Summer is now just a memory. Already the days are cooler and the nights are longer. This change in the seasons always ushers in one of my favorite family traditions—spending our fall and winter evenings reading books together. Just about every evening we gather in the living room in that time between dinner and bedtime, and for 30 or 40 minutes the family sits while I read to them. A few days ago we began a journey through another book and I began to reminisce on all the places we’ve been and all the things we’ve seen in the years we’ve been doing this. We’ve traveled this world and others, and we’ve journeyed through the ages.
With just one favorite author we got lost in the Barrens, we saw what it’s like to have owls in the family (though the last 10 pages disappeared so we didn’t ever figure out how it ended) and learned about a dog who just refused to believe that he was a dog. With another great author we watched winter finally leave a magical land, followed the journey of a horse and his boy, went along on a sea voyage and followed a prince as he claimed his rightful crown. Like so many others, we watched a funny little man save his life by finding a magical ring and then take a back seat while his nephew saved the world by destroying it. We saw a silly mouse take a journey that ended rather abruptly and met a spider who, for the sake of a pig, wove messages into her web. We spent many weeks with a little girl who took a journey from the big woods of Wisconsin to the vast prairies while her future husband, though still a little boy, grew up in New York.
We spent a bit of time with a red-haired girl from Prince Edward Island and went to a distant desert island with a lightning-fast black stallion. And then there was that brief and funny trip to the edge of The Dark Sea of Darkness.
And that’s not all. We traveled to Holland to watch a dog named Scout take on the Germans and also found ourselves in a hideout in the swamp. We followed another Dutchman while he snuck into enemy territory to deliver Bibles to desperate Christians. And we are in Holland even now as the Germans invade, separating parents from children and making soldiers out of boys.
And I know there are more, more stories and more characters and more times and places, some that I’ve forgotten and some that we started and decided were not quite right or were not quite yet.
Best of all, we’ve been able to do all of this together as a family, without ever leaving our living room.