The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered. And now that Douglas knew, he really knew he was alive, and moved turning through the world to touch and see it all, it was only right and proper that some of his new knowledge, some of this special vintage day would be sealed away for opening on a January day with snow falling fast and the sun unseen for weeks or months and perhaps some of the miracle by then forgotten and in need of renewal. Since this was going to be a summer of unguessed wonders, he wanted it all salvaged and labeled so that any time he wished, he might tiptoe down in this dank twilight and reach up his fingertips."
We were in the thick of my youngest child's junior year. Bridger had reluctantly taken my worn and dog-eared copy of Dandelion Wine off my bookshelf to read for English. Two weeks later, and he was only on page eight.
"Want me to read it to you?" I offered.
"I wish you would."
So the two of us disappeared into Ray Bradbury's sweet summer's June, and we each became that 12-year-old boy who had just come to the realization that he is truly ALIVE.
“Tom!” Then quieter. “Tom... does everyone in the world... know he’s alive?”… I mustn’t forget, I’m alive, I know I’m alive, I mustn’t forget it tonight or tomorrow or the day after that..."[A] couple weeks ago, I found out I was alive. Boy, did I hop around. And then, just last week in the movies, I found out I’d have to die someday. I never thought of that, really."
"Don't you just love this book?" I asked Bridger, mid-chapter.
"I do when you read it."
I'm a big believer that it's not so much WHAT we read as HOW we read it. That was my second time through Dandelion Wine with a son who struggled to appreciate Bradbury's over-the-top descriptions.
Dandelion Wine cannot be skimmed and rushed. It has to be sipped and savored. I may have hooked Bridger that day. Here's to bridging the generation gap and strengthening relationships with good books. My days as a read-aloud mom sped by too quickly. Now my focus turns to the next generation: grandchildren!