Friday, December 14, 2012


The Book, pretty dog-eared now
            Today is the long awaited day.  “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is finally out in movie theaters.  My family has grown tired of the constant updates I have given them of each stage of the filming.  First there was going to be one, then two—no, wait a minute—three movies made from that one book.
            So when I made the announcement at dinner tonight that this very day “The Hobbit” was out, I got pleasant responses, but no huge enthusiasm.  It wasn’t always that way.
            When our 4 oldest children were 5 and under, we lived in a little house with 3 bedrooms on the main floor.  Once dinner was over, the badgering began.
            “When are we going to read, Dad?”
            I glanced at my wife. 
            “Got to get baths and pajamas, first.” she said, shaking her head.
            I shrugged.  “Hurry up, guys, if you want to have time to read.”
            It worked every time.
            Each night we piled up on one of the beds in either the boys’ or the girls’ room.  I sat on the bed with bodies sprawled against me, sometimes with feet pressing against my back, and eyes contemplating parts of the room as they listened.  Pushes and shoves for better positions were given secretly.  No one wanted to be ordered off the bed.
            Each night we would take Bilbo Baggins one step closer to his confrontation with the fearful dragon, Smaug. 
            Someone would always ask a question. “Why don’t they stay together?”  “Why can’t they be nice?”  When I’d try to quit in the middle of a chapter, Ephraim would complain, “No!  You can’t stop now.” 
            We always ended up reading more than I intended.  Not that I minded, but this was all about putting them to bed, right?
            The next day, we’d talk about what Gandalf had done or if the ponies really got eaten.  Seth, especially, would ask me questions.  Sometimes, I had no answer.
            This was not the only time I read The Hobbit at bedtime, but our lives were simpler then, and we read the whole book quickly.
            Once, my son Ephraim and his family were visiting us.  What did he read his children for a bedtime story?  The Hobbit.   Old traditions die hard.
            But now I have another dilemma.  Do I buy the DVD when it comes out, or wait for the director’s cut?  Already, I’m planning negotiations for both.


  1. This is an awesome post! I remember that my Dad use to read the Hobbit to us as well. He read that and "A Wrinkle in Time." I have good memories of listening to him read. Did your Dad read to you too or is it just a coincident? - this is Ambre by the way, I just don't have a google account and use my son's instead.

    1. Thanks Ambre. Glad you liked it. Dad didn't read to us, but he would tuck us in and tell us bedtime stories. He was a great story teller. He loved cowboys, Indians, cows, snakes and anything from the Wild West. We particularly loved his Andy Delaney stories. I should post some of those stories on our blog.

  2. I wish we were back in those times, Berk. I also used to read to my kids every night, despite the fact that my mother never read to me in her life. Eventually they could all read for themselves, but the joy was a hundredfold if we all engaged in the same book, and it was a good time to share opinions and discuss issues as they came up.

    We feel very disjointed these days. Even if we are all reading the same thing, one has the audio book on his ipod, one is reading the books, and another has gone straight to video. We have a lot of accidental spoilers around our house.

    I sincerely hope they will read to their kids when they have some.

    1. Thanks, Karen. They were good times, weren't they? My wife and I like to relax by listening to a book tape together--and enjoy our author/story analysis conversations afterward.

      Though all my kids are grown I'm now in the stage of life where I can read stories to my grand kids.

  3. I loved this post! I love the book and the recent movie (anxiously awaiting the other two). Yeah, director's cuts are certainly the better of the two choices, but waiting for the release is another matter. GO FOR BOTH! You can always give the original away to your kids as a gift after you replace it with the director's cut.

    1. We saw and loved the movie too, Elsie. The gift idea has definite possibilities. Thanks!