My Dad read to me a lot while I was growing up. First, he read me children’s books and then as I grew, we would take turns reading chapter books aloud in our living room. I remember many nights spent reading Roald Dahl books – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. We read Tolkien together too in addition to the armfuls of chapter books I devoured on my own each month.
Then, when I was nine years old, I wrote on my Christmas list that I would like a baby brother. As luck would have it, Santa obliged! Soon my baby brother Eric arrived and in turn, a second round of children’s stories were read aloud in our home. I can’t tell you how comforting it was to return to the sound of those stories while in the mire of my middle school days. I didn’t realize how much I had missed them.
When it came time for me to read Canterbury Tales in my high school English class, my Dad and I read some of that aloud at home together too. I can still remember my Dad’s deep voice wrapping around Chaucer’s famous prologue…”Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote the droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote.”
I soon went on to college and, to no one’s surprise, I declared myself an English major. I’ve paged through an enormous amount of literature in my life and layering my life with stories was the best thing my Dad ever did for me. I am now grown, married to a wonderful husband, and we have raised two sweet daughters of our own who my Dad spent many hours reading to as well.
Today, I find the calendar will soon arrive upon the first anniversary of my father’s death. He spent the last years of his life struggling from severe illness. He spent the last few days of his life in ICU and then finally Hospice. His last conscious night was spent in ICU with me sitting beside him, quietly praying, trying to be strong but not really knowing what to do. Our ICU nurse asked my Dad if he would like to listen to music, and yes, he thought that would be nice. So she graciously let her phone play by request through the night as my Dad drifted away.
I just now realized he might have liked to hear a story.
It’s good to enter life with a story, it’s good to go through life with a story, and it’s good to leave life with a story too. – Holly Hinckle Flint
In memory of Craig D. Hinckle, born into this world in Rutherford, New Jersey, November of 1940, departed this world in Kennesaw, Georgia, March of 2014.