F is for Fishing

One of the settings that I love in stories is the sleepy fishing village.  They are found near the water, where the sound of the waves hitting the shore is a very calming sound for me. The primary industry for the people there is fishing, not just for the commercial side of things, but also for their families.

As a kid growing up in the suburbs, I had never fished before. About four years ago, Sam took me out on the lake where his family cabin is. I bought a fishing license and felt pretty cool to see my name on it. Got to feel like I was part of the outdoors gang. I did the best I could to put the bait on the hook. I caught a couple of fish that day, mainly sunfish. I’ve also had the experience of fishing from an ice house and sleeping out on that same lake overnight. The fish we caught while we were out there came at two and three o’clock in the morning. Being woken up by the clanging of the bells on the rattle reels was exciting. Made the ice fishing experience complete.

Fishing is one of those great American pastimes that kids have done with their Dads and Grandads for years. I  hear the stories and see the pictures of how much bonding the boys have done with Sam through fishing. We also took the kids and their sister fishing one time up at the cabin and had the best bonding experience as a family.

As we come upon the annual fishing opener this weekend, the fraternity of fishermen will have the stories to tell about how big the fish really were, exaggerated or not. They’ll also have a weekend where they can get away and enjoy ‘just being one of the guys’.

G is for Gladiolus

My Mom was the gardener in our family. I have some plants by my deck door that are from my Mom’s memorial service seven years ago. They are all green plants and must be pretty hearty, since they are not only still living, but thriving very well, even with me not being the best at gardening. Looking at them right now and they make me smile. I’d like to think that my Mom’s influence from heaven is part of the reason they are doing so well.

I decided that I would try to grow some flowers in the flower box on my deck. So I went to the local dollar store to see what they might have. Wound up buying some gladiolus corms. Some flowers have bulbs, some have corms and some have seeds. I’ve learned that corms have a shell on the outside and flesh on the inside (kind of like a potato). I planted six of them. Two of them are well on their way, one not too far behind and one just starting to peek through the dirt. It will be fun to see what color blooms the plants will produce.

Did you know that Gladiolus was the word that Frank Neuhauser spelled correctly to win the first National Spelling Bee in 1925. It is the flower that commemorates the fortieth wedding anniversary and is also the flower for the month of August.

Wishing all of the Mothers out there a Happy Mothers Day. I miss my Mom very much and this day can be a tough one for me. I used to walk the Susan B. Komen 5K to find the support from others who have also been affected  by breast cancer. For the last couple of years, I’ve just made a point to bring flowers to her grave and spend some time with her there. I remember many Mother’s Days with her having lunch and shopping for flowers for her garden, maybe that is why I felt the need to plant some of my own.

E is for Elephant

One of my favorite animals of all time. I had a couple of stuffed elephant toys growing up and I loved seeing them in cartoons.

They seem to be big gentle animals, but if they are made mad, they could do a lot of damage with their size. They are very smart and they have emotional concern when other elephants are hurt or in danger. Kind of like the intuition dogs have when it comes to the things and people they care about.

The children’s book character, Babar the Elephant, was first published in France in 1931 by Jean de Brunhoff. There were many stories written about Babar, but there was also a lot of concern about the first book, The Story of Babar. The fact this was marketed as a children’s book has many parents concerned with the Mother elephant being shot dead by a hunter early in the story. Maybe a little too startling to be a bedtime story.

As kids, the Disney movie, Dumbo, gave us an interesting view of them. The movie premiered on October 23, 1941 and was the shortest animated Disney feature at 64 minutes. Dumbo, who was actually named Jumbo, Jr., was ridiculed because his ears were bigger than normal. A mouse named Timothy helps him build his confidence to reach his full potential, to fly.

I remember when a circus train let the animals off by the house I grew up in. They had to walk to Met Center, the venue where the circus took place. For all of the fun and performing that we saw, we had no idea how elephants were being treated behind the scenes. After reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, she shows their compassionate side coming through despite  how the animal trainers treated them.

Even though we see them in zoos, Africa and Asia are their natural habitat. Elephants are herbivorous and  eat leaves, twigs, fruit, bark, grass and roots. Their ivory tusks have also been in high demand, even in some cases stolen and sold on the black market.

I wonder why we show them as such a gentle animal in some places, but we treat them as something to be feared. From what I’ve seen and read, I don’t think we really understand them.

D is for Dog

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One of the most loyal partners a person will have in their lives. Our dog is no exception. She has been with us for eleven and a half years. I brought her home when she was six weeks old just after Thanksgiving in 2003. They say it isn’t the best idea to bring a pet into the house over the holidays. It was hard, but I would do it all  again to wind up with her. We spent a lot of time together in the beginning which is what I think helped her to become the sweet dog she is today.

Loyality is an adjective frequently used to describe dogs. They are found laying in beds with their dying owners, staying by their side until the end. They also protect people by putting their lives on the line for them. For being just an animal, they seem to have a lot of intuition about things and the people around them.

When she focuses her sight on me, I see the adoration in her eyes. Sometimes I feel bad that I may not give her as much as she gives to me. I’m amazed at how much unconditional love they have to offer.

After they give their hearts and souls to us, we must help them when it becomes time for them to go. As heart wrenching as it is for us to do, it is in their best interest. We enter into that agreement when we first take them home and into our hearts. I’m having a hard time imagining that time for us now, but I’m grateful for what she gives me everyday.

C is for Cotton Candy

That would be two words that begin with C. Do I get a double letter score for that one?

Whenever we would go to a circus or a fair when I was a kid, we were always drawn into the vendors that sold cotton candy. The sticky sugar treat. It came on a cone in many colors. One of those objects that always reminds me of being a kid.

Cotton Candy is simply spun sugar with added color and flavor. It was originally found in 19th century Europe. One of the men who invented the machine that spins the sugar was a dentist, William Morrison. It was  invented in 1897 and the cotton candy, known as fairy floss, was sold at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis for $.25. That was a lot of money in 1904, equivalent to $5.99 in 2015 money.

Who would have thought that a dentist would be involved in an invention like that? He was said to be an avid inventor, but it also could have led to a little more business for the dentist.

Tootsie Roll is now the largest manufacturer of cotton candy. It’s called “Fluffy Stuff”. And did you know there is a Cotton Candy Day? It is December 7th, so it shares the day with Pearl Harbor Day.

After the freshman baseball game last night, I walked into Dairy Queen with Sam and Max. One of the featured blizzard flavors on the menu was Cotton Candy. Made me smile when I saw it. Funny that it was the subject of my blog entry for the letter C.

B is for Baseball

“Take me out to the ball game. Take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks. I don’t care if I ever get back. Let me root, root root for the home team. If they don’t win it’s a shame. For its one, two, three strikes your out at the old ball game.”

What has become the anthem for the 7th inning stretch at North American baseball games is a 1908 Tin Pan Alley song. Did you know that the authors of the song had never been to a game before they wrote it?

While riding on a subway train in New York City, Jack Norworth was inspired by a sign that he saw advertising a baseball game that was taking place at the Polo Grounds, a three field sports complex in Manhattan. Built in 1890, it was also where the 1913 World Series between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Athletics was played.

And, did you know that the song is actually about a girl being asked out on a date? She will only accept if he takes her to a baseball game.

Baseball becomes our summer life. Both of the kids play on a school team and a summer traveling team, so we are busy moving them to practices and games all over the Metro Area.

We tell the kids that playing on these teams is a commitment. But it’s not only a commitment for them, it’s a commitment for us. Not only to make sure they get to the game on time, but to also make sure they are staying engaged in the team and the game they love.

A is for Airplane

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A is for airplane. I’m a pilot with just over 200 hours of flight time. I’ve always been in intrigued with their history and how they are even able to fly.

In 8th grade, I wrote a paper about Charles Lindbergh and off to the races I went to learn more about airplanes. I love reading stories about men and women pilots. From the barnstorming, to flying around the world, to just being up in the air looking down at the earth from above.

On one of my vacations to Virginia Beach to visit my Aunt and Uncle, we drove down the North Carolina shore to visit Kill Devil Hill, where the first powered flight took place on December 17, 1903 by the Wright Brothers.

For my full time career, I work in the aviation industry where I schedule pilots. I work at an airport where I see planes of all different sizes everyday. Wonder if Wilbur and Orville ever thought powered flight would catch on to become so big?

A to Z Blogging

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I did a 31 pages of writing in March challenge and had a great time with it.

Many people took an A to Z writing challenge last month. They blogged about something that started with each letter of the alphabet during the month of April. My friend Myrna and I are going to take the challenge in the month of May. If you would like to come a long with us in this journey, we would love to have you.

Since there are 31 days in May, I’ll be taking Sundays off from the challenge, but will start with A on May 2nd. As you know, I’m finishing up a story for submission and want to put all energy towards that to make my deadline.

Keep on writing!