Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Friday, July 6, 2012

My dad's book

While at the beach this summer I experienced a first. No, I didn't wear a bikini. Nor did I go surfing. And I certainly didn't come face to face with a shark.

I did, however, borrow a book from my dad. Me, the book lover, swiped a book from my dad, the man who rarely read while I was growing up and who even now prefers audio books to the paper version.

But while at the beach he kept talking about this book he was reading and he continued to steal moments to read just another page while we were between activities. I expected to hear, "Just one more chapter," when I called him to dinner which would have been a nice turn-around since that's what my family remembers me saying. So when he got up from his beach chair to take HopeAnne into the ocean, I snagged that book and started reading. Until he returned and I had to give it up. Lucky for me he didn't take it along to the Mets game the next day so I got a whole day to finish that book. I would have been very upset if I'd had to return home without reaching the end.

The book, which I highly recommend, is Hiking Through: One man's journey to peace and freedom on the Appalachian Trail by Paul Stutzman. My initial interest came, of course, from my dad's enthusiasm. Beyond that, however, I'm intrigued with the trail, which criss-crosses several roads we traverse on a regular basis. Last year I found a chapter book that I read to the children, Halfway to the Sky by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. And just maybe, there's a small part of me that wishes I was adventurous enough to say I had tried something like a thru-hike.

The author begins his journey as part of the healing process after the death of his wife. He finds that he's not the only one hiking for this reason and writes the book to encourage husbands and fathers to cherish every moment with their loved ones. But his writing is so engaging that it will strike a chord with many readers for a variety of reasons. Some may identify with the grieving process, others with the adventurous side, and still others with an interest in the trail.

And if you're Mennonite, or used to be Mennonite, you should read this book because you'll likely find out that your best friend's uncle worked with a woman who went to the Mennonite high school with the second cousin of the author. Or maybe your husband, like the author, is a descendent of the Hochstetlers and Stutzmans who formed the first organized Amish Mennonite Congregation in America in 1740 but which was disbanded following an attack by Native Americans. The author passed very close to the memorial in Pennsylvania on his walk north. The husband passes nearby every time he travels east on Route 78. Doesn't mater the connection, I'm sure there's one there.

I had lunch today at a cafe in a trail town. Seated at one of the tables was a bearded man with overloaded backpack. I wanted to ask him his story and why he was on the trail. But I didn't. Maybe he'll write a book so I can read it someday.

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