For as long as I can remember, I have been surrounded by books. My mother made sure I had every classic that was ever written. I was supplied with poetry, mysteries, nursery rhymes, animal stories, old books, new books and every type of printed word I could imagine.
Daily, I left the little town in Oklahoma where I was growing up and explored places my feet would never take me. The world was at my fingertips, literally, as I turned the pages of one story after another. I remember many, many times as a very young girl taking a flash light to bed, pulling the sheet up over my head, and reading under the sheets, with my flashlight as my light source, until I fell asleep. When I was a teenager we lived in a two story house. My bedroom was upstairs and my parent's bedroom was downstairs. I just left my light on and read. I fell asleep most nights with my light on and books (yes, plural) on my bed.
When I see lists people make of books they want to get read, I always scan them. Most times I can say, "Uhmm, check, check, check, read it twice, check, check, teach that one every year, check, check, been there read that, check, check...."
Because of books I have seen the world. Many times over. I have explored cultures and regions I never would have been exposed to. Because of books, I have learned much about the history of this great country we call home.
Somehow, someway, I ended up with a well-loved, well-used book from each of my four grandparents. While these look just tattered and old to most people, it tells me that long before I was born, there were four people pouring through a book they loved, holding the pages in their fingers, probably by a very dim light. That means the world was also at their fingertips...and that very ideal they passed down to me.
On this 10th day of gratefulness, I am indebted to my ancestors for showing me, without even meaning to, that through my beloved books, the world is mine to explore.