by Betty Dravis

“Oh, no, son, I don’t care how much Patty loves her Kindle, you’re not talking me into getting one of those newfangled e-book readers! You know how I love my book collection.”

“But Mom, they’re so now and you’re always the first to want the latest computer, software and high-tech stuff. Just think how practical it would be. You can have thousands of books all in a little device about the size of one book, only thinner…and you can download them directly from the Internet to your Kindle with just one click of a button. No more being bored while waiting in the doctor’s office or on long drives; you can take all your books in your purse.”

Bob gave an impish grin as he tousled his mom’s hair and pointed to her burgeoning bookshelves and the spillover on the floor beside her desk. “You won’t have to give up your collection. It’ll always be here. You just won’t have more cluttering up the house. And just think—you’ll never have to buy another bookshelf. No more–”

With an airy wave of her hand, she cut him off. “I know all the arguments in favor of the Kindle, Bobby. A lot of my friends brag about theirs constantly, but I just can’t get around the idea of how beautiful my hard cover books are and how they add warmth to my home. And don’t forget, son, I’m an author. It’s what I do, so it somehow seems disloyal.” She sighed as she glanced at the Kindle on the Amazon website.

“Well, it is a pretty, compact little thing. My friend Linda tells me how she loves just dropping hers in her purse when she goes out and having something to read anytime, anywhere. That thing even reads to her when she’s commuting… Can you believe? She loves the idea of having thousands of books at her disposal too…without searching. But I just don’t know… Don’t think I’m ready yet.”

~~~

I’m her granddaughter Melinda and I was standing in the archway between Grammy’s computer room and the hallway when I overheard their conversation. I had to laugh when she cut Uncle Bobby off so abruptly and continued to jabber. I knew he was checking her reaction because he was thinking of getting her one for Christmas. I thought she was starting to come around, so I handed my Kindle to her, hoping she’d notice how light it is. I slid the little lever to shut it off, then quickly turned it back on, showing her how to find a book with the tiny arrows, to scroll to her selection, click and push the square in the middle of the arrows to get to the e-book collection. I also showed her how it took me right back to the same page I’d been reading.

“Wow, Melinda” she said, “that’s sure easy enough—and no bookmarks…” She rolled her eyes and shook her head.

My sweet Grammy was coming around… Score another hit for Kindle.

“That’s just one of many conveniences, Grams,” I said. “I really do think you’ll like it. I don’t know how I got along without mine. I wish I’d had it all those years at school. I wouldn’t have had to lug around those huge backpacks loaded with all those heavy textbooks. Remember when kids were hurting their backs and there was a stink at my school about it?”

Grammy nodded as she took a closer look at mine. “What’s that pretty pink pattern on yours, honey?” she asked. “The only ones I’ve seen are dark gray or white. That’s sure prettier. Is it a different brand?”

“No, it’s a Kindle. That’s just a skin to protect it from fingerprints. They come in many colors and patterns. They have lots of extras for the Kindle.” I slipped it out of its cover to show her the pattern on the back.

She was beaming when she returned it to me. “That fine leather cover is elegant and sturdy; all covered like that, when closed, it looks like an expensive notebook.  Cool… But I can’t get over the skin… What will they come up with next?”

By that time her eyes were sparkling and I could tell she was intrigued. I shot Uncle Bobby an I-think-she’s-interested nod and then asked for a ride home. As I pecked Grams on the cheek before leaving, I saw her going to the Amazon Wish List site. Oh, boy, I thought, I’ll check that later. Maybe it won’t be so hard selecting her Christmas gifts this year.

~~~

The following day, my mother Debbie and I searched Grams’s Wish List and sure enough—there it was! And she not only put the Kindle on the list, she also chose a skin and a cover. Grams sure took the bait, all right! We breathed sighs of relief now that the yearly problem of what to get her for Christmas was solved. Woo-hoo…

Mom couldn’t wait to call Bobby and her sisters Mindy and Allie. I wish I could have overheard those conversations, but I do know it’s going to be a Kindle Christmas for our dear one. I couldn’t help but wonder why it took Grams so long to get around to wanting one; she’s always been so progressive and up to date.

~~~

Christmas morning arrived quickly, as it always does, and since Grams usually spends a few days at my mom’s house, we all gathered there. We wanted her to open her gifts first, but she insisted that tradition requires the little kids to go first. “After all, Christmas is all about them,” she said as she gathered them around her, hugging each one tightly.

I couldn’t resist a laugh as I said. “There’s nothing traditional about you, Grams. You’re funky—remember?” I was referring to what she always calls herself.

After the kids opened their gifts and were happily, noisily playing in the den, we finally got to watch Grams open her presents. Her eyes were as round and shiny as the ornaments on the tree when she opened each one, thanked the giver profusely, smiled her approval and gushed over her new “toys.”

The main attraction was the Kindle from Uncle Bobby, but my mom got her the cover, Aunt Allie bought her the skin and Aunt Mindy and Grams’s dear friend Linda had pre-purchased some books for her. Mindy also got her a Snuggle Bunny so she can be comfy as she reads. She got the whole shebang!

A few minutes later, Grams was seated at the dining room table, determined to put it all together herself. “If I get fumbly-fingered, I’ll ask for help,” she declared. So, as my mom went to the kitchen to check the ham in the oven, my aunts, uncle and I gathered around Grams to watch. She decided the back skin should go on first because it was all one piece and when she peeled it from its backing, Aunt Mindy said, “I like the pretty blue pattern you chose, Mom.”

Grams smiled as she carefully placed the largest plastic piece to the back of her Kindle, carefully pressing to prevent bubbles from forming. She smiled as she worked, saying, “This pattern is called ‘The Nest.’ See that pretty tree with the nesting doves? I chose this pattern because it’s similar to the moon-and-stars theme on my website.”

“Oh-hhh, Grams, it’s so pretty. The nest is really a golden, quarter moon…and I like the night scene with the city buildings on the blue background. It’s perfect!” I exclaimed.

By this time, Grams had started putting the skin on the front, which was trickier since there were tiny cutouts around the keyboard. Aunt Allie reached over to help hold it in place, saying, “It’s so-ooo you, Mom­­—and it matches your ‘Betty’s Dreams’ website theme.”

When she finished, Grams said, “Well, doesn’t my Kindle look ready for the beach in her new bathing suit?” She clapped her hands like a little girl who had just dressed her Barbie.

“Bathing suit!” we shouted in unison. Mom came in from the kitchen to see what the screeching was all about.

She dabbed a bit of biscuit flour on the tip of her mother’s nose. “Bathing suit! How clever of you…”

“Well,” Grams said, “it’s too pretty and colorful to be called skin, isn’t it?”

“That’s my funky Grams,” I said. “You sure have a way with words.”

By then we were all laughing and the little kids had come in to try to get Grams’s new toy away from her. “Oh, no you don’t!” she said. “This one’s for me! And after we eat “linner,” you big kids can help me download some more books.”

She was drowned out by our shouts and uproarious laughter. “Linner! Linner!”

“Yep,” Grams said, “If we call a late breakfast Brunch, why can’t we call an early dinner Linner?” She beamed at her own cleverness as she went on to snap the lovely blue cover on. “There!,” she said. “It looks like a book now.”

After “linner” was over, my mom turned on her computer and we all gathered around to watch Grams download books by her favorite authors: Koontz, King, Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark and Nora Roberts. Then she ordered South of Broad, the latest book by her very favorite author Pat Conroy. Only then did she start ordering books written by her author friends on Dames of Dialogue.

~~~

And now we’ve lost Grams. It’s only seven o’clock and she’s already in the guest room, reading on her new Kindle. When she’s not writing, she’s reading… But that’s my funky Grams. Gotta love her…

We’re all feeling wonderful, knowing she’s enjoying her Kindle Christmas so much. And I’m wondering if it’s too early to start pestering her to put her own books in e-book format. Hmmmm…