When I was a child, my summer days were often spent at Grandma and Grandpa’s house—a little white house with sweet peas growing along the front path. Sometimes I visited for an afternoon, and other times for a whole week. When my parents had a meeting or a trip, I would be deposited on the front steps along with my roller skates.
In the morning Grandma and I would water the azalea garden, then sit on the lawn chairs, as still as statues, about six feet from the hummingbird feeder. If we held our breath long enough we were rewarded by a buzz of tiny wings and soon the feeder would be hovering with miniature “helicopters.”
But the best time of day came in the afternoon when Grandpa took his nap. Grandma said that we must be very quiet. So we cuddled up on the soft tan couch and read one of Grandma’s favorite books, Alice in Wonderland. She had a very old copy in blue. Although I could barely read, we would take turns—each of us reading a page. Grandma patiently listened to me sound out my letters and stayed right by my side as I made the long journey from the top to the bottom of the page.
I thought the book was a bit odd with its peculiar creatures and talking playing cards. But reading “Alice” with Grandma was fun. When she read, the characters blossomed to life, as if they were standing right next to us. After sifting through page after page of little black letters…how exciting to finally arrive at a colorful glossy picture!
When the day was over, I would retire to my father’s former bedroom which now had white lacy curtains and petunias on the walls. Grandma and I knelt beside the bed to say prayers. After I climbed into bed and pulled the crisp white sheets up to my chin, Grandma blew me a few kisses and disappeared just like the Cheshire cat. I would lie awake thinking about rabbit holes and what I might do if I fell into one. And if I couldn’t go to sleep I would slip out of bed and sneak down the hallway. If I carefully peeked around the corner, I could see Grandma and Grandpa sitting by the fireplace—Grandpa in his green easy chair working crossword puzzles, and grandma reading her Bible.
Alice in Wonderland now sits on my father’s bookshelf. Someday the blue book will rest in my home. And when I’m a grandmother, I might slip the blue book from the shelf and curl up with my grandchildren and take a journey down a rabbit hole.
Although Grandma’s favorite book will always hold a special place in my heart, I’m thinking about coming up with my own book to pass down to my grandchildren—a big green book. We will patiently plow through its pages and be swept away to a place called Middle Earth, where we will meet another set of peculiar creatures—dwarves, elves and hobbits.