All Things Bright and Beautiful

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Today's book was suggested by my Aunt Cindy, who joined the family when I was ten. For all of you dear readers who don't know us, I'll tell a few quick memories about Cindy. We were still being banished to the kids table when she showed up and she would always come over and sit with us and we would spend the whole meal making lame jokes about how we were going to hold the salt and pepper shaker for ransom until "The short people get some respect around here" - We went on a road trip once, and I accidentally packed just the allergy-free cookies and I forgot the regular ones at home, and she ate some before I had a chance to tell her they weren't regular cookies - they were dairy-free, egg-free, wheat-free and sugar-free and were so gross that I couldn't even stand to eat more than a bite of them. And to this day she still pretends they were the greatest cookies ever, that's family loyalty right there.

Today's book; "All Things Bright and Beautiful is the sequel to James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small. In this book James continues the rich and rewarding day-to-day life of a small-town veterinarian, and we journey with him, meeting a whole new cast of unforgettable characters - humans, dogs, horses, lambs, parakeets - all of them drawn with the same infinite fascination, affection, and insight that have made Herriot one of the most beloved authors of our time."

I went shopping with my sister today, and since today's book is a long one, I took the book along and read it aloud on the way. It felt very old-fashioned, like we were characters in a Little House book who were reading by the fire - except we were in the car, so it was more like we were reading in the sled. Which was a difficult scenario to conjure up while sitting on heated seats in a climate controlled car - which led to us pretending like the seat heaters were baked potatoes. That's your fun fact for the day dear readers; baked potatoes where the pioneer way of staying warm in the wagon during the winter - you just throw a few baked potatoes in the wagon and it takes the edge off those brutal prairie winters. Which led to a whole crazy, baked potato conversation that went a little something like this:

Alissa: Is your potato warm enough?

Me: I'm alright.

Alissa: Are you sure, because you're only at 3 potatoes right now.
Me: Could you add another potato please.

That brings me to reason number 2,345 and 2,346 why I like my family; they always get what I'm talking about when I make Little House jokes, and they always indulge me in them.

I think the part of the book that resonated the most was about the part about the goat who ate a pair of long johns - probably because my parents recently got a dog (Oliver, who you read about in a January blog entry) who seems to be part goat. So far, in the three months he's been in the family, he's eaten paper, pens, pillows, shoes, a towel, a credit card bill, money, coasters, water bottles, and he's attempted to eat rocks.

What I enjoyed the most about this book the most was the way the author writes about his relationship with his wife. He writes; "But a realization of my blessings began to return when I slid into bed and Helen, instead of shrinking away from me as it would have been natural to do, deliberately draped her feet and legs over the human ice block that was her husband. The bliss was unbelievable. It was worth getting out just to come back to this." - I guess he and Helen didn't realize how useful baked potatoes are in staving off the cold.