How We Experience Martin Luther King Day in Shady Pines

How We Experience Martin Luther King Day in Shady Pines

An Important Message

A new year is just beginning. What a wonderful opportunity for all of us set a respectful and kind tone in the year ahead. Remembering the life of a true leader is a good way to start.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, January 16. Many of our businesses in Shady Pines will be closed on this national holiday.

Rita Marena is the Director of the Community Center. Since the elementary school next door will also be closed, Rita is putting together a program Monday to help children know more about this important civil rights hero.

Who Is Martin Luther King, Jr?

He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 15, 1929.  Martin Luther King Jr. made it his life’s mission to bring compassion, fairness and equality to all Americans.

Not everyone believed the way he did back in the 1950’s and ’60’s. To bring about change in America, Dr. King became a social activist and civil rights leader.

He lived in the South and fought against the longstanding practice he experienced that not all people were treated the same. He saw that Black people did not have the same rights as White people so he led peaceful marches and nonviolent protests.

Guided By Family, Faith and The Constitution

Martin became a Baptist minister. His faith guided him to believe in justice and the United States Constitution which says that all people in this country have the same rights no matter the color of their hair, skin, religion, age, disability or nationality.

He was married to Coretta Scott King, who helped lead the way during the civil rights movement. They were married nearly 15 years.

Dr. King gave his life for his Dream of Equality for All. Thousands of people were there for his famous speech on the mall in Washington DC where he declared that dream.

Shortly after that, Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Dream Lives On

Monday at the Shady Pines Community Center Rita will lead the celebration of Martin Luther King Day. Children will be asked to think about their dreams. What inspires them?

Ray Robinson will be there. He’s been learning about Dr. King in school and he will talk about ways kids and their families can make the world a kinder place through peaceful change, just like Dr. King did. 

The children will write down their dreams and ideas or draw pictures. Then they’ll have something on paper to hang on the fridge or elsewhere at home. It will be a source of inspiration throughout the year.

Martin Luther King’s legacy continues to lift up people who learn about his determination to make us better people and a better nation. You can visit the monument created in his honor in Washington, DC.

Written on the side of the monument are theses words: “Out Of The Mountain Of Despair A Stone Of  Hope.”

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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!


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.


Shady Pines Remembers a Civil Rights Legend

Shady Pines Remembers a Civil Rights Legend

The Importance of Martin Luther King Day 

Just days ahead of Martin Luther King Day this year, Boston unveiled a new statue. I’m Zulah Talmadge in the Shady Pines Gazette nes office. “The Embrace” honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King’s civil rights journey and their early years in Boston.

The reveal took place on the Boston Common in a joyous ceremony attended by Massachusetts’ political leaders and members of the King family.

The 20-foot high bronze sculpture is inspired by a 1964 photo of the couple embracing after Martin Luther King Jr. learned he had won the Nobel Peace Prize. Did you know about the civil rights leader’s connection to Boston?

MLK’s national holiday lands on the third Monday in January every year. So this Monday, January 16th, is a great time to help children set a respectful and kind tone for the year ahead.  

Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted to bring compassion, fairness and racial equality to all people throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

As a Baptist minister, Dr. King believed that everyone in America has equal rights. But, back then, people were treated differently because of the color of their skin. Dr. King worked on behalf of equal rights for all of us under the law.

“I Have A Dream”

On August 28, 1963, a quarter of a million people gathered at the Mall in Washington, D.C. to support Dr. Kings ‘dream’ of equality.

His “I Have A Dream” speech is still thought to be one of the most powerful in American history. He called on the people of our nation to come together and treat one another with fairness and mutual respect. Here is the one line that is often quoted:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

The speech was effective. Two years later, The Voting Rights Act of 1965 became law. It gave people of all races the right to vote. Three years after that, Congress passed the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Unfortunatey, Dr. King didn’t live long enough to see those changes happen.

Civil Rights Leader Gets National Holiday

Because of his lifelong mission to create opportunity for all Americans, on November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed Martin Luther King Day, into law, making it a federal holiday.

With Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King looking on, the ceremony was held at the White House. Here’s part of what President Reagan said about Dr. King:

“He loved unconditionally. He was in constant pursuit of truth, and when he discovered it, he embraced it. He taught us that only peaceful means can bring about peaceful ends, that our goal was to create a loving community.”

Just In The Nick of Time

With all the angry political divide in our country right now, Martin Luther King Day comes just at the right time, don’t you think? His peaceful approach to intolerance was not only the right way to encourage change, it actually worked!

He made progress where others had failed. Dr. King remains a towering figure in American history. Maybe we should all pause on Monday and think about our own dreams for this country. What do the children in your lives see when they look to the future?

Here in Shady Pines, we do our best to treat our animal and human neighbors with kindness, respect  and caring. It doesn’t matter how old or young they are and where they came from. In our town, everyone matters.

What about you? What’s it like where you live?

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Storm Clouds Threaten Fun on the Fourth in Shady Pines

Storm Clouds Threaten Fun on the Fourth in Shady Pines

Could Storms Drench The Fourth?

It’s won’t be long now.  That very American holiday, the Fourth of July is right around the corner.  Excitement is building in the small Southern town of Shady Pines, but so are storm clouds.
This is the frst time our residents are welcoming visitors back to enjoy the festivities since the pandemic began two years ago.
As you can imagine, Mayor Beauregard P. Fibbs is thrilled. He loves to celebrate our nation’s Independance Day and to promote the good things about our story tellin’ town. Oh, and, let’s face it, he likes to ride in his big ‘ole car in the parade down Main Street.
Our mayor will tell anyone who will listen that we’re a tight knit community dedicated to kindness, caring and working together to solve problems. But one problem we didn’t plan for is brewing off the coast.
Tropical Storm Colin is churning in the Atlantic and threatening to deliver a wallop of rain and punishing winds over the holiday weekend. Those rains are already soaking the coastal regions in the South.
Mayor Fibbs and other Shady Pines leaders will  track this storm system closely to make sure they can still go ahead with everything that’s supposed to happen on Monday.

Monday’s Schedule

Besides the parade in the morning which is always a hoot, the Community Center is set to host an afternoon ice cream social for the kids.
Director Rita Morena says this year she’s adding water balloon tossing. The children will get into two straight lines as they form teams.
Then, each player takes a big step back from their teammate and tosses the balloon to them.
The opposite player must catch the balloon without popping it. If a balloon pops, that team is out.
“The idea is to have fun,” says Rita. “At the same time we show the kids the importance of teamwork to achieve their goals.”

Picnics and Sailing

Around 5 o’clock folks head down to Stonewall Park with their picnic baskets and coolers. A lot of our local business like Maggie’s Diner, Fred’s Corner Grocer and Cup ‘O Joe’s coffee shop donate food and drinks.
But everyone is encouraged to make somethig to share with others.  After all, sharing is a form of kindness. We’re all about that in Shady Pines.
Meanwhile, some teenagers will be taking part in the regional sailing races that are held on our lake every year on the Fourth. 
The folks attending the picnic in the park provide a built in cheering section for the kids and their racing boats.  And the winners of each division get a trophy.

Safety First On The Fourth

Once the sailboats are off the water and darkness falls it’s time for fireworks. This is one of our favorite traditions. We love to say, “Ah!” when seeing the explosions of color reflect off the lake.
It’s also a time to remind everyone that our pets and veterans can really be bothered by the sound of those booming explosions. Our small animals get scared, shiver with fear and look everywhere for a place to hide. If you know your neighbors have pets who respond negatively to fireworks, please be respectful.

Pets, Vets, and Kids

Likewise, men and women who have been to war, hear those sounds and it takes them right back to the horror of the battlefield. Look for a sign like this in front of someone’s house. If you see it make sure you don’t shoot off any backyard fireworks anywhere near their home.
Besides pets and veterans don’t forget to watch out for the safety of children as well.Shady Pines Story Town logo  Bottom line, in Shady Pines no matter what the weather or the holiday Compassion Never Takes a Holiday!
A Father’s Day Salute to Shady Pines’ Favorite Dad

A Father’s Day Salute to Shady Pines’ Favorite Dad

 A Father’s Day Gift of Love

We’re just days away now from an important date on the calendar. Father’s Day is celebrated nationwide on Sunday, June 19th.

In Shady Pines on this lazy Sunday afternoon in the Sanders’ home, Harold Sanders is feeling a little down.

He’s in the den slouched on his big, comfy chair watching his favorite baseball team on TV.

It’s late in the game and Harold’s guys are two runs ahead of the other team. What’s so bad?

Harold should be happy. But it’s the commercials that are affecting his mood.

Selling The Day

“Why do they make such a fuss about Father’s Day?” he wonders out loud. “It’s ridiculous.”

Harold’s wife, Edna, is across the room lounging on the couch. She’s looking through recipes in her latest cooking magazine while listening to the ballgame. “What’s that dear?”

Harold swivels and faces her. “I’m sick and tired of all the fuss these advertisements make to get people to buy the right gift for Father’s Day. What IS the Right gift? It’s just a way for companies to sell stuff and make money.”

Edna can see that he’s upset. “Honey, what’s really wrong?” she asks.

Harold turns the volume down on the TV. “What’s supposed to happen when your children are covered in fur? They’re not going to buy me a mower.”

When The Kids Have 4 Legs

Before Edna can answer, a silver cat in full flight charges into the room chased by a handsome Australian Shepherd dog. “Halley, you are such a pain. Give me my toy back!”

Halley’s Comet carries a small chew toy in her mouth. In one clean leap she lands on the wooden desk in the corner of the room. “I don’t see your name on it, Booo-mer-rang!”

“You know darn well that’s my toy,” says Boomer. “Dad gave it to me for my birthday.”

“Funny, I don’t remember that,” says Halley looking down at the angry pooch.

Boomer points at the toy. “Well look at it, will ya!”

Harold sighs, gets up, and walks over to the desk. He throws the birthday cake toy down to Boomer and slings Halley over his shoulder while stroking her back.  “Halley my girl, you love to taunt him, don’t you?”

Edna agrees. “Yes she does. Sibling rivalry just like human brothers and sisters.”

Harold delivers Halley to Edna’s lap and then gets down on the floor to address Boomer. He pets the dog’s head. “Boomer my boy. I love you but you don’t need to get so riled up. Halley lives for that.”

Harold moves over to sift through the toy basket under the desk. “He holds up Mr. rubber lizard. “C’mon Halley. Come here, girl.”

It’s All About Love and Kindness

Halley jumps off of Edna’s lap and trots happily across the room. Harold gives her the toy. “You know I love you, too, girl. But, please, play with your own toys.”

Harold looks over at Edna who is smiling. “What?” he asks.

“Do you know what a wonderful father you are? You show our kids love and kindness everyday. And they love you right back. Look at them.”

Harold still sits on the floor and realizes that his children are beside him.

Harold lowers and shakes his head. “What’s the matter with me?” he asks. “I have a wonderful wife and a couple of rambuctious, terrific kids who love me. I am a lucky husband and father indeed!”

Edna joins him on the floor and hugs him. “Yes, and besides that, they may have something for you next Sunday that you’re not expecting.”

Be Careful What You Wish For

Harold looks straight into her eys. “Oh, please tell me it will not be crawling, slithering or flying through the house. You know how our daughter likes to surprise us!”

Edna laughs. Boomer barks. Halley tilts her head and thinks about what “gift” she can catch and bring to dad. Birds are fun…

And that’s how we leave the Sanders on a lovely Sunday in the small Southern town of Shady Pines!