On January 25th I attended an event featuring Melissa Gilbert at "Diamonds Steak and Seafood" restaurant. This restaurant is noted not only for fantastic food, but also it's involvement in community and charity events.
Being an avid fan of the "Little House On The Prairie" books since I was 9 years old, and watching Melissa Gilbert grow up on the same named T.V. show, I was anxious to go and support her cause. Melissa Gilbert, husband, and family had moved to our community of Howell, Michigan a while ago, and have been involved in many of the towns projects.
Once I was seated I watched Ms. Gilbert graciously talk to each and every guest, which was no small feat! The place was packed, with a turnover of seats every hour. Yet her smile continued to be genuine.
This was my darling waitress Caitlyn. None of the staff appeared to be harried or rushed. Yet all were friendly and efficient. I had heard that this is a wonderful place to work, and after watching the staff- I could see they worked well as a team to take care of us all. What a delight for us customers!
This is Chef Adam Merkel. He came around to all the tables, welcoming each one of us!
Myself with Melissa Gilbert. For some reason, in my mind I saw her at my height and build. When I actually saw her in person- what was the first thing I said to her?
I said "Oh my! You're just a little bit of a thing, aren't you!" She looked a bit shocked- and I realized that was probably an inappropriate thing to say. Sorry, Melissa. Perhaps she wrote it off as one of those things we "older folks" say.
Now- on to what memory this event triggered. I was 9 years old, living in Iowa. I had received the book "The Long Winter" by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It was mid summer, and fairly high temperatures. The bedroom I shared with my older sister was upstairs in the story and half home where we lived. To get away to read, I'd either climb a tree or go up to my bedroom. (Mind you, air conditioning was not common. We only had a fan and cross ventilation from windows on opposite sides of the room.)
So, I sat on my bed and read- and read.
I was living that awful Winter right along with Laura Ingalls! I was numb with cold. I felt dull from the sound of the howling wind and blowing snow! I felt the ache in my stomach from lack of food, the headache and aching bones in my hands from twisting straw to burn in the fireplace.
All at once I heard my sisters sharp voice. "What on earth is wrong with you!! It's 100 degrees up here!"
It took me a moment to "come back" to my reality. Here I was in the heat of Summer, shivering and wrapped in a quilt! That was the first time I realized the power of the written word- and more specifically, the Imagination!
To have my imagination actually effect my body- what a concept! Now- for many, this may not be true. But reading- AND my imagination has taken me to wonderful places, wonderful adventures, and experiences that feed my Spirit! And I am mindful to feed my imagination with good things, beautiful things! For what feeds the Spirit also feeds the body. That I learned so long ago on a hot Summer's day in a second story bedroom!
This too is an adventure! We are so fortunate to have imagination as well as books to be a part of our lives! Some have lost (or rather, given up) imagining as they've grown. But the ability to imagine is within all of us!
One other bit of wisdom I learned early on that I'd like to share with you. No matter what peaks your interest, no matter what you are curious about- the Library (and now the internet) will let you learn all you want to. Any given subject! And there is NO limit! So even without the funds for college, you still can gain great knowledge!
Reading- Learning- Imagining! I can soar the Heavens without wings, wander jungles and climb mountains!
Life is an adventure, and the "inner" adventure of the imagination knows no limits!