Something I have always loved to do is reading aloud and my dad is my listener. I think it is something I have done since I was twelve, and perhaps even younger. I would sit in the garage and read to him with all the voices while he made up a palette, sketched out the outlines and composed his painting.
Over the years, I have read so many different things to him, all reflecting in the truest way stages of my passions and interests.
I read him Nobody's Dog by Colin Dann. Good old Colin whom I loved so closely as my friend. I read him The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle and The Story of Doctor Doolittle and together we adventured with the most compassionate and affectionate of animal friends. I read him The Chronicles of Narnia. I read him every book of E. Nesbit's that I could get my hands on - oh the two of us couldn't get enough of darling E. Nesbit! I read him Anne of Green Gables which he remembers as one of the best times of his life, and from that moment on, Anne has been embossed on the door of the inner sanctuary of our hearts. I read as much of My Life in France by Julia Child as I could, for he was busier and busier all the time, and when she said goodbye at the very end, we cried and cried like heart-sick children over the loss of a most beautiful sister, mother, teacher, and bosom friend.
I suppose that together, the two of us made a kind of beautiful music. My spoken words, his painted colours. Rolling about and about to form a great and glorious spiral, like a swirling strawberry and cream lollipop, I suppose. Nowadays, it is very seldom that we get the chance to escape, but just this morning, out of the blue, he said, "I'm painting - would you read?" A flutter of delight could not be stilled in me. I had so much to do, but, hang it all, I missed reading to him so much. I had barely uttered a chapter to him all year, and we were still hanging in the middle of The Return of the King, the last volume of The Lord of the Rings.
I needed to do it. He needed it, too. So for an hour this morning, we did it. I read and he listened. And we both stopped after that hour and acknowledged, very bluntly but in delight, that reading was extremely important, and that it made our lives so rich. Oh, I love him, and for each time that he thanks me for reading, I just must cry, 'how I thank you for listening!'