Time for reading

As I was sitting at my campfire this weekend, watching the flames flicker and reading a book, I realized how relaxed I was. I have very much enjoyed my camp this year and am already looking forward to next year, even though I still have a couple of weeks before closing up for the winter, which I am sure will end up in a story for here one of these days.

As I sat reading my book I began to think back to the many books I have read over the years.

Reading has always been a favorite pastime of mine. The Berenstain Bears was one of the first books I ever read myself.

Having had it read to me so many times, I had memorized most of the words and could "read" it myself. After much repetition, I could read the words not only in that one little book but in all books.

Wanting to be a librarian when I grew up, I figured reading was a good thing to know how to do and enjoy. I had a big bag of books at home which I read repeatedly, typed up cards for and set up in the library I ran out of my home.

We visited the Knox Public Library often and I always took as many books as I was allowed and proudly carried my plastic bag back home with me.

One of my favorite books I checked out from the library was "Big Bad Bruce" by Bill Peet. Big Bad Bruce was a huge bear who had his fun rolling boulders down the mountain side, scaring the smaller creatures of the forest.

One day, Roxy, a witch, decided to teach Bruce a lesson. She fed him a magic apple which shrunk him to a tiny little bear, smaller than the rabbits he tortured. Roxy dressed him in a bonnet and carried him around.

After taking care of him for some time, she decided he had learned his lesson to always be kind to others and allowed him to grow back to his original size.

Big Bad Bruce was just one of many books I enjoyed as a kid. I read Curious George, Clifford the Big Red Dog and many Berenstain Bear books. There were many Little Golden books, Disney books and many, many more I'm sure I have forgotten.

When I got a little older, my Grandma Winnie would buy me books. I got books for holidays, birthdays and just because. I had and read all of the "Little House on the Prairie" books, dozens of Nancy Drew books, "Charlotte's Web," "Trumpet of the Swan," "The Secret Garden," "Old Yeller," "Black Beauty" and many others.

One of the earliest books I remember was a farm ABC book I insisted Grandpa read to me when he got home from work. He obliged, sitting on the bench behind the door, setting me on his big knee and reading to me before he even took his boots off after work.

As an adult, I still enjoy reading. Mysteries, historical fiction, romance, western, inspirational. I've read hard back, paperback and digital books. There aren't many books I don't like. I like the stories and the thoughts behind them.

My favorite books are the ones that make the characters come alive on the pages and leave me thinking about what they might be doing now, after the book ends.

There was a period of time, when my kids were little, in school and involved in many activities, when I didn't have much time to read.

Even now, with them grown and gone, it seems I should have a lot of time to read but somehow time seems to fly by and there's always something else needing done. The floors need scrubbed, dishes need washed, laundry needs done, the yard needs mowed, leaves need raked, snow needs shoveled, bills need paid, groceries need bought, the dog needs a bath, the bed needs made, the editor of the paper needs a column written,..

Today's world of the Internet and Google, Facebook, games and take up a lot of time. It's easy to pick up my phone and get lost in time searching for healthy recipes I never make, the name of a song or book I remember from childhood, what's going on this weekend or the latest news on the Pirates or Steelers.

It's easy to turn the lights out, the TV on and watch a Hallmark movie rather than read a book.

I think that's one of the reasons I like going to camp so much, aside from the fires and the food. There's no Internet, no cell phone service, no work, no TV.

It's quiet, peaceful, relaxing.

It's a time for thinking, or not thinking, a time to remember when things weren't so busy and modern. For those short periods of time, it's life "unplugged." It's a time to hold a book in my hands, let the world around me fall away and another world come alive through the talent of others.

The author is a Knox-area resident.