A Veterans Day Thank You from Shady Pines

A Veterans Day Thank You from Shady Pines

We Appreciate Your Service

Do you know what we should all be doing this Friday, November 11th? I’ll give you a hint. That’s Veterans Day. We need to say thank you to the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces of this country. I’m Zulah Talmadge, Editor of The Shady Pines Gazette news.

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 Friday. He says he learned important life lessons in the army like teamwork, achieving goals, honor and the importance of service to others.

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. Any chance we get, we should recognize them for their service.

Do You Know the Difference Between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?

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.

I found some information from 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

I know we’re busy doing other things. We don’t stop and appreciate all that we have. Let’s face it. We tend to forget the thousands of Americans who have done so much to make our lives a little better.

Here’s an idea. Even if you know someone who is  currently serving, Veterans Day is a great time to tell them “Thank You For Your Service.” 

Why, here in Shady Pines, seven year old Ray Robinson’s dad is away right now serving overseas. Ray says on Veterans Day he’s going to write to his dad and make sure he knows how much Ray and his mom love him and hope he can come home soon.

Ray is very proud of his dad who taught him to be honest, kind and respectful of others. His dad reminded Ray to help out around the house and be good to his mother while he’s gone.

This  Friday let’s all take a moment to remember that someone’s family member may be a long way from home right now serving our country.

And their kids are waiting for them.

– Zulah out

Time to Fall Back with those Clocks in Shady Pines

Time to Fall Back with those Clocks in Shady Pines

Let’s Fall Back Y’all!

It’s that time again. The days are shorter and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. You know what you need to do. Here’s our mayor, Beauregard P. Fibbs with a reminder.

Hello good people of Shady Pines. This Sunday November 6th at 2am, Daylight Savings Time ends and the clocks turn back one hour.  Some of you think this is a bonus. After all, you get that extra hour to sleep in.

But some parents in town tell me when you have young children, it’s just one more thing you have to navigate.

If you think about it, when the clock turns back one hour, what used to be 7:00am is now 6:00am.  So it’s lighter earlier in the morning and darker sooner in the evening. Are your kids are early risers? Well, they will probably rise even earlier. EEE-Gads!

To help get ahead of “Fall Back”, I’ve got 4 tips to help your child adjust to the end of Daylight Saving Time.

#1 Plan a Few Days Ahead

Start a few days ahead of time to get the family ready for change. Move your child’s entire daytime schedule  a bit. 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.

If your kids normally go to bed at 7pm, they should be going 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.

#2 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.  Experts say by keeping the room dark you encourage the production of melatonin. With that one change you help them stay sleeping.

#3 Avoid Rushing In

If your kids wake earlier than you would like, try to leave them alone until the normal wake up time. This gives their internal clocks a chance to reset.  By leaving them a little longer than normal, you also give them the opportunity to go back to sleep.

That should help you, too!

#4 Expose Them to Plenty of Daylight

If you can, expose your child to 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.

Something else to keep in mind. 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.

This advice may also apply to your four-legged family members. Why Harold and Edna Sanders tell me when the time changes, they have their hands full with Boomer and Halley.

Those two critters are a caution most days. But when their routine is 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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Let’s Play in The Pumpkin Patch Shady Pines

Let’s Play in The Pumpkin Patch Shady Pines

Get The Scoop from the Pumpkin Patch

It’s that time people! Halloween week is special in Shady Pines. All around town folks are coming up with costumes and pickng up pumpkins to decorate. Plus when there’s a combination of an explosion of fall colors and cooler weather, there’s something else you gotta do. Yep. Let’s head to the local 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 people say this is one of their favorite things to do each year as a family.

One thing I’ve noticed is it doesn’t matter if you’re a toddler or a teen like me, a pumpkin patch is fun for everyone. 

Good To Be Outside

We picked a beautiful day to be on the hunt for an orange orb. Most of these working farms are so big you don’t have to worry about bumping into people. Besides, running around looking for the perfect pumpkin is good exercise for kids  isn’t it?  Okay, I’m here. I’ve gotta interview people.

I interviewed a mom of two who made my point for me. 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.”

Here’s something else that’s good about a pumpkin patch. Around every corner children can discover things for themselves. That’s really important. I know I like to find those unexpected, special, moments.

For instance, take a look at this shot I got. Do you see the colors of that butterfly next to the pumpkin? Being out on the farm you can just 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 also some 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, 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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Why Is the Easter Bunny Such a Big Deal?

Why Is the Easter Bunny Such a Big Deal?

Bunnies, Eggs, and All That

It won’t be long now. Easter is only days away. The good folks in Shady Pines Story Town are all atwitter about this most festive of holidays. But it got us thinking about the symbols related to this holiday.

For instance, how did we end up with an egg laying bunny? Bunnies don’t lay eggs. Chickens lay eggs. And yet, you always see a bunny surrounded by colorful eggs. Now how did that get started?

Well we did a little digging and it turns out the myth of the Easter Bunny is not easy to pin down! But there is an historic reason why a rascally rabbit was chosen.

You see rabbits have been associated with springtime celebrations for a really long time. After all, baby rabbits are mostly born in the spring. That’s one reason.

The Goddess who Started it All

Secondly, to find the link between springtime, rabbits and eggs you have to go a long way back in history – to the fourth century. There you find the symbol of the season of renewal, which is spring. And SHE was something. Back then, they talked about the goddess of dawn and new birth. Her name was Eostre. When she shows up in books she is usually drawn to look like a woman in a flowing dress.

This goddess’ name came from the ancient word for spring which was Eastre. (Easter for us) The animal most associated with the goddess Eastre was the rabbit. The symbol for the rebirth of life in springtime was the egg. Got it? That’s the connection between the Easter Bunny and the eggs. It’s a goddess. Pretty cool, huh?

Chocolate Bunnies?

So now we know why rabbits and eggs have long been associated with Easter. But what about the chocolate deliverly Easter bunny? When did that start?

For that symbol we go back to the 1600’s. That’s when a rabbit known as Osterhas, begins popping up in literature. His name translates as ‘Easter rabbit.’ As the story goes, the furry critter was said to leave colorful eggs all around for children to find on Easter Sunday. When the first Europeans landed in America many years later, they brought this tradition with them.

Easter Baskets

This is another symbol that we can trace back to ‘ole Osterhas, the original Easter Bunny. When children found all those eggs he had hidden, they had to put them somewhere. So they made nests, or as we know them today, Easter baskets.

Nowadays those baskets and containers come in all shapes and sizes and are decorated to the hilt. Some baskets not only have decorated eggs and chocolate bunnies, but little games and other toys, too.

So remember two things before you go on an Easter Egg Hunt, or you play the Easter Bunny in your school play and before you dive into a basket full of goodies. You have the Goddess Eostre (Easter) and that rabbit Osterhas to thank for giving us an excuse to eat a few more chocolates on Easter Sunday!

From all of us in the small Southern town of Shady Pines, we wish you a delightful holiday.

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Boomer and Halley Confused About A Tiger in a Golf Tournament!

Boomer and Halley Confused About A Tiger in a Golf Tournament!

A Tiger At the Masters

What’s going on at the Sanders’ house?  The two story home on Dogwood Drive across from Copy Cat Lane is usually quiet at this hour of the morning. But not today. On this Thursday in April Harold Sanders is a filled with excitement.

“Edna, honey, it’s happening!” shouts Harold. “He’s going to play! This is unbelieveable.”

Harold’s wife, Edna, yawns as she puts the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher. “Harold, dear, what are you so worked up about?”

“Look,” says Harold. “Look at the headline:

Masters 2022: Tiger Woods is back and odds and predictions are in!

Edna sees the story of Tiger Woods playing a practice round at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia and can’t believe what she’s seeing. “Are all those people there just to watch him practice?”

The TV in the kitchen may be small but to the golf world, the news is big. “Yes,” says Harold. “That’s the point. People just wanted to see him practice. After his horrible car crash last year and all the surgeries he’s had to repair his right leg, no one thought he would actually compete.”

Could He Win?

Edna sits at the kitchen table and shakes her head. “I’m no expert on golf, but I guess if a guy is trying to win The Masters for a sixth time, that’s a big deal.”

Harold sits beside her and grabs her hands in his. “Exactly. One of the greatest golfers we’ve ever seen is going to try to win golf’s biggest tournament, basically on one leg!”

Edna shakes her head. “I will never forget that roar from the crowd when he won in 2019.”

Harold claps his hands. “Yes. That was an incredible comeback at the age of 43. And now Tiger will be on the prowl again at Augusta!”  

The Sanders’ Australian Shepherd dog, Boomerang, wanders into the kitchen with his favorite rawhide bone in his mouth. He drops the bone at Harold’s feet and looks up at him.

“Wonder what’s got into dad?”

Halley’s Comet, the family’s silver streak of a cat, trots into the room wondering why there’s so much commotion. “Hey, Boom. Not that I really care, but what’s going on?”

Harold pats Boomer’s head. “I dunno. It’s something about a tiger prowling around a place where people play golf.”

Where’s The Tiger?

Suddenly, Halley whips around. “What? A tiger at a golf course? Where?”

Boomer rolls his eyes at the annoying cat. “How should I know?”

Halley jumps up onto her window seat where she can get a better look at the TV. “Wait. I don’t see a big cat. Are they out looking for him? Or her?”

Boomer wanders over to her. “Halley, you are the most annoying critter I have ever known.”

“Oh pipe down you overgrown bundle of fur,” hisses Halley. “Wait, what’s that?”

Boomer looks up at the TV screen. “What?”

Halley points. “That goofy looking fake tiger in that guy’s golf bag. That can’t be it.”

Boomer barks. “With your luck, that’s probably exactly IT.

Edna glances over at Harold who’s eyes are glued to the tube. “Sweetheart, aren’t you late for work?”

Harold shakes his head. “I already called the hardware store. I told them the boss of Nuts ‘N Bolts was going to be in just before noon today.”

Edna heads for the stairs. “Well, I’m going to go get dressed. I want to be all ready when he tees off.”

“Halley,” says Boomer. “Who’s teed off?” 

“I’m gonna be if you don’t put that stupid bone down. Come on TV people. Show the tiger.”

And that’s where we leave the Sanders family in the small Southern town of Shady Pines. Each of them now has their own reason to be thrilled about a Tiger at The Masters. Stay tuned!

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What Do You Really Know About St. Patrick’s Day Folklore?

What Do You Really Know About St. Patrick’s Day Folklore?

ST. PATRICK’S DAY TRADITIONS

Are you ready to get your green on? Hi there. I’m Zulah Talmadge with The Shady Pines Gazette news. Mark your calendar because Thursday, March 17th is THE day! Here in Shady Pines we love to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with its shamrocks and all things Irish.

From leprechauns to the color green, find out how symbols we now associate with St. Patrick’s Day came to be. We’ll let our neighbors tell you about their favories and wait ’til you find out about one that Americans just made up!

THE SHAMROCK

I’m Ray Robinson and I really like the shamrock. I read that it was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the beginning of spring.

Later on, the shamrock would become a symbol of Irish pride. That happened when the English army started to take over Irish land and declare it for England.

Can you believe they even made laws against the use of the Irish language and the practice of being a Catholic? So the Irish got really mad at the English and started wearing the shamrock as a symbol of their rich heritage.

IRISH MUSIC

Music is a big part of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day—and Irish culture in general.  I’m Mayor Beauregard P. Fibbs and everyone in town knows I like Irish music.

From ancient days right up until now, the Irish pass along their religion, legend and history from one generation to the next through stories and songs.

As Ray just told us, after being conquered by the English, the Irish were not allowed to speak their own language. They turned to music to help them celebrate important events. It was their way of holding on to their heritage and history.

Today, I follow traditional Irish bands like The Chieftains, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. They still make music with instruments that have been used for centuries.

That includes the fiddle, the harp, the uilleann pipes (a sort of elaborate bagpipe), the tin whistle (a kind of flute that is actually made of nickel-silver, brass or aluminum) and the bodhran (an ancient type of framed-up-drum that was traditionally used in warfare rather than music.)

THE SNAKE

Do you know the story of the snakes? I’m Kimberly Dunworthy. I don’t like snakes but this story is really cool.

Legend has it that when St. Patrick came to Ireland he did something really big. You see, Patrick was a Catholic priest. As the story goes, it was during his mission in Ireland that St. Patrick once stood on a hilltop. Then, with only a wooden staff by his side, the powerful priest kicked all the snakes out of Ireland.

But that turned out to be a myth. It wasn’t true. In fact, Ireland is an island nation and was never home to any snakes. The so called, “banishing of the snakes,” was really just a way of explaining that little by little all religious beliefs that weren’t Christian faded away from Ireland.

Before you knew it, Christianity was restored. Within 200 years of Patrick’s arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized. The snakes represented the “other religious beliefs.”

CORNED BEEF

Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day at the turn of the century.

These are the kinds of food details that Harold and Edna Sanders love to discuss. Each year, just like thousands of Irish Americans, Harold and Edna gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick’s Day to share a “traditional” meal of corned beef and cabbage.

By the way, Edna will tell you, this is a tradition that is very American. A whole lot of Irish people fled their homeland for a better life in America.

Irish immigrants living on New York City’s Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money.

Harold discovered that the Irish learned about this cheaper alternative from their Jewish neighbors. And, that’s how the tradition of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day began!

THE BLARNEY STONE

I’m Scoop the Cub Reporter and I’m here to tell ya that the Blarney stone is one of Ireland’s biggest tourist attractions.

To find it you have to drive about 5 miles from Cork, Ireland, to the grounds of a castle. Before the pandemic, hundreds of tourists would visit Blarney Castle every day.

This castle is one of Ireland’s oldest and most historic. It’s not easy to get to the stone because that valuable slap of limestone is located way up high on the castle’s wall.

This year, visitors who will once again make the journey to this place will do it for one reason: to kiss the Blarney Stone. People think that kissing the stone will give them the “gift of the gab” (make them good at talking). I don’t need a Blarney Stone for that!

Anyway, when it’s your turn, you find out you have to get down and flip over onto your back while someone holds you.

That means you’re lying there with you head hanging over a wall and looking a long way down. 

All this to kiss a stone. That’s why some people say it’s just, “Blarney!”

THE LEPRECHAUN

The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is “lobaircin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.” I’m Rita Morena, Director of the Shady Pines Community Center. I love talking to kids about these little guys.

Belief in leprechauns goes a long way back in history when people in Ireland were known as Celtics. They believed in fairies. According to folklore, these were tiny men who dressed in green, had beards, smoked pipes and wore buckled shoes.

Leprechauns were known to be shoemakers who would sometimes pull pranks and make mischief.

They were secretive, too. To make sure no humans could take their gold, the leprechauns buried it in pots deep underground. People say when rainbows appear, they always end at a spot where some leprechaun’s pot of gold is buried.

Leprechauns were known to have magical powers to serve good or evil. If a human got near their pot of gold, legend has it, they would pull out all the stops to protect their treasure.

We hope you treasure your experiences this St. Patrick’s Day!

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