Mr. Bilbo Baggins and I have been companions for close to 30 years. I remember my father giving me “The Hobbit” and telling me there were more after that one. I think I was about 12 years old, so like any young man with a book I threw it in a drawer and there is stayed.
It took a few years but I did get around to reading The Hobbit and it was not easy. If you’ve read the book you will understand that the beginning gets off to quite a slow start, with the dwarves coming to the Shire. It took me a few times but I finally got into it, and like anything that is worth doing, once you are in, there is no getting out. I ate it up. Once I was done I sent a letter to my father, whom no longer lived with us, thanking him for the book. In response he sent me “The lord of the Rings”, but that is not where this story is going.
Quite a few years later, as a young man, Mr. Baggins, with his dry wit and great courage, came once again into my life. I dazzled my youngest daughter before bed many nights with the story of Bilbo. Crafting my Gandalf voice, singing songs, and leaving her looking forward to another chapter. I went out and found the rest of the series for her when she grew a little older, which she read. It gave us something to talk about, something to remember together.
Then came the movies, which I went to with some reluctance. The imagination is a wonderful thing, and I had my visions of Middle earth, that I did not want scuffed. However, the movies were wonderful and, for me at least, added to the whole experience.
Last week I finished reading ‘The Hobbit’ once again, to my son this time. As we read, night after night, small parts of my life came back to me as I introduced Mr. Baggins and his travelling companions to a new set of ears. I could see the wonder in my sons eyes as I described the wonders of Rivendell and the Lonely Mountain. At the same time I could remember a similar expression in my daughters eyes a decade ago.
As we finished the book and I kissed my son good night I thought of how many things have changed since I first laid eyes on the book, of my own journey. How is seems so long ago since I was the one turning the pages to see if Bilbo would escape the slimy clutches of Gollum, yet is also seems like only yesterday.
Yes Mr. Baggins and I have been companions for quite some time, but they journey is but begun, there is much tale left to tell.