I'm hitting the road south today, driving four hours to the big city to be with my dad on his 78th birthday. Our Christmas visitors have only just left so the house is still a bomb site and I haven't had a chance to get Dad a present yet, but the kids don't care about any of that, they just want to go and have birthday cake with 'Pops'.
|My Dad, Leo|
I can't quite believe Dad's 78, I always think of him as about mid forties, a golf trundler in his hand or wearing his orange towelling hat while digging in the vegetable garden. He was a high school principal with a Masters degree in history and my dad has always loved a great story.
We lived in small country towns while dad was climbing the career ladder and I remember those years as quiet family times. The week would be filled with school and music lessons, dance classes and play dates, but the time I looked forward to the most was Saturday mornings.
Every Friday night Dad would go to the pub after work. After a beer or two with his mates he'd go next door to the town library, about the only other place open on a Friday night! I'd be oblivious to all this of course, tucked up in bed and fast asleep. But boy can I remember the thrill of waking up every Saturday morning. It was as if Santa had been - there, at the end of my bed would be a brand new pile of books, ready for me to open carefully and spend the next few hours devouring.
Of course I guess it was a smart move on dad's part - getting a bit of peace and quiet for him and Mum on a Saturday morning, but for me and my brother and sister, it started a lifelong love of reading. I can still remember so many of those titles, and that feeling that every book is a great gift, a surprise, and something to be savoured in my own quiet time.
Coincidentally, the postman arrived with a special delivery this week, the first hard copies of one of my own books. The feelings as I opened that box were so similar to all those Saturday mornings years ago. Maybe I've found the perfect gift to give to the man whose name is part of mine and who has given me a lifelong love of books.
Did you have anyone in your life inspire your love of books and reading? A parent? A grandparent? A special teacher? I'd love to hear about it.