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fellowshipThere has been and will be a ton of reviews and commentaries on J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing. The Lord of the Rings series is his cornerstone, I’d say. These three volumes, The Fellowship of the Ring, Two Towers & Return of the King along with The Hobbit are the books that made Tolkien famous.

I was introduced to them and college and remember devouring them. Looking back now I wonder how I ever had the time to read them—but I did.

In some ways, though I like them, the movies have sort of ruined the books for me. I think the director, Peter Jackson, took too many liberties and, particularly with The Hobbit, added too much extra material—really, three movies for that short book? Additionally his depictions of the Orcs, etc. is not how I pictured them. I’m not sure how the Tolkien family feels, but I am not a fan of the movies.

FThe books, however, are fantastic! Excellent reads that transport one to a different world, where anything is possible. That’s the lure of these books. It’s not escapism, for although one can escape to another world, there is value in the escape.

For example, The Fellowship of the Ring is very appropriately titled—Fellowship and friendship are center piece to this story. It’s an adventure to be sure, but the bond that develops between the members of the fellowship is, to me, the center piece of this story.

You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin—to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours—closer than you keep it yourself. But you can not trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo.

These words sum up the essence of The Fellowship of the Ring. What it means to be a family is redefined in that this diverse group becomes a fellowship, a family. With the emphasis our society has placed on diversity, we could all benefit from reading this book—although they became a family, not one single member gave up their identity or compromised their beliefs. America was meant to be a melting pot, but instead we’ve become more of a stew, where each group strives for their “rights” and dominance, often at the expense of others; but I digress.

In my life the essence of this book has come to life. Moving to Georgia from New York State in 1987, we knew no one. Moving to Macon in 2013, we knew no one, other than our son and his family. While in Rome, Georgia, we “adopted” family—former students who grew to be our family.

Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.

This quote from Susan B. Anthony sums up what has happened over time—people have ambled in, sniffed around and have simply never left. We even developed a new family surname, Goshcarmley. Our neighbors here in Macon have become “family,” though I have no idea how to change Goshcarmley to reflect those additions.

That, for me, is the essence of The Fellowship of the Ring. I have been blessed to be part of a fellowship, that although not as adventurous as Tolkien’s, has nonetheless been every bit as loving and supportive.