Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Month of Thanks: Literature Style!

I love books.  I love the way they feel, the stories and information that burst forth when you open their covers.    Many a childhood day for me was spent between the pages of a favorite book; hoping Mom wouldn't call me to perform a chore, run errands or mind a younger brother or sister. 
This November, I pay tribute to some of my all time favorites.
 Beloved quotes that have shaped my ideals, filled me with inspiration and, in general, made me a better person.  

The first book may be my all time favorite.  It's hard to decide, but this one book is filled with such beauty, such goodness and sweet humor; everytime I read it , it fills me with a mixture of joy, longing, wholesomeness.... and even tears.  

It's Laddie: A True Blue Story by Gene Stratton-Porter.  (Her real name is Geneva Grace Stratton-Porter- such a lovely name!)   Loosely based on her childhood, this book makes me long to be a part of her family, brought up on an Indiana Farm and raised by remarkable parents.  
I could write on and on about the story, but I think a few of my favorite quotes will better convey how I feel about this book.  There are so many to choose from- but some are too long to post here.  I hope that everyone has the opportunity to read and absorb the beauty of this wonderful book!

"The roads crossing our land were all right, and most of the others near us; and a road is wonderful, if it is taking you to the woods or a creek or meadow; but when it is walking you straight to a stuffy little schoolhouse where you must stand up to see from a window, where a teacher is cross as fire, like Miss Amelia, and where you eternally hear things you can't see, there comes a time about the middle of April when you had quite as soon die as to go to school any longer; and what you learn there doesn't amount to a hill of beans compared with what you can find out for yourself outdoors. Schoolhouses are made wrong. If they must be, they should be built in a woods pasture beside a stream, where you could wade, swim, and be comfortable in summer, and slide and skate in winter. The windows should be cut to the floor, and stand wide open, so the birds and butterflies could pass through. You ought to learn your geography by climbing a hill, walking through a valley, wading creeks, making islands in them, and promontories, capes, and peninsulas along the bank. You should do your arithmetic sitting under trees adding hickory nuts, subtracting walnuts, multiplying butternuts, and dividing hazelnuts. You could use apples for fractions, and tin cups for liquid measure. You could spell everything in sight and this would teach you the words that are really used in the world. Every single one of us could spell incompatibility, but I never heard father, or the judge, or even the Bishop, put it in a speech." 

 "Had I life to live over, I see now where I could do more; but neighbor, believe me, my highest aspiration is to be a clean, thrifty housekeeper, a bountiful cook, a faithful wife, a sympathetic mother. That is life work for any woman, and to be a good woman is the greatest thing on earth.  Never mind about the ladies; if you can honestly say of me, she is a good woman, you have paid me the highest possible tribute."

"If I had made that morning myself I couldn't have done better.  It was sunny, spring air, but it was that cool, spicy kind that keeps you stopping every few minutes to see just how full you can suck your lungs without bursting.  It seemed to wash right through and through and make you all over. The longer you breathed it the clearer your head became, and the better you felt, until you would be possessed to try and see if you really couldn't fly.  I tried that last summer, and knocked myself into jelly.  You'd think once would have been enough, but there I was going down the road with Laddie's pie, and wanting with all my heart to try again. 
 Sometimes I raced, but I was a little afraid the pie would shoot from the shingle and it was like pulling eye teeth to go fast that morning.  I loved the soft warm dust, that was working up on the road.  Spat! Spat!  I brought down my bare feet, already scratched and turning brown, and laughed to myself at the velvety feel of it.  There were puddles yet, where May and I had "dipped and faded" last fall, and it was fun to wade in them.  The roadsides were covered with meadow grass and clover that had slipped through the fence.  On slender green blades, in spot after spot, twinkled the delicate bloom of blue-eyed grass.  Never in all this world was our Big Creek lovelier.  It went slipping, and whispering, and lipping, and lapping over the stones, tugging at the rushes and grasses as it washed their feet; everything beside it was in masses of bloom, a blackbird was gleaming and preening on every stone, as it plumed after its bath.  Oh there's no use to try- it was just Spring when it couldn't possibly be any better."

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