In some families the literary life is everyday. Dad is a fan of reading and his kids love to hear him read aloud no matter what he reads. He is a performer. They love it on the days he wears his trench coat and the heavy felt fedora. That means the story time is going to be a chapter of a detective novel no matter what the book is about. He has the look and the attitude of the old time hard boiled detective. He may be hard boiled but he is a good egg.
TUESDAY IS SOUP NIGHT
Why is it that Tuesdays are the night when the television has a blank face and Mom makes a huge pot of soup that steams up the windows in the kitchen and she writes five letters of the alphabet on each of the small windows of the door. There are six and in the six pane she draws a heart. She does this quickly when she hears Dad walk up the path from the bus stop at the corner.
"I just bet it is a signal that tonight is one of those nights when there is a ball game between the rainy clouds and the warm soup and the soup wins."
He hangs his raincoat on the hook near the back door and puts his umbrella in the tin bucket right inside the door.
In some families the literary life is everyday. Dad is a fan of reading and his kids love to hear him read aloud no matter what he reads. He is a performer. They love it on the days he wears his trench coat and the heavy felt fedora. That means the story time is going to be a chapter of a detective novel no matter what the book is about.
We wait in the breakfast nook where we have been doing our homework. He pulls up a chair from its place near the hallway door and sits on it with the back up against the table.
This is the way that cowboys sit on chairs. It is also the way that sailors and pirates sit on chairs when they get home from a long sea voyage.
Mom gives him a towel so he can dry the back of his neck and hands.
Rain stays outside on a night like this.
Tonight I think we will be hearing the last chapter of the mystery story.
First lines are the way to get your story started.
None of those stormy night first lines.
When Dad reads the story he does not include the once upon a time part.
Sometimes he tells us what the story is not about.
We have a regular list of nots
then there is the surprise lists of nots
that could become absolutely
yeses were the kids favorites. One yes was never as good as
if we are really sleepy.
The "sometimes" are special
we like very much anything special.
If he is late we know that he will wear his
very special costume
which is a hat and sunglasses.
He has hair that is seldom ruffed
When his hair is ruffed and if he talks
with a growly voice
and if he calls us "You guys"
we know this is a beyond ordinary
this is from a very old list of nots.
This is the story that needs music.
Will you yell if I threaten to sing?
This is a song from long ago.
Imagine that there is a man playing the piano.
In the story he was drinking beer.
It was root beer and he said the cookie
was an absolute necessity.
This absolute necessity was optional on Thursdays
But if the cookie was not there the music would
sound far away and at the end of a dark tunnel.
And the story would have a dream time ending.
The song would come in the dream and you
have to sing in the dream.
No singing, no piano player and no cookie.
So close your eyes and wait for a few minutes
for the lights in you head to turn into a soft glow
like a candle light that flicker back and forth
sending the wavy shadows on the wall and ceiling.
One note is near and the next one is far away
The first you hear and it is like the number one
The one you will wait for will be very low and soft
The first of the notes from
far away will be two.
The next three, the next four, the next five.
Each note will be lower and softer.
Each time you hear the note wait for the next.
HUMPTY REPEATS HIMSELF SO HE WILL BE HEARD
As he reads the room darkens and there is no longer a flashing neon sign outside the window of the office in the walkup brick building near the bus station and a block away from the shadowy train platform. He puts aside the eight by fourteen twenty paged adventure of talking eggs and sits for a moment to imagine the first timeless minutes of two lovely dreams.