”Well, he felt sorry for boys who lived in California where they wore tennis shoes all year and never knew what it was to get winter off your feet, peel off the iron leather shoes all full of snow and rain and run barefoot for a day and then lace on the first new tennis shoes of the season, which was better than barefoot. The magic was always in the new pair of shoes. The magic night might die by the first of September, but now in late June there was still plenty of magic, and shoes like these could jump you over trees and rivers and houses. And if you wanted, they could jump you over fences and sidewalks and dogs.” -Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury I was in 8th Grade English Lit class and Ms. Lotus Warren, with her Southern drawl and sass, taught us to have opinions, taught us good grammar, and taught us a bit about Ray Bradbury.To this day (in fact, just two nights ago here in Los Angeles), if it’s an unusually-windy evening, with a hint of something different in the air, you stop and wonder. “Something Wicked This Way Comes”.Mr. Bradbury, a Waukegan native, would spend many years in Los Angeles. Maybe it’s why I appreciated him even more. Maybe I felt that he just “got it.”Either way, there is no denying the magic in the words that he wove. A dream. A firework. A journey. All at once.His “Dandelion Wine” almost makes my heart skip a beat. It is written so beautifully that as I read it, my gratitude is overwhelming. Gratitude toward this man who expressed things in a way that made you feel as if you’d felt them all along. Gratitude for being able to imagine the pictures that he’d created. Gratitude that I could re-read these images a million times over if I wanted to. They are mine to keep.Thank you for your words, Mr. Bradbury. They have inspired–and inspire.