I was recently asked about my love of reading and I remembered that as a very young girl I sat on my Grandpa’s lap as he read the comics to me.

I could tell a thousand stories of my life entwined with the lives of my grandparents, but remembering that he read to me any day I was there until I could do it myself flooded over me this week; the sight of their home as I skipped down the path between our house and theirs, the gold and brown flowers on their couch, the scent of his aftershave and her Rosemilk lotion all part of the memory. But mostly I remember his large hands with fingers too big to fit under just one word as we read together.

He would save the comics every day from the paper and then patiently read each one to me, waiting for me to comprehend its meaning and humor before moving on to the next one. He savored every joke and pun, never rushing, never hurrying on so he could read the ‘grown-up’ parts of the paper. I can still hear his laughter. Soft and deep and genuine and such a rare occurrence that it brought a smile to my face any time it happened. He would pat my leg when ‘we’ had read them all, his tender reminder that he loved me and off I’d go to find the next grand adventure.

What I’d give to sit next to him again on that old gold couch, his large hand over mine, the scent of his cologne on the air and his gentle voice reading to me. I’d listen better than I did then. This time I’d listen with my heart and not just my ears.