Originally posted October 14, 2009 12:00 am
I have always been an avid reader, but I don’t really understand the attraction of reading in the bathroom. I guess I figure that if you need that much time on the toilet, you might want to call your doctor and make sure everything is working properly. Of course, if you are in the bathroom right now reading this, please go ahead and finish. You’ve made it this far in life, another few minutes won’t kill you. Probably. Remember what happened to Elvis.
My ban on bathroom reading does not work in a marriage because men are different. When we put an addition on our house, Brian was lobbying for a full library with a toilet in the center. I vetoed that one but did agree to keep a basket in the bathroom stocked with appropriate reading fare. The unforeseen benefit to this plan is that the kids know where to put magazines, and all of them eventually make their way into the bathroom.
I like to read books and magazines on the couch, partly so my kids can see me reading. The newspaper is best at the table with a cup of coffee, though I confess I still haven’t gotten over the switch from afternoon to morning delivery. I often read the paper in the afternoon, but it is not so much from protest as from practicality: The little ones nap after lunch.
Given my love of reading, I’m happy to see my children developing an interest in reading and writing stories. They happily plow through books and occasionally fight over who gets the next turn with a book.
A lot of my reading these days is on the computer. I enjoy corresponding with friends by e-mail, and I follow several blogs. I also am a part of an online writer’s community, and one night, as I was up late pretending to write, someone posted a request for information. The writer was looking for stories about changes people had made as a response to the recession.
It was late, and the skeptic in me had already gone to sleep, so I typed a few sentences. I explained how we started farming to save money on food and to know where our food comes from and that venture turned into a business that involves the children. The next morning, I had a reply from one of the editors at Reader’s Digest. I answered some questions and half wondered if it was a friend pulling a prank.
A few e-mails and phone calls later, it started to sink in. It helped, too, that they commissioned a photographer to come out and take pictures of us. Meeting Darcy Padilla, we would not have guessed up front that she was an award-winning photographer. She blended right in to farm life, and we even talked her into milking the cow — for a moment.
The kids instantly liked Darcy and showed her all over the place, arguing about who got to hold her hand or sit by her at lunch. She stayed for several hours, took 800 or so pictures and left, peeling my children off as she walked to the car. The younger girls proclaimed that they, too, would be photographers when they grew up.
My children saw this experience as completely normal. They know that stories about them make it into the newspaper, and in their mind, the Reader’s Digest is no different from the Appeal-Democrat.
The November issue is on the way, and we can’t wait to see how it all turned out. One more thing to read in the bathroom.
Postscript: Our story appeared in the November, 2009 edition of the RD.
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