A little over twenty years ago, well before Michi and I had kids and when we were living in Ward Manor 1.0 in south Kansas City, fate saw to it that we became friends with Gail and Gregg LaRock.
They lived mere minutes from us at that time, on a parcel of land where they board and care for Arabian horses–theirs and (at least in those days) those of others who paid them for that service. As they’re both animal lovers, they’ve always had at least two or three dogs and a varying number of cats wandering the premises, the latter a consequence of strays showing up on the property and finding shelter in the barn or nearby areas. They’ve even had a goat or two. As for the horses, G&G actually gave one of theirs to Michi at one point many years ago. That horse later had a foal, which I helped schlep across a dark pasture on the night of her birth because her mother had the audacity to deliver her at the absolute farthest point on the property from the barn. Okay, maybe not but it was far enough I was sure I had to set my watch back an hour, okay?
After our kids came along, G&G became an honorary aunt and uncle, a bond that has only grown stronger with the passing of Michi’s parents and my mother. My sister and her family are still down in Florida, so we’re short of relatives up here in the Midwest and the LaRocks are members of our extended family and circle of close friends. As I write this, the kids are over at their place for an overnight stay, where they’ll play with the horses they’ve learned to ride and care for under G&G’s expert tutelage, watch some movies, and eat a bunch of stuff we don’t typically keep around the house. 😉
Last year, Gail told me she was writing a story; something she wanted to do for the kids complete with illustrations. At the time she had no idea if she might pursue publishing it, but then earlier this year she got serious. I’d get occasional updates on the story’s progress, as well as hints about the illustrations she now very definitely was including. There were reports about drafts being written and edited, rewritten and edited again, until last weekend when we all met for dinner and she laid before me an autographed copy of her very first publication.
My Name Is Tippy
Tippy has been on her own all of her young life…
Alone and lonely.
Now, the Gentle Voices On The Wind have directed Tippy to a place of safety and love, a barn filled with beautiful horses and the people who tend them.
In her new home, Tippy will learn about love, trust, and kindness.
This is her story.
Accompanying Gail’s prose are wonderful illustrations by artist Erin Carpenter, which showcase Tippy and the friends she makes in her new home. It’s also entirely possible that Tippy may encounter within the pages of this new tale characters who bear a striking resemblance to the horses who live with the G&G, and two more who sound a lot like my offspring. Just sayin’.
Congratulations, Gail! Here’s hoping My Name Is Tippy is but your first publishing success. 🙂