Book #9 To Dance With The White Dog by Terry Kay

I have to say that when I picked up this book from the required reading section of my public library (required for high school students), I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. It didn’t help my feelings about it that in 1993 it was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. Hallmark is usually way too sappy and sentimental for my taste. I haven’t seen the film, which starred IRL (in real life) spouses Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn, but I can only imagine the syrupy spin they put on it. (Although I will say that whomever was in charge of casting for the film… sublime! And Esther Rolle played the part of Neelie. Remember Florida Evans from the 1970’s television show Good Times?  Casting perfection.)

Okay, so on to the book. I was surprised. I liked it.  It was a very sentimental story about an elderly gentleman who loses his wife of many years (57, I think?). His grief is almost unbearable, even though he is well cared for and looked after by his children. His loneliness is heartbreaking, until a white dog shows up on his doorstep. At first, the dog won’t allow herself to be seen by any of the children, which leads the family to believe that their father is imagining it and must be losing his mind. The dog remains a faithful companion to the man, helping him through the grief journey that he travels.

Yes, perhaps my presuppositions were well-founded. It is indeed a very sweet, sentimental story. But the reason I liked it is that it is also very real. No doubt there are spouses who lose loved ones every day that must learn to live life without the one who has been beside them most of their lives. I think about some of the elderly people in my church who have been married for 60+ years. I can’t imagine the unbearable grief of losing someone who has been your partner for that long. Although I can’t imagine it, it happens every day. It is a very real existence for so many. And so I liked the book because I thought it was an accurate portrayal of life for many people.

I hope that makes sense. It is late and I am tired. So thankful that tomorrow is Saturday and we have no ballgames, birthday parties, or obligations of any kind until tomorrow night. Happy weekend, all!

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