Required Reading

Quick recap (slightly longer recap here), we went to visit the Shannons a couple of weeks ago and the kids, Tim, Steve and I went sledding with them.

At the bottom of the hill that the kids were sledding down were a few very large trees. It wasn’t a dense forest by any means, but there were trees. The dike was sloped  right into the small grove of trees. The slope is no Bel Air Hill. I know that most of you won’t understand that reference but the hill that backed up to my elementary school was an EPIC sledding hill. Want proof?

Needless to say the slope (because in comparison to Bel Air’s hill it is a slope not a hill)  of the dike wasn’t very steep so even if you got moving pretty fast you were never moving that fast. BUT I am a mom now, so a small grove of trees at the bottom of even the smallest incline is enough to make me curl my toes in worry. Of course they did hit the trees… quite a few times actually. In fact I am 98% sure Patrick was aiming for them.

(below: Steve and Zach)

Like I posted earlier, the three youngest didn’t last long but Tim and the boys played Ethan Frome for a good long time. They came back soaking wet, smiling from ear to ear, all in one piece, and eager to tell their adventures. They had all managed to get snow under their snow gear and up their backs. I am still not quite sure how it happened but I have a feeling the small jump at the bottom of the dike had something to do with. Somethings are better for moms not to know.

The title of this post is a bit of a point of contention for me. I made what I thought was a witty remark while everyone was warming up under layers of blankets sipping on hot drinks about how Tim wasn’t making the safest choices with our boys, and that we should all look to Ethan Frome and learn from his example. The Shannon Men looked at me like I was nuts. I tried to explain the novel to spark their memory. I assumed everyone read Ethan Frome as part of their school curriculum just like I had, but none of them had any idea. I started to give an overview of the plot trying to jog their memories because I knew that they had to have read it. Wasn’t Ethan Frome one of the classics like Scarlett Letter and To Kill a Mockingbird. One of those novels that is a rite of passage or at least required to read before graduating High School? If it isn’t it should be, especially in the upper-Midwest where sledding is an outdoor activity 6 months of the year.

I was a minute or two into giving a blow-by-blow of the depressing plot and my audience was giving me nothing but blank stares. Then (Jim, Tim’s Dad) perked up and started talking about a movie he saw with Liam Niessen. YES! Victory. I can deliver a line on stage that has been written for me but retelling a story is not my strong suit. Jim on the other hand does it for a living. I sat back and watched the master and waited for the Shannon Brothers to have their Aha, I remember moments. At least I hadn’t made up the entire book in my head. I was beginning to think I was the delusional one. Jim talked about the movie and I excitedly agreed and added to the plot. Still the brothers had no idea. My stubborn Norwegian roots were starting to play their part and I dug my heals in. The conversation ebbed and flowed between the guys about cars and trucks and movies and weather and I sat and stewed. I couldn’t believe it. Then my saving grace walked into the room. Carmen, my Sister in Law and family teacher/librarian joined the group and I interrupted the guy talk in a way that would shame my manners enforcing mother. I was excited for Carmen to confirm my theory of  that every kid should have read Ethan Frome at some point in time! She would know. She is a teacher AND a librarian.

She hadn’t read it either.

So now I need to know. Who out there had to read Ethan Frome when they were in school? Have you even heard of the book or have you at least seen the movie? I gotsta to know. Do you fear paralysis when you see a tree at the bottom of a sledding hill?! Please tell me I am not crazy!


5 thoughts on “Required Reading

  1. Jess

    I guess I should be asking for all that tuition money back be questions I have never read it. I hope that doesn’t mean I’ll get the axe…man, I’m such a poser 😉

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