The classics . . . pieces of art and history, penned by the hands of literary masters, caretakers, and keepers of words; their works have stood the test of time, remaining while all else changes . . . forever.
My childhood was filled with magic and mystery, drama and suspense. I was a time traveler and a princess, a mighty hero and a damsel in distress. I’ve flown round the world and journeyed to the center of the earth. I had grand adventures when I was young. I could go anywhere and do anything because my mother led me to a me a magical doorway, an entrance into another world.
She gave me a wonderful gift when she taught me to read, it was my key to unlock the doors of imagination and knowledge. When I was six years old I found a weathered copy of The Old Man and The Sea, I read it front to back without pause; I’ve read it many times since. The same softly covered book, printed and bound in nineteen fifty-two, holds a place of honor in not only my memory, but in my home as well. Once I stepped beyond the boundaries of everyday reality into the wondrous world of literature there was nothing I did not desire to read.
Herman Melville and Ernest Hemingway were my best friends. Shakespeare and Mark Twain accompanied me to school quite often. Hawthorne and Homer waited patiently for me at the end of each day. I’ve been to secret gardens and lived in enchanted castles. I’ve known the greatest of love and have felt the deepest of sorrow. I played with Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn; I’ve even been to the moon and back again. I’ve sat along the shores of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River with the elephant’s child and pondered what the crocodile ate for diner. I bravely ventured into the mind of Poe.
I remember going to the fair with Charlotte and Templeton and investigating every mystery with the Hardy Boys. I was in the skiff with the old man Santiago and I felt the wind in my hair as I rode atop Black Beauty. My tears stained the pages where the red fern grew.
Aesop, Anderson and Kipling often joined me for lunch with James and his companions beneath the giant peach tree in the backyard. I traveled with Bilbo Baggins of Bag End and met the great wizard Gandalf. I befriended elves and fought ogres in search of the ring.
I held hands with Jesus in stories from the Bible and I was with Daniel in the lion’s den. I stood atop Mt. Ararat and gazed upon the most beautiful rainbow with Noah. I’ve been both young and old, taken many forms and seen many places. I’ve ridden high atop unicorns and slain dragons. I’ve even soared on the wings of angels.
I will forever be thankful to those who penned their dreams and fantasies, for in doing so; they bestowed upon me a treasure of great worth. I adore my books, though the pages have aged and the bindings have seen better days, I still go back to them, I visit my old friends often, adding new ones along the way. I never know where the magic door will take me or who will be my guide. It may be a quest for infinite wisdom or a marvelous retreat into days long since passed. Perhaps the future awaits my arrival on some distant star.
Who knows, maybe it lies within me, just waiting to be printed and bound . . .
Crystal R. Cook