What’s the harm in reading? By that, I mean reading the written word in a book rather than via Facebook text or e-books.

Nothing wrong with any of that, I guess I’m just old-fashioned and can’t read while bouncing up and down on a treadmill or stair master.

I’ve loved to read as long as I can remember, and although I have hundreds of unread books at my home, I still get tempted around any book sale, flea market or book store.

The local bookmobile for many summers stopped in my driveway, and I remember climbing the steps into another world with the musty smell of literature coursing through me.

I was lucky and fortunate enough to have parents who spurred my interest in reading, allowing me to join several book clubs, in addition to allowing me to subscribe to “Highlights for Children.”

The venerable magazine has been around in some form or another since 1947, and once included the ever-popular cartoon, “Goofus and Gallant,” comparing an impolite and polite child through everyday situations meant to teach social skills.

I would run across hot asphalt to the mailbox every Wednesday to get my copy before retreating to my hammock.

Other days, I walked the short distance from my parents’ place of business in town to Carrington Memorial Library, where I first fell in love with science fiction and robots through the printed page.

I know I’ve belabored the point in several columns about my love of reading, but sometimes at times like these, with so much nonsense going on in the world, I like to reflect on times that in my view, were a lot more simple.

I guess I saw things through the eyes of a child, and my parents did not want to worry me with things I probably couldn’t understand, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, or why we had to duck under our desks at school covering our heads.

I’m sure they were worried enough for the whole family but didn’t want to show their fear in front of their children.

As an adult, I try to look at the positives in any person, not the negatives, and try to be optimistic, despite reports to the contrary.

With the Fourth of July upon us, I’m lucky to live in a time and place with good friends and family to help guide me through the rough spots.

I’m also lucky to live in a nation with freedom bought and paid for with the lives of heroes throughout our history.

I’m grateful to wake up in a free country every day and not dread a knock on my door.

Our forefathers made sure of that.

Doug Ford reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at dford@gazettevirginian.com.

Doug Ford covers news and sports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at dford@gazettevirginian.com.