Our middle GK is the farmy one. At least for now, you know how those things change, but she has always loved the farm and all its critters and activities. She especially loves the hay loft and often begs us to take her up there. Usually Keith does it as it kinda their thing, but last weekend she wanted me too, so I did. On the way down to the barn I stopped to go through some old books Keith's mom had given us hoping if I sorted through one box a week for awhile I could dent the "mother" lode.
I am a major sucker for old books.
Allana spotted a book with a horse on the cover (Black Beauty) and wanted to take it with us to the barn. After we looked around the loft for orphan chicks, she asked if we could stay longer. I had no board meetings scheduled that day (or ever again I hope for as long as I live) so I said yes. I sat next to her and started reading to her.
When it was time to go I got up, walked a few feet away from her, looked back and saw this.
My memory's eyes saw this:
My father painted this as as gift to his wife, my mother, for her 55th birthday. The date on the back of the picture was December 1985. My mother had told him about her "library" as a child. She would sneak up to HER grandparents hay loft in the hills of southern Indiana, to read all alone and undisturbed. My mother loved to read novels, and always had a book "going" somewhere in the house while we were growing up. Bookmarks were made of anything handy; paint chips, match book covers, grocery store receipts, parts of Sundays church bulletin, whatever. She in fact died with a book in her hand, a romance, but I have since forgiven her for that. (Both the genre and the early death.) She also had a cup of coffee and a burned out cigarette next to her on the couch as well when we found her. Always living (and dying) on the edge that mother of mine.
It was difficult to stop staring at Allana while she was reading. I was so grateful I had my camera with me. No, the photo was not staged BUT I am embarrassed to admit that this weekend I did try to recreate the scene again. I had the GK dress in jeans and a white shirt and we grabbed a red book instead of blue and a blanket for her backdrop. But the weather was cool and windy and GK was not in the mood and after a couple shots I quit, chastising myself for the inability to accept gifts as they are given me instead of always seeking improvement.
At 52 you would think I would have learned the art of simple satisfaction. You would think.
I dismantled our props and told the GK we could look for baby chicks as she wanted to do in the first place. Now that was a gift SHE was very satisfied with.