Got to looking for ‘THEEEEE” childhood book. You know – the one book that sticks in your memory so well that you totally “see” the dust jacket in your mind’s eye 63 years later. Even better, you know how the hard cover looked UNDER the dust jacket. You remember every black and white picture that had a splash of red thrown in somewhere. The smell of that book as you fell asleep on it because it was the last thing you read almost every night. Once white pages that took on that yellowy tinge over the years also stick in the memory banks. Red crayon markings that you put on the inside cover in childish writing are also there. It’s funny what you remember about that treasured book even the binding that finally broke apart after being used one too many times and the browning cellophane tape seems somehow indelibly lodged into the “permanent file” . That’s the book I’m talking about.
Mom ended up buying me that book again and then – once again. The first time, I was still living in a small house that I always call the Campbell Street house. It is where I first remember falling asleep with that book; my head cradled in the creases. Looking back, I don’t remember when it fell apart or when I stopped reading it. Essentially, by the time I went to college, it was gone. I know that because when I was taking a children’s lit course in college, I wanted to do a project on that book, but mom said it was gone. However, a couple days later and without calling, she appeared on my door step with a new copy. Mom was like that – especially after my father died. If I said I needed something, she would drive 80 miles and spend the money to make it come true. (I still find my mom totally amazing for all the things she attempted and accomplished for our family.)
Of course, that book remained with me and was read to my children many, many times. Eventually, that copy wore out and mom replaced it again until we had a house fire. Most of my books had been packed into boxes in 2009 because we were trying to sell our home. But this children’s book always stayed with my Bibles by my bedside. On that beautiful September day, I lost a few treasures – including my mom’s dog-eared, falling-apart-highlighted-filled-with-handwritten-comments Bible. Needless to say, the first thing I bought in the first week after the fire was a new Bible (I’m now up to 5 – if you don’t count all the digital ones that I have) and a small children’s book called: “If Jesus Came to My House”.
On this lenten journey, I wondered once again – and perhaps – it will make you wonder as well:
“If Jesus came to my house and knocked upon the door, I’m sure I’d be more happy than I’ve ever been before.
If Jesus came to my house, I’d like him best to be, about the age that I am, and about the height of me.
I’d run downstairs to meet him, the door I’d open wide, and I would say to Jesus, ‘Oh won’t you come inside?’ ~ Joan Gale Thomas.