To Dance With the White Dog
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Sam Peek's children are worried. Since that "saddest day" when Cora, his beloved wife of fifty-seven good years, died, no one knows how he will survive. How can this elderly man live alone on his farm? How can he keep driving his dilapidated truck down to the fields to care for his few rows of pecan trees? And when Sam begins telling his children about a dog as white as the pure driven snow -- that seems invisible to everyone but him -- his children think that grief and old age have finally taken their toll.
But whether the dog is real or not, Sam Peek -- "one of the smartest men in the South when it comes to trees" -- outsmarts them all. Sam and the White Dog will dance from the pages of this bittersweet novel and into your heart, as they share the mystery of life, and begin together a warm and moving final rite of passage.
Winner of the Southeastern Library Association's Outstanding Author Award.
Neelie?” he asked, ignoring his daughters. “I had me a bite, Mr. Sam. Neelie don’t need much. The fever took the hungry out of me.” She pulled herself wearily from the chair. “You go on and eat,” she said. “Believe I’ll go set a spell out on the front porch. Maybe they’s some air stirring out there. Get me a little rest before I start the washing.” “We did the washing, Neelie,” Carrie said. “Uh-huh. Well, honey, Neelie’ll look over the house. See if we left anything.” She hobbled away, through
playfully. “That’s what you are, a girl.” He ran his hand under the dog’s stomach. “What you are,” he said again. “Good girl.” At midnight, alone, sleepless, he wrote in his journal: Today marks three weeks since my wife, Cora, died. She was 75 years old. On the day she died she had been at the rest home, sitting with “old” people. She always wanted to be a nurse and she believed she had become one, spending her time with people who needed company. Being alone myself now, I understand how much
by now, scattered about in cemeteries like used-up utensils dumped in landfills. Maybe no one would return, except him, and it would be the last of the reunions. Maybe he would sit down with Martha Dunaway Kerr and the two of them would silently eat lunch in the empty lunchroom of Morgan County High School. He chuckled suddenly at the image: two old people gnawing away on tasteless food, not knowing what to say, wishing before the Heavenly Father God Almighty that they were somewhere else. He
George Detwilder suggested somberly. “Thought he was going out over toward Hartwell and took off in the wrong direction. Old people do that sometimes.” “Well, they do at that,” Clete said. “They’s an old woman over in Bio—Harper’s her name. She’s always getting lost. Just gets out and starts to walking and goes anywhere her nose leads her. We had to find her a couple of times last year. Said she was out picking blackberries.” “She was barefoot, both times,” George Detwilder added. “She was,”
School, and Martha Dunaway Kerr was presiding with dignity over the sparse gathering of old people, but he was glad he was not among them. If Cora had lived, if Cora had been with him, it would have mattered; without her, it did not. He took his journal from the suitcase and tucked it inside his shirt and worked his way cautiously into the woods and to the shade of the pines. He found the place he had been with Cora, where he could see the water splitting over the shoals. The smell of the water