Friday, January 27, 2017

Dear Abby - Remembering Special Pets: Sophie

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a good week!  Thanks for stopping.  Today one of my dachshund friends, Don, has stopped by.  His beautiful rescue dachshund, Lulu Belle visited the blog last year.  Click here to read her story:  Meet Lulu Belle (A Rescue Spotlight).  Don has a very special dachshund to remember here today.
Abby:  Thanks for stopping by!  What pet would you like to remember at my blog today?   

  Today I would like to remember Sophie. She was born in 1966, died in 1977, and was our first dachshund after we were married. Sophie was a dachshund blueblood, being a von Marienlust dachshund, and a direct descendant of Baron von Marienlust, who won an award for his service with the US Army in World War II as a bomb-sniffing dog. It was estimated that he had saved hundreds of lives through the bombs he detected.

Abby:  What are some happy memories of Sophie?

Don: Sophie loved to play ball. She would invent new games to play, and always greeted me at home with her trademark red ball in her mouth. Any time I went down into our basement was a treat for her, as she would bounce her ball down the stairs to me, and wait for me to throw it up into main floor of the house for her to retrieve. Then she would bring it back and bounce it down to me again, and on and on. She never tired of her ball-playing games, and in fact we used to call her Sophie Ballgame.

Abby:  Do you have any funny anecdotes? 

Don:  Sophie loved to come fishing with me. I would put a cushion on the front strut of my 14' fishing boat, and she would sit there by the hour, watching the tip of the fishing rod to see if I caught a fish. When the rod bent down, she would get all excited and come closer for me to show her the fish. Then one day, we were on a family vacation on one of the New York Finger Lakes, which are very big lakes. Sophie and I were out fishing, I caught a fish, and I showed it to her. But this time, as I put the fish back in the water, she got too excited and dove in after it! And she was disoriented, and was swimming out into the middle of this very big, very deep, half-mile wide lake. I figured I did not have time to get the boat going and catch her that way, but fortunately I was a very strong swimmer. So I threw my wallet into the bottom of the boat and dove in after her! I caught up with her quickly, and turned her around, but then I could not get us both back into the boat without tipping it over. So we swam to shore together, which was only about 50 yards distant. After we got to shore, both dripping wet of course, I persuaded my brother-in-law to take the other fishing boat that was there and take me back out to get my boat and wallet. After that Sophie was only allowed to fish with me when I was on shore, and not in a boat. 

Abby:  I enjoyed visiting with you today.  Is there anything else about Sophie you would like to share?

Don:  She was really my first child, I loved her very much, and almost 40 years after she died I still miss her. Somewhere she is chasing her red rubber ball and I know I will see her again. 

Abby:  Thank you, Don!  I appreciate you stopping by.  I loved hearing about Sophie.   Her game of playing ball by bouncing it down the stairs sounds like fun to me!  And she was a brave dog with her fishing adventure.  I can tell how much she was loved from the way you speak of her.

Friends, you can leave comments for Don in the comment section below.  If you would like to visit and share your special memories, I would love to hear from you.  Please leave your email in the comments so I can be in touch.

Have a great weekend!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Book Synopsis
Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?

As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.

Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, and unexpected friendship.


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon

My Review

Orphan Train tells the story of Vivian, an elderly woman living in Maine.  As a young woman, she traveled to Minnesota on an orphan train.   By chance she meets Molly, a young girl in foster care who comes to the house to help her sort through the attic.  The attic is full of a lifetime of memories.  As they sort through the boxes there, Vivian and Molly bond over their common experiences, many years apart.

This is a unique novel.  It is a historical novel, since much of the narrative happens in the 1920's - 1930's.  However, there are also sections of the book that take place in the present day, sorting out the past.  I loved the structure of the book. 

I found both Vivian and Molly sympathetic characters, and I really became engrossed in their stories.  I especially was eager to read about Vivian's life.  Orphan trains were new to me before this book, and the historical details were fascinating.

The writing is beautiful and it makes Orphan Train a joy to read.  For instance: 

"Vivian has returned to the idea that the people who matter in our lives stay with us, haunting our most ordinary moments  They're with us in the grocery store, as we turn a corner, chat with a friend.  They rise up through the pavement;  we absorb them through our sole" (p. 117).  

Orphan Train, at heart, is a novel about love and connections between people, about how small incidents can change a life, how compassion can change people.  I cannot say enough about what a lovely read this is.  I started reading it on a Saturday night and stayed up into the wee hours reading because I could not put the book down.  I felt I was living the story;  it was that engrossing.

I am certain that Orphan Train will be one of my favorite reads this year.  I recommend it very highly for fans of historical fiction, book group discussions, and anyone who loves a beautifully crafted story.  Five stars! 

Author Bio
Christina Baker Kline is the author of five novels. She lives out-side of New York City and on the coast of Maine.

Find out more about Kline at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

I received this book from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.