Shady Pines’ Favorite Father & Gifts for Dads

Shady Pines’ Favorite Father & Gifts for Dads

Let’s Hear It For Harold Sanders

It’s time to celebrate fathers. A father is so very important in the lives of his children – even if his children have four legs! A good father guides, encourages, supports and loves his kids unconditionally. That’s why in honor of Father’s Day, we want you to know Harold Sanders is that kind of dad. He’s also the most famous father here in Shady Pines Story Town.

Harold and his wife, Edna, never had children of their own. But the day Boomerang, an Australian Shepherd dog, and Halley’s Comet, a silver streak of a cat came into their lives, everything changed. When they adopted the two strays, Harold and Edna officially became parents.They had no idea the challenges they would face as the Sanders became a family of four.A happy family hugging their pets

Boomer and Halley weren’t all that excited about becoming an instant brother and sister act. Boomerang had grown up out west on a ranch where his herding instincts made him a natural for rounding up cattle. It was when he left the U.B. Good Ranch in a pickup truck with his favorite ranch hand that everything changed. Clint had stopped for gas. Boomer heard a squirrel in the nearby bushes and took off. He wound up lost in Shady Pines.

Meanwhile, Halley was living the good life with a family up north in a beautiful neighborhood. The little girl of the family spoiled her with gifts and all the tuna she could eat. The silver kitty was used to going on trips with the family. But the vacation down South turned everything around for Halley’s Comet.

The family left her in the car for just a minute to go inside a restaurant to get lunch. They left the windows down a bit so their favorite feline would have enough air. That’s when Halley heard the birds chirping. Instinct took over and the silver streak was out the window and gone. You guessed it. She found herself lost in Shady Pines.

We’ll pause here because the whole story of how Boomer and Halley were lost, then found, is the title of the second book in their honor. A local author, Mary Jane McKittrick, decided to write about the adventures and misadventures of this blended family of animals and humans. Lo and behold, the books started winning awards and that’s how Harold and his family became famous. In fact, the Sanders put little ‘ole Shady Pines on the map! Visitors are always coming to our small Southern town asking to meet them.You can get your own copy along with the other two books in the series by going Boomer and Halley Lost and Found

If you can believe it, the books for 4-8 year olds won the Mom’s Choice Gold Award for excellence and the Pinnacle Award for Independent Book publishers.

You know the best part? Even though the Sanders’ family gets so much attention, It never goes to their heads. They’re not stuck up at all. Oh, sure, Halley can be a little snooty at times, but she was like that from the beginning. And Boomer always puts her in her place.

Edna is so creative and fun. Harold is the steady one who sets such a good example. He is a decent, hard-working man who looks you right in the eye when he talks. He believes in doing a good job, loves to laugh, and doesn’t have to raise his voice to get attention. Harold walks with quiet confidence and leads by example.

It’s funny but Boomer and Halley seem to want to please him. They feel really badly when they disappoint him. Don’t get me wrong. they’re kids after all, so they can get into trouble. That look he gives them when they’ve done something wrong is enough to snap them back into good behavior.

Folks around Shady Pines admire the man who owns the town’s Nuts ‘N Bolts hardware store with its old-fashioned soda fountain slap dab in the middle of the store. That’s where locals enjoy listening to Harold spin a story. Harold Sanders is like a lot of our neighbors who love to tell stories filled with positive themes. Seems all they want to do is inspire young children to grow up and be good people.

That’s why we’re known as Shady Pines Story Town where  kindness and caring is a way of life. People here don’t just talk about being kind to one another, they actually try to live that way. Just another reason to celebrate the contributions of Harold Sanders and all the fathers making a difference in the lives of their children!

If you’d like to help your kids make their own Father’s Day gifts we found a site that could help GO HERE


Mother’s Day with Boomer and Halley

Mother’s Day with Boomer and Halley

A Father’s Approach to Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is the time when we honor all the wonderful women who do so much for their families and their communities. It’s no different here in Shady Pines Story Town.

Edna Sanders is known far and wide for her cooking and the delicious recipes she generously shares with neighbors and friends. She’s the wife of Harold and a dutiful mom to a couple of lively four-legged “children.”

When Harold and Edna adopted Boomerang, an Australian Shepherd dog and Halley’s Comet, a silver streak of a cat, their quiet household turned upside down! Each year on Mother’s Day, Harold and the kids try to do something nice for Edna.

The word ‘try’ is important to remember. Because things, as usual, don’t go as planned. You’ve just got to read what happens in the Sanders’ house when Harold takes a father’s approach to his wife’s special day. This playful story is available now in this month’s edition of the Shady Pines Gazette. You’ll find other stories, Edna’s recipes and more.           

You can get it now!


   (Special price)

Confusion Around the Super Bowl

Confusion Around the Super Bowl

Kicking Off  a Super Bowl Dilemma 

In Shady Pines Story Town, and all over the country, people are buzzing about the upcoming Super Bowl. The famous football game with be played this Sunday in Tampa Bay, Florida. The Tampa Bay Bucaneers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs to win the national championship. Both teams want to take home the shiny Lombardi trophy.

But in a house on Dogwood Drive across from Copy Cat Lane, there is some confusion about this big-deal event. Let’s find out why.

Edna Sanders looks over her recipe book and makes a grocery list. Everyone knows that snacks are one of the main ingredients for a successful Super Bowl experience. Even if it’s a boring football game, the food can make up for it. “Goodness me,” says Edna. “What have I served in the past that was a real winner? Oh, chicken wings, of course!”

PIcking A Winning – Recipe

Edna’s husband, Harold, has been working in the garage. He comes into the kitchen to wash his hands. “Hi,”  says Edna. “Did you fix the cabinent doors?”

“Yep. Good as new. I don’t think they’ll creak anymore when you open them,” says Harold. What are you doing?”

“I’m figuring out what to make for Super Bowl Sunday. Since we can’t invite anyone over because of Covid, I’ve made a plan with some of our friends,” says Edna.

“Really? What’s the plan?” asks Harold as he sits down at the kitchen table.

“We’re going to swap recipes so that we’re all eating the same thing. Then, when we do our screen to screen call and watch the game together from our own homes, it’ll be a party. Well, at least a 2021 – style party!” Harold nods his approval. “What a good idea. Which one are you going to share?”

“I’m going with my super-duper chili,” says Edna.

“That’s a winner!” says Harold. Hearing the sound of paws scampering in his direction, Harold looks up.

“I did it Boomer. I beat you to the kitchen, ” says Halley, a bit out of breath.

“You did not,” gasps Boomer. “I gave you a head start.”

“Did not!”
“Did, too!” Boomer turns his back on the silver streak of a cat and plops down next to Harold.

“Hey, boy,” says Harold stroking the handsome dog’s head. “Is Halley messing with you again?”

Boomer pants. “At least someone understands.”

Oh, puh-leeze,” says Halley as she jumps into Edna’s lap.

“Oh, my goodness Halley,” says Edna. “You startled me!”

Harold chuckles. “What are we going to do with these two?”

Edna shakes her head. “I’m not sure. Why don’t you take the kids outside and I’ll go to the store?”

Harold gets up ftrom the table. “Good idea. C’mon you guys. What do you say we do some yard work?”

Boomer barks with joy.

Getting Super Bowl Snacks

Halley shakes her head. “Did he say work?”

Edna has her list and picks up her purse. “Harold, maybe I should take Halley with me. You know how she likes to help me shop.”

“Okay,” says Harold. “Just don’t let her pick out the most expensive tuna again!”

Edna kisses him on the cheek. “I won’t. See you boys soon!”

“All right Boomer. It’s just you and me boy. Let’s go!”

Boomer barks and wags his bobbed tail.

Chillin’ With Chilli

Now back at the house, Edna prepares to chill and make her chilli. She places all the ingredients together on the kitchen counter. Halley watches from her window seat before drifting off to sleep. Boomer crunches down on his favorite chewy bone. Harold is in the den watching sports on TV.

“All right you guys. This game on Sunday is special so that means just one thing. I’m using my Super Bowl,” says Edna.

Boomer looks up and cocks his head. “Huh? Psssst. Hey, Halley. She’s using what?”

Halley opens one eye. “I dunno. Who cares?”

Boomer gets up and looks right at the sleepy cat. “I heard Dad talking on his cell phone to one of his friends,” saays Boomer. They were arguing about who is going to win the Super Bowl.”

Halley sits up.  Now she’s bothered. “Why would anyone want to win Mom’s mixing bowl?”

The dog and cat stare at one another. Boomer shakes his head back and forth.

“I don’t get it. Did Mom ever use that big ‘ole bowl to make something for us?” asks Boomer.

Super Sized Confusion

Halley scruches up her face. “Don’t think so.  So, it can’t be that great. Why would anyone want it?”

“I have a better question,” says Boomer. “Why does she call it her Super Bowl?”

Now Halley is really confused. “What will Dad’s friends do if they win it? They don’t cook!”

Meanwhile Edna is humming. She loves to create delicious meals. “I think I’ll make enough chilli to pack individual servings. That way I can share some with our neighbors.”

Edna looks down and sees Boomer and Halley staring up at her. “What in the world is going on with you guys?”

You probably can’t clear up the confusion for Boomer and Halley by game time Sunday evening.

But you can join in on some Shady Pines fun by clicking on this link to: EDNA’S SUPER DUPER CHILI RECIPE


Boomer is Jealous of Biden’s Rescue Dog!

Boomer is Jealous of Biden’s Rescue Dog!

A Doggone First

A new resident at 1600 Pennsyvania Avenue is in the spotlight and a famous resident of Shady Pines has a problem with that. Boomerang, the Australian Shepherd who lives with his adopted parents, Harold and Edna Sanders, is all fussed up. Boomer watches the television screen in his home on Dogwood Drive. He hears that a couple of German shepherds will be living with the new President of the United States!

“I don’t believe it,” he says.

But that’s not what’s got Boomer all hot under the collar. One of those dogs is getting a bunch of publicity for being adopted from an animal shelter. “Come on!” says Boomer. “I’m a rescue, too. What’s so great about him?”

Don’t Be Jealous!

Halley’s Comet can’t believe what she’s hearing. “What is wrong with you, you overgrown fur ball?  “You sound like you’re jealous.” Boomer whirls around and stares at her.

“Halley, you’re such a pain,” says Boomer. 

“Well, then, tell me why you’re acting this way,” she demands.

“I just don’t understand why everyone is making such a big deal out of this guy. I mean he even gets his very own ‘InDoguration’ ceremony! Look. See for yourself. It’s On TV Right Now.” CLICK HERE

Halley watches the screen as the story flickers in front of them. She is only mildly interested. The story is about dogs after all. “How come the First Family doesn’t have a cat?” she wonders.

The TV story says when Joe Biden and his wife Jill, move into the White House they’re bringing along Major, a rescue dog. The German shepherd is the first shelter dog ever adopted by a first family. He’s brother to another German shepherd named, Champ. The Biden’s adopted Champ as a puppy from a breeder in 2008 while Joe Biden was serving as vice president in the Obama administration. 

Not An Inauguration. An InDOGuration

The InDoguration is a virtual, zoom event to raise money for the Delaware Humane Society. That’s where Major was living when Joe Biden found him.

“Look at all those people in those little squares on TV showing off their pets. Why didn’t we get in on this Zoom thing?” asks Boomer.Adults reading a book

Halley shakes her head. “I dunno. Maybe mom and dad didn’t know about it.”

“This is unbelieveable,” says Boomer.

Halley walks around Boomer and stares him right in the face. “Will you cut it out? They want people to adopt pets from shelters. That’s a good thing, right?”

Boomer tilts his head down to one side. “I guess so.”

Living In A Blended Family

“Besides,” says Halley. “That author lady wrote a whole book about how WE were adopted. Did you forget that?” BOOMER AND HALLEY – LOST AND FOUND

Boomer looks up. “That’s true. We’re on the cover and everything.”

“So stop being jealous,” says Halley. “We wound up with great parents and a nice place to live.”

Boomer nods his head. “Yea. But do you remember what we were like in the beginning?”

Halley closes her eyes. “I have no idea what you mean.”

Boomer rocks back on his haunches. “Well, let me remind you!”

“Oh, No! Boomer!”

And with that, Boomer chases Halley out of the room and around the house on a beautiful day in the small Southern town of Shady Pines.

Turkey Trot Trouble in Shady Pines

Turkey Trot Trouble in Shady Pines

Remember a couple of years ago…

See that large banner up there? You can’t really miss it, can you? It floats in the breeze from one side of Main Street to another. Welcome to the Shady Pines Story Town Turkey Trot! And on this crisp, Thanksgiving morning, watch for honking and cheering visitors to arrive by the carload. They’ll play follow the leader all the way to Stonewall Park for the annual event. It’s time for the 2K and 5K run/walk race through Shady Pines. And after what happened last year, expect the unexpected!

The excited runners crowd around the registration table to pick up a map of the course and their numbers to pin on their shirts. Some wear colorful turkey suits, walking around making gobbling noises at one another. Others planning to walk the course with their dogs have dressed their poor, unsuspecting canine friends as little turkeys.

Harold Sanders, owner of the Nuts ‘N’ Bolts hardware store, is at the table going through his registration packet. His dog, Boomerang the Australian Shepherd, tries to stick his nose into the yellow folder.

“I’ve got my number #204 right here to pin on my shirt. We are officially entered. Don’t think they have anything in there for you, boy.” “Ruff.”

“Tell you what. We’ll go find Edna and Halley. They’re serving up food somewhere around here.”

“Ruff. Ruff!”

It didn’t take Harold and Boomerang long to find Edna and Halley. With only a half hour until the races and the walk begin, there’s a long line at the Turkey Trot Food Truck. Edna Sanders and the other volunteers are busy serving hot drinks, breakfast sandwiches, and snacks. Over in a corner, high up on a stack of cardboard boxes, Halley’s Comet hangs out in her kitty carrier. The cooking smells make her sneeze.


“Oh, Halley, sweetheart, it’ll only be a little longer. My shift is almost over, and then we can join the boys.”

Near the starting line, serious runners and leisurely walkers alike warm up by stretching and jogging in place. Hundreds of friends and family members gather to cheer them on.

Music blares from a big tent where a couple of guys play guitars and sing. Children from Shady Pines Elementary, dressed as Pilgrims, pass out water to anyone who wants some. And workers putting the podium in place on the platform where the winners will get their trophies bang away with their hammers.

Mayor Beauregard Fibbs is deep in conversation with farmer Fred Farnsworth.

“Farmer Fred.”


“Please tell me you didn’t bring that fool turkey of yours with you.”

“I did. What have you got against Tiny the Turkey?”

“What have I –– have you forgotten how that gigantic beast of a turkey nearly bit my hand off last year?”

“You know that wouldn’t have happened if you’d any sense!”

“Why you –– you told me to feed him that grain.”

“Not with your fingers stickin’ up like that!”

Fred and Beauregard are at it again. Tiny is a big deal. He is the largest turkey in the Tri-state area and winner of the prestigious 4H fall whopper turkey award. And when Tiny is around, trouble is not far behind!

“Mommy, Come here. Look!”

“Oh, my goodness. That is one big turkey.”

Tiny struts his stuff around the pen Farmer Fred has put up for him. Tiny always brings attention to Farmer Fred and himself, wherever he goes.

Harold, Boomer, Edna and Halley make their way to the starting line. Edna’s carrying Halley, who doesn’t look happy being hauled around in her carrier.

“OK. This is it. We’re supposed to wait here by the starting line until our group is called.”

“How much longer, Harold?”

“Just a few more minutes, Honey. They’re just about to send off the serious runners. We’re after that, along with the second group of runners.”


“Yes, boy. You’re going, too.”


“Sorry, my sweet girl. Cats can’t enter. You and I will find some good places along the route to watch all the action. And, I brought tuna!”


The first group is ready to run, and the starter steps up to the side of the starting line. “On your mark. Get set. GO!”

And, they’re off like a thundering flock of – turkeys! A sea of colorful shirts and running shoes runs through the town like a river. The walkers and the folks who want to jog step up to the starting line.

“On your mark.”

As this next wave rolls into place, a crowd begins to gather around Tiny the Turkey.

“Get Set.

The group by Tiny grows larger and louder.


Harold, Boomer, and the rest of the bunch take off. Edna and Halley wait somewhere on the course to cheer them as they go by. Running from the opposite direction is Farmer Fred with a line of people following behind. He heads toward Tiny and the crowd huddled around his pen.

“What’s going on here?” asks Farmer Fred.

A little girl is in the pen with Tiny!

“Hey, there little girl. Don’t cry. Tiny is gentle as a kitten. Let me just get in there and we’ll get you right out.”

“Susie, mommy’s here!” Susie’s mommy steps out from behind Farmer Fred.

Farmer Fred tries to hold back the massive bird while shooing the little girl toward the open gate, and then two things happen at once. Susie flies into her mother’s arms, and Tiny flies from the coop! The last thing anyone sees are two, very long, skinny legs and a lot of feathers chasing after the last group of walkers and joggers.

Look out, everyone! We’ve got a turkey on the run!

Meanwhile, Harold and Boomer are making their way along the route when Boomer starts growling, something he doesn’t do often.

“Boomer, what’s the matter, boy?”

“What’s wrong with your dog, Mister?” asks a young man jogging by.

“I’m not sure. He must hear something that’s getting him riled —”

Before Harold could finish his sentence, something very large, moving very fast, rushes past him. And, in a flash, Boomerang’s natural herding instinct kicks in, and he is off and running, his leash trailing behind.

Tiny the Turkey swerves wildly past the walkers as if they are standing still. Bystanders gasp at the sight of the runaway. Some of them point and shout. By the time Tiny catches up with the runners, he has left a path of chaos behind him, with joggers and walkers tripping and falling over one another. Then he makes a detour. Just up ahead and off the race route, some young girls are jumping rope, and the big turkey ducks, hops and skips through the twirling pink ropes. The girls stop twirling the ropes and stare.

As Edna and Halley wait on the curb to see Harold and Boomer, they watch the confusion and uproar. Edna shades her eyes and cranes her neck to see what’s happening. Halley, sitting quietly in her little harness as Edna holds her leash, suddenly leaps in fear and scoots under the first chair she can find, nearly upending Edna.

 “Whoa, girl. Hold on a minute.”


“Was that Tiny? Is that Boomer? Chasing him? Where’s Harold? What’s going on?”

“Edna!” Harold stops in front of her and bends over, holding his side. “Did you see,” he starts, panting, “Did you see Boomer come this way?”

“Harold. Catch your breath. Yes. He went that way.”

“Come on. Grab Halley and let’s go!”

It’s hard to tell who’s chasing whom. Kids in pilgrim costumes, runners and their four-legged friends in turkey get-ups, and party-goers dash in all directions, with an Australian Shepherd in full pursuit.

And way up in the distance, a large, white-feathered head sprints out ahead of everyone. The tape at the finish line falls. It can’t be true, can it? Tiny wins the race!

Mayor Beauregard Fibbs and the other official-looking people waiting on the podium stare, stunned at what just happened. For the first time, in along time, the mayor is speechless. The moment doesn’t last. When Tiny saw the winner’s podium, he jumped right on up to get away from Boomer. Farmer Fred got there just in time. Tiny was about to go after Fibbs.

“Fred. You get a hold of that darn bird will, ya?”

“I got him. I got him. I think he likes your bow tie. Tiny, are you hurt? Bet you’re tired, huh?”

“Balderdash, you fool farmer. What about the rest of us? What about the race?”

“Well, Beau, seems he won fair and square.”

And there you have it. The photo for the front page of The Shady Pines Gazette is one for the record books. Standing in the top spot is the biggest turkey anyone ever saw. Two humans took second and third. And while Mayor Fibbs’ looks horrified, Farmer Fred beams with pride. Boomerang looks plumb tuckered out, his head dropping as he stands with Harold, Edna, and Halley during the trophy presentation. Everyone claps, whoops, and hollers. It is official. For the first time ever, a turkey takes first place at the annual Turkey Trot.


“Yes, dear.”

“After all this, and in honor of Tiny, I’m not sure I want turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.

“What are you thinking?”

“I’ll look in my fridge. But, I think I have all the ingredients I need to make meat loaf.”

Meatloaf? On Thanksgiving?”

And that’s how Edna’s legendary, “Save The Day,” meatloaf recipe became the go-to dish when someone needs a quick dinner idea. Still, the best idea of all is to spend your day open to all sorts of new opportunities. Even the most unlikely event can turn into a winning moment. At least that’s how things are here, in the small Southern town of Shady Pines!

 Leave Us a Comment and let us know what you think!

Election Stress During Kindness Week

Election Stress During Kindness Week


I want you to know about two events that are happening at the same time. You really should be paying attention to both. Zulah Talmage with you from The Shady Pines Gazette news team. On the one hand, our nation is still waiting to hear the results of the 2020 presidential election. Unlike other elections, this one is taking a long time.

So many people voted by mail, it’s taking a good deal of time to count all those additional votes. Volunteers are working around the clock to make sure they do everything they can to be accurate about the vote totals.

Meanwhile, people are marching in the streets to demonstrate to officials how importat they feel it is their vote be counted. It’s clear that a lot of voters are really stressed out right now. They desperately want to find out as soon as possible whether their candidate won.


At the same time all that’s happening, we’re heading into International Kindness Week. It wraps up next Friday, November 13th. That day is known as World Kindness Day. This week people all over the world are being asked to pay attention to the way they act and speak to one another. One of the slogans you might hear is this: “If you can’t find a kind person – be one.” Isn’t that great? Here’s another one: “In a world where you can be anything, Be Kind.”

Listen, I get it. Scoop, The Cub Reporter and I have been all over Shady Pines Story Town covering this election. People have very strong ideas about who should be our next president. You’ll meet people who’ll tell you all the reasons why we should re-elect our current president, Donald Trump.

Then just like that, you’ll bump into someone else who thinks the country needs a different direction. They will tell you in no uncertain terms why former Vice President, Joe Biden, is the right man for the job. Because emotions are so high, we sometimes forget to consider that eveyone is concerned about how this election will be decided. We tend to forget that just like everyone’s vote counts, so do their opinions – even if we don’t agree with them.

As this week, or weeks go along, Scoop and I will continue to cover all the twists and turns that this year’s presidential election will throw our way. There will probably be calls for states to hold re-counts of votes and who-knows-what else? 2020 has been an unusual year, and there’s no reason to expect a “normal” election, is there?

But along with all the election madness, we know it will come to an end. It may not be the result you were hoping for when you cast your ballot. 

We need to remember that our co-workers, friends, neighbors and family members feel strongly about the candidate they wanted to win. So, since this is International Kindness Week and all, maybe we can focus on compassion. We don’t want to lose and neither does anyone else.

This week, like every week in Shady Pines, kindness and caring can go a long way!