The Idea of an Essay, Volume 4

Narrative & Memoir 75 Brick by Brick Matthew Beal Cook-A-Doodle-Doo—that’s the title of it. It was my first true love in reading, a masterpiece of childhood literature. Oh, you should have seen the colors of each page. Flashes of green and red highlighted the rooster’s body, and the other animals flourished in their respective shades and hues of blue, pink, yellow, and red. That wasn’t the only thing that made it so enjoyable, though. The story was well-written for my developing mind. One farm of animals embarked on a quest to craft a thing of glory, the one and only strawberry shortcake. And there sat Grandma in our lazy boy chair reading it to me, her ball of white hair topping a body that had probably eaten one too many shortcakes. That didn’t matter, though, because no one read it like Grandma did. She possessed every inflection and voice with perfect artistry, and she knew which line to emphasize above all. ‘Twas the line that evoked, without fail, a delighted laughter to accompany my young smile. After Hog’s premature consumption of the shortcake and suggestion of a new food dish, Iguana turned to him and said, “ about a plump, juicy roast pig?” With stories of this nature, I grew to love reading. My dear mother and I used to trek down to the public library and return with stacks of books. Sometimes, we checked out so many books that we found it challenging to get them all home in one trip, my mother being a petite woman, and I being four years old. Nevertheless, our dedication to an avid consumption of literature was not to be impeded by our wanting of size. We were a team on a mission—to search out new stories, to make contact with the great characters of prose, and to boldly read what no child had read before (contrary to the suggestion, though, I had no knowledge of Star Trek at the time as my introduction to it would come a few years later at the hands of my phaser-beam-loving father). Now it was one thing to be a child with no cares in the world except to snuggle up with a parent on our plaid couch and follow the