SHADOW AND BAMBI

So many people have asked me how Shadow is doing that I’ve decided to respond in a blog.   I’ve had him for four months now and I am happy to report that his health problems seem to have been resolved; the vet initially suspected food allergies and then Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and he has responded well to treatment for the latter condition.  Cody had a delicate digestive system, too, despite looking as delicate as a tank.  I’ve been told that shepherds are prone to these problems, another sad case of over-breeding.  Humans have a lot to answer for in our treatment of our fellow planet dwellers, and the way we’ve undermined the health of purebred dogs is surely one of our sins.  Any one who has ever seen the slanting spine of a shepherd in a dog show can easily see why this breed is so susceptible to hip dysplasia.   Bull dogs, pugs, and all the “squashed snout” breeds are vulnerable to heat prostration; dachshunds have spinal disc problems; spaniels are more likely to develop cataracts; Dalmatians are at risk for congenital deafness.  It is a sad list, one that goes on and on.  And dogs are not the only victims.  Look what we’ve done to thoroughbred horses, breeding them for speed at the expense of stamina.    I think cats have been luckier than dogs in this respect—at least so far. 

        Sorry for the digression.  But one of the fun things about blogs is that we get to wander off the paved road into the fields from time to time.   Back to Shadow.   This is a dog who had no reason to trust human beings; he now comes eagerly up to strangers for petting and praise.   He was clearly an outside dog, for he was not housebroken, but it took him no time at all to realize furniture was much more comfortable than the floor.  He has two dog beds, but likes to sleep on the bed in my spare bedroom when I’m working at the computer; that enables him to keep an eye on me in case I get up to go toward the kitchen.  He was initially afraid of leashes, but now zooms to the door as soon as I mention the word “walk.”   Best of all, this dog who used to cringe if any one raised a hand near his head now loves to plant his head in my lap so I can rub his ears, and if I accidentally step on one of his big paws (easy to do since he is the ultimate Velcro Dog), he gives a little yelp, but shows no fear whatsoever, sure that the hurt was unintentional.  And now that he has put on some weight, he looks like a sleek white wolf—assuming that wolves like to take stuffed squeaky toys to bed with them at night.

       The Shadow-Bambi allusion comes from his first encounter with deer in our county park, 1700 acres of wooded trails.  He stopped in his tracks to stare at them, eyes wide.      But because shepherds are not bred to be hunters, he reacted with curiosity, not blood lust.  Whereas my Norwegian elkhound (the model for Loth in Saints) would go totally bonkers whenever we’d run into deer, for she knew in her bones that these creatures were meant to be her quarry.  

       I feel blessed to have found Shadow and what is so nice is that it is reciprocal.  It is true about rescue dogs—they really do seem to understand that they’ve gotten a second chance and are very grateful for it.  Dogs are remarkably forgiving.  I am reading a very compelling true account now about a Royal Marine who found himself trying to rescue fighting dogs and strays during his tour of duty in Afghanistan.  The Title is ONE DOG AT A TIME by Pen Farthing.  Be warned, though, that it is not for the faint of heart; his graphic descriptions of the sad plight of these dogs do not make easy reading.  For that matter, I found it disturbing to read about the stressful living conditions of his troop of young marines; nor is there much hope for the Afghan people, still being terrorized by the Taliban.  But it is a powerful story, one which shows human nature at its best and its worst and once again reveals the unique bond between people and dogs.  No one had ever shown these Afghan dogs even a scrap of kindness, yet they were willing to trust Pen despite a lifetime of experiences telling them that man was not their friend.   

           I had an experience of my own last week in which I saw the best and the worst of human nature, all in the course of a single day.  I’d taken my dogs for a morning walk in that county park I’d mentioned.  It has a two mile paved road in addition to all those wooded trails, and we were walking along the road when I caught movement from the corner of my eye.  A small cat popped out of the bushes and at sight of me, began to mew piteously.  To my amazement, she then started to approach us—a total stranger with two dogs!   She was obviously some one’s pet, not a feral cat, but there is not a house around for miles, so it was hard not to conclude the poor little thing had been dumped there.   She would come only so close because of my dogs, but she kept crying, as if begging for help.  I did not know what to do.  Since she wouldn’t come any closer and I had a doctor’s appointment that morning, I continued on, telling myself that she was in a heavily traveled part of the park and surely someone would come to her aid.   But she preyed on my mind for the rest of the day and that evening, I found myself piling the dogs in the car and driving to the park.

      I am not sure what I intended to do; I just felt that I had to come back.   There was no sign of her, though, so we continued on our walk.  But on our way back, there she was again, only this time she was with a middle-aged woman and a young couple.   I stopped, of course; they agreed with me that she had to have been abandoned and they were as troubled as I was about her fate.   My dogs were getting too interested in her so we went on.  I couldn’t just drive off, though, so once we got to the car, I drove back—and found them walking along the road, the little cat cradled in the older woman’s arms.   They told me that they could not leave her out in the woods and the young couple was going to adopt her.   See what I mean—the best and the worst.    What was amazing to me was that the cat was so utterly relaxed in the arms of a stranger, as if she knew she was safe now.   The saddest aspect of this is that she was probably hanging around the spot where she’d been dumped, waiting for her owners to come back for her.   Cats, too, can be forgiving, far more forgiving than I am.

         This is a first for me, no mention of medieval matters.  But the people of the MA did not view animals as so many of us do in the 21st century.  Yes, they loved their horses, their hunting dogs, their lap dogs, their falcons and tame birds; cats seem to have infiltrated the nunneries, although in general, they were not viewed as pets.  But medievals saw animals through a religious prism—the belief that man was given dominion over the earth and all upon it.  They’d have laughed at the very idea of animal rights, as I elaborated upon in an earlier blog, SHADOW, KEIKO, AND FAUVEL.   Another reason for the difference in attitude is rooted in living conditions then and now.  We have the luxury of considering pets to be family members because life is so much easier for us than it was for people in the MA–or is for those living in Third World countries.    

       Not everyone cherishes pets as so many of us do, of course; some people seem both mystified and vexed by our concern for non-human life forms.  But I think my readers share my belief that all animals deserve to be treated without cruelty.  So this blog is for those of you who have pets as loved as Cody and Shadow, and I hope you’ll share some of their stories with the rest of us.

PS  I’d hoped to upload a photo of Shadow, but my computer, Melusine, seems bound and determined today to live up to her evil namesake, the Demon Countess of Anjou, and refused to do it, giving me lots of computer doubletalk. 

 

September 7, 2010    

75 Responses to “SHADOW AND BAMBI”

  1. Britta B. Says:

    Hi Sharon,
    good to hear Shadow is doing so well; one of my Greyhounds was biting left and right when I first got her (returned by her owners) but now wakes me up every day by jumping on the bed and roaches for belly rubs whenever there is a human in the room.
    There is a famous pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain and I’ve read books about it and the writers always comment on the situation of the dogs along the way - abandoned, feral, tied up - whatever the case is. I couldn’t do that voyage for the simple fact that I’d be ending up with a dozen dogs in my backpack ‘-)
    I am currently reading A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury; what at treat, thanx for the suggestion. I found it at a library sale for 50 cents…

  2. skip sceery Says:

    It’s good to hear Shadow has adjusted to life in the Penman household. There are so many horror stories of shelter dogs not being able to adapt or going into another awful situation.

    My wife has two cats, one a total, but nice, neurotic. The other has no fear whatsoever. She had taken to my collie tricolor because, like him she is black and white. They slept together most nights, even the hight before we said good bye to him.

    Collies have always had hip issues late in life and usually is the reason they are put down. Some breeders have begun to advocate feeding the dogs a diet of “people food” and ignoring veterinarian services. Supposedly will extend a dogs life. There’s a name for it, but it escapes me at the moment. I won’t argue the merits of such thinking, but my dogs have always been and will continue to be treated in the traditional fashion.

    Sorry if this is a little disjointed, but we are on edge here waiting to here from a collie breeder who was expecting two small litters this weekend. We are supposed to be on the list for a look see!

  3. Lesley Says:

    My dog Islay was another rescue dog - we think she must have stowed away in a van, because even now she loves travelling in cars. We got her when she was about 8 months old, and she’s now 13, and Grande Dame of Hay, the Welsh Border town where we live. For many years, she came to work with me at the Children’s Bookshop. She had a collar tag saying ‘Member of Staff’ and thought it was her job to greet everyone who came into the shop - and to curl up in the most comfortable chair! Being probably part collie, she was very active and loved long walks. Now she’s crippled with arthritis, and can’t walk far, so I’ve got her a trolley to sit in that I push about for her. She gets lots of fuss! And she’s in the latest edition of our little local paper, Hay-on-Wire, with the caption “Hay’s Dial-a’Ride scheme finally extended to the animal kingdom”!

  4. Joan Szechtman Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your stories about Shadow and your other animals with us. It’s wonderful that Shadow has found such a loving home with you. You’re both so lucky. Back in the day when I was training for a marathon, I found a kitten on my looong pre-marathon run. I couldn’t leave him on the streets of Hartford, Connecticut, so I picked him up and brought him home to my then full house: 2 cats, 2 dogs, and 2 cats who patrolled my 3 apartment house. Luckily, the paper boy–a neighborhood kid–came by to collect. He left with a bonus! The 2 patrol cats are another story that your story has inspired me to post on my blog.

  5. Elizabeth Chadwick Says:

    I am so glad that Shadow is doing well, Sharon. A shame about the photo, but I hope you can fix it. I’d love to see him now.
    It is so sad when animals are dumped. Do their former owners have a conscience about it? A friend who used to work at the RSPCA told me about a cat they had brought in because the owner had changed the carpet and kitty no longer matched the decor. Lesley, I was in Hay on Wye a couple of years ago. I’d have dropped in to see Islay if I’d known!

    Do you know about the early medieval cat Pangur Ban and his poem? Url here, if comments accepts urls. http://www.fisheaters.com/pangurban.html

    Malcolm Jones’ The Secret Middle Ages has a chapter on medieval dog names - Damask, Jaak, Teri I can remember off the top of my head.

    To sign off, Jack and Pip, send greetings to Shadow! http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_4gMJoE4n0uY/TILeBukA8mI/AAAAAAAACyU/4Dv85L2cMAA/s1600/smug!.JPG

  6. Anna Spaulding Says:

    I will never understand how people can say that animals don’t have souls. How can you look into their eyes and not see a soul? They’re each so much their own person.

    Before we rescued the Westie Brigade (TM)), we had a black lab-Border Collie mix named Jenny. We got her from the shelter when she was just over a year, after her first owners abandoned her. When she was two, she was hit by an antique motorcycle that dislocated her hip, and she was then diagnosed with shallow hips and told she’d have to be put down by age eight. Jenny made it to sixteen before she wandered off to die four years ago, and while she had really bad hip dysplasia, was mostly deaf, and going blind, she could still hear a bag of M&M’s being opened across the house and could see a squirrel (tree-rat, in my family) running at 100 paces. It turned out her medication, Rimadyl, was giving her seizures and probably leading to a toxic build-up, and the first night we caught her having a seizure, she didn’t look scared, more embarrassed. That was the night she asked to go out as usual, looked back at my mum for several seconds, and set off into the yard. We never found her, though we have a feeling she crossed the street and headed into the woods on the battlefield (we live on the Chancellorsville battlefield) to die. She was proud enough not to inconvenience us and she didn’t want us to watch her die, but it still broke our hearts.

    In her day, Jenny was a champion frisbee-catcher, would hyperventilate if Daddy didn’t take her to the dump (they always stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts and she’d get a few munchkins, not to mention riding in his truck), and herded us all around like we were her sheep. She escaped from every sling they put her in when she was hit by the motorcycle, and within a week, was jumping off the deck, not bothering with the stairs, and hitting the ground running. She really was one-of-a-kind, and after she passed away, my parents swore we’d never have a dog. Four months later, we brought home the first of the Westies, and we now have three of them. So much for ‘never again’. ;-)

  7. anita Says:

    Thanks for sharing the news about Shadow, and the cat story . . . we don’t have any dogs, since my long-suffering husband is *not* a dog person (or so he says; *I* say the right dog just hasn’t appeared yet), but we do have ten cats, ranging from 16 down to 10 weeks, and all foundlings who showed up on someone’s doorstep and found their way to us. The latest two are Ysabeau, who is currently confined to the house since she is heat (apparently she’s older than we thought) and awaiting a trip to the spay-neuter clinic in a few days, and Pixie, who’s 10 weeks old and spends most of his time nestled in his personal towel in a corner, watching . . . and popping into the kitchen whenever he hears something that might possibly be a can opening. Someone dropped a mother cat, four kittens, and two other cats off at my parents’ house a month or so ago; one kitten and one older cat have disappeared, but we have these two—Ysabeau because she was the most likely to get into the nearby highway, and Pixie because he was the smallest and always pushed away from the food bowl. We’ve found a home for one of the other kittens, and Daddy is keeping the other, so happy ending for these . . . now to catch Momma Cat . . .

  8. kristen elizabeth Says:

    Aww, poor kitty! You know, the very best dog we’ve ever had we found in the woods by my stepdad’s cabin. She wandered out of the woods, attached herself to our Great Dane and wouldn’t leave. She wasn’t going away, so we took her home, as we had clearly been adopted! That was 16 years ago. My mom still has the dog, though we are sadly waiting for the day that she just doesn’t wake up. She’s ancient and has kidney failure, but she is still happy and makes us laugh. Our lives would have been different if we hadn’t been adopted by an ugly little mutt puppy that weekend at the cabin!

  9. admin Says:

    These are wonderful stories about some very lucky cats and dogs. I think we need to be reminded of these acts of generosity and kindness, for the acts of cruelty always get more attention. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Koby Says:

    Interesting stories, and all quite touching. I enjoy cats more than dogs, personally, but a dog’s loyalty and faithfulness touch me as well.
    Today, RIchard I of England was born

  11. Paula Says:

    What beautiful stories. I had tears welling up in my eyes as I was reading. I am glad to find that there are animals that are loved and cared for so much. I often think it would be nice to have a dog. I love my cats very much but despite how often I tell them that they are lucky to have been rescued by me- and to live in a house with lots of cat toys and comfortable cat beds- they often tell me I could be doing a better job :)

  12. admin Says:

    Thanks, Koby–I knew you’d beat me to it! Ah, but did you know Richard was released from Puratory in 1232? (This has to be my all-time favorite medieval chronicle entry)

  13. Matt Says:

    Thanks for sharing your stories, Sharon, and glad to hear Shadow has come out of his shell so much. My wife is a vet and definitely echoes what you said about over-breeding. We had surgery done on our pug to shorten his soft pallet to improve his breathing, particularly in hot weather. Fortunately it has helped a lot.

    Your cat story reminded me of how my wife found our Greta. This gray and white cat had been left in a box with other kittens by the side of the road … in January. It was a miracle they lived long enough in the unforgiving central New York winter for someone to find them and take them to a shelter. When my wife was looking for a cat there, she paused, looking at the cage below Greta’s, and Greta stretched her paws out through the bars and started pawing and playing in her hair. Greta had chosen her, and we’ve had her and loved her ever since.

    I’ve always enjoyed your animal characters, and was wondering if you’d encountered any actual stories of specific royal pets in your research. We’ve become so accustomed in the U.S. to making presidential pets into celebrities, all the way back to Washington’s horse Nelson and Jefferson’s mockingbird Dick, that I wonder how far back in history the fame of elites’ pets goes (and also whether other countries glamorize their leaders’ pets today as much as we Americans do!). Also, although we know sentiments and values differed back then, have you found any medieval figures who spoke out against common practices like bear-bating and cock-fighting? It would be interesting to see if anyone was ahead of their time on that front back then. Thanks!

  14. Anna Spaulding Says:

    With Sharon’s kind permission, a re-post from Facebook:

    Maryland Westie Rescue, where I got Brodie and Lily, just brought in three adult females from a puppy mill, and one of them, named Joy, has severe pulmonary fibrosis. They say she’s struggling to breathe and her prognosis… isn’t good, so we need as many good wishes and prayers as we can get for this sweet girl. I’m just grateful they got her out of the mill, so if it’s her time to go, she’ll be surrounded by love instead of that !@#$%@ puppy mill.

  15. Noreen Says:

    I grew up along a state highway and virtually all of our dogs and a cat or two were dumped by someone. There must be a special circle of hell reserved for these people where they can be made to feel like the animals they abandon.

  16. Dayle Says:

    Hi, Sharon,

  17. Dayle Says:

    Hi, Sharon, (sorry, the previous one updated before I could finish)
    Ever since our 19 1/2 year old stray, Buddy, passed away, I have had to keep my blinders on for fear we will be found by another dog needing a home…after 43 years of pets/children at home we want to travel with no time limits! I do admit we cry at the sight of anyone’s dog, especially those that look like our former dogs.
    I heard somewhere that nowhere in the Bible is any mention of a cat. Do you think this is true? I’m still unpacking and my Bibles have not seen the light!
    I saw on amazon that Margaret George has a new book coming out April 2011 about Elizabeth I. I’ve already preordered it.
    Love always!

  18. Koby Says:

    Sorry for being gone so long - Thursday and Friday were the Jewish New Year, and today was Shabbat, obviously. So, events we missed:
    William I the Conqueror of England died on the 9th, Empress Maude of England on the 10th, as well as Henri of Champagne, Marie’s (Eleanor’s daughter) son, ally to his uncle Richard - we mentioned him in the previous blog comments.
    We also missed quite a few batles, including Flodden, Pinkie, Stirling Bridge, Marathon and the 3 day Teutonberg Forest.

  19. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Thanks, Koby. I hope your New Year was a very good one.
    I need to ask those who have sent me e-mails in the past week to resend them if possible. The evil Melusine ate over five thousand e-mails this afternoon. Most of them are backed up on my flash drive, but I let things slide in the past week because I was under a lot of pressure. Thanks.

  20. kristen elizabeth Says:

    I have a random question not related to this post–sorry for being off-topic. But I was just reading another book where the groom cuts himself and smears the blood on the wedding sheets to save his very young new bride’s reputation or dignity or whatever. I know that when the bride was very young, a couple would often wait to consummate the marriage until she was a more appropriate age, but was the self-inflicted wound by the groom a common thing, or just a fun and sweet touch made by writers of historical fiction? Thanks! :)

  21. Koby Says:

    I tend to believe it was a romantic touch. Most women would probably be resigned to having relations at age 14-15, and the husband wouldn’t be that considerate (since it was an arranged marriage). He’d probably do it once to consumate the marriage, and then wait for her to grow up a bit. Unless she was really young, in which case he probably wouldn’t truly marry her, but have a sham wedding like Henry (Hal) and Marguerite.
    I just don’t see men caring that much about women they don’t love and married for advantages, at a time with no concept of women’s rights.

  22. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Kristen, how would we know? Since the groom was acting to save his bride’s honor, it would defeat the purpose if he bragged about it afterward! Of course I did that in Dragons! It wouldn’t be a case of caring about the woman, Koby; it would be a question of honor. A man might well feel that wedding a girl who turned out not to be a virgin would reflect badly on him. This was one of the few grounds for divorce in medieval Welsh law. Generally, a marriage was not consummated when a girl was very young. There were exceptions, of course; Margaret Beaufort gave birth to Henry Tudor when she was 13. But if you check the ages of highborn brides and then see when they had their first children, you can see the pattern. Certainly true with all three of Henry II and Eleanor’s daughters. Not true in the case of John and the lovely but very young Isabelle d’Angouleme. She was about 12 when they wed, and didn’t have their first child for 7 years, but there seems to be no doubt that John enjoyed his marital privileges for the chroniclers complained about his staying in bed with her till noon. This restraint was a matter of self-interest. A man lucky enough to wed a highborn heiress would not want to risk her life in a too-early pregnancy, and the medievals understood that it was more dangerous for a young girl of 13 or 14 to get pregnant and give birth.

  23. Koby Says:

    The priest we hate the most, John Morton, died today.

  24. Sharon K Penman Says:

    That’s a good one, Koby!

  25. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Me again; the doorbell rang in the middle of my first comment. Thanks for reminding us of this, Koby. I’ve also seen Morton’s death date given as October 10, 1500, but I’m quite willing to celebrate it twice!
    I’d asked my Facebook readers to recommend novels set after Bosworth Field, at the request of a reader, and the response was amazing. Those of you already on Facebook can stop by and browse them, if you’re interested. Non-Facebook readers who are also interested can let me know and I’ll post them on the blog.

  26. kristen elizabeth Says:

    Thanks, Sharon! I didn’t know if there had maybe been a reference somewhere in some obscure chronicle or if it was just a romantic touch. I agree that it isn’t likely a man would brag about it but who knows how some things get into chronicles or not. After all, we apparently have the date Richard I was released from Purgatory. :)

  27. Theresa Says:

    Our darling Zachias Kitty is not a rescue cat per se, but he definitely adopted us, rather than the other way around. His previous owner was not able to have him in the house for a number of reasons, so Zachias would come over to our house at 2 AM and mew frantically, then start banging with his paw on the door to be let in. Eventually, with winter coming on, we caved. He is the sweetest, gentlest cat I have ever met, and I love him dearly.

    I’m sorry to say that purebred cats are being bred to more and more extreme standards. There is a wonderful book from 1960 by George Freedley, Mr. Cat, where he describes his beloved Persian and their strong friendship. I look at the drawings and think that Mr. Freedley would see Zachias, a non-pedigreed domestic longhair, as an cat similar to his own pet, but that he probably would not recognize a modern Persian. With their pugged faces and excessively fine hair, the extreme Persians sometimes appear to be aliens rather than cats. I feel so sorry for them. Some are so flat-faced that they literally are unable to eat on their own and must be hand-fed all their lives. That’s not right, in my book.

  28. Koby Says:

    Henry V (VI) of England was born today, and I believe that Owain Glyndŵr was declared Prince of Wales by his followers.

  29. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Theresa, your story made me think of people seeking sanctuary in churches in the MA. Your little cat certainly knew where he would be better off.
    Koby, you always give me some interesting dates to post on Facebook–but I always give you credit for them!

  30. Sharon K Penman Says:

    i almost forgot. I have an interview up with Carolyn Scriber, author of Beyond All Price, a novel based on the true story of Nellie Chase, a nurse during the American Civil War. This week is the launch for Carolyn’s book and here is the link to the interview. A number of other authors are interviewed, too, including Helen Hollick and Sharan Newman. Well worth a look. And the book sounds fascinating–real life so often trumps fiction, doesn’t it? Certainly where the Angevins were concerned!
    http://www.beyondallprice.org/Sharon-Kay-Penman.html

  31. Richard Warren Field Says:

    My heart was breaking for that cat. We had one adopt us when we first moved into our house in southern California. She was a little kitty who sounded like a chirping bird hiding in our garage. She was obviously dumped, and like the old elderly couple in your post, we could not turn her away! We are a number of cats later now - one of my cats breaks onto my blog on occasion!

    Richard Warren Field
    http://www.richardwarrenfield.com/
    http://www.richardwarrenfield.com/TheSwordsofFaith.htm
    THE SWORDS OF FAITH, a unique novel about the “Third Crusade” (Richard the Lionheart and Saladin) that stresses tolerance between the faiths even during a time of great conflict.

  32. Koby Says:

    An easy fast to anyone who will begin fasting this evening of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), and forgiveness and a good year to all.

  33. Sharon K Penman Says:

    All good wishes for Yom Kippur, Koby.

  34. Koby Says:

    Thanks, Sharon! Today, Louis VII Capet of France, Eleanor’s husband died, and so Philip became ’senior’ king.

  35. Koby Says:

    Today, Salah-ad-Din began the Siege of Jerusalem, and Elizabeth (Edward IV’s daughter) gave birth to her first son, Arthur Prince of Wales.

  36. Koby Says:

    Today, Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York was born.

  37. Sharon K Penman Says:

    And the most intriguing of the Devil’s Brood, Koby, Henry and Eleanor’s son Geoffrey.

  38. Koby Says:

    Well, my calendar has him born on the 23rd, and all my reference books (i.e. your books, Sharon) have been borrowed by friends in order to spread the knowledge and love.

  39. Joan Szechtman Says:

    Sharon, I finally got around to your interview with Carolyn Scriber–very interesting (and I’ll have to add her book to my TBR pile). I particularly related to your dilemma regarding unknowns about the real people about whom you’ve written. Sometimes, we just gotta draw a line in the sand and take a position to give a scene credibility.

  40. Koby Says:

    A happy Sukkot to any who begin celebrating tonight.

  41. Sharon K Penman Says:

    That is correct about Geoffrey, Koby. Malcolm called it to my attention yesterday on Facebook. I must have had a temporary brain freeze. Though my mistake gives Geoffrey a little more time on center stage. Meanwhile, his elder brother is keeping me very busy at Jaffa. May I ask what is Sukkot? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it. I agree, Joan, but that is what makes ANs so useful, a great device for clearing our consciences! I

  42. Joan Szechtman Says:

    I love ANs and even a short bibliography for those of us who want to read more. I also use ANs to avoid exposition within the story, but to reveal information that I’m just dying to share.

  43. Joan Szechtman Says:

    Here’s a Wikipedia article on Sukkot. It sort of reminds me of Thanksgiving–a lot more involved though.

  44. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Thanks, so much, Joan. I’ll read it as soon as I finish mopping up all the blood Coeur de Lion has been spilling at Jaffa. As for ANs, they are a win-win, for my readers love them just as much as we do. I actually feel cheated when I finish a book I’ve enjoyed and it doesn’t have an AN.

  45. Koby Says:

    Besides Geoffrey being born today, the Battle of Blore Heath, the first major battle in the Wars of the Roses was fought today.
    Thanks for saving me the words, Joan. Actually, the pilgrims who were big on the Old Testament actually based Thanksgiving on Sukkot. It’s quite enjoyable - at least in Israel. In other countries, it is often quite hard to be in a Sukkah in the cold and rain.

  46. Joan Szechtman Says:

    Koby wrote: “…the pilgrims who were big on the Old Testament actually based Thanksgiving on Sukkot. It’s quite enjoyable - at least in Israel. In other countries, it is often quite hard to be in a Sukkah in the cold and rain.”

    I didn’t know that, Koby. Although I thought that Thanksgiving today was hatched in the 19th-century and not by the Pilgrims.

    I guess we’d need an indoor Sukkah or just stick to Thanksgiving. Or, since the holidays are far enough apart, maybe do both. Mmmm–turkey

  47. Koby Says:

    Well, today’s Thanksgiving is quite modern. But the original one was in 1619, before even the pilgrims. When the Pilgrims celebrated their Thanksgiving, it was a harvest festival, based in part on the idea of Sukkot as a harvest festival.

  48. Joan Szechtman Says:

    Thank you, Koby. That explains the bit of confusion I had regarding Thanksgiving then and now.

  49. cindy Says:

    Succot is a fun holiday in the desert; the evenings are cooling down, and you eat and sleep inside the palm covered open Sukkah, that has been decorated with paper chains, lights, holiday cards, popcorn garlands etc. The last day of Sukkot is Simchat Torah, the celebration of the Torah, which was a big party at our shul (synagogue). Fun times.

    I never heard that the pilgrims used Sukkot as a model for Tday - I am not so sure really. People throughout the world were having harvest festivals of some sort; they could just as easily have based it on their old English harvest celebrations. Considering how the ‘pagans’ celebrated the equinox, its a wonder our Tday doesn’t include dancing naked around a bonfire…. :)

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