Sometimes yesterdays just kinda jump out you like a bear on a hiking trail and bite you in the ass. Figuratively, of course., but that's what it feels like. What's that line, from the Beatles song.... "Somebody spoke and I went into a dream." I went into the basement and fell into a box.
See, this is how it was.
Twenty six years ago I collaborated on my first reproduction.... we called him Max. I named him after my favorite brand of coffee. Or maybe it was after the guy who owned the Woodstock farm, Max Yasgur. Or may it was just that it was what his mother wanted to name him. It ain't no never mind, one way or another.
I like to think, sometimes, when thinking does not overcome me, and my mind is sufficiently clear of intelligent thoughts, that I named him, simple and plain, after my favorite literary character.
Sounds good, anywayz. Max, from Where the Wild Things Are. It was the first book I bought for him. Day two. He and his Mom (after she named him) were still in the hospital and I went out and got a copy.
In 1986, when he was born, I was a A-V technician at a Library System. (a position that is extremely obsolete now) One of my best friends at the facility was the children's librarian, a marvelous woman, who would show me the newest and neatest children's books. Plus..... I would get a pretty cool discount when I bought through the library.... and, at no charge, I could get those neat-o plastic covers put on to keep them in good shape.
So when my second collaborative reproduction, Miriam, (she was named for the wife of the guy who owned the Woodstock farm, Miriam Yasgur) mentioned that she was doing illustrations for an art classes that encompassed "Children's Literature" I told her I had the box and would dig it out.
Marvelous stuff. I spent last night reading them.... some for the umpteenth hundreth time.
And I got these flashbacks... of the kids sucking their thumbs and listening as I read,,,, then.... so long ago.... and the shadows of the streetlights as they crept into Max's room..... and of how the moon would shine through the pine's in the backyard and into Miriam's.
I miss those moments. Things I hadn't thought of for a while. How fresh a child's hair smells at bedtime after a bath..... how sometimes they will interrupt with endless questions .... how sometimes I would read aloud well after they had fallen asleep... & I wouldn't notice. And sometimes.... when I did, how I would keep reading anyway. How that reading instilled a peace in me and a faith that no matter how old they would grow to be, they would always be young. Hence, I could never be old. Ever. Youth is the stuff of dreams, just remember to never stop dreaming.
Now-a-days.... my favorite stories are of them...the kids. And I will relate one.....
On the top of Mt Baker, though, catastrophe struck. He popped out his first 'baby-tooth and it was hopelessly lost in the stones and pebbles and pine needles. He was distraught.... that sucker belonged under a pillow and he was to get a quarter for it!
"Don't worry, Bubba. When we get home we will just put a 'note' under your pillow explaining what happened and it wasn't your fault and it'll be OK. Tooth Fairies are good about this stuff. They understand."
"Absolutely. I will help you write the note."
"Yupperz!" And that is what we did. I think the Fairy even offered a whole dollar compensation on that occasion, About a week later, a small package came in the mail, addressed to Max; inside was a large plastic molar attached to a key chain and a note explaining how Uncle John went looking for his tooth and found it.
"DAD.... Uncle John found my tooth.... and he WAS RIGHT!!! Things really do grow BIG in the mountains!!!" He is still a true believer and I still have that key chain.
So... Miriam gets the box of books... when I am done. I think they will take care of her... as they did then...... but for now.... they are taking care of me. If you love enough.... things do grow big in the mountains... of the heart.