Teach Your Children Well

My mother always read to me, and it spurred my desire to read on my own. My very favorite book was the 1948 edition of the Anthology of Children’s Literature with color plates by N.C.Wyeth (which also stirred my interest in art and illustration). She would read the same poems every night to put me to sleep, starting with Mr. Nobody and including The Duel, and her favorites by Robert Louis Stevenson.

At the Sea-Side

Robert Louis Stevenson

When I was down beside the sea,

A wooden spade they gave to me

To dig the sandy shore.

My holes were empty like a cup.

In every hole the sea came up,

Till it could come no more.

I took my tattered old copy of the Anthology with me on Sunday when I went to visit her. She was hunched over in her wheelchair, and had just finished eating. As usual, I kissed her hello, and said her name and got no response. So I opened the book, and started to read. First I read Mr. Nobody and surprised myself with how quickly it brought me to tears. But I soldiered on. And as I got to the RLS, all of a sudden, my mother’s head came up and she fixed me with the most intense stare. She knew I was there, and she was there in a way that I hadn’t seen in at least four years. She tried very hard to say something, but her speech center is shot, and only a garble of things that might have been words came out. But there was intent. She held my hand tightly.

Next week, I think we’ll read again, and maybe I’ll try some Just So stories on her.

In less maudlin and heart-wrenching news, RJ came over on Sunday afternoon to help me establish a bird watching area/sanctuary in my back yard. We put in a suet feeder, a hummingbird feeder (under the red hibiscus and over my old cat’s grave), a bird bath, a seed feeder and a squirrel feeder. Whew. Today, the squirrels discovered that there was a huge pile of corn and sunflower seeds to be had for the taking. I’m chuffed.

Finally, tonight the Sussex Spaniel came out of retirement to win Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. It was the first time in show history that five of the seven dogs competing for best in show represented breeds that had never won best in show. They were the Scottish Deer Hound, the Sussex, the Pulli (I was rooting for the Pulli), the Brussels Griffon, and the Giant Schnauzer (in black)(and that was another thing, of the seven dogs, five were black or dark grizzled grey). It was a gorgeous set of finalists, and good to see some under represented breeds win their groups. The Sussex is named Stump, and he’s ten, which is a Grand Old Man in dog show years. Yeah for dogs. Jojo, the dog of very little brain, watched with me, but the Noble Dog Nails was having none of it. He went to bed with the RLA.

And now, so shall I.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/11 at 12:01 AM in Maudlin Crap

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