Mid-Summer Afternoons…

There was no air conditioning, central, window or otherwise.  There were no large, five-speed oscillating fans.  The one 12-inch fan in the house, hummed like a diesel and was in the kitchen where it kept Mom cool while she was preparing our meal.  Dinner included a cool cucumber soup, vareneki and peach pie – – cucumbers individually pulled off the vines in the garden and plump, ripe peaches picked from our fruit trees. The oven, running all afternoon, added to the oppressive heat in the house.

We had one TV, with one channel, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  Hockey Night in Canada (Saturday Nights) was one of the few programs worthy of watching.  And, in any event, watching TV during the day was taboo.  We had one radio station, and it was country.  (So no radio.)  There was no internet.  No Playstation. No iPhones, iTunes, iPods, iPads, iAnthing.  No desktops or laptops.  No Barnes & Noble, Borders, Waldenbooks or Amazon.  No Kindles, Nooks or Readers.  The Public Library was miles away and I had never set my foot in it.  We had a camera but that was off limits and of little interest.

The chores were done.  The cows milked , the chickens and turkeys fed.  The lawn was cut.  The fruit trees picked.  The garden weeded. (Not by me.) The Alfalfa was cut, turned and now at the mercy of Mother Nature, with the Kanigan men on high alert for unpredictable warm summer rain showers that would set back the harvest.

And as late afternoon arrived, my refuge was the basement.  Dark.  Cool. Quiet.  My reading place.  The basement cupboard contained a potpourri of novels acquired by my Mother and long since gathering dust. I can’t remember a single title. And, it didn’t matter.  I’d dissolve into the book.  A magical hour spent living in the mind and the place of another.

Today offers much.  Yet, I can’t seem to get back my hour of uninterrupted, gadget-free, reading time in the basement.  To just Read.

Comments

  1. So good and big smile reading this. My reading place – a phase more of us should be able to say. I planned to read when I got home and instead pulled out the iPad. Excuse me. I have a book to read. Thanks David.
    – Michael

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    • Thanks Michael. I have EXACTLY the same iPad problem. And I consider it a problem (addiction?)…as they say, first step to recovery, is knowing… Have a good evening Michael. Dave

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  2. Oh yeah…for me it was in my room…I loved it…still do…I read every day uninterrupted…it is the best.

    Be encouraged!

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  3. Every night after my wife goes to sleep, I give myself one hour of solid reading time. It’s worth giving up an hour of sleep to go back to that place every day!

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  4. Here I was thinking, I remember those olden days before air conditioning, internet, iphones, ipads, large screen TV’s and all the other modern technology of today and then after chores hiding away to escape into the magic world between the pages of a book. Which by the way, I still read in the same manner. From paperback or hard cover. I guess I’m telling my age.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

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  5. Reading is delicious – the real book kind. Where you are engaged with all your senses – the smell of the book, the feel of its heft, how it becomes one with my hands as I roll from one side to another as I lie on the couch (to this day, I resemble the movement of that little boy in the picture above). Somehow the words excite me more – I experience them more deeply with a book and a cup of coffee. With my iPad or the Kindle, I am somehow less involved. Though they do come in handy when traveling…:-)

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  6. David: we must be twin sons of different mothers. My early childhood memories, the best ones, are about reading as well, and fishing of course! Thanks for the reminder of the truly important moments of youth.

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    • Hi John. Thank you. I, too, read your posts and feel a kinship. Growing up in a similar time, with similar values leads to commonalities and inspirations. I look forward to meeting some day.

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  7. I, too, love to read, and have many happy memories from my childhood spent with my nose buried in a book. My favorite reading spot was a corner of the formal living room–no one ever entered (it was technically just for entertaining company) and there were HUGE (to me at the time) floor vents that I could sit on and have warm air blowing up in my face as I read. I spent HOURS reading and “toasting.”. :-). I continue to find sustenance and succor between the pages of a good book every day. Thx for the memories, David!

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  8. This reminded me of my own growing up in the 60’s and 70’s. Excellent post David. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Those poses all look familiar, for a not so young reader who doesn’t like to sit still yet loves to read. 🙂

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  10. That looks like me 🙂 Add snacks.

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  11. Alex Jones says:

    Magical! You can find that moment again if you make space for it… and a good book.

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  12. richardkanigan says:

    Aha! So that is where you were while I was slavishly cleaning out the chicken coop and weeding the garden. Meanwhile you were tucked away in the basement, right next to the deep freeze that had all the frozen cookies and tarts. The truth always comes out brother!

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    • Ah yes. Been waiting for my Bro to stop lurking in the shadows and give his point of view. As usual, you’ve got it less than 1/2 right. Yes, it was a conscious omission about the strategic location (next to the freezer of cookies, tarts and you forgot ice cream – and the spoons and bowls you used to hide behind cupboard.). But seriously now, I don’t think you stepped foot in the chicken coop. Complaining that you were a target by our malicious rooster and hiding behind Mom’s skirt, nose always dripping and oozing with something nasty. Antonym: Chores and Rich.

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  13. You had me at vareneki! Mmmm … ok, back to the topic at hand. My nose used to be buried in a book every chance I got, but somewhere, along the way, I became too busy. Fortunately, not until after I managed to instill the love of reading into my kids. Perhaps slightly selfishly .. road trips are much less painful if they are caught up in a story! I’m pleased to say, I have found my way back to that happy place, although my nose is now buried in a kindle instead. We downsized with no room for shelves and shelves of books, so my shelves now travel with me.

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    • Hi Laurie. Good for you on Instilling the love of reading to your children. It is a lost art I believe with next gen and 2-down. We were 50% successful – Rachel is a voracious reader. The other, not so much despiter my haranguing, threats and other manipulations. As to the kindle, I haven’t found my groove yet. Still working it.

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  14. After I’ve tried different reading positions on the chair…I then move to another room — fun post =)

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  15. These drawings are exactly how I used to read on summer afternoons, trying not to wake up my mother from her much needed nap during the height of the gardening season. And I was a small GIRL, thank you very much!

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  16. (Laughing at the photo) Somehow I do that too 😉 well I don’t have specifc book reading hours I just pick it up whenever I feel like (but daily) because one hour isn’t enough as after 20 to 30 minutes I find my Soul swimming in that book. Moreover, I keep highlighters with me and mark my favorite paragraphs and lines. When I am puzzled and feel like to get an answer for something I pick up a book, close my eyes and ask my question and the highlighted lines of chosen page answers my question (=

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  17. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    Love the post. I can identify on many points. Still resisting any reading gadget (I know I would lose control).

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  18. Ooh that sketch says it all … my reading refuge was the tent … I liked to sneak off there after breakfast, before the morning’s sun was too hot, and read. Also read out there via flashlight 🙂

    MJ

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