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, October 31, 2008

Newburyport Current Runs Piece About Tom & Atticus

Atticus and I moved out of Newburyport a little more than a year ago, but as one friend emailed us this morning “you may be gone but you are not forgotten.”

The Newburyport Current ran a small piece on our being honored by the MSPCA at the JFK Library a couple of weeks ago. (How’s that for a lot of initials?) They also noted that six days before the award presentation Atticus was viciously attacked.

I had no idea they were running piece but it’s good to know we are still remembered.

Another friend points out that certain people who didn’t like the coverage they received in The Undertoad during its 11-year run might be panicking a bit this morning when they read The Current and noted that the caption under the photo mistakenly referring to me as a “Newburyport resident”.

My friend, who will remain nameless, noted, “I think I heard the collective screams of one drunken ex-city councilor and some former mayors all the way across town after they read that caption!”

Newburyport is a charming place and the politics, for those of you who don’t know it, could be called lively…if piranhas are considered lively. Or at least the politics used to be ‘lively’. While running The Undertoad, I literally sat in the middle of the tempest in a teapot provincial political world of Newburyport when it raged at its worst. Live in a small town and print an opinion and you are bound to get enemies, as well as some friends.

How grotesque can politics in Newburyport get? Now that Licorice & Sloe Tea Company is out of business, I can tell this story. When last winter started, L & S held a fundraiser to raise money for Angell Animal Medical Center in Atticus and my name. When it was announced in a couple of papers, the people at Licorice & Sloe received a couple of threats of boycott from two self-proclaimed progressive movers and shakers around town. (One of them, I believe, ironically referred to me as an animal). It didn’t matter that the tea house was raising money for the wonderful non-profit animal hospital, the way these two people saw it (one of them being active in the Newburyport Democratic City Committee) they were doing something nice that was associated with me.

Kind of reminds me of the few who went around town telling businesses they would boycott them if they continued to advertise in The Undertoad (one of these fellows once asked if he could have a lifetime subscription of my paper delivered to his High Street manse) only to have a coupe of business owners ask, “How do you know we advertise in The Undertoad.”

Ah, because they all read it.

But that is now ancient history. It’s now the soft life of living in and writing about mountains and the courage and wondrous capabilities of a little dog.

No comments: