Early arrivals at the luncheon on Tuesday afternoon had the pleasure of meeting Atticus Finch, yes Tom's Atticus Finch, up close and personal. Atticus can teach us all a few lessons in life: keep cool, look good and love the hand that feeds you.
Author Tom Ryan kept his luncheon audience enthralled with his heartwarming and honest story, Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship (September 2011). Atticus kept the audience equally enchanted with the absolute comfort he finds in the arms of his owner and his calm, childlike demeanor. Well, perhaps not childlike. Any child would have been bored to tears and itching to get down on the floor. Atticus snuggled up in the crook of Tom Ryan's arm and laid his head on the comforting shoulder. Both these guys had us entranced and there were many 'awwwwwww'esome moments.
Tom's story isn't just another "man loves his dog" story. Sometimes it is hard to believe that Atticus is a dog. He is truly Tom Ryan's best friend.
Ryan shared many things besides the obvious stories of finding this furry guy and bonding with him. He shared honest and painful stories from his life at home as a child and as a young man,as a rogue small-town reporter, as a square and awkward peg in a round-hole society, and as a man finding his way in life and on the trails of the peaks of New Hampshire's mountains. Like his articles in Yankee-town Newburyport's newspaper, Tom Ryan pushed the envelope. He hiked all forty-eight 4000' plus peaks. He hiked them as a overweight man not used to the physical strain. He hiked them in the winter. He hiked them twice and with his four-legged friend.
Those who stayed behind also had an opportunity to visit Atticus. Tom inscribed his books with his own signature and with a very special pawprint of one very special dog.
I loved the movie of Marley and Me. Ok. I'm hopeless but I can't wait to watch Following Atticus. Here's hoping Hollywood agrees.
Read Tom's blog and follow them on more New Hampshire adventures. Or Friend them on Facebook at Following Atticus to see where their latest book signing will be.
Charlotte Canelli, Library Director, Morrill Memorial Library, Norwood, MA