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When I was a kid, I waited with fierce anticipation for the coming of summer right alongside all my compatriots.  Summer was the time of freedom, swimming pools, and ridiculous shorts.  Basically, kid heaven.

Except for the job lists.

Every morning when my siblings and I arose to face another summer day full of possibilities we found those little pieces of paper waiting for us.  I look back on them now and wonder why they seemed like such a big deal, but as a kid they were hundred foot barriers between me and the carnival that was the world during the summer months.  Every day I came down to breakfast with a certain sense of trepidation.  What was I going to required to do today before I could frolic?  Vacuum an entire floor of the house?  Dust rooms that were never used anyway?  Mow lawns?  You never really knew what slave labor you were in for.  Except for that one last job.  That one was always there and always the same.

Read for half an hour.

This particular job was, as a younger kid, the worst. A whole half hour?!? That was like forever plus infinity!  I had things to do, and they required daylight!  By the time this half hour was over the day would have flown.  It seemed the height of injustice to remove a half hour from my day, and during the summer no less. That’s time I can never get back, my childhood bleeding away while I do something silly like read.

The funny thing is, it didn’t stay a “job” for long.  My mom would take us to the library every week to pick out a new book to read. Slowly, that half hour started seeming like not such a big deal.  Then came the day that I actually frowned at the rest of the list because it was between me and my shiny new book from the library.  I wanted my half hour!

Looking back, I realize that the one of the greatest gifts my mother ever gave me was that half hour each day.  That simple act of having us take time out of our summer days to read has instilled in me a lifelong love of reading and writing.  These days I devour books like a starving man at the Mad Hatter’s tea party and usually have at least two or three writing projects in progress at any given time.

There are alot of things I wish I could say to my mom these days.  Lately, those things have been haunting me.  Most of them are pretty standard ones I guess.  I wish I could say “I love you,” “Goodbye,” and especially “I’m sorry.   But I find that one of the things I want to say the most is because of those little slips of paper we got every summer when I was a kid.

I’d like to say: “I have a lifelong love of reading and learning,  Thank you.”


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