My father did not discover the Moosepath League until right before the third book, Daniel Plainway, was published. This must have been sometime in 2000. I admired the cover of Cordelia Underwood (the lovely and seemingly rare one done by David Beck), and Dad, pausing from his delighted perusal, said I might read it when he was finished.
I did not wait that long, even though there is a rule in my house that no one may start a book another person is reading until that person is done with it. I found the book unguarded on the living room table and kidnapped it. Dad only got it back because he was bigger than me.
Once it was my turn I raced through the book, trying my best to keep up with the members of the League themselves as they traveled around Maine, running in and out of towns that I knew and locations that I had visited. There was something so delightful about them, so very GOOD, that I was refreshed and learned to believe all over again that life did not have to be so cynical as it sometimes seemed to get.
My father read the books a step ahead of me, and then he began to read them out loud to my family - my mother and four other sisters. They were equally pleased and we became a devoted admirers of Mister Walton and Sundry Moss and the other members of the Moosepath League.
Two summers ago in 2003, right after Mrs. Roberto came out, Van Reid himself came to our local library - the Kennebunk Free Library. My family made a pilgrimage on that Thursday night to meet the man who had made Maine seem like a very interesting an astonishing place to us.
We were the only children in a room full of people over 50, so we did our best to sit very quiet and just gaze at Mr. Reid. He told funny stories and talked about Maine and his books, and he looked so funny and good himself that we knew the books had come straight out of his heart.
Afterward we clustered around him and it was wonderful to see how happy he made us, and how happy we made him. He was so pleased that we liked his books that he said after signing my copy of Daniel Plainway that our entire family could consider ourselves "Honorary members of the Moosepath League."
That's about as honored as you can get.
We continue to love and laugh as we read the further adventures of the Moosepath League, and we strive to keep the Waltonian principles in our hearts and follow them as faithfully as members of that excellent club should.