As a child in the rural outskirts of Van Buren, MO, I wasn't blessed with cable television. Our antenna, perched on the front of the house, piped in two channels- Channel 12 from Cape Girardeau and Channel 8 from Jonesboro- with good clarity. On a clear night, we could sometimes even catch a slightly snowy Channel 6, reaching out to us all the way from Paducah, KY. I can still remember standing outside, turning that monster and listening to my dad yell, "Back a little! A little bit more! Other way! WOAH!"
Unfortunately, those three stations were network stations and shared a number of the "special programs" that would come on throughout the year. If a sporting event or a Jimmy Swaggart crusade came on, it hit all three. My dad would groan, turn off the TV, pick up a book and start reading. It was these lazy nights, with my mom reading her magazines and my dad reading his novels, that developed within me a love of books.