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

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

Countdown To Christmas

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

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

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

Not to mention the ads for toys are everywhere.

It can get overwhelming.

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

One Day At a Time

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

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

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

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

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

“Like what?” asks Harold.

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

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

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

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

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

Harold is afraid to ask. “No. What?”

“We should make our own Advent Wreath.”

Boomer and Halley are Confused

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Memories and Lessons

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

Harold smiles. “I didn’t know that.”

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

“What a lovely idea,” says Harold

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

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

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

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

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

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Sweltering Summertime Southern Pines Fun!

Sweltering Summertime Southern Pines Fun!

What Could Go Wrong?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And So It Begins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Plan Comes Together                  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting Everything Ready

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, Edna untangles the hose.

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

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

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

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

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

Look Out Below!

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

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

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

“Edna, honey, are you OK?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Am not.”

“Are, too.”

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

All’s Well That End’s With A Meal

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

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

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

“Mine has more than yours,” says Boomer.

“Does not,” says Halley.

“Does, too.”

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

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

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Boomer and Halley & A Father’s Approach to Mother’s Day

Boomer and Halley & A Father’s Approach to Mother’s Day

A Mother’s Day Surprise

With just days to go until Mother’s Day, dawn breaks gently in Shady Pines Story Town.

A soft breeze flows through the open window and into the kitchen of the house on Dogwood Drive across from Copy Cat Lane.

Birds chirp loudly as they perch in the tall, leafy tree outside. The Sanders’ home hums with activity on this beautiful spring morning.

Harold Sanders is feeding his four-legged children.

He fills the food and water bowls of Boomerang, the Australian Shepherd dog, and Halley’s Comet, a silver streak of a cat.

“There you go kids. Breakfast is served.”

“I love breakfast,” says Boomer.

“Not as much as I do,” says Halley.

Boomer growls. “You’re in my way.”

“Am not,” says Halley.

“Are, too!” yells Boomer

The back-door swings open and Edna Sanders appears with a fistful of colorful flowers. “Wow, the garden has come alive in the past week.”

Harold shakes his head in wonder. “Honey, you have a green thumb. I can’t believe the size of those roses.”

Edna places the cluster of white, dark pink, yellow and peach colored blooms on the kitchen counter. “I know. They’re so much bigger than last year. Will you grab a vase for me? There are several in the top cupboard.”

Harold reaches way up to the top cabinet and brings down a container of cut glass. “What about this one? It should look great with sunlight bouncing off it.”

Edna smiles. “That’s perfect. Oh, my gosh. What time is it?”

Harold looks at the clock on the wall. “It’s 8:30. Are you rushing somewhere?”

“Sorta,” says Edna. “I want to go to Fred’s Corner Grocer before it gets crowded. Thank you for putting the flowers in that vase. They look wonderful. Will you watch the kids while I’m gone?”

Harold sees Boomer looking up and sniffing at the flowers on the kitchen counter. Halley has jumped up on her window seat and is licking her paws.  Harold smiles. “I think I can manage, dear.”

As Edna scurries up the stairs to get dressed, Harold sits at the kitchen table, flips on the TV and clicks through channels. “Let’s see what looks interesting.”

While he tries to decide what program to watch, Harold notices one Mother’s Day commercial after another. “Oh, NO! Mother’s Day is this weekend. Boomer, Halley, we have to do something special for mom!”

Boomer barks. “Halley, what’s going on? Is something wrong with mom? What do we have to do?”

“I have no idea,” says Halley. “She looked okay to me.”

“What’s a Mother’s Day?” asks Boomer.

Edna rushes back in, kisses Harold on the cheek and grabs her car keys. “Bye. See you later!”

“Bye, dear,” says Harold.

Harold turns off the TV. He needs a plan. Boomer wanders over. Harold takes the dog’s head in his hands and looks into his eyes. “What are we going to get her boy?”

Harold stands up and goes over to the kitchen desk where Edna sorts the mail and makes lists of things she wants to get done. Maybe something here will spark an idea. Halley follows him, jumps onto the desk, pushes her head against his arm and demands to be petted.

Harold just laughs. “You like to get into the middle of things don’t you girl? OK, I’ll pet your head and you can help me look for clues.” Harold rummages through bills, junk mail, and an invitation to a party.

“Wait. That’s it. I’ve got it you guys. We won’t buy her a Mother’s Day card, we’ll make her a card. We’ll do it together. Follow me!”

Harold makes a bee line for the den with Boomer right on his heels. Halley trots along bringing up the rear. Harold knows exactly where Edna keeps baskets full of paper and coloring pens and all sorts of craft stuff.

“Here’s everything we need. Wait a minute. Boomer, what’s your chew bone doing in this basket? Halley, isn’t this your squeaky toy?”

Boomer looks at Halley. “Uh-oh. I forgot about the day we played in here even though we weren’t supposed to.”

“Look on the bright side. Dad found Mr. Squeaky,” says Halley. “Do you think he’s mad at us?”

“Hope not,” says Boomer.

Harold chuckles. “You two are something else. Grab your toys, I’ll bring what we need. Let’s head back to the kitchen ’cause Operation Mother’s Day Card is about to begin.”

In minutes the kitchen table is covered with thick paper in a variety of colors, coloring pens, scissors, glue – the works. Boomer crawls under the table and chews his bone. Halley grabs Mr. Squeaky toy with her teeth, throws it up into the air and chases after it.

Harold looks around the room. “We need to add things to the card that will be meaningful to Edna. The flowers! They’re perfect.”  Harold takes out his phone and snaps a picture.

Next he sees the framed picture of the family. “That’ll work.” He snaps another photo.A happy family hugging their pets

After he prints out copies of the flowers and the family, Harold sits at the table and tries to make decisions.

There so many different colors of paper. How will he choose?

“Boomer, Halley, what color should we use?”

Halley jumps up the table and lands in the middle of pile. Boomer stretches up, places his front paws on Harold’s legs and barks.

“Whoa. I did ask for help didn’t I?” Harold looks at Halley’s pink collar and tag. “That’s it, Halley. Pink. It’s your mom’s favorite color.”

“Do you see Boomer? I’m helping and you’re just loud,” says Halley.

“Oh pipe down you little pipsqueak. You didn’t do anything,” says Boomer.

“Did, too.”

“Did not.”

Harold  glues the pictures onto the card. Next, he picks up a coloring pen and starts to write a message. He seems pleased with his message. “You know kids, Mother’s Day is a time when we get to tell Edna just how much we love her and appreciate all that she does for us.”

Before he can finish the sentence, Halley sees a bird perched in the tree right outside the open window. In a flash, she leaps off the table sending papers and pens high up in the air. Before they can hit the floor, Boomer is charging after Halley, running and dodging the flying objects.

“Oh, golly. Boomer, HAY-LLEEE! Come back here,” yells Harold.

The back door opens, and a startled Edna tries to take in the scene. “Harold, what’s going on?”

Harold points towards the window. “Quick. Grab Halley.”

Edna lunges just as her silver streak of a cat is about to launch toward the tree. “Come here girl. I got you. Hang on to my shoulder. That’s good.”

Meanwhile, Harold collars Boomer. “All right boy. Let’s calm down here.”

Closing the window, Edna looks around the kitchen. It was so tidy when she left.

“Are the groceries still in the car?,” asks Harold.

Edna puts her hands on her hips. “They are. But first things first. What in cryin’ out loud happened while I was gone?”

Harold picks up the pink card and turns it around to show his wife the message. “We were trying to surprise you with a Mother’s Day card.”

Edna put both hands over her mouth. “Oh, my goodness. You guys made this for me? It’s beautiful.”

Harold is moved by his wife’s emotional response. “We wanted to give it to you on the actual day, but…”

Edna kneels down and hugs Boomer and Halley. Then she hugs her husband. “Don’t you all understand? Everyday in this family is Mother’s Day to me!”

“I have no idea what that means,” says Boomer.

“Me either,” says Halley. “But I think that pink piece of paper makes her cry.”

“Yea. I wonder what’s up with that?” asks Boomer.

And so we leave the Sanders family on a happy note. Harold and Edna clean up the kitchen mess. Boomer chews his bone and Halley plays with Mr. Squeaky toy.

Just another lovely, eventful morning in the small Southern town of Shady Pines.

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