Friday, July 15, 2011

The Last Chapter

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Farewell, Dear Friends!

Once upon a time, there was a little boy who refused to read.  He wouldn't read books, he wouldn't read comics, he wouldn't read magazines.  It wasn't that he couldn't read, he just didn't like to, so he didn't.  His mother, who just happened to be a teacher, tried everything she knew to get him to practice his reading but to no avail.  No matter what she tried, he just would not do it.

One day, while visiting her favorite book store-because she loves to read books, she came across a book that she had just recently heard about on television.  Not being a fan of science fiction books, she had paid little attention to the story, except when they talked about the children around the world who LOVED this book.  It was selling out of the stores faster than they could get it.  It seemed that children couldn't get enough of it. 

At this point, the mother had just about given up the attempt to get her son to read, but she decided to give it one more try.  She bought this book.  That night, after they had eaten their supper, the mother gave the book to the boy and asked if he would read it with her.  Every night, if he liked it, they would sit together and read the book until it was done.  He refused.  He didn't like books 'like that,' especially one with chapters.  But finally he agreed to try a couple. 

Together they sat in their pajamas on the couch ready to give it a try.  All the day's activities were over and this was their quiet time together.  And so they started reading.  The mother read the first few pages and then she gave the book to the boy to read for a while.  He read a little and then he handed the book back to the mother.  This is how they read the first two chapters of the book.

The next evening, when it was quiet time, the mother took the book off the shelf and asked if he'd like to continue.  Not only was he ready to continue, he wanted to read first.  He would read a page, and then she would read a page.  Again, they stopped after two chapters, this time not because they were ready to stop but because it was bedtime and they must stop.

On the third evening, the little boy brought the book to his mother much earlier in the evening.  He asked if they could start reading right away.  Before the end of the week, they had finished this book and  had purchased the next one in the series.  Together they read it through and this is how they read each of the the books in the series.

The interesting thing was, the more they read of these books, the more the little boy read other things as well.  The mother would find several books from the school library in his book bag.  The little boy asked to get a library card at the public library and together they would check books out every week to read, in addition to the series. 

Over the years the books were made into movies.  What fun to watch the images from their heads appear on the big movie screen!  So many things appeared just as they had imagined them.  They attended the special midnight showings, the mother and a carload of the boy's friends. 

Through the first six books, this is how the-first little boy and then the adolescent-read them.  It was a time they both looked forward to.  When the last book was released, the now youth asked to read it alone.  He didn't need his mother to read it to him anymore.  He was a good reader.  He enjoyed reading.  While his mother was saddened at the loss of the shared experience, she understood that it was time for the young man to do this alone, in his time.  He sat and read the book in a long weekend and then handed her the book so that she could also read it.

This story is, of course, about my son and me.  I will forever be grateful to J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter books for instilling in my son the love of reading.  When we first started reading them, there was great controversy about whether or not the books promoted witchcraft and many Christian groups came out against them.  I never saw the books in that light.  Just like the old westerns or the old detective series, I saw the books as good versus evil.  They were wonderful discussion starters about choices and right or wrong.  We talked about how sometimes good things can be used for the wrong purposes and we talked about how easily we are lured off the right path to do the wrong things.  We talked about how hard it is sometimes to do the right things, whether our friends think it's right or not.

So many discussions and conversations were started by reading these books.  Even today, we shared another such conversation.  The movies are all being shown on television in preparation for the release of the final movie.  It is a sad time for me.  This story has been a part of our lives for a long, long time.  It's kind of like losing a friend.  But just like all bittersweet moments, I am thankful that we had them.  My son and I have not watched the last few movies together.  He has gone with his friends to watch them and that is how it should be.  The books are packed away in his room.  I hope that one day, not too soon, he will get them out and read them with his son or daugther and enjoy them all over again, just as we did.

Next week is my birthday.  I have a date.  My son and I are going to watch the Harry Potter finale together, not the midnight release-he's much too old for that- but a nice evening out with each other.  Isn't life great!

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