Healthy Living: In praise of the perfect gift: The adventure of reading

Letters+to+the+editor

By Carl Hendrickson

It’s that time of year – the black hole between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The time we dread.

That time to purchase presents as stores are crowded and shoppers and clerks become impatient and irritable. Did I buy the “right” present?

Carl Hendrickson

Grandchildren are so difficult to buy for. They grow so rapidly, and their interests change from year to year. An example is earrings. Is it granddaughter Cecilia or her cousin Norah who has the pierced ears?

I’m sure my grandparents had this same problem when I was a child. But the “right” present was always found: A gift that brings new friends, provides adventure, takes one to far away locations and introduces interesting characters.

At an early age I learned about the joy of reading. Books have given me a whole new world and new perspectives on life. A good book sends me on a mental vacation without the expense. They last a lifetime and can be enjoyed over and over.

Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn became my friends, and I have traveled with them ever since. I have gone with Alice down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass.

There we met several fascinating characters, including the Cheshire Cat, the Hatter, Humpty Dumpty, Jabberwock, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and the White Rabbit.

“A Tale of Two Cities” introduced me to the turmoil of the French Revolution. In another classic, I sailed with Ishmael and Captain Ahab in search of the great white whale, Moby Dick.

The writings of Edgar Rice Burroughs introduced me to Tarzan and John Carter of Mars.

Mysteries intrigue me, as does the crime-solving of Frank and Joe Hardy and Nancy Drew.

To this day, I still attend literary discussions and book signings.

And I have found that it not only is the writing of a professional that is the “right” gift. Several years ago, I wrote and self-published my story, from my birth on New Year’s Day to my boyhood in Alaska to the military, law school and marriage.

Each of you have your story of an interesting life that children and grandchildren will enjoy reading.

Start now, and by next Christmas you will have that “perfect” present for them.

Whether reading your story or that of a professional, remember that a book is the perfect gift.

Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas with family and friend