One item very near the top of any list I might draw up of things for which I'm grateful is my ability to read. Along with that I'm grateful for the unlimited resources available to me from which to draw my passion for the printed word. I love bookstores, libraries, my Kindle, the internet, newspapers, friends and family who share books, and my own scribbles.
Somehow I got the idea that recuperating would involve a lot of time to read. Boy was I wrong. Granted I did read a lot while recuperating from my September knee replacement surgery, but the pancreatectomy left me too sick to read at first, then shaky and uninterested, then too busy learning to deal with diabetes, doctor visits, and fatigue. I must be getting better because in the last three days I've read The Ensign cover to cover, two and a half books, and all of the unpublished authors' entries in the LDSPublishers Christmas Story Contest.
When my sister who is two years older than me started school, she came home each day and we played school. She taught me whatever she'd learned that day. An older brother was having trouble learning to read so his teacher assigned him to read aloud to someone each day for a half hour. My busy mother decided he should read to me. Between my sister's daily tutoring and my brother's laborious sounding out each word as he read, I learned to read several years before I was allowed to go to school.
My mother had a number of children's books which I spent hours poring over as they ignited my imagination. One of the great tragedies of my childhood was the flood that swept through our home destroying all of my mother's books when I was eight.
Some of the most appreciated Christmas gifts I received as I grew up were books. As I became old enough to babysit, some of that precious money went for books. When I was twelve I could buy a Trixie Beldon novel for fifty cents, my entire earnings for tending three small children for six hours--including washing the family's supper dishes. During the school year I had access to books, but summers were different. Few towns allowed children from the outlying farms to have library cards. I will always feel gratitude for an elderly man who was our neighbor in Montana. He marched into the Hamilton library and signed a paper to sponsor me and my siblings so we could have library cards. A high school teacher in a little Idaho town arranged a state library card for me so that I could check out books by mail from the state library in Boise. I so appreciated that gesture.
It will be Christmas in just a few days and you can be sure there will be books among the many surprises under the tree. It has been exciting to watch one of my daughters experience the publication of her first book and share her pleasure in successful book signings. And I look forward to reading my favorite Christmas story; you know the one I mean . . . the one that begins "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. . . And Joseph also went up from Galilee, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem . . .To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child."
Merry Christmas to all of my readers!