”Walking Rocket, Missing Matt … and other random thoughts,” by Christine LeLaurin Ratcliff, 2019, by Christine LeLaurin, paperback, 48 pages, $17.40

Those who have ever owned a dog understand each becomes an integral part of the family. No matter how rough life gets, a dog softens the hurt, sorrow, and lightens the load of the family’s circumstances. It’s as if that four-legged friend senses something is amiss or has changed. He makes it his duty to do whatever he can to listen and brighten the family’s life, especially while taking walks.

If you’ve needed to read a short book of tidbits of everyday life, “random thoughts,” poems to end the day at night, give a special book to a very special friend who loves animals, or to take with you on a trip, consider “Walking Rocket, Missing Matt ... and other random thoughts.”

Ratcliff is a former public affairs professional who has worked in different forms of communication in the oil and gas industry. Now retired, she and her husband, John, live on the Texas coast near Galveston Island. In this book is a variety of prose and poetry created during and after her walks with her beloved dog Rocket. It’s her way of coping with the world gone berserk during years from 2005-18. The author includes sudden, unexpected tragedies her family has experienced, especially Christmas 2011. It’s her poignant, serene skills in communicating through stories from front to back covers that you will find reading these stories over again and again. Though the writing may be her first published work, I hope and doubt it will not be her last.

Margaret Barno lives in Tyler. She is an avid reader, story and puzzle creator, and called Galveston home for 17 years.

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