Monday, June 28, 2010

Reading Rock

In 2003, two strong neighbors tug at the chain in an attempt to move 
Reading Rock, as I work hard  directing them.

It's a hot summer day in 1957 on our small family farm, and  after dinner (remember, that's the noon meal)  my folks take about a half-hour break to read the mail and the daily paper, the Minneapolis Tribune, which I always read in the evening when everyone else is done with it.

During this reading time, I grab my paperback and head for Reading Rock, located under a large elm on the hill of the pasture lane. The shade of the elm keeps the rock cool. A slight breeze from the east brings the sweet smell of alfalfa and the long song of a bobolink. From my perch on the comfortble boulder, I read and experience adventure, looking up occasionally to spot any activity in the farmyard.


Soon Dad will emerge from the house, the screen door will slam, and the afternoon's work will begin. But until that moment, I'm solving a mystery near Mesa Verde or riding in a posse in Kansas. Adventure after adventure broadens my scope and for that half hour the world is mine.

Where did I get my reading material? Well, I never thought to ask my folks to take me to a library, but when we drove to town for necessities, I used the money I earned trapping pocket gophers to buy comic books, western novels and  mysteries. After I read them, I traded  with my cousin Raymond, who was a couple years older. His westerns displayed  much richer adventures than mine, but he never complained and traded with me anyway. My folks and Aunt  Mary would often give me mystery stories for my birthday, which I still have now because I never traded a gift.

So where is my Reading Rock now?

Well, after I sold the land, a kind neighbor, Dave Stermer, pulled it up the hill to my place.

 Now it rests in the center the turn-around east of my house.

Remembering how the recesses of the rock used to fit my body back in those days of summer reading, I decide to try the perch again.

     I try a couple positions,
     but am unable to get settled.

The rock is just not as comfy
 as I remember it.

I decide to return to my new
 reading spot, a chair on the porch.

Do you have a favorite summer reading spot?
During June many libraries, along with other private and community orgainizations throughout Minnesota, kick off their summer reading program by having authors and other artists appear at local events.  (See my June 24 blog of my visit to Frost, MN) Attend the events if you can, but don't let the summer go by without settling your kids, grandkids and yourself into a favorite summer reading spot.

By the way, one of my favorite reads this summer is Shakespeare, the Biography by Peter Ackroyd. As I read I discover that I want to read Shakespeare's plays all over again.

Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson

1 comment:

  1. A reading rock--what a grand place. I could just picture you on that rock as a young boy, escaping for awhile from the duties of the family farm.

    I, too, loved to read as a child (and still do as an adult). But I don't recall a favorite reading spot.

    Thanks for sharing this delightful story. And, just FYI, I still call the noon meal "dinner."