Mother read those rhymes to me as a kid. I don’t know where she found a copy. Maybe a used bookstore in St. Paul. Her coat was thin and she wanted to escape the snow.
The publisher closed its doors in the depression. They couldn’t even sell a Hemingway book. Even a little book that fit in your pocket. Priced at a nickel to move from the shelves.
I loaned our copy to Tommy Fawcett in third grade. Tommy never returned it. He was a bad egg.
Now it’s back in circulation. That makes me happy. Like fishing in the middle of a cold river with the sun burning the back of my neck. I bought a copy, took it back to our camp.
I caught six trout. Their scales sparkled in the water when I reeled them in. My wife wrapped the fish with pages from the book.
“It’s shit,” she told me. “It’s all shit. Just like our life on this river.”