January 19, 2009

A Grave Matter

Sheba was in love with books from the start. I read to her almost every night until she was well into middle school. She helped me hone dramatic reading skills to the point that I really got into it.

When she was about four, I think, just before she began reading herself, I bought another big stack of storybooks for bedtime reading. I would read the title and tell her a little bit about each one, and she’d select the one she wanted to hear. Sometimes one would really catch her interest and we’d read it many nights over and over.

One of the books I selected was called Barry The Bravest Saint Bernard. I told her it was a true story about a dog that saved people. She turned it down every time I offered. I pressed her a couple of times, telling her it was a really good story, and it was true. Didn’t she want to read about it?

“No, not really. Maybe another time,” she would say, every night for weeks.

I finally gave up. It went on the shelf and was forgotten for years. Just a few years back, we were cleaning out all the children’s books. I asked the kids to pick the ones they wanted to save. I saw Barry The Bravest Saint Bernard and held it up to Sheba. I reminded her how I tried to get her to hear it and she would refuse.

That’s what it’s called?” she exclaimed. “I thought you were trying to read a story about a dog who died saving people. You know: Bury The Bravest Saint Bernard. In a grave.”

“What?!” I laughed.

“Yeah, I didn’t want to hear a sad story, especially if it was true. I couldn’t figure why you wanted so badly to read it. Seemed kinda weird to me.”

We still laugh about that misunderstanding. Poor thing was trying to be so nice about it while her ghoulish mother wanted to read this "awful" story.

She kept the book.


Ur-spo said...

books are funny that way.
Another rationale to hold onto as many as you can.

Roxrocks said...

LOL! Kay just went through her bookshelf and I'm sad to see that she removed all her Beezus and Ramona books. She also weeded out her Captain Underpants books, her Mercer Mayer Little Critter books and all her Franklin books too. It's the end of an era.

We'd already gotten rid of all the Dr. Seuss books a few years ago, but suddenly I miss them all and wish I had them back for potential grandkids. I loved reading bedtime stories!!

Patrick said...

Oh that is hysterical! I'm glad you were able to clear things up eventually though.

I miss reading aloud, both as reader and listener. Occasionally I'll get a chance to do it for a playreading, but that usually has a specific agenda, and is seen as 'less than' a full staging of the play by everyone.

I need to borrow some friends' kids, I think.

MartininBroda said...

Sorry to be short, that's a really sweet story.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Ha ha ha "ghoulish mother", cute story Birdie.

Greg said...

During this holiday season, I met a whole host of folks who'd neither see the "Marley and Me" movie, nor read the book, because they knew how most stories about dogs must end and they wanted no part of that.

I miss reading aloud (or being read to), too. I'd do more of it if the cat hadn't perfected his I Couldn't Possibly Be More Bored With What You Have To Say look.

THIS IS ME....ONLINE said...

This is a great story. You'll have great fun sharing it with her children one day.

When I was little, we went to a very small country church singing VERY old songs. My mom talked about me singing at the top of my lungs about "Bringing in the Sheets" and "When the roll is called up thunder I'll be scared".

Also, I appreciate your note. I wonder about Ben, too. Thanks for caring.