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William Farley wrote to Ray Bradbury author of Dandelion Wine.
Every summer reminds me more of Dandelion Wine. Doug and Tom seem more and more like me and my brother, I of course being Doug. Chasing friends and enjoying the summer nights, listening to the Cicadas on the back porch of my Grandma's house in Louisiana, buying brand new shoes that make me run faster and jump higher than a deer and the rituals that go with every summer.
Today I was remembering the time before my Dad insisted that I read Dandelion Wine. I thought too much about the future; I was practically living in the future. I did not think about the objects around me and the events occurring, but instead I thought about what might happen next. Then I read about Doug and Tom and the extraordinary Green Town, Illinois. They put me back to where I was supposed to be, the present. I now enjoy every minute of my life; no longer do I trouble myself with what will or might happen. The gift of bliss is the greatest gift that I have ever received. I notice the difference between living in the future, and the present and I must say the present is much more fun and exciting. I know many friends and relatives who live in the future (not my brother) and I hope to introduce them soon to the adventures of Douglas and Tom Spaulding.
I have been thinking about the Happiness Machine, wondering how the Happiness Machine also affected my perspectives. Like Leo I tried to build a Happiness Machine. I tried to find or make happiness. The plans backfired and instead of feeling happy, I felt sad and depressed. I realized that I didn't have to find happiness. It was all around me.
Dandelion Wine made me enjoy each summer more and notice every little detail of summer. The sweet smell of the summer rain, the heat and the cool shade, the grass, the free time, the wind on a hot summer day, hot summer days on the porch talking and playing games and sometimes just listening and watching. The summer becomes more appealing and enjoyable, as I get older. Dandelion Wine taught me to cherish the summer and the sights and smalls, to not take summer for granted and then feel regret about all the things you could have done and experienced. I take every chance I get to do something exciting or new and also keep the regular summer rituals, such as fishing in Rockport and building stuff at my friend's house. I love the summer more than any other season.
Thank you, Mr. Bradbury, for opening my eyes to the wonderful feelings of summer, happiness, and living life. I must say goodbye because there are things waiting to be done, hidden things waiting to be discovered and experiences waiting to be experienced.
© The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. (Used by permission.)