Can you stare at a poster for twenty minutes?

It was probably one day in 2002 or 2003.  I remember sitting outside of the community store (the only “store” for miles) in Taperillas, Bolivia one day.  There were a few of us and we were waiting for something, although I can’t recall exactly what we were waiting for.  Waiting is such a part of life in Bolivia that the act itself is not very memorable.  We had all been sitting for quite some time on the rough wooden benches when someone gestured towards the Coca Cola poster that was clinging to the dusty adobe wall.

“Que bonito, no?” Pascual said with admiration.  All of us looked up at the advertisement that had been hanging there for months, maybe even years.  Others murmured their appreciation for it.  I found I was beginning to study it too, and added my opinion to the others.

“Such bright colours” I said.  After discussing the poster for at least another twenty minutes I was struck by what was happening.  No one was irritated that whoever or whatever we were waiting for hadn’t shown up yet.  In fact, looking at a single poster was providing more than enough entertainment.

Moments like these, so slow and full of patience, are rare.

This picture was not taken the day I just described, but we are sitting at the store (the dark closet on the right) and that is Don Pascual beside me.

I think of this memory often when I am at the doctor’s office and he is 45 min behind schedule, when I am at a show and it starts later than previously announced, or other times when I am feeling hurried and agitated.

Yesterday I thought of it when I was reading The Belonging Place by Jean Little to my girls.  All of us were enjoying the book so much we hardly breathed through one sentence to the next.  I knew I should stop after a chapter or two, but all of us wanted to press on and soon the book was finished much too early.  There are other books like these, ones we love so much we race through them, all the time wanting to go slowly-if only to savour them a little more.  Kind of like Pascual and the Coca-Cola poster.

Here is a handful of titles that two girls, a grown man, and a mama have enjoyed together this past year:

“An inspiring story of self discovery. In Jean Little’s first historical novel, Elspet Mary, a young Scottish orphan, embarks on the journey of a lifetime when she emigrates with relatives to Canada in the 1840s. Her struggle to make a place for herself, not only in her adoptive family but in her new home as well, is powerful and poignant, told as only Jean Little can tell…more”

via The Belonging Place by Jean Little – Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists.

When the heroine’s granny urges her to write down her story she says, “Make a good story of it… dinna leave out bits because somebody else might not like what you say or remember it differently.  You need lots of strong colours to make a good quilt, not just pretty pinks and whites.”

“Everyone loves Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives in an upside-down house and smells like cookies. She was even married to a pirate once. Most of all, she knows everything about children. She can cure them of any ailment. Patsy hates baths. Hubert never puts anything away. Allen eats v-e-r-y slowly. Mrs Piggle-Wiggle has a treatment for all of them.”

via Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald – Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists.


Grandma’s Attic by Arleta Richardson

Frindle by Andrew Clements

Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder


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