by Judith Allen
A memory in a little girl's life that made a difference in her life.
|The Memory Lesson
The little girl with bib overalls and long brown braids is sitting on an ottoman at her grandfather's feet. She is holding an old and well-worn book, faded red and embossed in gold. The Big Quiz Book. The little girl is reading questions from the book, haltingly at times because she is very young and some of the words are hard to pronounce and she doesn't understand them all. She looks at her grandfather after each question and waits patiently for him to respond. Sometimes he asks her to read the question again, and he may even explain a word to her in a stumbling fashion.
Her grandfather sits in his old leather over-stuffed chair and thinks about each question. He answers them slowly and with great care. Sometimes he has to stop and start over. He never shows signs of frustration, nor great triumph when he answers for these questions are very elementary for him and he is a highly intelligent man. The reason for his hesitation becomes obvious as you observe the drawn side of his face, the eye that doesn't open quite right and the mouth that doesn't do what he wants without tremendous effort. This is only the latest in a series of strokes that have attacked his body and mind over the years.
The routine is always the same. He comes home from the hospital, recovers somewhat physically and regains some strength. Then the memory lesson begins. The little girl asks every question in the book. The grandfather answers every question in the book and they go over and over again.
As time goes by the book is no longer needed and things return to normal. Her grandfather begins his farm chores again and the little girl returns to her animals and play. Memories have been regained and new memories have been made. Lessons in patience, preserverance, love of learning and a little bit of reading have been learned. The Big Quiz Book is put on the shelf until the next time.