Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs

Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs: A True Story of Bad Breaks and Small Miracles

by Heather Lende
ISBN 978-1-61620-051-0, 304 pages
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2010

Who will take care of your family while you recover? Who will look after you? Did you shave your legs today?

Heather Lende recommends these questions for you to consider—in case you get run over by a truck today. Someone who once had truck tire tracks across her abdomen knows the issues to ponder. She knows the bitter before-and-after of vibrant independence crushed instantly into broken helplessness.

Lende lives in the tightly knit community of Haines, Alaska. She is a columnist for Women’s Day and has contributed to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Country Living, among others. She also writes the obituaries for the local paper. Her earlier book, If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name, contained stories gleaned from those articles, and so does this one. She weaves the story of her accident and her recovery from it in with stories of the people in her community, living or dead. Through these intertwined threads of story, Lende lets the reader know that the healing of her soul and her body could not have happened without friendships and family.

She uses a comfortable “conversation on the front porch over a cup of tea” style to share tales of singing while snowshoeing, raising totem poles and riding her bike again for the first time after the accident. Her bear hunting story is a particularly entertaining read. On occasion she takes the reader on a meandering off-track side story during her telling and by the time she circles back to the main point, the reader has to flip back pages to refresh the memory. But we forgive her for this, because we are on the front porch with our cup of tea, so it’s okay.

Her faith sustained her during her rehabilitation and after the death of her mother, but she writes about it with a light hand. It’s important—but no pressure.

Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs is about Heather Lende‘s journey through grief and physical healing. But it’s also about us. She writes: “. . . by the time we reach a certain age, most of us have been hit by a proverbial truck in one way or another.”

If it happens to you, will you curse, or will you sing? Who will listen to your prayers? Will you forgive the guy that ran you over?

Someone who once had tire tracks on her abdomen wants to know.

Arlene Somerton Smith
Inspiration • Balance • Outreach


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on May 9, 2012, in Books I borrowed, Non-fiction and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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