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Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 7 years, 3 months ago

“Jamaica was a sweet young one, I loved her true

She was a comfort and a mercy through and through

Hiding from this world together, next thing I knew

We had brought her things down to the bay – what could I do?

Jamaica, say you will

Help me find a way to fill these sails

And we will sail until our waters have run dry”

-- Jackson Browne, “Jamaica Say You Will” (1971)


“Homer sits on the porch.

What does he want to do today?”


Reading Elisha Cooper’s beautiful picture book HOMER – the tale of an elderly dog who is no longer up to racing around, but finds contentment in being around his people – I am reminded of my late mother’s dog, Jamaica. 


I called my sister down in Costa Rica this morning to get the whole story on how, in 1973, she’d come to bring home the black puppy who became Mom’s constant companion for more than a decade.  Jamaica was always with Mom: in the house, out on walks, in her car, and under her desk at the office.  


I learned that Jamaica was named for the Jackson Browne song by my sister’s best friend who was, shortly thereafter, forced by her parents to find a new home for the mischievous puppy who kept getting into the garbage.  That is how my sister ended up bringing home Jamaica, who immediately adopted Mom and who, like Homer, eventually grew old and sedentary but always exuded a real sense of contentment.


“Swim in the waves?

“Run to the market?

“No, no.  I’m fine right here.”


I love the manner in which Elisha Cooper portrays a sense of calmness and contentment in HOMER.  Beginning with the opening two page spread, we see the world from HOMER’S vantage point on the edge of the porch.  The various human and animal characters share their comings and goings with the steadfast Homer as they tromp back and forth across that porch. 


It is not until the last few pages, after the sun has set, that we see Homer get up from the porch.  We then watch him go in through the doggie door and have his dinner, then climb up into his favorite comfy chair, and go to sleep.


Over the years, I’ve had my own share of old dogs that I have loved.  HOMER, who comes to life through Elisha Cooper’s gorgeous watercolor paintings, is the latest of them.


Richie Partington
Richie's Picks


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