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Special Oak Tree In Hancock

July 14, 2020

This week I finished a James Bond book by Ian Fleming, and started Pat Buchanan’s book about his years and views as seen from inside the White House of President Nixon.  As I sat outside today on our second-floor balcony, looking out onto Lake Monona and the trees, I thought back on a special place that was my first ‘book nook’.  (If you broaden out the term nook.)

Books started to be important to me at an early age.  Dad was a big part of the reason.

On the kitchen counter, several times during a school year, dad would place coins so I could buy some books from the Weekly Reader.  The books might range in prices from 35 cents to a dollar. I would get up in the morning for school and there would be coins so I could make a selection or two, and get some books.

What I find remarkable to this day is that child-like feeling of merriment of the books arriving in the classroom.  It was very similar to how I felt when a box of books arrived this morning in the mail. That lifetime feeling of joy over buying books and reading them started with some coins from Dad’s pocket in my school days.

Today I turn 58 years old, and while looking backwards can recall so many reasons to be nostalgic with a smile.  For decades, since being out on my own, I have sought to find that special spot, a nook really, which I called my reading spot.  Though I have had a number of those places over time, and loved each one, none can compare to that first perfect location.

Out in the front yard of my parents’ home was a large towering oak that had the softest grass underneath.  Except in the fall when the acorns dotted the lawn it was the perfect place to sit and read. It was there I first turned the pages of a Fleming adventure.  It was while sitting in my twenties on a lawn chair on a Sunday afternoon in the back of the family house that I started my first John Grisham novel.  The autobiography of Richard Nixon was read in part as I sat behind the always well-maintained pine row at home while enjoying the pleasant breezes that whispered around me.  I can recall many of the special places over the years where books transported me to places far and wide.

Today I am fondly recalling that old oak and the memories of sitting under it during weather much like that which we are experiencing now.   Almost a decade ago this photo was taken of the place where as a child I found so much happiness to be found in books.

I can confidently say, with some decades behind me, the best memories are the ones we continually try to recreate.

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