A Famous Shady Pines Father is a Good Role Model

A Famous Shady Pines Father is a Good Role Model

Why We Honor 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.

Not So Fast

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.

He left U.B. Good Ranch in a pickup truck with his favorite ranch hand bound for a dog show. That’s when everything changed. Clint stopped to fill up the truck with 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 one vacation where they headed 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 a bird chirping. Instinct took over and the silver streak was out the window and gone. You guessed it. She found herself lost in Shady Pines.

Family Unit

You know the best part about this new family? They learned to live together with rules, laughter and love. Even though the Sanders’ family gets a lot of attention around town due to Boomer and Halley’s antics, 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 good to one another, they actually try to live that way.Adults reading a book

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 for you GO HERE


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Shady Pines Shares Info about Mother’s Day You Might Not Know

Shady Pines Shares Info about Mother’s Day You Might Not Know

A Little History 

Springtime weekends in Shady Pines are chock full of things to do. We have festivals, concerts, fundraising events and so much more. But there is one date on the calendar that gets more attention than all the others

Can you guess what it is?

Mother’s Day! This year we celebrate the moms in our lives on Sunday, May 12th.

Do you know how this yearly celebration started?

Most folks believe the beginning of Mother’s Day in the U.S.  can be traced to Anna Jarvis, a woman from Philadelphia. Way back in 1907 Anna began a campaign to establish a national day to honor mothers everywhere.

She convinced her mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate Mother’s Day on the second anniversary of her mother’s death. That date fell on the 2nd Sunday of May.

Anna’s Mom

Anna’s mother had gumption. Her name was, Ann Reeves Jarvis.

She was a young homemaker who taught Sunday school lessons in her Appalachian mountain home in West Virginia. Back in the 1800’s she organized “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs.”

Ann wanted to help educate mothers about nutrition; the importance of a clean house to fight off illness; and how to make a diference in the lives of their children and their community.

During the Civil War, the mission of the Mother’s Day Work Clubs changed. The women began caring for soldiers wounded in the fighting. Those battles raged across the mountains during the first years of the war.

Mother Jarvis encouraged her members to help out no matter which side their men had chosen.

After the war she proposed a Mothers’ Friendship Day to promote peace between former Union and Confederate families.

A Special Day Goes National

Given her mother’s  valuable work, it’s not surpising Anna decided it was important to publicly celebrate the incredible women who care, nurture and inspire us. 

You may be surprised to know that Anna Jarvis never had children of her own.

But her continued efforts to get recognition for the women who do have kids was finally recognized. President Woodrow Wilson made it official on May 9, 1914.

Shady Pines Celebrates

Back here in our small Southern town folks are planning all sorts of ways to show the mothers in their lives some love.

Why even over at the Sanders’ house Boomer and Halley are showing affection for their “mom” Edna with a card. Of course Harold had to help them out a bit.

However you wind up expressing your love and gratitude for that special mom in your life, we hope you have a wonderful and memorable day!

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The Easter Egg Hunt in Shady Pines. What Could Go Wrong?

The Easter Egg Hunt in Shady Pines. What Could Go Wrong?

Let The Hunt Begin!

Springtime in Shady Pines Story Town is magical. Rain showers give way to clear blue skies, beautiful flowers. Easter is on the way.

Let’s take you back to a recent Easter weekend and an annual that includes a dash involving children, lots of sugar, and general mayhem. What could go wrong?

The Arrival

A big banner hangs over the entrance to Stonewall Park: Shady Pines Annual Easter Egg Hunt. On this bright Saturday morning, families arrive by the carload. Harold and Edna Sanders find a parking place close to all the action.

Their four-legged kids, Boomerang, an Australian Shepherd dog and Halley’s Comet, a silver streak of a cat, are with them.

“Here we are gang,” says Harold. “Look at all the people!”

Edna pauses for a moment to take in the scene. She sees balloons tied to booths where people are selling all sorts of foods and drinks.

“Harold, how about some hot chocolate?”

Harold snaps the leash onto Boomer’s collar. “That sounds good. Boomer and I will get us some.”

Meanwhile Halley fidgets with her pink walking harness. Edna holds her leash. “C’mon Halley. Let’s mingle.”

Once back together, holding cups of steaming hot chocolate, Harold and Edna search for the sign-in table.

“I can see it, Edna. It’s right over there.”

The Sanders’ family heads in that direction. At the same time, a group of children dressed in colorful clothes and bunny ears races past them, nearly knocking them over.

Boomer barks. “Hey, watch where you’re going!”

“We’d get in trouble if we did that,” says Halley.

Edna regains her balance. “Whoopsie. That was close.”

Harold reaches for her hand. “I think those kids are eating too many chocolate Easter bunnies.”

Edna agrees. “Look around. Hot chocolate, chocolate eggs and bunnies, jelly beans, candy. No wonder the kids are hyper.”

The Assignment

A woman is waving at them. “Yoo-Hoo! Harold, Edna!”

“It’s Maggie,” says Edna.

Harold recognizes the owner of Maggie’s Diner. “Hey, Maggie.”

Maggie reaches down to pat Boomer and pet Halley. “Hi you guys. Let’s get you checked in. I’ve got a list of the children you’ll be helping.”

Boomer barks. “Oh, boy! Halley, we’re going to round up kids.”

Halley rolls her eyes. “Boomer, I know you’re a herding expert. But this is a search thing, not a round-up.”

“You don’t know,” says Boomer.

“Do, too,” says Halley.

“Do not.”

Maggie hands a map to Harold and Edna. It shows where each group will hunt for treats. “You folks will have 4 kids in your group to manage.”

They’re Off!

Before you can say, “hop to it,” the children arrive at the starting point giggling and laughing. They carry baskets and buckets and are ready to go.

“All right everyone,” says Harold. “Remember to look high and low all over this area.”

“We’ll be here to help,” says Edna. “Ready, set, GO!”

With one big burst of energy a whole bunch of little legs start running in all directions.

“Honey, how ’bout Boomer and I go that way and you and Halley go over yonder,” suggests Harold.

Edna looks at Harold. “And we’re actually going to help them find more chocolate?”

“Yep. That’s the plan,” says Harold.

“Halley, I bet I find more stuff than you do,” yells Boomer.

Halley yells back, “Oh, no, you won’t!”

Most of the kids start by collecting the eggs right in front of them on the ground. Others get more adventurous and try to climb trees. A couple of boys dash off through a hedge of bushes and out of bounds.

Go Get ‘Em!

“Uh-oh. Boomer it’s time to do your thing. Let’s go round up those little whipper snappers,” says Harold.

Boomer barks. “I knew it. I told that silly cat this was a job for a herding dog.” With that, Boomer takes off.

“Whoa! Boomer! Not so FAST!” yells Harold.

Meanwhile, Edna notices one little girl sitting by herself under a tree. “Halley, let’s go over and talk to her.” Halley meows.

“Hi sweetie, says Edna. “This is Halley’s Comet, or Halley, for short. What’s your name?”

The youngster with the big brown eyes and pigtails pets Halley. “Susan.”

Halley purrs.

“Don’t you want to hunt for Easter eggs, Susan?” asks Edna.

“I never find as many as the other kids. Plus, my mom doesn’t like me to eat sugar.”

Edna thinks for a moment. “How would like it if Halley helps you find some of the real eggs that are hidden? They’re good for you.”

Susan lights up. “OK.”

It’s not long before the children’s baskets and buckets fill up with colorful real and plastic eggs, clusters of jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and more. Some of the plastic eggs include notes.

Susan finds one of those.

“What does it say?” asks Edna.

Susan unfolds the piece of paper. “It says ‘do 5  jumping jacks.'”

“Well, isn’t that clever,” says Edna.

What Did You Find?

While enthusiasm for the hunt is still strong, some of the children start to peter out. They’ve been searching for a long time and are getting tired. A few of them line up and compare what they’ve hauled in.

“How many chocolate eggs did you get?” asks Betty.

“Um. A bunch. But I got a lot of plastic eggs with candy inside,” answers Ellen.

“I got some of those. But these have carrot sticks in them,” says Tim.

“Hey, does anyone want my jelly beans?” asks Simon.

“I’ll trade you some jelly beans for some of my chocolate eggs,” says Betty.

Harold and Boomer catch up with Edna and Halley. “Hi, honey. How did things go?” asks Harold.

“It went well,” says Edna. “Some of the kids got really competitive. I had to remind them there was plenty for everyone and they should be nice to one another. What about you?”

Harold strokes Boomer’s head. “Well, there was nearly a fight over a big chocolate bunny. Oh, and our favorite cattle herding dog had no trouble rounding up some wayward boys.”

“I told you Halley. I told you I’d have to round up somebody,” says Boomer.

Halley shakes her head. “Oh Pah-Leeze. You’re such a hero.”

“I know,” says Boomer.

“I was kidding,” says Halley.

Harold hugs his wife. “That was fun. But what do you say we head home?”

Edna smiles. “Good idea. We need to figure out what we’re going to have for Easter dinner.”

“Let me guess. We’re not going to have chocolate cake?” asks Harold.

Edna winks at him. “Not Eggs-actly!”

And that’s where we leave the Sanders family as they make their way home to Dogwood Drive across from Copycat Lane in the small Southern town of Shady Pines.

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They’re Seeing Red In Shady Pines for Good Reason!

They’re Seeing Red In Shady Pines for Good Reason!

Red Alert

There are three good reasons to wear red this month. Do you know what they are?

I’m Zulah Talmadge, editor of The Shady Pines Gazette and we’re working on a story about that very thing.

You see first of all it’s Heart Month. This is the time each year to really focus on your heart health. More on that in a minute.

And of course, Februray 14th is Valentine’s Day. That’s the day we set aside each year to express our deepest affections for our loved ones. Bring on the flowers and chocolate!

Dragons Rule

Finally, this month marks the begining of the Chinese New Year of the Dragon. And the color associated with that is – you guessed it. Red!

What do you really know about this Year of the Wood Dragon? It runs from Feb. 10, 2024 – Jan. 28, 2025.

Someone very well known here in Shady Pines was born under this sign. And he’s our very own mayor, Beauregard P. Fibbs.

A zodiac sign in the Chinese calendar is an animal that represents each year in a 12-year cycle.

A person’s Chinese zodiac sign is determined by his or her date of birth. Which one is yours?  GO HERE

You might be interested to know that people born in the year of the Dragon are: charismatic, intelligent, confident, powerful, naturally gifted, and lucky.

Sounds a lot like Mayor Fibbs to me! 

Heart Health

Heart Health Month is a good time to protect yourself against heart disease. It’s never too young to start.

Rita Malena can tell you all about this topic. She’s the Director of The Shady Pines Community Center. A couple of  years ago Rita discovered heart disease runs in her family.

Rita says even youngsters like Ray Robinson can help themselves by doing small heart-healthy actions like running around more with Boomer and Halley.

Besides exercise, choosing to eat healthy foods also helps. Just doing those two things can have a big impact on protecting our hearts.

Because she’s an adult, Rita says her doctor also suggests that she have some basic screenings.

She should be checked for blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and body mass index. 

The Heart Of The Matter

Now we come to the red day in mid February devoted to love. Valentine’s Day means different things to different people.

But at the heart of it, February 14th is the day set aside to remind that special someone in your life how much they mean to you.

In the Sanders household there’s a twist. The love between Harold and Edna Sanders is widely known. 

But ever since that Australian Shepherd dog, Boomerang and the silver streak of a cat, Halley’s Comet came to live with them, well the love has expanded four-paws fold.

Oh sure, there are times when Harold and Edna freely admit those two rascals get on their last nerve! 

On the other hand, this once childless couple now has two spunky kids that they wouldn’t trade for anything.

So you tell me. That’s love isn’t it?

Happy Valentines Day from all of us at Shady Pines Story Town to you!

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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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Making New Year’s Resolutions in Shady Pines with Boomer and Halley

Making New Year’s Resolutions in Shady Pines with Boomer and Halley

A New Year Is Near

Shadows deepen early each day in late December. Streetlights around Shady Pines flicker on just after 5 pm. Why, before you know it, it’ll be New Year’s Day 2024!

Edna Sanders hums a little tune as she prepares dinner in her kitchen. She has the radio on and music fills the home on Dogwood Drive across from Copy Cat Lane.

Halley’s Comet, sits on her window seat licking her paws. The silver streak of a cat has just finished her dinner of dry and wet cat food mixed together. She’s had a sip of water and is now settling in for a nap.

Heading Home

Before long, Edna’s husband, Harold, will be home from work. He usually closes up his Nuts ‘N Bolts hardware store on Main Street around 6 pm. Once he switches the front window sign to CLOSED and locks the door, it’s just a short walk to the Sanders’ house. This evening, the family dog, Boomerang, will be at his side.

“It was fun having you at the store today, Boomer,” says Harold as he pats the Australian Shepherd’s head. “You were a lot of help.” Harold gives the multi colored dog a treat from one of the many wooden barrels near the cash register. “Ruff,” says Boomer.

Harold laughs. “I didn’t forget. I’ve got the calendar right here to bring home to mom. You ready to go?” Boomer wags his bobbed tail.

Once outside, the night air hits them. “Ooh. It’s a good thing I have my jacket, scarf and gloves. It’s a bit chilly this evening.” Boomer pulls on the leash. “You’re right. Let’s walk a little faster, shall we?”

In just a matter of minutes Harold is reaching for his key to unlock the back door of the Sander’s house. “Honey, we’re home.”

The 4-Legged Kids

Edna turns. “Hi sweetie. Come here Boom, let me give you a hug. Did you take care of dad today?”

Halley rolls her eyes. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Boomer gives her a look. “What’s with you?”

Halley sits up and looks right at him. “Boomer, you can’t even take care of yourself.”

Boomer sits quietly as Edna unhooks the leash from his collar and hangs it on the hook next to the door.

“Halley, you’re just jealous ‘cause people make a fuss over me at dad’s store,” says Boomerang.

Halley sighs. “No. Not jealous. Just amazed that humans can’t see you’re such a knucklehead.”

Boomer growls softly under his breath.

Meanwhile Harold puts away his jacket, scarf and gloves in the closet by the back door and walks over to Edna. He takes her in his arms and gives her a kiss. “I love you.”

Halley puts her paws over her eyes. “Oh, no. Boomer, they’re getting mushy again.”

Boomer looks away. “Is it over?”

Mapping Out 2024

Edna sees Harold has something in his hand. “What’s that?” she asks.

“Next year’s calendar. Is this one okay?” asks Harold.

“Absolutley. Thank you dear. I want us to start thinking about our New Year’s Resolutions.”

Harold nods. “We can try. You know we’re not too good at following through with those.”

As he talks, Edna scoops dog food into Boomer’s bowl. “Here you go, boy.” Boomer chows down. He didn’t realize he was so hungry.

“Harold, our dinner will be ready in just a few minutes,” says Edna. “Halley’s already eaten.”

Harold crosses the room and strokes Halley’s head. She jumps into his arms. “And how’s our princess this evening, huh? Have you had a good day?”

Halley purrs and rubs her head against Harold’s cheek.

Boomer can’t believe what he’s hearing. “Princess? Did he just call you princess?”

Halley grins at Boomer.  “Cool it, will ya? Clearly the man has good taste.”

Boomer groans. “Oh, brother.”

Now that dinner is over, the dishes washed and put away, it’s time for some goal setting. Edna has her notepad and pen ready to go.

“All right. Where shall we begin?”

Harold clears his throat. “Well let’s start with some categories like personal, home, and work.”

Edna is thrilled. “That’s a great idea. We’ll list maybe two or three resolutions per category. Let’s keep it simple.”

With that, Edna rips off a couple of pages of paper and gives Harold a pen.

“This just might work. We’ve had too many New Year’s resolutions last year.”

Edna is already writing. “Exactly. I think we should have some for Boomer and Halley, too.”

Both pets look up at the same time.

New Challenges

“Did she just say we’re going to be part of this?” asks Boomer.

Halley is worried. “What do they have in mind?”

Harold has a question. “What are you thinking for the kids?”

“Well,” says Edna, “I’m thinking agility classes for Boomer. I hear Australian Shepherds are very good at it.”

“Well he really likes to run fast that’s for sure,” says Harold. “What about Halley?”

Edna thinks for a moment. “I think we should try another ‘walking on a leash’ class for my girl. She still doesn’t have the hang of it yet.”

Harold likes these ideas. “By golly, woman. This could be fun!”

“Fun?” asks Halley. “I know how to walk on a leash. But no self-respecting cat should be asked to do it!”

Boomer is confused. “Isn’t agility the same thing as my herding skills?”

Halley shakes her head. “Apparently not. You’re going to have to jump over and around things and crawl through stuff while running full out!”

“Why?” asks Boomer.

“Don’t ask me,” says Halley. “I don’t know why I have to wear a harness and be pulled down a sidewalk.”

Edna is happy that Harold likes her ideas. “This way we can build on what the kids already do well. We know Boomer is quick and uses all his athletic skills to round up humans.”

Boomer cocks his head. “Well, that’s true.”

Play To Your Strength

Harold agrees with his wife. “Yes, and Halley likes to show she can do things other cats can’t do. It gets people to notice her and she adores being the center of attention.”

Halley sighs. “He knows me so well.”

The thought of Halley strutting down Main Street makes Edna smile. “So, now that we’ve figured out what the kids will do, what about us?”

Harold thinks for a moment. “Well, under the personal column, I want to get in better shape, and spend more time with you and the kids.”

Edna has some thoughts for that column, too. “I want to lose about 10 pounds, come up with new recipes for the cookbook I’m writing. Oh, and I want to find ways to better show how much I appreciate my family, friends, and this wonderful community.”

Edna looks at Harold. “What’s wrong?”

“Absolutely nothing. Have I told you lately that you are a lovely person?”

Edna responds. “I feel the same way about you. You know, we’re really lucky.”

Harold nods.

Start The Year Off Right

And that’s where we leave the Sanders’ family on this evening in late December. Harold and Edna continue to write down the rest of their resolutions.

Halley snoozes soundly on her window seat. Boomer curls up on his dog bed right below her and yawns. A new year is right around the corner.

There will be celebrations and lots of opportunities to express kindness and caring in the new year. After all, that’s what folks do in the small Southern town of Shady Pines.

Happy New Year!

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