Driving and Biking in the Big City

Old-fashioned evening on the porch

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This old-fashioned girl who loves nature, hounds, plants and bird watching took a Kate Spade knockoff wine glass of Chardonnay onto the porch with three candles in a single candleholder. The scent of the candles, bought by a good friend, is “fresh washed clothes.” It reminds me of washing on the line in the Texas sun and the crisp unique smell of clean cool sheets in a house that spent many years without air-conditioning. I light the candles and it adds to the atmosphere that makes me feel like the small-town girl who was raised 90 long miles from the big city.

This nature girl has brought to this timeless atmosphere of the porch

  1. her a laptop,
  2. an iPad,
  3. a smart phone and
  4. my very favorite, never-without-it device, a Sansa MP3 player that I use to download books on tape from the Harris County Public Library.Sansa

Ironic, huh? I enjoy almost every evening with the setting sun, rising moon and constellations – surrounded by the gray-blue screens of technology.

As a little girl, I always was a reader and remember clearly forcing myself to turn out the lights and go to bed on a school night. In my mind back then, I thought of how wonderful it would be if someone invented a device that paraded the letters from your book across the backs of your eyelids so you could keep reading, no matter how tired you were. You could be tired and heavy-lidded and keep reading. Ha!! I never could stand to sleep when I was in the middle of an excellent plot twist.

This Sansa is very close to my childhood fantasy. Of course, the words aren’t paraded on the backs of my eyelids, and, in fact, the words aren’t on any page at all. The books are read to me, allowing me to go on a dog walk, a bike ride or simply do chores around the house while I catch up on my reading. I never have to (get to) stop, sit in a comfy stuffed chair or linger for hours in bed, reading.

I have several really earth-shattering memories from my young life – first being the reality of death, second being the non-reality of Santa and the third being the incredible fact that I could never, ever read every book in the world. However, more books are now in my reading grasp again.

My reading rainbow was an easy enough quest when I was young and read all of the books at home, including World Book encyclopedias, Shakespeare’s plays, some Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck left behind by my older brother when he joined the Army. Then, every separate classroom in my elementary school had its own library. Shelves lined the side windows and books lined those shelves. So every school year, I sized up the small classroom library and began the task of reading everything.

doc_savage_coverThe mother lode of my reading adventures as a kid came when I visited my older sister’s house and discovered the reading material stashed under her bed by my brother-in-law. This is when I became introduced to what would become my lifelong favorite genre. He had James Bond, Doc Savage, Honey West, action, adventure, detective stories, crime novels. I read them all and some pretty soft porn he kept stashed at the way back.  Of course, these worthy adventures are mostly blotted out by my memories of his pile of tabloids that included “The Rat Ate My Baby’s Face,” a story I remember vividly these several decades later.

I was most proud to discover the phenomenon of Philip Dick earlier than most people who came to admire the movies made from his books. I read “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” and didn’t realize until “Blade Runner” that I wasn’t the only person who would come to appreciate his work. I read “Total Recall” and “Minority Report” and remember vaguely the drawings that accompanied the stories.

The reality that I couldn’t read everything ever printed didn’t hit me for a long, long time.

I remember vividly walking into the library of my junior high in seventh grade and realizing there were more books there than I could ever read. Books lined not only the four walls but free-standing walls in rows everywhere. Fiction, non-fiction, biographies, reference.  I walked over to the fiction section, of course, and feasted my eyes. But, my second thought, was that, in fact, I couldn’t read them all.

But I’m getting closer now with book downloads.

I still enjoy the paper pages of a real book and love to hold them in my hands, especially when I’m poolside or beachside. There is nothing more relaxing to me than a real read of a real book. But, if you want to know if I’ve read the latest on the Top 10 list, I have. I just close my eyes at night and keep listening.


Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

March 7, 2014 at 3:22 pm

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