Saturday, January 5, 2013

'Certificate of Success' Rooted in a Chicken Coop!

I recently learned that surprises can come after Christmas too when I went to the post office and found a slip in my mailbox. There was a package for me. I couldn't figure out who it'd be from since anything I'd ordered had arrived-been wrapped-put under the tree-and opened on Christmas morning. When the box was brought to the counter I learned it was from my book publisher. I was clueless as to what was inside. I wasn't expecting anything. Once home, I put the box on the table and opened it which wasn't easy because whatever was inside had been carefully packaged. After all the bubble wrap and styrofoam peanuts were put aside, I turned whatever it was over and was dumbfounded by what I read.

There in front of me, beautifully framed, was a 'Certificate of Success' awarded me for 'outstanding achievement in Book Sales for 'The Reindeer Keeper' dated December 1, 2012. The Certificate included a photo of the book cover and was signed by the publisher. While I prefer to keep this blog strictly centered on my stories and recollections of growing up in the country and not use it as a platform to sell books, I felt this time was an exception for as I read the Certificate my mind wandered back to those early days in the country and the chicken coop clubhouse where my cousins and I played and pretended most every day growing up. It didn't matter that in the winter some of the windows were without glass or that the old, wooden door was crooked at the top-allowing snow to come in. It never mattered to us for when your imagination is in flight-you're warm despite the cold surrounding you; it's sunny despite rain or snow falling; it's magic the way childhood should be especially when surrounded by favorite books by favorite authors-and rambling fields, and a creek where we'd ride rafts made out of telephone poles, and a granary, and a pine groove-and an amazing old barn that stayed in my heart and followed me into adulthood and became a part of 'The Reindeer Keeper.'

This 'Certificate of Success' is rooted in my childhood for childhood is where we freely express who we are at our core-free of worries and opinions and fears. Playing in the chicken coop clubhouse I often pretended I was an author. My penname was Maggie O'Shea. I'd fold paper into pretend books and 'write.' Still to this day, I can hear the wind coming through the chicken coop as we played. I remember our Easter parades-our fairs-our circus in the barn; our pretending that the stagecoach was pulling up or that the chicken coop was a library. So many memories and hopes and dreams are wrapped up in this Certificate-an after-Christmas present that I wanted to share with you!


  1. What an awesome surprise for you! I've just recently been enjoying your blog and fallen in love with your memories. I'm glad you posted this, because till now, I didn't realize The Reindeer Keeper was an actual printed book.

    1. I am sorry to be so late in replying to you. I am so happy you found my blog-and now you know that The Reindeer Keeper is a real book!Thanks for the comment Lisa-Greatly appreciated!