After recess in third grade at Frank R. Spinning elementary school, about 20 of us would be laughing, poking, talking and stumble into our classroom. More often than not, grab a last-minute drink from the water fountain, hang up our coats on a hook and while still huffing and puffing and smiling with red cheeks we would plop down at our assigned desks and throw our arms on top of our desks and try to calm down. Mrs. Badham would be up front, moving her light-colored heavy wooden “teacher’s” chair or a stool in front of the chalk board and center herself with the classroom. She was tall and slender and always wore sensible gray, black or brown shoes. You know the type, no heel, comfortable soles, matching laces that were always done up. She always wore a dress, skirt or pant suit of a polyester fabric with the perfect third grade teacher necklace. Long and sometimes looped twice with beads or jewels here and there. Never nail polish, but always neatly trimmed and buffed. A plain gold wedding band with a very small matching engagement ring. As soon as we the class settled down, she would unwrap a red cough drop, throw the paper in the trash bin, sit down on the chair or stool and take a deep breath. She would remind us daily of the book title, the author and open to the book marked page and begin reading aloud. We listened to Laura’s antics in Little House on the Prairie or a different tale for one hour. She would glance at the clock now and then. It would always make me worry. No, not yet, please read more. Sometimes, there was not a good stopping point and she would read an extra 4 or 5 minutes until the end of the chapter. She would place the bookmark and close the book gently. Then we had to begin our class work. sigh.
I knew when we began Home Schooling, part of our daily lesson would be for me to read aloud for one hour a day. Having two little boys, I figured out really quickly why she read after recess. Running around and playing hard does indeed get some of the wiggle bugs out. I would read during school time and Dad would read an hour at bedtime. As he loved to read aloud, he always went over the hour mark. Which the boys loved staying up an extra 15 or 20 minutes.
That brings us to Friday. I had a 4 hour appointment scheduled. Radioactive isotopes were sent into my body to swirl around. Then I had to lie still for the next few hours. Since I can hardly sit still for an 45 minute manicure, you can imagine how many wiggle bugs I had. For me, laying still for a few hours, not able to do anything was going to be torture. Mr. Right came up with a brilliant idea. We went to the library the night before. He chose a silly, fast pace murder mystery. “Murder in the Air” by Bill Crider. Mr. Right read aloud for 3.5 hours! Hey, even the technician was following along and laughing now and then. Listening to the story brought back the feelings of third grade. I loved being read to. I had to create the world in my mind. I figured out how the characters looked and their cars. I created the farm that he talked about. When I heard the wrapper on a cough drop being crinkled, it made me smile. I could smell the cherry flavor and it took me right back to my elementary school days. When we were ready to leave the technician remarked, I forgot how much I loved being read to. Now, I will need to go check out that book and see how it ends. To tell you that once home, Mr. Right made a tonic of green juice goodness to rid my body of the toxins coursing through it for the next two days might be a little overkill on the “why I adore my husband so much” category, so I will just say, he took very good care of me for the next couple days.
The book? Oh he is not finished. Since he started reading aloud, he said he wants to finish the same way. So each night, now before bed, instead of crying and being upset about the next horrid appointment or procedure, I get all settled in and enjoy listening to the mystery. Notice I didn’t say he reads for an hour? He left a note this morning saying, I read until I noticed you had fallen fast asleep, we will pick up tonight where you last remember the story.
To say I am grateful for Mr. Right would be an understatement. When I made him a piece of toast and brought it to him last night, it felt lovely to “serve” him again. Through all this madness, I am learning every single day, why I said YES, when he asked (8 days from now) 31 years ago.
“There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage.” anon