My personal memories of my dad may not mean much to most readers visiting my blog. However, as a writer, I feel a personal desire to share my thoughts of him on his birthday. When I think of Dad, I can remember as far back as being a toddler, feeling his love and security while in his arms as he’d carry me up the stairs to bed. When those training wheels came off of my banana seat bike, Dad was right behind me knowing just when to let go. One of my favorite backyard fun times was when he’d throw the softball straight up in the air so that I could catch it falling from what seemed to be the sky. I remember how I’d giggle when he vigorously towel dried my hair after a bath.
For years, Dad drove me to the opposite side of Chicago from where we lived for piano lessons, sacrificing his own agenda of getting to his bowling league on time. When it came to singing, he surely knew how to harmonize a barber shop tune, and often pulled me into the song right along with him. Moving from Chicago to the suburbs when I was 13 years old wasn't the easiest as I left many friends behind. Dad found a solution for my dilemma by driving me to and from Chicago every single day for nearly three months in order for me to finish school and graduate with the classmates I knew since Kindergarten.
Just as most other dads of teenagers, he taught me to drive with the utmost patience. And, he was there to hold me tight while I cried in the back seat of a squad car following a serious car accident just down the street from our home. On my wedding day, we chatted all the way down the aisle, not believing the horrible music the organist was playing because the church wouldn't allow Here Comes the Bride. And, what girl would forget the father/daughter dance at their wedding? I’ll always remember mine. Eventually, my children were born and he held them each with pride and love. My four boys learned to play catch from Grandpa, and they still speak of that today. He was also their biggest cheerleader at their little league games.
I miss Dad’s warm smile and hardy laugh. He was never too busy to listen, help, and most of all, love. Today is his birthday, so I’m sending my kisses to heaven. I hope there are birthday celebrations up there, and Dad is sitting with his passed on family and friends having a cold beer, a bowl of homemade spaghetti, and singing Sweet Adeline.
Today’s family lifestyles of longer work hours for moms and dads and excessive after school activities for children have given way to the drive-thru meals eaten in the car between one place and another. Significant conversation is minimal while eye contact is nil as many continue to live their lives on the go. The mandatory dinner presence so many of us experienced from our own childhood remains only a memory and rarely practiced as part of contemporary lifestyles.
Is the family dinner time old fashioned? Personally, I tend to think not. My boys are grown, now. They are either in school, or have jobs of their own. At this point of our lives, we are not always together for dinner. However, since my boys have grown up in a household where everyone was sitting at the kitchen table by 6pm, they have come to value such gatherings when the opportunity comes about now that they are older and not around as much. In fact, there is an obvious contentment when we manage such a family dinner. It feels right, feels like home. As they anxiously dig into whatever the chow may be, someone will often comment, “Hey, we’re all together,” which brings a profound smile of acknowledgment by all before conversation is in full gear as everyone catches up with each other.
Finding time to eat as a family when chasing to dance class or basketball practice after school gives the family a chance to slow down and take a breather from a hectic afternoon. Consistent family dinnertime will create a routine for children. Such stability is important for kids. Whether it is hot dogs, pizza, or filet mignon being served, the food on the table has no importance in comparison to the shared conversation about the school day, friends, work, etc. At the same time, an interest and concern for other family members is naturally developed. We all wish our children to grow up with good family memories and values which can be passed down to their own children. And, it is the good memories which will turn a house into a home.
How is a work of fiction inspired? Where does that first sentence come from? When does the writer realize the premise of the imaginary tale? As the creator begins developing the work of fiction, the foundation of the story, including the characters, the plot, and the setting, is often unknown until the fingers begin dabbling away on the keyboard. Then again, creative thoughts are often a story which has consumed the mind of the writer for weeks, months, and sometimes even years. However it comes about, the power of the imagination brings the author’s ideas to life. The location, surroundings, and scenery are authentically visualized. Word by word, the characters become genuine individuals with distinct personalities and traits, which leads to the story behind the fictitious people miraculously launched into existence. As the creative project continues to be developed, it begins to consume the writer as it gets under the skin, and into the soul - every part of the author’s being. The imagination is permeated with ideas for the story’s progression and conclusion. When the three letter word -end- is added at the finale, the writer will take a long deep breath, exhale, and realize the story he or she gave birth to was a labor of love for the gift of writing a work of fiction.
There’s nothing more relaxing than curling up with a good book on a rainy day when there’s nothing else to do, nowhere to be. This thought may be true for many. Some will prefer an actual print book with ability to turn pages, while others count on their digital means of reading, whether it’d be a computer, tablet, or phone. Where do audio books fall in popularity when it comes to a different method of reading a novel?
Although as far back as the 1930s there’s been audio capabilities from spoken albums, it was about the 1980s and later when publishers and book sellers began to put videocassettes, DVDs, and compact discs on their shelves. Nowadays, we’ve gone a step further by hearing the words of the author in a downloadable format. Is all this audio stuff taking away from words that would once be read with our eyes?
Many who support today’s newest method of reading would think not. Here are a few benefits of audiobooks for young and old: