How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103 (NIV)
I still remember my excitement the day I got my first library card. Our library system had a big van stocked floor to ceiling with books. Each month, the books were changed out so there was always a variety. As soon as I could write my own name, my mom walked me to the neighborhood grocery store on a day that the Bookmobile was there. What freedom to be able to pick and chose among the books and carry home a stack. They never lasted me the whole month. I always had a book in my hand or at my side. I still have my second grade report card where I got a bad grade in math and my teacher commented, “She rushes through math to get to the reading that she loves.” Yes, I was a reader alright. I read all of the Bobbsey Twins, Boxcar Children, Happy Hollister, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew books. All of them. I still have copies of my favorite Florida books like The Pink Motel by Carol Ryrie Brink and The Horse that Swam Away by Walter Farley. But, I never got my own copy of The Lion’s Paw by Robb White. I loved that story of three children who sail a boat through the Okeechobee canals to Sanibel Island. After a terrible storm, they find a shell called the Lion’s Paw and Ben’s dad returns from Vietnam. When my boys were little, I searched for the book, but as a collectible item, its price was out of my reach. Today, I stopped by Haslem’s Bookstore in St. Petersburg. When I was a girl, Haslem’s, once the largest bookstore in Florida, was as close to heaven as I could imagine. When I won a poster contest and my prize was a gift certificate to Haslem’s, I was ecstatic. I don’t go to Haslem’s much any more as the big box stores and Amazon are more convenient and cheaper. But, I was looking for a particular book and thought I might find it there. Instead, I found a copy of The Lion’s Paw, newly reprinted. I felt like I was ten years old again, holding that previous volume in my hands. I know some folks who have Kindles and love them. Several have tried to convince me to buy one. But, I can’t believe that a Kindle would give me a thrill like I felt when I saw that book again. Tonight, I will be sailing through a hurricane with Ben, Nick and Penny. Even though I know how it ends, I will probably read all night just like I did when I was a girl. There’s another book that’s just as precious, the Bible. Thankfully, I didn’t have to go thirty years without my own copy. But, sometimes, I am guilty of treating it with complacency. Until I open its pages and reread those familiar stories and remember they have as much value today as when they were written thousands of years ago.