Sunday, August 19, 2012

Grandfather Twilight

I was rummaging around in the basement, trying to re-order my cinder-block-and-wood bookshelf I have down there.  It's got three 12-foot long shelves filled with books I've read.  Only half of  one shelf is literature or fiction, the rest contain history, mostly Civil War or World War Two books.

I came across a slender children's book pressed between two huge historical tomes that I have been thinking about and searching for for years, Grandfather Twilight by Barbara Berger (c1984), which I used to read to my three kids at bedtime.  It's about a kindly bearded old man living in a hut in the woods who closes his book at the end of each day, takes a pearl from an endless strand in a locked wooden chest he keeps and, followed by his loving dog, walks to the edge of the sea to gently release the glowing orb into the sky at twilight where it slowly rises and enlarges until it becomes the moon.  Then he returns home to lay down and sleep, good night.

As I worked out the devastation bestowed upon my life by my ex when she parentally alienated my children during our interminable and obscenely expensive divorce litigation, which induced them to walk out of my life forever half a decade ago, I went over the countless wonderful things I did for and with my sons (yeah, that's right Jimmy, Johnny and Danny), and I thought often of the times I read them this wonderful book.  No matter where I looked I couldn't find our copy of it.  Not actually having it was frustrating, but divorce teaches you that possessions are mere things and immaterial and the real valuable "stuff" resides stored in your memories.

I actually have our copy of Grandfather Twilight now, after years of wishing that I had it.  The book, with its lush pictures and wonderful story, is as beautiful as I remembered.  I love this book, but not half as much as I love Jimmy, Johnny and Danny, who reside in my memory as three precious children still.

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