Tracking Christmas Hope, Peace, Joy and Love with our Shady Pines Advent Calendar

Tracking Christmas Hope, Peace, Joy and Love with our Shady Pines Advent Calendar

Countdown To Christmas

December is right around the corner. You know what that means. The tempo of everyday life is about to go into overdrive.

Christmas decorations show up all over Shady Pines from stores to neighborhoods. Radio stations play Christmas carols non stop. And that’s not all.

There are invitations to parties, Christmas cards and greetings to send, school plays to attend. The annual To-Do list keeps getting longer.

Not to mention the ads for toys are everywhere.

It can get overwhelming.

So during this hectic season how can we slow down and consider what’s really important?

One Day At a Time

It seems Edna Sanders has an idea. She’s in the family’s kitchen opening a package. “Look, Harold.  This just arrived.”

Harold pours another cup of coffee and looks over at his wife. “What do you have there ‘hon?”

“Why it’s the Advent Calendar I ordered.”

Harold moves closer. “I didn’t know you’d done that.”

Edna shows the seasonal calendar to him. “Starting the first of December this one highlights important messages each day.”

“Like what?” asks Harold.

Edna shows Harold the back of the calendar. “Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. It says here that that’s what each of the Sundays during Advent represent.”

She keeps reading. “The season of Advent has been seen by Christians around the world as a way to get ready for the coming birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas. That’s why each day on an Avent Calendar is its own special celebration.”

“You also may also see Avent Wreaths. Each candle has a separate meaning.”

“Huh,” says Harold. “Look. The first candle is Hope to symbolize the Prophesy. It’s purple. Peace is second to represent Bethlehem. The third candle, Joy, is pink for the Shepherds and then, Love. That’s for the angels. This is so interesting.”

Edna claps her hands together. “You know what we should do?”

Harold is afraid to ask. “No. What?”

“We should make our own Advent Wreath.”

Boomer and Halley are Confused

Just then, the couple’s two four legged children wander in. Boomerang, the Australian Shepherd dog, laps water from his bowl.

Halley’s Comet, a silever streak of a cat, jumps up on the kitchen table and rubs against Edna’s shoulder.

“Hi girl,” says Edna. Look at my calendar. We’re going to open one little door each day until Christmas.”

Halley glances at Boomer. “Hey, Boom. Isn’t Christmas the day we get presents and I get to play with all that ribbon?”

Boomer plops down on Harold’s feet. “Yeah. I think so. I like to rip up the paper.”

Halley stares at Edna’s face. “I wonder why mom is so happy about this cardboard thing?”

“I dunno,” says Boomer. “It’s not even wrapped.”

Halley drops to the floor and makes a beeline to her comfy window seat. “I sure hope the folks still plan to get me a new squeaky toy.”

Boomer cocks his head. “And I could really use a new bone.”

 Memories and Lessons

Edna gazes out the kitchen’s large double pane window. “You know Harold when I was a little girl my grandmother used to get me an Advent Calendar every year.”

Harold smiles. “I didn’t know that.”

“Grandma Josie wasn’t especially religious. But she wanted me to focus on something or someone other than myself.  She made me calendars with notes to inspire me to give back to others.”

“What a lovely idea,” says Harold

Edna tilts her head. “Each day there was a message like. How can you help someone today? or What does your best friend want for Christmas?”

Harold strokes Boomer’s head. “When I was a kid, I thought Advent Calendars were just something to keep the kids busy. I never thought of them as a way to promote conversation around important issues.”

Edna looks from Halley to Boomer. “I wonder what these two would say if they knew we were going to focus more on Hope, Peace, Joy and Love this Christmas rather than toys?”

Harold chuckles. “Let’s don’t tell them just yet.”

And that’s where we leave the Sanders family on the eve of an ever-so-special season in the small Southern town of Shady Pines.

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Putting the Thanks into Thanksgiving with Thank You Notes

Putting the Thanks into Thanksgiving with Thank You Notes

Time To Give Thanks

Thanksgiving week is here. The hustle and bustle is revving up all over Shady Pines Story Town. Folks make plans to travel, to visit relatives, or to welcome family and friends coming here to stay for a spell.

I’m editor Zulah Talmadge. At The Shady Pines Gazette we like to find new ways to cover the holiday. Oh sure, Scoop the Cub Reporter and I were on hand for the Turkey Trot and other Thanksgiving-inspired events.

But we want to take a more personal approach to this holiday based on the importance of giving thanks and gathering together.

Taking Note

We’re asking our neighbors to write a thank you note of sorts and let us know what they’re grateful for this year. They can send an actual note by mail, or just send an email to our address and you can do the same: https://shadypinesstorytown.com/contact

This one comes from our very own mayor, Beauregard P. Fibbs. Let’s see what ‘ole Beau has to say, shall we?

Zulah opens the email with the official title, Mayor of Shady Pines, right there on top. Zulah thinks to herself, I can hear him clearing his throat before he wrote this. He does that before every speech.

“I believe I speak for many of the citizens of our wonderful town when I say this year we faced a most unexpected challenge. No weather forecast prepard us. When that raging storm hit us full blown over the summer we felt we had been punched in the gut. Those violent winds and flooding rains caused so much damage to businesses and homes. Afterwards, I was deeply grateful for the many acts of kindness that I saw firsthand. People stepped up and stepped in to help individuals and families who had to rebuild. I continue to be moved by the courage and selflessness of neighbor helping neighbor. In this time of Thanksgiving, let’s remember the value of community and the importnace of working together to make Shady Pines a very special place to live.”

Zulah takes a moment to collect her thoughts. She’s known Beau most of her life. They grew up together. She can’t remember when she’s heard him speak from the heart like that. “Wow. Good for you, Mr. Mayor,” she says softly.

Taking Stock and Being Grateful

Next, Zulah opens up an email from Harold and Edna Sanders. Harold’s Nuts ‘N Bolts hardware on Main Street is such a gathering spot with it’s soda fountain smack in the middle of the store. And Edna’s Kitchen off the back of their home on Dogwood Drive is the place to pop in and see what new recipe she’s cooking up for the neighbors.

“Edna and I are so thankful for all the blessings we’ve experienced this year. We’ve been able to stay healthy, which is the most important thing. The store is still going strong despite some storm damage,” says Harold.

“Darling, we need to mention that Boomer and Halley are doing well, too.  Our Boomer dog had that awful sore on his front paw but it’s so much better now,” says Edna.

Harold nods. “Yes and Halley spiked that fever and scared us to death. But thanks to the wonderful veterinarian who treats both of our kids, that clever scamp of a cat is back driving her canine brother crazy again.”

“We’re both fortunate to be able to help out down at the Shady Pines Community Center with the big, annual food drive that helps so many in need,” says Edna. Together they end their note: “This Thanksgiving we send our best wishes from our household to yours and hope that you put love and gratiude at the head of your holiday table.”

Zulah finds herself nodding her head as she reads the email from Harold and Edna. It’s so true. We all have unexpected challenges that we can’t control. It’s how we respond to the unexpected that’s important and meaningful.

Giving Back

Speaking of the Food Drive, here’s a note from Rita Moreno, Director of The Shady Pines Community Center. Let’s see what she has to say.

“Every year it seems the need for food and other services continues in our small Southern town. But this holiday season we are very aware that many of our neighbors are still struggling to recover from the storm. We reached out to our friends in nearby River City and have been overwhelmed by the response. Truckloads of food, clothing and everyday items have been arriving daily. It just goes to show you that there are good people everywhere who are willing to help. I am so grateful for the outpouring of love and generosity from strangers that is helping to rebuild lives here in Shady Pines.”

Connection Is Important

Next up is Kim Dunworthy. Our young postal worker has had her fair share of struggles. Not only did the storm damage part of the Post Office, but Kim’s apartment was hit as well. She is now living with a friend while repairs are underway. But nothing stops that young gal. She’s known as ‘Keep it Moving’ (Kim) Dunworthy. Kim’s taken on additional shifts to make sure the mail is delivered on time. Some days she’s so tired  she can barely wave to me. But still she keeps going knowing people depend on her. Their letters and packages are her highest priority.

“I am so very grateful for the faith and trust the folks in Shady Pines have placed in me. I may be fairly new but everyone here is so friendly and treats me like one of their own. This year has been tough on all of us. At the post office we had to overcome obstacles we never saw coming. I am thankful this holiday for the friends I’ve met, the kind and caring people who go out of their way to help, and the ‘never give up’ attitude all of my co-workers have shown. My very best to you all!”

Zulah pushes back her desk chair, stands up and takes a deep breath. I knew that I would probably read some sweet notes from the wonderful people who live here. I wasn’t prepared for how emotional I would feel after hearing their thoughtful and heartfelt messages. I think I have to take a little break before I read the rest.

But let me leave you, dear reader, with this thought. As tough as the blows of 2023 have been, countless examples of resilieceand the goodness of the human spirit have been on display as well.

Keep your loved ones close, celebrate the good when you can and give thanks for everyday blessings.

From all of us in Shady Pines Story Town, Happy Thanksgiving!

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In Shady Pines Veteran’s Day is A Big Deal

In Shady Pines Veteran’s Day is A Big Deal

Veteran’s Day 2023

A very important American holiday will be here before you know it. No, not Thanksgiving or Christmas. This date on the calendar is coming up way sooner than either one of those celebrated days.

Veteran’s Day is Saturday November 11th. Shady Pines Story Town will take time to honor those who serve and have served our country.

This day hits home for may of the folks in our small Southern town. Maybe it’s the same where you live.

Our very our editor of The Shady Pines Gazette has a special connection to the federal holiday.

Loving Connections

“I will be thinking about my father on that day. He’s a retired Colonel in the Army. Since he’s not actively serving that makes him a veteran.

I haven’t seen him in a while ’cause he lives up north. But you can be dang on certain I will call him this Saturday. He says he learned important life lessons in the army like teamwork, achieving goals, honor and the importance of service to others.”

Zulah is not the only one who will be be thinking about a loved one this weekend. Seven year old Ray Robinson and his mother will be doing the same.

Far From Home

Ray’s dad is away right now serving overseas. Ray says on Veteran’s Day he’s going to write to his dad and make sure he knows how much Ray and his mom love him. They hope he can come home soon.

Ray is very proud of his dad.  “He taught me to be honest, kind and respectful of others. Before he left he told me I’m supposed to help out around the house. And be good to mom while he’s gone. I told him I’d try to be just like him.”

Ray wipes away the tear trickling down his cheek.

It’s hard for our soldiers to be away from home and for the family and friends they leave behind.

How Veterans Day Started

We have to go way back to the year 1919 to find out how it began. This national observance used to be called Armistice Day — a day to celebrate the end of World War I.

The name was later changed to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor veterans of all wars.

It’s kinda sad to realize just how many wars the United States has been involved in, isn’t it? So many men and women have made a lot of sacrifices for the freedom we enjoy today.

Don’t be Confused

I don’t know about you, but most people confuse Veterans Day and Memorial Day. They’re actually very different. I did some digging and discovered the difference is important to keep in mind.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country. This is especially true for those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle.

“While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military — in wartime or peacetime.”

Remember To Thank Them

It’s easy to get busy and wrapped in all that’s going on these days. Let’s face it. We tend to forget the thousands of Americans who have done so much for us and those who still do.

So this Saturday please join Shady Pines and take a minute to appreciate those who serve!

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Look Out! Your Clock is About to Fall Back

Look Out! Your Clock is About to Fall Back

Shorter Days Ahead

As we say goodbye to Halloween it’s time to fiddle with the hands on the clocks.

That’s right. All around Shady Pines Story Town folks are getting ready for Daylight Saving Time. We’ll fall back an hour and get a little more sleep the first night.

But that next day will feel really short. So will the days following that one.

It’s an adjustment.

Get Ready

We know it’s coming because we can sense it. The leaves are already turning brilliant colors. We watch them fall ever so softly from the trees.

The air is cooler and the shadows get longer each afternoon.

We feel the change will be here soon.

Over at City Hall on Broad Street downtown, Mayor Beauregard P. Fibbs is putting out an annoucement so that everyone knows what to do and when.

“It’s come to may attention that this weekend on Saturday y’all need to do something. Before you go to bed you’ll want to turn your clocks back an hour. Because at 2am on Sunday morning November 5th we will all be falling back together. And, if you want to get to church on time, or not miss out on whatever else you have planned, then you best change those clocks the night before!”

Are Your Kids Early Risers?

Here are some tips the folks in Shady Pines want you to know. For instance, with the time change your little ones will probably get up even earlier. EEE-Gads!

You might want to start a few days ahead of time to get the family ready.

Maybe on Thursday morning have breakfast ready 15 minutes later than normal, then naptime 15 minutes later and so on until the entire daytime schedule has been shifted.

Bedtime Shift

If your kids normally go to bed at 7pm, try getting them to bed at 7:15pm.  Do the same thing the next day but move their schedule later another 15 minutes.  The gradual shift helps their internal clocks adjust. They will be less likely to wake an hour early on Sunday morning.

Block The Morning Light

Make sure your child’s bedroom is really dark. In fact, consider using some blackout curtains so the new early morning light doesn’t wake your child.  With that one change you help them stay sleeping longer.

Use That Daylight

Here’s something else. Try to get the youngsters outside in plenty of bright light, especially in the early evening. When you do that it will shift their clock.

That makes it easier for them to fall asleep later and wake up later.

And, hey. Try not to worry if your children aren’t making the shift as fast as you think they should.  Kids who are easy going when it comes to schedules may adjust in just a day or two.

Children who are more sleep sensitive may have more trouble adjusting. Be patient and consistent and before you know it your kids will be back on track.

Consider the Animals Too

This advice may also apply to your four-legged family members. Why Harold and Edna Sanders say that when the time changes they have their hands full with Boomerang and Halley’s Comet.

Those two critters are a caution most days. But when that dog and cat have their routine messed with, it can be a whole ‘nother layer of commotion!

So take it easy out there and let’s all fall back together.

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It’s a Shady Pines Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

It’s a Shady Pines Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Halloween’s A Comin’

It’s that time people! Halloween in Shady Pines is a big deal. Around our small Southern town folks get gussied up in costumes.

They decorate their houses and stores and come up with all sorts of pumpkin drinks and recipes.

But first things first. Before that ghoulishly fun night of candy hunting gets here there’s something you’ve got to do.

It’s best done with friends and family.

Can you guess what it is? You got it. Let’s go to the Pumpkin Patch.

I’m Scoop, the Cub Reporter with The Shady Pines Gazette and I’m going there now. My assignment is to discover why so many folks say this is their favorite thing to do each year.

One thing I can tell ya, it doesn’t matter if you’re a toddler or a teen like me. A pumpkin patch is fun for everyone. So let’s Skeedaddle!

Good To Be Outside

We picked a beautiful day to be on the hunt for an orange orb. Hey, look. This working farm is so big you don’t have to worry about bumping into people. And think about this. Running around looking for the perfect pumpkin is good exercise isn’t it?

Okay, now that I’m here where should I start? I’ve gotta find people to interview for my story.

Oh, good. Here’s a mom with two youngsters. If your kids don’t explore the outdoors very often, this is a great way for them to discover nature. Seeing how pumpkins grow out of the ground and are attached to vines is very educational. It helps them understand that pumpkins don’t just show up at the grocery store automatically.”

You know there’s something else that’s good about a pumpkin patch. Around every corner you can  make all sorts of discoveries.

The Unexpected Finds

For instance, take a look at this photo I took. Do you see the colors of that butterfly next to the pumpkin? Being out on the farm you can be amazed at Mother Nature. I think this kind of stuff is really cool!

I met another mom who told me, “From the second we arrived, my children ran off with smiles, but quickly, they realized how much work it was to be in a field of pumpkins. Even running took work since the vines were everywhere, waiting to trip little, toddler-sized running feet.”

It turns out that not only is this a great way to spend time with the family, there are lessons to be learned. There aren’t a whole bunch of people working the farms these days. So a lot of  kids don’t realize it takes hard work to be a farmer.

One young girl I met was getting a little taste of that. Just trying to push a wheelbarrow with a big ‘ole pumpkin was something she hadn’t done before.

She said she didn’t know pumpkins grew from tiny seeds. She also didn’t realize that they come in so many shapes, sizes and colors. “It’s kinda like people, isn’t it? she asked.

I have to admit, I’d never thought of that before. One couple I met said they love coming out here each October. But this year it was especially important to them. “We know so many farms and other small businesses are struggling right now. It was important to us to come out and support them.”

Pumpkin Carving and Fun Recipes

That’s reason enought for me to go home with some pumpkins of my own. I don’t know about you, but our family usually has a pumpkin carving contest. Last year my dad won. It’s time for me to take the title back!

The other reason I need to pick up some pumpkins is to inspire my mom. Around Halloween she likes to scare up some pumpkin dishes for us. I’m talking about everything from pumpkin pies to pumpkin pancakes. Here are some recipes for you to try: PUMPKIN RECIPES

There’s one more thing I want to mention.

These pumpkin patch visits make for some great family photos. Everywhere I look I’m seeing parents taking all sorts of shots.

Oh, No! Look at the time. I’ve got to get back to the Gazette office. My editor, Zulah Talmadge, is probably wondering why I’ve been gone so long.  But this is just so darn much fun. Hope you’ve enjoyed it!

– Scoop Out 

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Sweltering Summertime Southern Pines Fun!

Sweltering Summertime Southern Pines Fun!

What Could Go Wrong?

The curtains billow gently from the open windows in the Sanders house on Dogwood Drive this morning.

Big ‘ole fans in the ceiling whirr ‘round and ‘round. Cooler temps and a more serious summer breeze sure would be welcome. It’s gonna be another hot, humid day in Shady Pines.

In the kitchen, Edna Sanders pulls out her latest batch of chocolate chip cookies from the oven. “Perfect for desert later on.” She sorts through her favorite recipes. “Oh, fiddlesticks. It’s hard to come up with ideas for supper when it’s this hot,” Edna mutters under her breath.

Boomerang, the Australian Shepherd dog, lies on the cool tile floor, gently panting.

Edna gets up to put more water in his bowl. “It already feels like the dog days of summer, doesn’t it, Boomer? It’s tough on you with your beautiful thick coat.” 

As she leans down to pat him, Edna thinks about her cat, Halley’s Comet.

“I wonder where she is,” says Edna. “By golly, I know. Edna makes her way down the hall to the bathroom near the front door. She quietly pushes the door open and sees the grey and white cat curled up sleeping in the sink.

“She’s so smart. That’s the coolest place she could find.”

Wait. Edna has one of her ideas. “Ooooh, that just might work. I need to call Harold.”

And So It Begins

Edna’s husband, Harold Sanders, is at work at his Nuts ‘N Bolts hardware store downtown. On Saturday the store closes at noon.

Right now, Harold walks up and down the isles checking supplies. “I can always tell when there’s a heat spell,” he thinks to himself. “We start selling a whole lot of fans, garden hoses, wall thermometers and those sorts of things.”

His cell phone rings. “Hi Honey, what’s up?”

Edna is happy she reached him. “Harold, I have an idea.”

Harold sits down. “Oh, boy. It’s not going to be like the last time, is it?”

Edna frowns. “Harold Sanders. You know perfectly well the bake-off worked out just fine in the end.”

Harold chuckles. “Yes, but the repairs to the stove and the new fire alarm units were a bit – unexpected.”

Edna shrugs. “Yes, well, this is not that. What do you say we get the kiddie pool from the garage and let Boomer and Halley play in the water to cool off?”

“Huh. OK. Except, do you really think Halley will go for this? I mean, she is a cat after all.”

“Don’t you worry. I have a plan, ”Edna says.

Harold shakes his head. “All right. We’ll give it a shot. I’ll be home soon.”

Edna is excited. “Great. I’ll get everything ready. It’ll be fun. You’ll see!”

Harold stares at the phone. “Uh-huh. Love you.”

Edna smiles and says, “Love you, too.”

The Plan Comes Together                  

Oh, boy. There are things to do. Edna makes a list. First, she’ll make some lemonade. Besides water, one can never have too many cold drinks on a day like this.

“What else can I get done ahead of time?” she wonders. “I know. I’ll whip up a pasta salad with vegetables and some of that leftover roast chicken from last night. I can put it in the refrigerator for later.”

She looks at her handsome dog. “Boomer, buddy, I just figured out dinner. Plus, you and Halley can have some of the chicken, too!”

Boomer wags his tail and barks. Sounds good to him.

As soon as the big bowl of pasta salad is finished, Edna moves on to the next step.

She hesitates for a moment. “Maybe I should put on my swim suit. No, I’ll just change into some shorts and a tee-shirt.”

Later, as she heads for the door leading from the kitchen to the back yard, Edna makes sure that the doggie door is open. Halley! Boomer and I are going outside! C’mon Boom.”

Boomer can’t resist shouting. “C’mon, Halley. You snooze you lose!”

Halley is already on her way. The noise and smells from the kitchen had gotten her attention. “Oh, for goodness sakes, you overgrown fur ball, I can hear you.”

Getting Everything Ready

The Sanders fenced backyard is filled with big, beautiful shade trees and lots of grass. Edna is especially proud of her flower garden with its different kinds of roses.

But right now, Edna is looking for the hose. She’ll make sure it’s hooked up and ready to go.

“We’ll need this to fill up the kiddie pool once Harold hauls it out here for us.”

Boomer scouts the backyard, trying to find the bone he buried. Halley watches a squirrel that is eating nuts up on one of the lower branches of the tree near the house.

“Halley, do you remember where I put that bone?” asks Boomer.

“Pipe down will you, Boomer?” hisses Halley. “The bone’s in your mouth. Can’t you see I’ve got a bead on this critter?”

Boomer comes flying. “What critter?” When the squirrel sees the dog running, it races away.

Halley gives him one of her looks. “Really? You didn’t see the squirrel?” Boomer grins at her. “Nope.”

Meanwhile, Edna untangles the hose.

“Oh, good it already has a nozzle on it.”

Bored with Halley, Boomerang wants to see what Edna is doing. “I’m going over there.” Halley will not be left behind. “Me, too.”

Edna holds the nozzle before turning on the water. “OK kids. Let’s make sure it’s working, shall we?” Edna turns the water on just as Boomer arrives and sniffs the nozzle. Halley is close behind.

In a matter of seconds, water is gushing through the hose full force!

Oh, no! Edna didn’t realize the nozzle was locked in the open position.” Before you could yell, “there she blows,” the nozzle darts out of her hand. It snakes through the air like a crazy, whirly, swirly, out of control object.

Look Out Below!

Edna tries to grab the darn thing but misses. Water sprays wildly in every direction. The only thing Edna can do is scurry back and turn off the water.

She remembers hearing is a dog barking like crazy and a cat screaming.

That’s when Harold arrives. He bursts through the back door and surveys the scene. His wife is drenched from head to toe. His dog is sopping wet, cowering in the bushes. Where’s the cat? Oh. She’s up in the tree trying desperately to lick herself dry.

“Edna, honey, are you OK?”

Edna pushes wet hair out of her eyes. Her tee-shirt and shorts drip with water, and her flip flops splish and splosh as she walks towards him. “I don’t think we’ll need the kiddie pool just yet.”

“No. I don’t think we will.” He walks over to Boomerang and puts out his hand. “Boomer. Boy. Come here. You’re OK.”

Two, big, brown eyes blink and look out from the brush. Slowly Boomerang comes out of hiding and puts his head into Harold’s hands.

“Oh, my,” says Harold in a soothing voice. “You’re okay, big boy. You’re fine.”

Halley looks down from her perch. “You’re a mess, Boomer. But you’re not hurt, are you?”

Boomer looks up and sees her way up in the tree. “I’m OK. But this shows you are the ultimate scaredy cat.”

“Am not.”

“Are, too.”

Edna joins in. “Oh Boomer, I’m so sorry I scared you. You, too, Halley,” she calls out. “Harold, we’re gonna need a bunch of towels, and a whole lot of tuna if we expect to get Halley out of that tree!”

All’s Well That End’s With A Meal

It’s late afternoon now and the shadows in the backyard grow longer. Finally, a cooling breeze causes the wind chime made of spoons to sing.

The wooden table with blue and red checkered napkins is set. Here we find Harold and Edna enjoying their pasta salad, crusty bread, and sipping on lemonade.

Two bowls are set out on placemats on the ground. One bowl says, Boomer and the other says, Halley. Both are filled with their regular dry food, plus a few pieces of chicken.

“Mine has more than yours,” says Boomer.

“Does not,” says Halley.

“Does, too.”

Harold is relaxed for the first time. Edna has changed into a short-sleeved summer dress. Harold figures it’s safe to ask. “So, exactly what did happen with the hose?”

“Well, it all started when…,” Edna begins. Boomer is lying in the shade, chewing on a new bone. Halley snoozes in the well worn seat of a lawn chair on a lovely evening in the small Southern town of Shady Pines.

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