Monday, March 18, 2013

What does fresh bread out of the oven, homemade soup and A. A. Milne have in common?  I didn't really know at first.  The other evening when I was making supper a lot of memories were twirling around in my brain.
Long long ago when I was quite little my address was Graceton MN.  We went to a small, white, country church that sat right next to Highway 11.  We kept back the forest by mowing the grass all around the church.  Sometimes dad found morel mushrooms hiding in the grass.  He would pick them and bring them home to eat.  On the very edge of the grass where the trees grew we found Pink Lady Slippers.
Inside the church there was a hard wood floor.  Cloak rooms, one on each side of the entrance had hooks just right for hanging coats.  The walls of these rooms were made of pine boards . . . beautiful pine boards that slowly darkened over the years to a warm honey color.   Pine boards were used for wainscoting half way up the walls, tall windows let the sunshine in, an old fashioned clock hung on the wall.  Someone had to wind it every week.   Near the entrance there were built-in shelves that held library books.
That's where you would find me -- checking out another book.  Since there weren't a lot of books I learned the fine art of rereading until I knew them backwards and forwards.  You could say that is where I met Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin for the first time.  Not in a story book with pictures.  They were in the book The Mystifying Twins.
The story takes place in England.  Lois and Lettuce Belmont were identical twins.   Instead of going to school on the bus they moved away from home and went to a boarding school.  Where they got into all kinds of trouble . . .
When summer came they went to camp.  The counselors put together a treasure hunt for the girls. They were supposed to find the characters out of A. A. Milne's books.  I read about Tigger, Pooh, Rabbit, Kanga and all the rest with no idea of who they were.
Much later when I had moved away from home and was off on some adventure of my own I'd come back for visits.  My sisters were slipping quotes from Winnie the Pooh and friends in every conversation possible.
Like this . . . "How are you planning to get out of that predicament?"
I heard this reply, "Very carefully, so as not to hurt myself."
Someone would say, "Good morning!"
A gloomy answer, "If it is a good morning, which I doubt."

Or at the camp my family went to every summer . . . I remember a small child chattering away telling the story about heffalumps.  He was quite small and he was telling the story from memory.
That's where I finally "discovered" Winnie the Pooh and friends for myself -- in the pages of story books -- reading to my small crew at bedtime, nap time, anytime . . . to be truthful.
So pull a chair up to the fire, pour yourself a cup of tea and spread some honey on that fresh bread just-pulled-out-of-the-oven.  Eat a bowl full of homemade soup and read A. A. Milne's books to the small people in your life.  I promise - you will be making some lovely memories.

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