Little Creek Press

In Herriot's Shadow by Bill Stork

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Intending to tell stories about dogs, cats, cows, sunrises, sunsets and music, a small town veterinarian, raised by a git 'er done dad and a pathologically kind stay-at-home mom, wrote a book about humanity. In Herriot's Shadow is a celebration of chivalry in a grocery store parking lot, generosity in a farm field, and gratitude in two packs of sandwich cookies. Dr. Bill Stork has fully evolved the notion that a person who is kind to animals is inherently good, often in the face of public perception to the contrary. Working alongside men and women whose physical strength is dwarfed by their superhuman depth of character and family values, he has felt the anguish of a corn crop spiking, turning brown and begging for a drop of water, and shared the unbridled exuberance when the "million dollar rain" came just in time. Embracing the notion that the human-animal bond applies to all creatures, great and small, Dr. Stork was centered and rededicated in his profession by a 70-year-old farmer openly weeping and hugging a 21-year-old cow named Iris as the sun rose on her last day. Shed a tear for a dog called Buck, hold your belly from laughing as Dr. Stork survives Jack going for his jugular, ponder how Pumpkin developed her outer rind, and make the acquaintance of the Amazing Dick Bass In Herriot's Shadow weaves together stories about B.B. King, temperamental cows, biking through Texas, therapy cats and life-saving dogs.

About the Author

Dr. Bill Stork grew up in a meat and potatoes, git'er done, Mr. and Mrs., "In the name of the Father..." household in Decatur, Illinois. Population 100,000 and shrinking. He attended public schools at a time when racial tensions and desegregation were a fact of life. He came home to after-school snacks from a stay-at-home mother. His dad worked construction. Unless Dad worked overtime, Bill and his parents and frequently neighbors needing help welding or with a carburetor they needed help rebuilding would sit down at the table. Bread was broken, thanks were given and days were discussed. If his homework was done and dishes clean, secondary education commenced at the work bench, vice and welder. The first manifestation of his love for animals came in kindergarten when the family insurance salesman invited the family to look at a litter of collie puppies. "Sugar" was lonely in the basement, so Little Bill dragged his blanket and pillow down the steps and slept on the concrete until she was brave enough to spend the night alone. He first dreamed of writing while watching The Waltons on Thursday nights at age seven. He mowed lawns, walked beans, and helped neighbors paint and roof beginning at age 12, and landed a job at the Brush College Animal Hospital two years later. Six years of cleaning cages and scrubbing baseboards only served to fuel the fire ignited by reading James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small for an 8th grade book report. Dr. Stork was sheltered, in the sense that he grew up in the geographic and metaphorical center of the state and country. An hour down Interstate 72 and a bit farther than the apron strings could stretch, he attended the University of Illinois beginning in the fall of 1983. His sphere began to expand, and in the years to follow he would co-evolve in the likeness of friends who have since become brothers. They hailed from Chicago to Bombay, and were diverse in ethnicity, race and religion. They were common in the sense that their families were core. He graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in May 1992 and migrated across the Cheddar Curtain. In doing so, he surrendered the gratuitous use of "r's" (warsh the car), hardened his consonants and stretched out his "o's" (anybody using the boooat?). Intact was his record and CD collection and love of old school blues, country, folk and bluegrass music. On June 15th, 1992, he started working at the Lake Mills Veterinary Clinic. According to the Bank of Lake Mills, he can retire at or near age 125. When Brett Favre trotted on to replace the injured Don Majkowski, a hard core Packers Fan stood where a lukewarm Bears fan once did. He currently shares a 7-acre petting zoo with a displaced Wyoming cattle dog, an aging Labrador, 2 goats, a cat named Stinker and 3 others, 11 horses and his one-person support crew and partner of 5 years, Sheila. He is addicted to sunsets. Most of what you read was conceived on country roads and composed at or near sunrise. He is wholly uncomfortable writing about himself in the third person.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Little Creek Press. A Division of Kristin Mitchell Design, LLC; First edition (September 26, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0989978443
  • ISBN-13: 978-0989978446
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces