. We just passed the book clockwise at the end of each chapter and laughed at the dialects twain wrote into his characters. I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed the ride. I immediately vowed my family will adopt that custom on our long trips.

  17. Doris Harriff Says:

    Two books (Rand McNally elf books, similar to little Golden books) that were favorites of my children - especially Karen - when they were quite small, were “Bunny Button” and “Timmy Mouse.” Especially Timmy Mouse. Aunt Lois had given them to me, and she said that her children particularly liked Timmy Mouse also. I ran across Timmy Mouse in a store many years later, and bought several copies and gave them away. I wish I had kept one in reserve for my grandchildren, because Karen wanted to find a copy of it and we couldn’t. She said, “You can’t raise a child without ‘Timmy Mouse.’” I used to read to her every book she owned at one sitting. Mike wasn’t so much of a read-to child. He was too hyper to sit still, I guess.

  18. andrea Says:

    Katy, Dawn,

    when I was a child I still remember my grandpa reading this huge book of fairytales to me. It was called “1001 Night” and another book with the stories of the Brothers Grimm. Every night I spent at my granparents house my grandpa read a good-night story to me :)

    When I got older and could read myself….I loved reading the whole series of “Heidi”, “Pippi Longstocking”, Huckleberry Finn”, “Moby Dick” and others.

    Yes this post of yours brought back nice, warm, fuzzy memories for me too!

    All my Love and Blessings to you all

  19. Carrie Thompson Says:

    Mom read us books when we were little–mostly Corduroy, The Little Engine That Could, Mike Mulligan & his Steam Shovel Mary Ann, The Little House Series, James Herriot Treasury for Young Children, Policemen Small, and many other Louis Lenske books, Hally Tosis and so on… By the time I was 7 or 8, I was reading to myself–LOTS!!! Generally she read while she fed whoever was the baby. She quit when Nicky was roughly 1 because he would get listening to the story & quit eating! So, I guess that’s why I started reading more then. :-)

  20. Beth Says:

    I loved reading this post, and your replies! I remember, as a very little girl, the youngest of 7, being at home while my older siblings were all away at school. When it was nap time, I got to nap on my parents’ bed. My mother would read to me, from various book series. I remember her reading The Borrowers, and many others. Then she’d wind up her special music box, and it would play while I’d go to sleep. Those memories are full of peace and contentment! My dad loved to make up stories to tell us, and he’d quote poetry as well.

    I used to love to borrow the Little Bear books from the library, and the Beverly Cleary books about Ramona and her friends!

    In our home, the favorite children’s books are mostly all still in the bookcase down the hall, and I really don’t want them to leave us. I so much enjoyed those times of reading, from Good Night Moon Little Rabbit to Dr. Seuss’s ABC’s to Richard Scary to Mike Mulligan to Henry’s Awful Mistake to Delores & Duncan to the Hans Chrisian Andersen series to… many more. So many happy blessings bound up in the covers of books!

    Thanks for reminding me. I think we never grow too old for reading aloud!