I may have mentioned before that one of my favorite things from my childhood is all the books my mother read aloud to us. I am sure I’ve already mentioned my fondness for hearing Danny the Champion of the World, (Roald Dahl), but there was also Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, (E.B. White), The Secret Garden, (Frances Hodgson Burnett), the Ramona books (Beverly Cleary) and the Hobbit (Duh) among so many others. One of the very best was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I remember being completely enthralled by every moment of that book – it seemed to be the greatest adventure ever. Funny, now that I’ve gone back and read it again I’m surprised by how short and simple it is, thought it still remains completely magical.
I think one of my clearest memories from the book is that of Edmund eating the Turkish Delight given to him by the White Queen. I had never heard of the delicacy before and in my mind I imagined a treat so heavenly that I myself would have accepted it from the evil Witch. How else could Edmund have succumbed? It had to be the stuff of heaven, undoubtedly involving chocolate and possibly raspberries or toasted almonds and just got better from there. Then one day my mom brought some actual Turkish Delight home in a little cardboard box. Imagine our surprise when we saw the powdery little cubes and discovered that they were just these little squishy-jelly things with stuff in them, sort of like a cross between jello and fruitcake. Horrors. How could Edmund have been tricked with something as awful as that? We were all disappointed and could only assume that C.S. Lewis had made a mistake.
Well. Time has passed and now my husband and I are the ones reading to our own children. We also constantly listen to story CDs in the car as we putter along on our errands. I find the distraction of great literature a tremendous help in staving off bickering. We are currently in the middle of Harry Potter 2, the Chamber of Secrets (my least favorite of all the books – my anxiety level gets elevated as we listen but we’ll persevere). We just finished The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and my kids, as judged by their rapt attention, were just as drawn in as I had been. I loved it all over again. And then last night we attended a party to celebrate the graduation of our friend Cullen. Guess what was on the table. Turkish Delight! I was so excited to show my kids and see what their reaction would be! Certainly they would be as shocked and horrified as I had been. However, it turned out that the only shocked and horrified person was…me. My children were indeed excited to see what Turkish Delight really was. And they ate every last piece and asked for more...
Oh, my little Edmunds, perhaps I can procure an additional supply of the stuff and see if I can tempt you to do my bidding by offering it to you as a great reward. (Cue menacing chuckle…..)