Joy of re-discovering re-reading

Randy Riley - Contributing columnist

If there is a silver lining to our current situation, it might be that our lives have slowed down. With the absence of our “daily grind” (whatever that consisted of) we can now take time to try new things and to relish those things that were crowded out by our busy daily routine.

Debbie and I now find time to cook more than ever. I really love to make breakfast. My specialties are omelets and some amazing scrambled eggs. Throw in creative pancake designs and I am a breakfast craftsman.

I have also started sitting on the front porch to read. It is nice to be able to sit and wave at passersby, neighbors and friends while I read and sip a glass of wine or another adult beverage.

Even on those days when it drizzles a little, my front porch has become my favorite place to read.

Books and reading have been mentioned in my column quite a few times. Almost nine years ago, Lora Abernathy asked to write a weekly column for the newspaper. At the time, Lora was the editor of the Wilmington News Journal. I told her that I didn’t think I was interested.

Shortly before, I had written an opinion piece about the separation of powers that exists at every level of government. I had been mayor for about six months and my relationship with city council was strained. As far as we could tell, I was the first mayor ever to veto a piece of legislation that had been passed by city council. Things were tense.

A few weeks after I wrote that opinion piece, I received a call from Lora asking if I would be interested in writing a weekly column. I told her that I was not interested in griping about politics every week. Lora answered, “Oh, no. I don’t want a weekly political column. I want a ‘slice of life’ column. You can write about anything you want. Write about your dog if you want to.”

Since then I have written about all manner of things. My dog column? I wrote that one the following year.

When I stared college in 1968, my major was journalism. Two years later, I changed to healthcare and studied respiratory therapy. Now, for the past 8-years, I’ve had the honor to write a weekly column. It’s almost as if my life has come full circle.

One morning this past week, I awoke and sat on the edge of the bed allowing some crazy dreams to drift away, I found myself looking at the small bookcase that sits by the bureau. I started searching for another book that I might want to add to my re-reading list.

Recently, I finished a book that I’ve read at least three times. It’s entitled, “Earth Abides.” Oddly enough, it was written in 1949 about a disease that spread around the world. The story is about the handful of people who survived the disease. This time, the topic hit a bit too close to home.

I’ve always enjoyed a wide variety of books. My bookcase reminded me of that. There were at least three John Grisham novels scattered about. Between them were a few historical novels. “Killer Angels” is a great book about the battle of Gettysburg. Leon Uris’ novel, “Trinity,” is about the turbulent history of Ireland.

I’ve always loved sea adventures. The trilogy of the Bounty — “Mutiny on the Bounty,” “Men against the Sea,” and “Pitcairn Island,” are my favorites. There is also a book by John Boyne entitled “Mutiny.” It retells the classic story from a different viewpoint. I just love a good adventure story.

Ian Fleming and Michael Crichton are also well represented. There are several versions of the Holy Bible, ranging from the King James Version to “The Message” – the Bible written in modern language.

Nearly 20 years ago, the bishop of the Western Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church assigned Dean Feldmeyer to be the new pastor of the church in Wilmington.

One of the first things I heard about Dean was that he was a published author. Not only had he written books about establishing and building effective youth ministries, but he also wrote detective novels that were exciting, funny and entertaining.

Dean’s latest novel, “Off Campus,” is not in print. It is only available online. It is also a detective novel. So far, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading it, but I am really honored that one of the lead characters in Dean’s new book is a short, fun-loving, somewhat irreverent retired policeman named … Charles Riley. Thanks, Dean.

I’ve lined up several more good books to read during our quarantine. I hope you find some good ones.

If you happen to drive by my house and see me sitting on the front porch reading … Toot and wave.

Randy Riley is former Mayor of Wilmington, Ohio and former Clinton County Commissioner. This column shared through the AIM Media Midwest group of newspapers. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.

Randy Riley

Contributing columnist