Summer Begins In Shady Pines!

Summer Begins In Shady Pines!

Summer Blazes In

It’s here! The actual start of summer has arrived. But for many folks in Shady Pines Story Town, it’s felt like summer for weeks now. Temperatures this June and even before that, have been soaring into the high 90’s. The air often feels like it’s 100 degrees or more.

Over at The Shady Pines Gazette news office, editor Zulah Talmadge has made a decision. She needs to get out and report on summer heat in the South.

“You have to admit this region has all sorts of weather extremes,” says Zulah as she looks for her tape recorder. “I mean we have tornadoes, droughts, fires, and of course we’re smack dab into hurricane season right now. But heat is a separate category!”

She heads downtown to Main Street to see what people are saying about this toasty start to the summer season.

Before she can pop into Maggie’s Diner where gosssip is served up right along with that day’s special sandwich, Zulah runs into Kim Dunworthy. Mail carrier Kim is coming out of Cup ‘O Joe’s coffee shop.

Clearly she has her hands full.

“Hey Kim, may I help you?” asks Zulah.

“Oh, yes Ms. Zulah. That’s very kind of you,” says Kim as she stoops and tries to collect the packages and letters she’s dropped. “I think I got a little ambitious about the number of things I could carry at one time.”

Zulah leans down and helps her collect the scattered items. “While you’re here Kim, maybe you can help me out.”

“Sure. What do you need?”

“I’m doing a story about summer heat in the South, ” says Zulah. “You grew up in neighboring River City, what’s your take?”

“I look at the summer heat as our very own sweat badge of courage,” says Kim. “We seem to cope with sweltering heat that would undo most folks. And, in the words of my momma, we handle it gracefully.”

Zulah chukles as she makes notes in her reporter’s notebook. “That’s great. Thank you Kim. See ya later.”

“See ya Ms. Zulah.”

It’s not enough for Southerners to bravely endure the heat. One thing Zulah knows for sure. They love to talk about it. She decides to do some man – and women – on the street interviews.

“Excuse me ma’am. I’m Zulah Talmadge with The Shady Pines Gazette. When I say summer heat, what comes to mind?”

The stately lady in the flowing dress and wide brimmed hat dabs her face with her hankerchief. “As a Southern woman, I say we don’t sweat. We glisten.”

Zulah nods. “Got it.”

Here are some other reactions Zulah heard.

People Are Talking

  • It’s not the heat – it’s the humidity
  • It’s hotter than Blue Blazes
  • Is it hot enough for ya?
  • Man, it’s hot as all get-out!
  • It must be 90 in the shade
  • This one’s gonna be a sorcher
  • You could fry an egg on the sidewalk

How Hot Is It Really?

  • It’s so hot the swimming pool is boiling
  • It’s so hot the ice cream truck has melted
  • It’s like a steam bath out here
  • I’m wilting
  • I’m burning slap up
  • Could I stick my face in your deep freeze for just a second?

Be Careful In The Heat

After listening to all the colorful ways her neighbors talk about extreme heat, Zulah wants her article to include a reminder. “This kind of extreme heat can be dangerous, especially to kids, the elderly and to our pets. We really need to take some precautions.”

Zulah finds an article: ‘High temperatures and extreme heat can cause children to become sick very quickly in several ways. It can cause dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat stroke​, which is a medical emergency.’  For more information go to: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Protecting-Children-from-Extreme-Heat-Information-for-Parents.aspx

Final Thoughts

Zulah heads back to The Gazette office with loads of information for her article. She’s discovered some important things.

“It’s amazing how many expressions Southerners can haul out to explain just how dang uncomfortable it really is in our neck of the woods,” says Zulah. “We seem to use humor as a way to deal with extreme situations. At the same time, we need to take dangerous summer heat seriously and watch out for one another.”

And that’s the the most important takeaway of all in the small Southern town of Shady Pines.

Boomer and Halley Worry. Are We Safe in Shady Pines?

Boomer and Halley Worry. Are We Safe in Shady Pines?

Are We Safe?

Troubling images flicker across the TV at the Sanders house near downtown Shady Pines. It’s the same in households across the country.

Edna Sanders tries to prepare dinner. But her attention keeps being drawn to the screen on the kitchen counter.

It’s been this way ever since news of the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas was first broadcast. Nineteen elementary students and two teachers gunned down by an 18 year old man with an assault rifle.

A TOWN IS SHATTERED

“This is horrible,” says Edna. “Those poor little kids. Their parents and families. Those brave teachers. That town. It’s just too much.” Edna buries her face in her hands.

The back door opens and Edna’s husband, Harold arrives with the family’s dog, Boomerang. He took the handsome Australian Shepherd with him to work at his Nut’s ‘N Bolts hardware store. “Honey, we’re home.”

Harold unclicks the leash from Boomer’s collar, hangs it on its hook, and strokes the dog’s head. “I’m proud of you, Boomer. You were a very good boy today.”

Meanwhile, Halley’s Comet has been snoozing on her favorite window seat. The silver streak of a cat is worried. “Why’s mom so emotional? What is she watching on TV that has her in tears?” Once Halley sees Boomer coming through the door, the elegant cat has a complete change of mood.

Offering Comfort

“What on earth could you have done to make dad proud of you?” asks an annoyed Halley.

“Oh, wouldn’t you like to know?” snarls Boomer.

“Not really.”

“I greeted everyone. A lot of them were upset. They petted me and seemed to calm down.”

“That’s surprising. You have the opposite effect on me.” But it got Halley’s attention. “Mom’s been really upset, too.”

Harold takes one look at his wife and rushes to her. “Edna, sweetie, what wrong?”

Edna gets up from sitting at the kitchen table and gives him a hug. “I feel such deep sorrow for everyone in Uvalde. I can’t help wonder, what if that happened here?”

Harold looks at her. “I know what you mean. That’s what everyone is talking about at the store.”

Edna dabs her eyes with a paper napkin. “We like to feel we’re safe in our small Southern town.”

Harold nods. “Yea, except, these mass shootings keep happening at stores, malls, concerts, places where people worship, and again at an elementary school!”

A Loving Family

Boomer crosses the room and plops his favorite rawhide bone at the feet of his parents.

“Why did ya do that?” asks Halley.

“I want them to know I love them.”

With that, Halley wanders over and rubs against her parent’s legs. “Okay, that is actually kinda nice.”

Both Harold and Edna reach down and hug their four-legged children.

“We love you two SO much,” says Edna.

Harold agrees. “And we will do whatever we can to keep you both safe. I just hope it will always be enough.”

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May Your Milestones Be Celebrated

May Your Milestones Be Celebrated

Shady Pines Celebrates With Gusto

May is one of those months where there’s so much going on. We just got finished with May Day, Cinco de Mayo, the Kentucky Derby and Mother’s Day. Whew! And now there’s more on the calendar with graduations, anniversaries, birthdays and more.

I’m Zulah Talmadge with The Shady Pines Gazette and we have it all covered for you.

Look over there. Why at the Shady Pines Elementary School there’s a graduation going on. All those little tykes have been looking forward to this day.

Graduation Day

But first, they present a play the’ve been working on for months. The moms, dads, family members and friends are just tickled pink to see them perform on the stage at the Shady Pines Community Center next door to the school.

Their version of Peter Pan included the messages that ‘anything is possible’ and ‘dreams do come true.’

Next is the actual graduation ceremony. You’ve never seen so many cameras and phones fly out of purses and pockets. This is an event that a family wants to preserve for all time. And don’t the kids look cute in their caps and gowns? It was a fairly small graduation class this year but there was nothing small about the joyous celebration.

Congratulations to our Class of 2022! Rejoice in your accomplishments.

Wedding Anniversary

Over at Boomer and Halley’s house, their parents are celebrating 16 years of marriage. Harold and Edna Sanders met at a Fall dance back in the day and have been great partners ever since.

Of course they didn’t have children for most of their marriage. Then they adopted the energetic Australian Shepherd dog, Boomerang, and the silver streak of a cat, Halley’s Comet. There hasn’t been a quiet moment since.

“Are we supposed to get them something for their anniversary, Halley?” asks Boomer.

Halley is busy batting her rubber lizard across the hardwood floor. “How would I know?” shes asks. “I’m not sure what an anniversary is in the first place!”

Boomer cannot believe what he’s hearing. “What’s the matter with you?”

Halley snaps her head around. “Whaaat?”

“It’s when dad and mom got married. That day.”

Halley looks confused. “Well, when was THAT day?”

“I dunno,” says Boomer.

Halley licks her paws. “Remember the day we met?”

Boomer shakes his whole body. “That’s not a memory worth celebrating.”

Meanwhile, Harold is watching TV and Edna is sitting in her favorite chair in the den looking at a poster.  “Honey have you seen this?”

Harold turns his head to look at her. “What is it?”  Edna holds it up to show him. “Mayor Fibbs is using this poster of us to promote the idea that people should visit Shady Pines.”

Harold beams with pride. “Well, it is a very spiffy little ‘ole Southern town. And that’s a swell lookin’ family if I do say so myself.”

Edna smiles. “I know. Let’s frame it. This can be our anniversary gift since we’re all in it!”

Boomer barks his approval. And Halley meows.

Birthdays Galore

The other thing to know is that May is chalk full of birthdays around here. Why Maggie, who runs Maggie’s Diner has a birthday coming up on Friday the 20th. And Fred, who own’s Fred’s Corner Grocer has one right after that on Sunday the 22nd.

And just in case you want to start thinking about a birthday gift for a certain Editor of the Gazette, well, um, my birthday is Wednesday May, 25th.

Whatever you’re celebrating this merry month of May remember that kindness is one of the best gifts anyone can give or receive!

May in Shady Pines means Mother’s Day, Kentucky Derby & Cinco de Mayo!

May in Shady Pines means Mother’s Day, Kentucky Derby & Cinco de Mayo!

Something About Cinco

Better lace up your track shoes folks, ’cause May is off to a flying start here in Shady Pines. Scoop the Cub Reporter with The Shady Pines Gazette news is literally running to keep up with events.

First is Cinco de Mayo. That’s this Thursday May, 5th. Our favorite postal worker, Kim Dunworthy is putting the finishing touches on a day filled with activities for our small Southern town. What do you really know about this day?

Here are some Fun Facts Kim found:

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s May 5, 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. The day is also known as Battle of Puebla Day.

It’s a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, but in the United States Cinco de Mayo has become a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. Kim is planning a dance downtown with food vendors. The kids will have a special section where they can learn about Mexican history and have something to eat, too!

The Kentucky Derby

Next up is the 148th Run For the Roses at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

While the horse race may be in another state this Saturday May 7th, it is all that our Edna Sanders talks about.

Guess you could say Edna has “Derby Fever.” She can’t wait for the site of 20 of America’s best 3-yr-old thoroughbred colts running like a calvary charge into the first turn.  You can watch all the action on NBC starting around 4pm with the Derby set to go off just before 7pm EST.

The Sanders’ house is the place to be on Derby Day. Edna and her husband, Harold, go all out. They get gussied up like the folks do who actually go the the event. Edna says watching the fashion choices people make – especially those hats – is part of the fun.

Edna tells us that people go crazy screaming for their favorite horse to win. She does, too!  Plus, there are all sorts of wonderful Derby traditions and you can read about them HERE

Before the weekend comes to an end, there’s one thing more.

Mother’s Day

Sunday, May 8th is the day we celebrate the endless contibutions of all the moms out there. There’s no way to sum up all that mothers do for their children and their families. But it did get us wondering, who came up with the idea for a day devoted to moms?

Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 as a tribute to her own mother who died in 1905. It became an official U.S. holiday in 1914.

Unfortunately, Anna Jarvis would later become upset that the holiday had become so commercialized with people feeling like they have to spend money to buy flowers, cards, chocolates and meals. She spent the later years of her life trying to remove it from the calendar.

At the Sanders’ household, Harold decided to make Edna a Mother’s Day card. He got their four legged children to help.

Whenever Boomer and Halley get involved, things never go as planned. But fortunately, after Edna watches the Kentucky Derby on Saturday there will be a card waiting for her the next day.

For all the wonderful mothers out there of two and four-legged children, we in Shady Pines Story Town appreciate you and hope you have a delightful Mother’s Day!

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Shady Pines Reacts to Unruly Baseball Behavior

Shady Pines Reacts to Unruly Baseball Behavior

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

What is going on? Why do people act like this?  This is NOT the Shady Pines Way! I’m Zulah Talmadge, editor of The Shady Pines Gazette news. My Twitter feed is blowing up and we are getting all sorts of calls here in the newsroom.

Fans at a baseball game went crazy over the weekend in New York and we’re hearing about it!

Scoop the Cub Reporter is busy checking sports feeds at his desk.

“Ms. Talmadge the Breaking NewsYankees were playing the Cleveland Guardians in Yankee Stadium. The New York fans were making fun of some of the Guardians players in the outfield after one of them missed catching a ball. Then, the fans started throwing bottles, beer cans and other trash at them.”

Zulah shakes her head. “Don’t people realize someone could get badly hurt? And also, aren’t these professional baseball players supposed to be role models for kids?”

Scoop nods and cues up the scene to show Ms. Talmadge. “This is really bad.”

**WATCH THIS VIDEO**

Zulah can’t believe it. “Watching it happen in real time is even worse. You can see the fans making fun of the players, calling them losers, and throwing trash at them.”

Scoop sighs. “Sports is about respectig your opponent. You’re supposed to win or lose with grace. That’s what my coaches always tell me.”

It’s Happening In College Too!

Zulah puts her hand on Scoop shoulder. “You’re exactly right Scoop. This was a disgrace. Our kids deserve better than this from the adults in their lives. That’s what my column is going to be about today.”

‘This is madness’: Texas college baseball player tackled by pitcher, as he was running bases after hitting home run.’

Before she can get back to her desk, Scoop is cuing up another video. “Wait Ms. Talmadge. There’s more. Here’s a headline from a college game where something else really ugly happend.”

Zulah puts down her glassed. “What now?”

Physical Attack By A Pitcher

Scoop reads from his computer screen. “In Weatherford, Texas a college baseball pitcher charged and tackled a player from North Central Texas after the guy hit a home run off of him.”

Zulah is in shock. “You’ve got to be kidding.”

“No, Ms. Talmadge,” says Scoop.  Once again:

**WATCH THE VIDEO**

“This is horrifying,” says Zulah. “Was the pitcher held accountable for his actions?”

Scoop keeps reading. “Yes. After the game, his team released a statement condemning the pitcher’s actions, saying he may get expelled from school as a result. Additionally, the Weatherford College police are investigating the incident.”

Zulah starts typing. “I want to know what our readers here in Shady Pines Story Town think about this behavior.  Here’s my question. What should be done to try to discourage this sort of behariour at sporting events?”

**PLEASE LEAVE YOUR THOUGHTS BELOW**

Have Some April Fool’s Day Fun without Mean Pranks

Have Some April Fool’s Day Fun without Mean Pranks

Be Kind On April Fools’ Day

What do you really know about April Fools’ Day and how it started? I’m Scoop the Cub Reporter and that’s the question we’ve been kicking around for The Shady Pines Gazette news. My editor, Ms. Zulah Talmage, and I are looking into this truly foolish day.

Zulah bangs her hands on her desk. “Scoop, first we talked to people around town and now I’ve looked through everything I can Google,” says a frustrated Zulah.

“There are all sorts of theories about how this blasted day got started, but nothing for sure.”

Scoop swivels in his chair to look at her. “I know. It’s weird. All I can find is that this is the day when people try to play clever tricks on one another. And some of those tricks aren’t very nice at all!”

No Harmful Pranks

“Yes,” says Zulah as she crosses the room to get another cup of coffee. “You’re suppose to be creative, but not mean. Like putting salt in the sugar container is not only a bad prank it can be harmful.”

Scoop thinks for a minute. “Yeah. If you put a bunch of salt in your coffee Ms. Zulah you’d start choking!”

Zulah holds her coffee and mug and points at hi. “Exactly. And that’s not funny.”

What Should You Do?

Scoop scans his computer. “It says here a prank should be something that requires planning, timing, and maybe a little acting. The whole idea is that when you shout, “April Fools’ Day” the person you pranked should at least smile if not laugh. Oh, and here are some jokes.”

Joke Time

Zulah nods her head in agreement. “OK. Scoop, why don’t you share some of the jokes you’re seeing?”

Q: What do you call a dog with no tail?  A: A hot dog!

Q: Where do sheep get their hair cut?  A: At the baa-baa shop!”

Q: Why is six afraid of seven?  A: Because seven ate nine!”

Upside Down and Turn Around

Zulah is on her computer searching for ideas, too. “Oh this sounds like fun for parents and kids.”

Turn some things in your house upside down like an empty wastebasket, a cup or a small stool. Then you ask the child to search for the objects and turn them right side up

Next, arrange some objests backwards like turn a TV face to the wall, the back of  a chair turned towards the table, and books with spines facing the back of the bookshelf. Can your kids find the backwards objects?

Finally, play turn-around tricks like making the bed with the pillows at the foot instead of the head, or change the seating arrangement around your dining room table and have the kids put it back the right way.

A Few More Thoughts

“I guess Ms. Zulah, it really just comes down to the Golden Rule,” says Scoop.

Zulah is scribbling notes in her reporter notebook. She looks up. “What do you mean Scoop?”

He cocks his head to one side. “It’s just like any other day. We should treat people the way we would like to be treated. You can have fun, but don’t hurt someone else’s feelings while you do it.”

Zulah lays her pen down. “Why, Scoop I think that is the best way to look at it. You write the article.”

“Thank you Ms. Zulah!”

“And remember Scoop, it’s April Fools’ Day NOT April Fool’s Day.”

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