On a sunny, Saturday afternoon, a group of faithful friends left the welcoming, spring warmth of outdoors to come inside the Peace Dale Library and help Charley and me officially launch A Berkshire Tale. We chatted while munching on marshmallow peeps and cupcakes frosted like tiny cat paws. We laughed together as I recounted the more humorous events of our three-year journey leading up to this day. Most had heard these tales before because they had followed along as we made the trip. But, they chuckled and nodded their heads anyway, already knowing the happy ending to each tale. They were glad that we had something which gave our lives so much joy; something that had offset the many years we’d spent on our other journey – to find a cure for Charley’s cancer. As I sang ZuZu’s Song to my captive audience, their smiles lit up the room while two-year old Bella danced and hopped to the tune. They applauded my endeavor and then lined up for an autographed copy.
In the book, ZuZu, the little tabby, has adventures she shares with her barnyard friends and the family living in the farmer’s house. She is surrounded by a network of those who care about her. When she complains about the long, snowy winter, they commiserate. When she needs to find Santa and make her Christmas wish, they take her to the Inn. When she attempts to save the children from the monster in the sky, they cheer her bravery. When she experiences her first seasons, her first holidays, they are with her in celebration. Invested in her life, they listen as she tells her stories and shares her newest encounters with the world outside the barn. This farm is a sanctuary where ZuZu’s extended family helps her Mama to raise her.
Children especially need to feel there is somewhere safe they can go, protected from all of the unknowns lurking out in the darkness. We all need a sanctuary. And so, to those who have given encouragement and were there with us at the library and in their hearts during the weeks, months, and years before our launch, Charley and I thank you and wish you all lives filled with happy endings. People help to create our sanctuaries and friends make the tougher journeys so much easier and the celebrations all the more joyful.