Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Licorice & Sloe's Generous Gift

One of the lovely things about Newburyport is that there are treasures to be found there, wonderful little secrets that reveal themselves all the more as time goes on. They could be a hollow in Moseley Pines off the beaten path where more than 60 Lady Slippers gather each spring; a backyard garden in the cozy South End; the faces of those who grew up and grow old and die in the same town; the boardwalk at midnight. And there are stores there too, not chain stores, but special little places some folks still don’t even know about that add to the allure of this little city I used to call home. In these places people are allowed a place to gather and connect. There’s no hurry, and there’s intimacy, not just with one another but also with the owners of the establishment. These special places are part of the mortar that hold the community together. Two of my favorite such places in Newburyport are the Plum Island Coffee Roasters and Licorice & Sloe Teahouse.

Last weekend, when Atticus and I were back in town we had a hectic and harried schedule but these are two of the places I made sure to make time for. I stopped and visited with friends at Plum Island Coffee Roasters in the morning and in the afternoon I stopped by Licorice & Sloe to have Bil Silliker (he, along with his wife Meg and their magical little daughter Annie own the business) stock me up on tea for the long winter ahead. Both businesses were kind enough to put up posters concerning Atticus and my Winter Quest.

And this morning I received a pleasant surprise when Bil sent out the following email to those on his store’s email list:

I know I recently sent you a link for a cause... a good cause... and I mentioned the blog that this guy Tom writes...but I wanted to encourage you all to check out his blog today.

I just read his latest entry and I was so moved to tears that I had to lock the Teahouse doors and go have a good cry. I'm not much of a crier... but I just wept like a baby.

After you read it... maybe consider donating to his cause, or even come by Licorice & Sloe Company on December 22nd and make a purchase as we'll donate 10% of December 22nd's sales to his cause... that is the first day he can get out and hike, and is also... historically our highest earning day of the year (the Saturday before xmas...not specifically the 22nd).

As anyone who raises money for a cause will tell you, all help is appreciated. It’s not always easy asking people for money and I speak for Atticus (and I'm sure Angell Animal Medical Center) as well in saying that we are honored and surprised by Bil, Meg and Annie’s generosity in helping our cause. To find out more about Licorice & Sloe click here.

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