The Book Catalog

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By Mike Johnson

The ability to read is the key to every treasure room.
If you can read, you can learn.
Now ANYTHING is possible.

First-grade reading lessons launched my life.
I took to ABCís like Halloween candy.
The variety of 26 letters was fascinating and every one of them was sweet.

The teacher immersed us right in the reward by reading captivating stories.
Words she read from a static page became lively adventures dancing in our minds.
As we learned to match her voice to the letters on page, the magic transferred.
We could read our own stories!

Now we realized every closed book contained a fascinating world.
And there were so many books!

Once our eyes lit up to this realization, Teacher reverently took us to the school library.
We could borrow any book!
There were hundreds!

Then the book catalogs were distributed in class.
The descriptions of each title were small stories in themselves.
Imagination storms ignited. It was like Christmas.
You could buy your own books!

Surprisingly, parents who usually said no to our other requests, happily paid for mail-order books.
The next day, you eagerly gave the teacher your order and parentís check.
She smiled, made direct eye contact, and complemented your selections.
Your heart swelled.

Now you waited.
And waited.
The anticipation was delicious torture.

Today, right now, Iím looking at an 84-page Bargain Books catalog.
Months ago, I spent several hours savoring each offering.
I made my selections. I filled out my order form.
But I never mailed it.

My heart swells just by knowing that I COULD.
The catalog sits on a shelf beside me.
I smile every time I look.

Those sweet, grade school memories, combined with the delicious torture of anticipation, are reward enough.



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