I recently purchased my first Christmas present for one of my daughters, I won’t share what it is in case she reads this column, however, I am proud of myself for getting ahead of schedule and being better organized this year.

When I started wrapping the present, it made me reflect on what has been my favorite Christmas present of all time. As I young boy I had several, one that comes to mind is a BB gun. When I opened the little treasure box of BBs and the box that had the gun, I was ecstatic. I went outside and loaded my gun and I aimed at a little bird and hit it, when the bird fell to the ground I was sad and thought that maybe this gun isn’t so great after all. Later when using inanimate objects for targets, a BB ricocheted and hit the front of my shin, I recall it smarting very badly.

Another couple of favorite presents that I had was a transistor radio that was AM and FM, I also received a little tape recorder as well. I remember listening to KLEO or KEYN on my radio and then hitting the record button on the tape recorder to capture my favorite top 40 hits — I still have some of those cassette tapes to this day.

Those were fun presents, but my favorite present of all time is a 1972 World Book encyclopedia set. I was in the fifth grade when I received the set and I still have it to this day. Keep in mind that this was several decades before the internet. When I opened the books for the first time, I felt as though I had the whole world at my fingertips.

I had set myself a goal that I was going to read every book of the set from front to back and I did accomplish that feat.

What an amazing journey it was. It felt like I was taking a journey of the whole world and in my eyes, I was doing just that. I have always enjoyed reading, in one of my spare rooms, I have stacks and stacks of old newspapers, magazines, and books. Yes, it’s a mess and I need to organize it, however, my love for reading will never diminish.

Reading is something that young people do not do enough of today. I am a firm believer of education and of self-education. In my eyes, education does not begin or end with the formal K-12 system that we all know. Education begins early in lives and should not end until our last days of life.

We should all strive to learn more each day. There are so many books that I have at home that I still need to read. One of my reading goals is to purchase a good book on each one of our Presidents and read all those books, other reading goals of mine are to purchase books on each of the wars that the US has been a part of. Other books that I would like to read are about ancient civilizations.

Although I am a proud graduate of Wichita State, I would love to enroll for some more classes as well, particularly history classes.

When was the last time that you have picked up a good book and read it from front to back?

I would love to hear back from you with some of your recommendations for great books.

I enjoy going into big book stores however there is nothing like going into a used book store as well and to look through books that have been written over a hundred years ago.

I was reading an article about centurions and one of their secrets to staying young and keeping their minds sharp is to read. Great advice for us all.

Well, I had better say goodbye for now and get back to a little reading.

Until next time, have a great day!

Rudy Rodriguez was born and raised in Wichita and works in McPherson and Hutchinson. Email him at rrodriguez60@cox.net.