Hi Everyone! I’m Scoop the Cub Reporter from The Shady Pines Gazette with some important updates for tomorrow’s St. Paddy’s Day and some history about the holiday that you can share with the kids. More on that in a minute. I know the headlines have been rough lately with a super virus spreading fear and causing all kinds of changes. It’s definitely not business as usual in Shady Pines Story Town.  Here in the newsroom we’re watching developments as they come in. Let me share some of them with you. To help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, all area schools are closed, and more and more folks are working from home. The parade has been cancelled because we’re not suppose to be around crowds of 50 people or more. 

A lot of shops on Main Street have closed for the time being. Pets Galore and Fred’s Corner Grocer are still open and people have been shopping like crazy! Cup ‘O Joe’s coffee shop is doing take out orders only. For those who can’t get out or need help, there are plans for that, too. We just Heard that the Shady Pines Community Center is closing down most of its activities and will now be used as a staging center.

Director Rita Mallena tells us she’s teaming up with Maggie, of Maggie’s Diner. They’re getting help from volunteers to make meals to be delivered, or picked up, by people who need them. Health experts say we should really pay attention to those who are at greatest risk. They urge us to stay in touch with our elderly family members and friends and check in on those who have health conditions that make them more likely to get sick this time of year. We all have to work together in these difficult times.


We’ll bring you more updates soon. In the meantime, how about some St. Patrick’s Day’s information that you can share with your family if you are stuck at home?

One thing you should know about our town. Every March 17th our tight knit community takes time to appreciate the Irish. The adults think it’s a chance to let children know about other cultures and show them some of the wonderful ways we celebrate them.

Earlier today, my editor, Zulah Talmadge and I went out to start reporting on this year’s holiday. We’d just arrived downtown and were sitting in our news car, when Ms. Talmadge asked me a question.

“Scoop, do you know about the history of St. Patrick’s Day?” asks Zulah. I had to think about that for a minute. “You know what, Ms. Talmadge? I don’t.”

“Well,” says Zulah, “St Patrick is one of the patron saints of Ireland. He’s supposed to have died on March 17  around the year 493.”

My eye get really big. “That was a really long time ago.”

Zulah nods. “Yep. He grew up in Britain, but was captured by Irish raiders. They took him to Ireland when he was just a little older than you are now.”

OK. That amazed me. “So he didn’t have a choice?” Zulah shakes her head. “Nope.”

“Wow. Was he stuck there? Did he ever get home? “I wondered out loud.


Zulah continues. “Years later Patrick did get back to his family. He was very religious so he dedicated himself to the church, like his father and grandfather before him. Later, he returned to Ireland as a missionary.”

“That’s interesting,” I thought. “He went back to Ireland. So, how did he become a saint?”

“History tells us that he gained sainthood for his missionary work,” says Zulah.

I reached for my reporter’s notebook.”I’ve got to write that down. This is so cool!”

“Maybe we can work some of these background facts into our story,” says Zulah.

Scoop is grabbing his gear. “Oh, we’ve gotta. Children need to know this stuff.”

“All right,” agrees Zulah. “But now let’s go find some fun food facts!”


And with that, the dynamic news duo heads down Main Street to Maggie’s Diner. If there’s one person who will know what to serve on St. Patrick’s Day, it’ll be Maggie. Maggie is inside working on ideas for the takeout meal program.

“Hi ya Maggie! Heard you and Rita are planning takeout meals,” says Zulah.

Scoop sets up his camera to get ready for the interview.

“Hi yourself, Zulah,” chuckles Maggie. “Yep. I was just working on the St. Patrcik’s Day menu items.” Maggie looks from Zulah to Scoop. “I guess this story was big enough that both of you are covering it?”

Scoop is smiling. “There’s a food angle, Ms. Maggie.”

Maggie nods. “Of course. I should have known that would interest our Zulah.”

Zulah pretends not to believe what she’s hearing. “I don’t know what you two are talking about.”

Scoop pins the microphone onto Maggie’s blouse and readies his video camera.

“So, what do people tend to eat on St. Patrick’s Day?” asks Zulah.

“I can tell you what I usually whip up,” says Maggie. “I’m talking about Irish soda bread, Irish stew and of course, corned beef and cabbage. We’ll use vegetables like potatoes and carrots to fill out the plate.”

“What about desert?” asks Scoop.

“How could I forget your sweet tooth, Scoop?”

“Aw, Ms. Maggie.”

“I’m just teasing. I generally serve shamrock cookies for the kids, and the kids at heart.”

“Those are always such a favorite,” adds Zulah.

Maggie agrees. “Yea, they always go really fast. And, I usually do an assortment of pies. I might even make a mint green cheesecake, just for something different.”

Scoop’s mouth has dropped open. “Oh man, that sounds SO good.”

Zulah is really enjoying this. “Just remember, if you need people to help taste any of your recipes  you know we’re available.”

Removing the microphone, Maggie smiles. “That goes without saying.”

Zulah and Scoop say goodbye to Maggie and thank her for her time.

“You’re very welcome. “Where are you going next?”

Zulah looks at Scoop. “I think we’ll find out what St Paddy’s Day specials are brewing over at Cup ‘O Joe’s coffee shop.”

“Then we can find out what kinds of St. Patriock’s Day goodies Fred is stocking at his Corner Grocer,” adds Scoop. “Oh, and since the parade is cancelled, we might swing by City Hall. We’ll want to get the latest Coronavirus info from Mayor Fibbs. Last I checked, he was talking to the mayor of nearby River City and trying to coordinate plans with her.”

Zulah throws up her hands. “Clearly we have a lot of ground to cover. See ya later, Maggie.”

“‘Bye you guys. See ya soon!”

Zooming around in their news car while tracking down their St. Patrick’s Day story, Zulah and Scoop are determined to bring us all the news that fit to print in the small Southern town of Shady Pines!


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