My Favorite Writer
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.