Hello December

In honour of the winter season upon us I thought I should change my header image. Scrolling through Pixabay I found this girl and knew she’d be perfect for my blog.

We’ve been having postcard-type winter scenes these days, as the weather has blessed us with almost a week of fog and barely a breath of wind. The poplar and other trees surrounding our year — and every yard— have been transformed into “white pine.” We have a single strand of black chain-link “fence” encircling our little lawn in front of the church building, and I noticed last night that the posts have grown white moustaches at the top. Looks cute!

We’ve been having a series of revival meetings at church this week, starting last Friday evening, so that has kept us busy every evening. Also, I’ve been working on two songs for the school children. The one I’ve written the words for, using the tune, “Sing A Song of Sixpence.” I’ve called it “The Pizza Order.” Children are asking “Sis” to bring home pizza, first one, then two — listing all the toppings they want. Then they decide to invite their cousins “for a pizza jamboree” and want a third pizza. Finally Mom says, “Pizza costs too much… Just bring home buns and weiners and we’ll do a barbecue.” And everybody groans.

The second, which I’m working on now, started with the tune to an old English Christmas folk-song, “The Boar’s Head Carol.” Do any of you know this one? I’ve paired it with the “Canadian Camping Song”, an 1880s poem by James Edgar. It’s taking me some time and effort to adjust the music to fit the words of the verse — and to suit my taste in melody ups and downs. 😉

I cooked supper at the Villa last night and am on for dinner today, then in the afternoon we’re to go to the Christmas supper put on by the Veterinary Clinic staff. Bob’s part-time bookkeeper there. There’s church this evening and I’m cooking dinner at the Villa tomorrow. So this weekend is a busy time for us.

I wonder how many of you others have already started with Christmas preparations and events? I admire folks who get their preparations done ahead of time; I’m such a last-minute type.

I’ll end with this humorous little incident I read years back. I think you’ll get a chuckle.

Baby’s Arrival Call

Three-year-old Molly was spending a few days at Grandma’s house and had invited her cousin Jill over for a tea party one afternoon. As they were setting the table, Molly told Jill, “My Mommy’s gone to the hospital to get a baby. But I don’t know how she knew it would be ready to go.”

Jill, a year older and wiser, explained the process. “Oh, that’s easy. When the baby feels like coming it just phones your mom and says ‘Come and get me’.”

Differing Opinions

Fandango’s challenge word this morning is CONTRAST

I offer this poem as my response:

THE DOCTOR
by Edgar Guest

I don’t see why Pa likes him so,
and seems so glad to have him come;
he jabs my ribs and wants to know
if here and there it’s hurting some.

He holds my wrist, ‘cause there are things
in there which always jump and jerk;
then, with a telephone he brings,
he listens to my breather work.

He taps my back and pinches me,
then hangs a mirror on his head
and looks into my throat to see
what makes it hurt and if it’s red.

Then on his knee he starts to write
and says to Mother, with a smile:
“This ought to fix him up all right.
We’ll cure him in a little while.”

I don’t see why Pa likes him so.
Whenever I don’t want to play
he says, “The boy is sick, I know!
Let’s get the doctor right away.”

And when he comes, Pa shakes his hand,
and hustles him upstairs to me,
and seems contented just to stand
inside the room where he can see.

Then Pa says every time he goes,
“That’s money I am glad to pay;
it’s worth it, when a fellow knows
his pal will soon be up to play.”

But maybe if my Pa were me,
and had to take his pills and all,
he wouldn’t be so glad to see
the doctor come to make a call.

From the book, Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest,
©1934 by the Reilly & Lee Co

First Snow: Memories

Here’s my response to the Ragtag prompt for today: ZIP

FIRST SNOW

First snow flakes – angel-feather
innocence falling from heaven –
soften me in their gentleness,
the sincerity of their efforts to erase
the blemishes of my imperfect world.

My mind drifts back to childhood
memories of those first infatuations
with cold and white; those winters I’d fall
knee-deep in the wonder
of loving it all. How joyfully
I lifted my hands to catch
the dazzle of diamond dust.

The old torch glows again today,
that first-kiss affection for a childhood
sweetheart never quite abandoned,
as I watch the flakes drift down.
On impulse I zip up my winter coat,
don mitts and boots and go
out to play in the snow.

Books Galore!

WRITE-CLICK

I’ve decided on a new style, with a new heading, introducing my BOOKS-and-AUTHORS commentary. I’ve ready many books, and more are being offered to me every day. there are various sites offering free or super-cheap e-books on the basis of, “Here’s a low-cost book. The author REALLY wishes you’d read it and leave a review.”

In WRITE-CLICK I’m planning to share something about the books I’ve seen and/or read, and authors I think are really good.

Today one of the free books Reading Deals is offering sounds really interesting:
Jessie’s Song by Jeremy Williamson. I can’t vouch for it yet, but will put it on my Wish list.
“A powerful story of a childhood devastated by secrets and abuse. After years of wrestling with her true identity and running from her past, Jessie Jenkins runs headlong into her answer—a mysterious stranger who knows every detail of her life and offers the only thing she ever wanted—a love that can be trusted to heal and not harm.”
Click here for Amazon link.

Yesterday BookBub listed the freebie book Two Minutes to Noon by former Times correspondent Noel F Bush. (Amazon Link here.) Being interested in history and also natural disasters, this one caught my attention.
The Tokyo earthquake of 1923, with the huge fires and tidal waves that followed it, destroyed two of the largest cities in the world. Tokyo and Yokohama experienced a devastation that almost dwarfs the atomic damage at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Another site I’ve gotten a book from is Books2Read. Here’s my write-up about that book, to which I gave a five-star rating:

Loveday Brooke: Lady Detective
by Catherine Pirkis
© 2018 by Midwest Classics Press

Miss Brooke grew up in an upper class family in London, but hard times left her penniless. To support herself she went to work for Ebenezer Dyer, head of a detective agency on Fleet Street. Over time Mr Dyer developed a high regard for Loveday’s crime solving abilities and sends her off on various short assignments. This book is a collection of her adventures.
Her cases are not so much the murder and mayhem kind, rather something or someone has gone missing or was stolen. Ever prim and proper, plainly dressed and nondescript in appearance, she blends in with all classes and ferrets out the details of the crime. The deductive reasoning that brings her to a quick solution is much like that of fellow detective Sherlock Holmes.

British author Catherine Louisa Pirkis, 1841-1910, wrote numerous short stories and fourteen novels during the years 1887 to 1894. She’s best known for her lady detective, Loveday Brooke. Midwest Classics Press has republished Pirkis’ novel. See their website here.

Firecracker

Fandango’s prompt word for today: BELONG

FIRECRACKER: A Feathery Tale

Rooster 2

See that handsome young rooster over there. That’s Firecracker. Raised him from a chick, I did, fed him, fussed over him, gave him lots of TLC so he’d be nice and plump come fall.

He was a cute little guy back then, especially when he started following me around the yard. I’ll admit, I’m going to miss having him tagging along after me, but now that he’s full grown, he’s going to be the star of our Thanksgiving table.

He wasn’t very old when the grandchildren named him Firecracker — and we thought it was kind of a cute name, so it stuck. I’ll tell you why he got that name. Oh, yes, he can make enough noise when he wants to, like at 5am when you’re wanting another hour of sleep. But you should hear him explode when he catches sight of a mouse or rat around the chicken yard. One day the grandchildren were in the yard fussing over him like they do, when he spied a mouse in the grass nearby. They said he went off just like a firecracker and went dashing over to do battle.

He’s been really good that way. Every time he sees a rodent he goes after the thing, calling all his ladies to come help him. He has a certain kind of squawk that says, “Enemy spotted!” and the hens come running. Our dog, Duchess, dashes into the action, too, when she hears that sound. Between them all, they make short work of rodents. I’m thinking poor Duchess will miss Firecracker. The hens will, for sure, but he belongs on our Thanksgiving table.

One thing I’m happy about is how good Firecracker is with the grandchildren when they come over — maybe because they’ve fed him grain and other tidbits ever since he was just a spring chick. Roosters can sometimes be cantankerous, but not him. You know how kids are. As soon as they get here, they rush out to see Firecracker and he usually comes running when he hears their voices, to see what treats they might have for him.

When I told the youngest grandchild last week that Firecracker is going to be our Thanksgiving dinner she got all sober and sad-looking for awhile. I probably shouldn’t have said anything. I guess they’re all going to miss seeing him around after next week.

One of the grandsons must have heard the news, too, because he phoned a few days ago specially to ask if I was really going to cook Firecracker for Thanksgiving. He sounded so blue about it. I told him that Firecracker has had a good life and now it’s time to say goodbye, because he belongs on our Thanksgiving table. That’s what we raised him for.

I’ve got the bread cubed and in the freezer for the stuffing. Next Tuesday my husband’s going to dispatch Firecracker. I’ll tell you, plucking that bird is going to be hard. Oh, hang on a minute…my phone’s ringing. I see my son is calling.

“Hi, Jason. How are things going? Glad to hear it. By the way, I wanted to let you know we’re planning to have our Thanksgiving dinner at 5pm this time… What do you mean, you’re not coming? … Are you saying NONE of you are coming? … But why? I have this huge meal planned… Your kids are all refusing to eat Firecracker? … But he belongs in our Thanksgiving meal. What am I supposed to do with him if… What!?”

Doesn’t that beat all! The grandchildren have emptied their piggy banks and say they want to buy Firecracker. They want to keep him as a pet, of all things, and we can just let him live here. And the family is offering to bring fish for the meal. Jason says none of them know any fish.

Oh, well. Anything for the grandkids, right? The hens will be more content having a rooster around the place, too. And Duchess will be happy if Firecracker stays around, seeing she’s grown so fond of him.

I’m not especially sentimental, but I have, too, if truth be told. 🙂

 

An Angelic-Looking Lad

My response to the Word of the Day prompt: BRAVADO

THE CHOIR BOY

by Edgar Guest

They put his spotless surplice on
and tied his flowing tie
And he was fair to look upon
As he went singing by.
He sang the hymns with gentle grace,
that little lad of nine,
for there was something in his face
which seemed almost divine.

His downcast eye was good to see,
his brow was smooth and fair,
and no one dreamed that there could be
a rascal plotting there.
Yet when all heads in prayer were bowed,
God’s gracious care to beg
the boy next to him cried aloud:
“Quit pinching on my leg!”

A pious little child he seemed
an angel born to sing;
beholding him none ever dreamed
he’d do a naughty thing;
yet many a sudden “Ouch!” proclaimed
that he had smuggled in
for mischief-making, unashamed,
a most disturbing pin.

And yet I think, from high above,
the Father looking down
knows everything he’s thinking of
and smiles when mortals frown.
For in the spotless surplice white
which is his mother’s joy,
He know he’s not an angel bright,
but just some healthy boy.

From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company