We did it! Thanks Pistol Pete!

I’ve never been a big fan of 11 year old kids reading the f-bomb. I don’t know, I guess I’m weird like that.

And so you can only imagine my horror 18 months ago when my orange-haired, freckle faced, youngest OS announces one day that the book his daddy got him had that lovely word printed ON THE VERY FIRST PAGE! I nearly fell out of my chair.

It was a basketball book entitled Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich and the reason the hubs bought it for our OS is because Isaac loves basketball. Our OS needed to work on his reading and boy, was I glad our OS said something about the curse word! Faced with a dilemma, do I throw the book in the trash or take it back to Borders, I took immediate action. I chose to do neither but I did do something with that book I never expected.

I read it out loud to my son. The G-rated, completely edited and censored version, of course.

And guess what?

I loved every minute of it. We finished the book on Friday. 323 pages, 18 months, we did it!

If you know me at all, you know I am not a sports person. Much to my OS’s chagrin, I still can’t remember the positions they play in their respective sports. It drives them nuts! And for the last year and a half, Ike and I have been reading a book about the great basketball legend, Pete Maravich.

When we finished I seriously wanted to cry. It was an accomplishment and a blessing. We didn’t merely read the book; we took it deeper. We talked extensively about the book. Pistol Pete Maravich was a complex man with a difficult life. He had many excesses and demons, he had a complicated childhood ~ there were many dimensions to this man. This book touched both of our hearts.

And we did even more than that. We did A LOT of vocabulary. Always by our side was the trusty Webster’s. At times, my OS loathed that dictionary with a passion but together we learned words such as:
mollify, triumvirate, augur, majordomo, chaw, vestigial, bonanza, vituperative, excoriate, progency, ignominy, assiduous, junto, bifurcated ~ nearly 200 words my OS searched. It turns out I don’t think Ike could have read this book without me. It was an advanced read for both of us but so worth it.

We learned so much ~ about Pete Maravich (he came to know Jesus and died of a heart condition while playing basketball with Dr. James Dobson) and we learned things about each other too. Sometimes, while I read to Ike, he would draw and despite countless emotional outbursts “I hate this stupid book!” “I don’t want to read!” (read this in your loudest, most emotional 12 year old boy voice!), we didn’t give up. The time we had with each other makes me feel that this “fait accompli” has blessed us with an “inexorable” experience which has left me feeling “ebullient” inside. How’s that for using my new words?

I must share with you another book we read together which was delightful which was very different than Pistol. I’ll do that soon, it’s just the best.

Any ideas as to what to read next are welcome. I’m really proud of us. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t read to older kids. You’re missing out on a treat, seize those special moments.

Thanks to a curiously placed cuss word, I got treasured time with my OS which beats sitting in front of the stupid box (TV) any day.

PS. Don’t tell Ike that I’m working on a comprehension test next. 😉 Spelling and grammar will count!

Reader’s Choice


Reading allows us to steal away to a different time and place. I find reading so peaceful and transportative (is that a word? If it isn’t, it should be!) I go to places in the pages that I will never visit and some that don’t even exist. I usually prefer non-fiction but depending on the first few pages catch me, I can easily enjoy fiction.

And I tend to think of reading as a gift because it sym- bolizes time where I am not busy. We are blessed beyond measure to live in a country where books are bountiful and many of us are literate. I am disheartened to have encountered many teenagers who cannot read at a grade appropriate level. Reading, in my opinion, unlocks your mind and gives you opportunity.

I am proud of myself because in a matter of about pages, I will soon finish one book, purpose to finish other and complete a book I’ve been reading with Isaac for oh, say, the last 18 months.

Here are the books that I will soon have read in their entirety. Drum roll, bugles, fireworks, balloons, please…

Three Cups of Tea – the author came to West Point for a book signing and my OS got me an autographed copy! Amazing story!

The 2 Degree Difference – a book I bought at a marriage conference that’s been quite inspiring

and finally

Pistol – The Life of Pete Maravich – a book I NEVER would have read by myself and when Ike announced that there was an F-bomb in the first page, I promptly grabbed the book out of my 12 (then 11 year old’s hands!), thank you very much! Surprisingly, we have thoroughly enjoyed this biography for the last, oh say, 18 months with my OS Ike.

I can’t wait to tell you about them because each, in their own right, has been a changing transformative experience. Please note the ever-so-subtle word-smithing I used – transportative/transformative. Wow.

But I thought I’d enlist your help and see what YOU think I should read. In an attempt to be resourceful with the things I have at home that do not require an additional purchase, I have the following books on my list.

Which one do you think I should read next?
Here are your/my choices:

Off the Deep End – The probably insane idea that I could swim my way through a midlife crisis-and qualify for the Olympics by W. Hodding Carter

Come Back to Afghanistan – A California Teenager’s Story by Said Hyder Akbar

Around the World in 80 Dinners – 50,000 Miles, 10 Countries, 800 Dishes and 1 Rogue Monkey by Cheryl and Bill Jamison

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger – a book that is on my mom’s and husband’s lists of best books of their lives

I would appreciate your suggestions. Now back to reading! I look forward to the results!