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A Flea Market Find Takes Me Down Memory Lane

I’ve been accused of being too sentimental and nostalgic. Perhaps that’s true, but I make no apologies. I thinks it’s important to remember those who taught us our first lessons.

When I was little, I would sit on my grandma’s lap and she’d read to me for hours. I still remember some of the books she read. Too Many Kittens, The Little Red Hen, Animal Daddies and My Daddy, Cinderella, and Peter and the Wolf were among the titles in Grandma’s library. My favorite book was a Puppet Storybook edition of The Little Red Hen.

Grandma passed away two days before my eighth birthday, and her books were auctioned off with most of her estate. I’ve found a few of the stories that we read together so many years ago, but they are not common. That’s why I was thrilled to find the ultimate prize last weekend.

My husband and I were browsing in a local flea market when I spotted it over in a corner. I had to weave around the multitude of merchandise displayed in the floor in front of the rack where my treasure awaited. I nearly fell over a pressure cooker and some rusty tools, but I accomplished my feat.

I found the exact edition of The Little Red Hen that Grandma read to me over and over again. Such a prize is worth twice the contorting I performed to reach it. The book was copyright in 1968, and this copy is in pretty rough shape. It was once a library book.

The spine has been taped several times with more than one color of tape. The emblem on the front has been scratched to the point where the picture doesn’t move anymore and is in danger of coming unglued. The cover is curled on the corners and the coating is peeling. Someone has written random letters and numbers inside the front cover. None of that matters.

The important thing is that I have the book for which I’ve been searching for years. Some people may look at it and see junk, but I see hours of happiness spent listening to my grandma read to me. I’m transported back to asking why the Little Red Hen only wore an apron while the other farm animals wore full outfits. I asked why she didn’t just lock her door to keep the others out if she didn’t want to share her bread.

Grandma always had answers for me. She explained the apron was really a dress in the world of chickens. She said the Little Red Hen didn’t lock her door because she wanted the other animals to see the bread that they had refused to help bring into being. She said it was important the lazy animals learn to work for what they wanted. Grandma was all about explaining the moral of the story and why the lessons were important.

Once I get the book cleaned up, I will probably read it to my grandchildren. I hope they love the story as much as I did when I was little. I hope they learn as much through the joy of story as I did. It’s important to read to kids. It helps their language skills develop, engages their fertile minds, and sometimes teaches valuable life lessons. Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you’ve enjoyed my little seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to Ozarks Maven, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @OzarksMaven.

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