He wasn’t prolific, not even published. My favorite writer was a prolific reader, and
instilled in me, at an early age, a love of books and for reading. Write?
He did write; poetry, ditties, limericks and letters, Letters to friends
and relatives, but mostly, Letters to the Editor. Once he even wrote a letter
to E. B. White, to which he received a response. My dad had a voluminous
vocabulary and an erudite style of writing.
When asked, “what does such and such a word mean?” His standard response was, “look it up in the
dictionary.” Essentially he introduced
me to the internet before it existed. He
browsed the World Book encyclopedia for fun.
One of the few things we did together, as father and son,
was a weekly trip to the library. Specific
books or authors were not recommended; he directed me to age related genres. And so at an early age I devoured the Little
Golden books, soon moving up to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Daniel Defoe, and Mark
Twain. We didn’t have a television until I was
twelve, so stories by Sir Walter Scott, Herman Melville piqued my imagination
and provided fodder for outdoor’s play.
During my 7 decades as a reader, each age brought new
authors and genres to my table; each one a favorite for the time and to stay on
the list of favorites to the present day.
I read Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Story” every year around that
time. On Veteran’s Day I reread Crane’s “Red
Badge of Courage.” Poets too garnered my
following and enjoyment: Robert Frost, James Whitcomb Riley, and Longfellow’s “Song
of Hiawatha. High school introduced me
to Shakespeare’s plays and poetry; sonnets in particular.
The list goes on and on, but in the end, if I must choose a
favorite it will have to be my father.
Not for what he wrote but what he taught.