Night after night he sat there, hunched over his desk with a paperback in hand. He angled his desk lamp over the page so that the incandescent bulb glowed mere inches away from his head. I can’t count the number of hours I saw him sit like that, devouring page after chapter after book. He read all kinds of books: westerns and poetry and biographies and anything else he could get his hands on.
But Louis L’Amour was his favorite. If he didn’t read every book that man wrote, he sure came close. He would read the books and when he was done, round them up and donate them to the library. Other times, depending on the author, he would give them to me. Our home was always stuffed to the gills with books and I am proud to say that such is still the case – I have far more books than places to put them (which only means that I need more shelf space).
Daddy instilled in me a love of books that I hope to instill in my own children, that I am trying to instill in my own children. I love to see Cricket’s face light up when he sees a new book; I love to discuss the Goosebumps series with Tomcat and tell him which ones I enjoyed when I was younger and hear which ones he likes. I love watching Seymour install beautiful custom bookshelves in every nook and cranny our old house has to offer and believe me, there are plenty.
But of the many wonderful memories related to books that spill forth from my childhood, the one that will stick with me the longest is the one of my father in his squeaky desk chair, his jacket sleeves shoved up his forearms and his hair mussed up because he hadn’t combed it yet that day, hunched over his desk devouring another book with a beer and a cigarette nearby.
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