“The Old Man and the Boy.” Books in the key of my life

I thought for years that I loved this book because my father read it out loud to me when I was a child, and I adored him.

After he died and we moved his library to my house, I re-read “The Old Man and the Boy.”

I picked it up one afternoon when the grief was drowning me, just for the memories.

I quickly fell in love with the book on its own merits.

It took me away from everything and transported me to a hilly beach in North Carolina, to the sounds of birds and buoys knocking against a wooden boat.

The next day I found myself in a cold pine forest waiting for a covey of gently cooing quail.

As my son slept that night I went back to North Carolina and the smell of a good fire, a wet dog and gun oil.

Grief began to be replaced with memories of the outdoors with my dad. I started healing in the pages of “The Old Man and the Boy.”

I’ve re-read it several times since then and I still love it.

Each chapter stands alone and brilliantly tells of the Southern outdoor life while being woven around the relationship between a boy and his grandfather, and the Boy growing to manhood.

Mistakes are made, lessons are learned, and character is forged in the crucible of love, and eventually, a death.

~~~

It strikes me that what the world calls “toxic” is actually something this day and age could use more of, men teaching boys how to be men.

“The Old Man and the Boy” is a book in the key of my life.

In my mind I’m gone to Carolina
Can’t you see the sunshine?
Can’t you just feel the moonshine?
Ain’t it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind?
Yes, I’m gone to Carolina in my mind

Karin, she’s a silver sun
You best walk her way and watch it shine
And watch her watch the morning come
A silver tear appearing now
I’m cryin’, ain’t I?
Gone to Carolina in my mind

There ain’t no doubt in no ones mind
That love’s the finest thing around
Whisper something soft and kind
And hey babe, the sky’s on fire
I’m dying, ain’t I?
Gone to Carolina in my mind

In my mind I’m gone to Carolina
Can’t you see the sunshine?
Can’t you just feel the moonshine?
And, ain’t it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind?
Yes, I’m gone to Carolina in my mind

Dark and silent, late last night,
I think I might have heard the highway call
And geese in flight and dogs that bite
The signs that might be omens say
I’m goin’, I’m goin’
I’m gone to Carolina in my mind

With a holy host of others standin’ around me
Still I’m on the dark side of the moon
And it seems like it goes on like this forever
You must forgive me, if I’m up and gone to
Carolina in my mind

In my mind I’m goin’ to Carolina
Can’t you see the sunshine?
Can’t you just feel the moonshine?
Ain’t is just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind
Yes, I’m gone to Carolina in my mind

Gone to Carolina in my mind
And I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind
Goin’ to Carolina in my mind
Gone, I’m gone, I’m gone
Say nice things about me ’cause I’m gone south now
Got to carry on without me, I’m gone

~James Taylor

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