A couple of weeks ago, Darling Daughter and I made our way to the Farmers Market. I’ve been recovering from a bit of surgery, and truth be told, I wasn’t feeling great that morning, but needed to get out and about. We wandered the stalls, got our veggies, our goat cheese, our sunflowers…then some coffee and lemonade and cardamom donuts so as to sit down and rest a bit. And then…
“Storytime! STORY-time!” A voice sang out to the crowd.
As any reader of this column knows, I’m a huge fan of story time. Give me a kid or two and a stack of books and I will read and sing and play happily for as long as they will. Truly, story time gives me Great Joy. I’m usually the storyteller or storyreader, though. Too seldom do I attend story times now that my children are fairly grown.
I recognized the voice immediately. It belonged to a local actor here in the Twin Cities — he’s part of the Guthrie company as well as being a regular at several other theaters. Most recently he played the Lorax at the Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis and the Old Globe in San Diego. His name: H. Adam Harris. And does he ever have a voice!
When I saw this talented man do story time at the farmer’s market last summer I was also thrilled and carried away by the experience — I wrote about it for Red Reading Boots, in fact. This year, he was every bit as wonderful — and he read some new-to-me books I loved and have since added to my story time stack. But it was my personal experience of the story time this year that was so meaningful.
I, a middle-aged mother with teen daughter in tow, was not the target audience for this story time. But I enjoyed it every bit as much as the littlest ones there. Yes, I loved all the kids gathering…the families setting down their baskets and bags and situating their kids on the blue mat and themselves on the steps…I loved the kids’ laughter, and Mr. Harris’ wonderful voices and expressions and enthusiasm. It was a beautiful day, the stories he’d selected were terrific….
But on that particular Saturday, what my tired and recovering body loved most was simply being read to. I loved the story time itself. I just melted into the steps and gave myself over to the experience. What a gift it is to be read a story! Why do we not do this for each other more often? While I think it the most fabulous thing in the world that we read to children, the only thing more fabulous would be also reading to each other as adults.
Darling Daughter suggested I bite the bullet and just get Libro.fm already. I do adore audiobooks. But I think it’s not quite the same as someone reading to you live and in person. The relationship between reader and listener is lost without a little eye contact, without a well-placed question or chuckle. No, I think the thing has something to do with being read to, not the listening itself.
So I commend it to you — find someone to read to. Find someone to read to you. Sit back and enjoy it.