I picked a book on CD to listen to with Veronica on our trip to Solvang. I thought it would keep her occupied and entertained on the long ride.

As it happened, she slept and threw up, and slept the rest of the way. She told me she thought the book was too long.

I’d found a recording of Glenn Close reading the Newberry award winner Sarah, Plain and Tall. The set had the sequels Skylark and Caleb’s Story as well.

The award winner was pretty good. But when Caleb started with his story it broke down. The author Patricia MacLachlan stretched it too far. See, it is a kids’ story and I can see that she was pandering to her audience. Spoiler alert: Caleb’s grandfather shows up at their farm after having high tailed it out of there when Caleb’s daddy was little. Daddy can’t welcome grandpa, and keeps saying, “You never even wrote!”


In a heroic move, Caleb discovers that his grandfather is illiterate and secretly teaches him to read. That way he can FINALLY write his grown son the letter he’d been waiting for.


How very convenient. That answer is too pat, and I don’t think it really addresses the complexity of the situation.


But this is a kid’s book, and a fantasy fulfillment for a kid.


I’m a little too old to believe it.


A friend and I were talking about work this weekend. She was talking about her terrible boss, who asks her to do things, then when she presents her work tells her she’s done it wrong.


“And when I have an idea of what needs to be done, and I share it, it will be immediately put down as a terrible idea. I have a one-year rule, wait a year and then suggest again. It will often be taken then.”


“How do you handle this? How can you let it go at the end of the day, when this boss is telling you that you did it all wrong?”


She said, among other things, she knew better than to believe her.


I wish I were old enough to consistently disbelieve the negative things people say to me.

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