“Ah! How good it feels! The hand of an old friend.” –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This was the inscription Whit wrote in the book he put in my Christmas stocking this year. It was perfect for the book, Where the Red Fern Grows, a novel by Wilson Rawls that I read in Mrs. O’Brien’s fourth grade class. But mostly, I read it at night with Mom that year in my bed at night, turning page after page, asking her if she thought it would be OK if we read ahead of what I was assigned. Just a little bit.
And of course, she always said yes.
For the second time, I was totally drawn in to the story of Billy, his beautiful red coon hounds Old Dan and Little Ann, and Billy’s wryly old Grandpa, ” simply the best grandpa a boy could have.”
So, what have I been doing with my half days? Spending them with old friends, of course. Oh, and napping. And surfing the Internet. And watching election coverage.
But my favorite activity so far was finishing Where the Red Fern Grows today, delightfully turning each page, remembering my first reactions to the story and comparing them to my current reaction (He’s going to cut down the biggest tree in the forest just to get a coon?!”
Just ask my English camp kids what delightful means. Coincidentally, it’s one of our emotion words we are learning this week, words they define in varying degrees of happiness. Delightful? “Teacher! It means very very happy.”
Yes, yes it does.