As we read Eric Carle’s “Brown Bear Brown Bear,” GrampaStavo tossed the book aside with disdain. “Oh come on,” he lamented. “I understand the white dog and black kitten, but it’s not like they know what the rest of these are yet.”
So if anyone out there knows a blue horse we can introduce the muppets too…
Children have the most amazing imagination.
And part of that ability comes from the limitless amount of life they still have to discover someday.
As the muppets ran amuck through the game room and library of GrammaJ and GrampaStavo’s house, this point became ever clearer to me. As I watched my sons disassemble a silk plant (not only do the women in my family not cook, most of us kill plant life as well), I causally looked up at the library bookshelves lining the walls. Slowly, it occurred to me that I had read every book there. Every. Single. One.
There were text books – “Ciao” and accompanying Italian/English dictionary from college. (Yes. I cheated and took Italian for my language requirement.) From middle school was the “Science Fair Project Primer” where I first came up with the idea to test chromatography via magic markers and coffee filters. (Liberal arts major people…)
Some were fabulous fiction I’d picked up from my mother’s collection to entertain myself throughout the years: John Grisham legal thrillers, prehistoric reptilian adventures crafted by Michael Creighton and retaking the west with the men of Lonesome Dove.
Most were literature I’d read through the years – many recommended (required) for education purposes. (But all, of course, read long before the school year ever began.) Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Of Mice and Men, Cold Sassy Tree, Scarlett Letter, Pride and Prejudice. Sitting side-by-side were the topics of my very first term paper – Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur as compared to T.H. White’s Once and Future King. I teared up just looking at Flowers for Algernon.
I picked up some of my fondest childhood fantasies. Call of the Wild and White Fang, Little Women, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Secret Garden, The Yearling, Wind in the Willows, The Giver, Egypt Game and The Caye. I laughed when I remembered the first time I read There’s a Boy in the Girls Bathroom and Hailstones and Halibut Bones.
And, naturally, the inherent hilarity within the works of the great Dave Barry. My hero. I smiled at my old friend Shel Silverstein and began to read aloud some of the poems from Where the Sidewalk ends and A Light in the Attic.
To some, the paragraphs above may read as nothing more than a list of books. I’ve never experienced anything like those stories first hand. But to me, those bookshelves are the journey of a thousand worlds, a million adventures and the sparks of a colorful imagination.
A good book is my favorite place to get lost.
But, just in case, I set out on an adventure with the muppets to experience new “real” things. We headed down to the local equestrian center to meet some of the magnificent beasts. They were beautiful. Search was in awe; Destroy seemed a bit wary. Yet, even in the midst of such magnanimity, nary a blue horse was to be found. So we headed down to the park to play on the swings and pretend train.
I guess they’ll just have to use their imagination. Where has your imagination taken you?