Across the street from our church office sits the day school. The only reason I need you to know that the school was there is that the periodic contact that I have with the preschoolers remind me of my childhood.
This week they had a book fair. An honest to goodness, Berenstein-Bear-laden, Shel-Silverstein- loving, Scholastic Book Fair. Earlier this week I had to drop off some papers in the hall where they are having the Fair, and I was instantly transported back 20 years (ok, so maybe it was closer to 25!).
For an instant, I am eight years old, standing in the library of my elementary school. Take a deep breath, inhale that smell of new books intertwined with the unique smell of the library. Look around at the glossy covers of all the new books, begging my little hands to softly caress them, to pick them up. Hear that crack of the spine when a new book is opened for the first time. Know that in my hands holds the ticket to another world.
Books were of utmost importance to my parents. Book fairs were a time when I could always be certain that we would find the money to buy a book. And no, not the fun sticker books that all my classmates were drooling over. My eyes would light up when the teachers passed out the pamphlets a couple weeks before the fair. I would treasure that paper, I would pore over the selections time and time again, knowing that I could make just one choice. I could get just one book, but oh! which to pick?
I realize as I type these words that the wonder has never gone away. I can walk into a Books a Million or Barnes and Noble today and feel the same wonder. The same overwhelming awe at the aisles and shelves of books. So many books to read, so many adventures that wait for me, how can I choose just one?
As I stood there this week, transported in time for the briefest of seconds, I wanted to thank my parents for this love of the written word. I want them to know that I do believe that words can change lives, that words can take you to other worlds, other times, other lives. That words can mold the way I think, the way I view the world.
And I wondered... was I the only child that was punch-drunk with love for the book fair?