Monday, September 22, 2008

Every Living Thing . . . the title of one of James Herriot's many books about his lifetime doctoring farm animals and pets in Yorkshire, England.

I came across this paperback while cleaning out cupboards and closets this past week. I don't remember how it got in the laundry basket full of yard goods -- and, no, that doesn't mean potting soil, cultivators, and petunias -- shoved in the back of my clothes closet waiting for desire and opportunity to merge under the needle of my sewing machine . . . which is shoved under the bottom shelf of a bathroom closet.

Nor do I remember how I acquired Herriot's book. No matter.

Suffice it to say not as many closets got cleaned out as intended. Instead I savored Herriot's stories of colicky horses and persnickety cats, of staid farmers and eccentric assistants.

Mainly I marveled at how neatly Herriot told his stories. Swift incision inserting the reader immediately into the scene, exploratory rambles among the inner relationships between man and beast, then out the same way as in, stitched neatly closed with a pithy observation or tug-at-your-heart thought.

You say you've already read them?

Oh, go ahead. Read them again. Some things are just as good the second time around.

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