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Home  >  Family and Community  >  Family Collections  >  Oswald Stratford
Precious Snuggle Time
By Lisa Stratford

Some of my earliest memories of books and reading are of those times when I was snuggled in my dad's lap and he was reading from my treasured book The Uncle Remus Tales. Repeated sessions of that book left it dog-eared and with pages falling out, but I couldn't resist the funny stories told in my father's poor attempt at Southern slave vernacular. He couldn't resist repeated readings either, for reasons then unknown to me; but now, from the perspective of a parent to a busy independent little person, his willingness to read and reread was likely a ploy to gain access to precious snuggle time.

Sadie and Lisa hiking
There were always books in our house and there always seemed to be time for reading. When I was in fourth grade my aunt lent me a copy of Watership Down, which I absolutely devoured.

Even in my high school years, as socially busy as they were, I could always find the time to read a good book. Sometimes I wonder if good books weren't at least partially responsible for my poor grades in algebra. It took me a few years to decide to go to college, but from that point on, personal reading time became more precious as my hours filled with homework reading.

I guess the most valuable thing I learned in college is what a joy learning can be. Learning outside of a classroom is often most rewarding, and many of the natural history guide books have enabled me to have a much better appreciation for, and understanding of, this place I've chosen as home.

Sadie and Lisa kayaking
When my daughter Sadie was born, some of the early days I remember best include her tiny body bundled in blankets against the drafty chill of Alaska's January, snuggled close to me as I read. I read out loud to her then just so she could hear my voice. Those were the days when Peter and I were both in the final semesters of school and rather than ship Sadie off to alternate care, we brought her along to school with us. Peter did his computer programming while rocking Sadie under his desk with his foot.

Though books are important in our lives, they are by no means the only form of entertainment we pursue. We have been lucky enough to have a daughter who is full of spunk and is game for any adventure. We took her sea kayaking when she was four months old and went camping a few weeks later. She has been along on boats, planes, trains, and in her backpack and sled. It is always nice to have along some sort of tent or cabin diversion, and some of her smaller books have fit that purpose quite nicely.

Sadie at the cabin
Sadie has always had a fair attention span for books and perhaps that is somehow related to the fact that books, music and toys are a primary diversion inside our home. We don't have a TV or VCR, so Sadie doesn't have the option of plopping down in front of them for quiet entertainment.

I know Sadie will continue to love books, and I am really enjoying being finished with school because now I also have time to read what I want. Just recently, I found a copy of the Uncle Remus Tales at the library. It isn't the same as my childhood version -- it lacks many pictures -- but the stories are the same … soon I can share them with Sadie.

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