Posted on

Judy Zummo – The End of an Era

Judy Zummo

In the dictionary the word august is defined as “inspiring reverence or admiration.” For the past twenty plus years we have had an august long horn steer who sported what looked like a heraldic shield on his forehead.  We purchased him along with four heifers when we were raising cattle. He had several jobs. His favorite was when the heifers calved. He would stay with the calves while the mothers grazed peacefully in the field. While in his care, he would groom them as he watched over them while protecting them from any prey that might be looking for a tender meal. He also helped me when I was teaching Algebra. I enlarged a picture of him, put a large “x” on his forehead, and named him Buford X Domain. I then told the story of how his job was to determine who could enter the pasture. He was the boss. The domain is the first member of an ordered pair that determines the answer and the range, the second member of an ordered pair, is the answer or the result of input. With Buford as the domain, he determined what was allowed on the range. The students could always determine the domain in a function.

But all things must come to an end. Buford grew old and had begun to look like a skeleton covered with loose skin. He was failing fast. Several weeks ago, after many days of rain, he got stuck in the mud while getting a drink of water from the pond. We had to physically pull him out of the mud with the tractor, but he was too weak to get back up on his feet. Rather than let him suffer, we decided to put him down and thus the end of an era.

His seven-foot rack is now curing in the arena and will be mounted somewhere on the farm (not in the house).   He is gone but not forgotten.

Posted on

Susan Williamson – Kids Say

Susan Williamson

As Art Linkletter (I am dating myself) used to say, kids do say the darndest things. I was fortunate to spend another week as a substitute riding instructor. I taught a six year old boy and six year old boys are not known for their attention span or concentration on tasks at hand. It was the week of monsoon rain and constant thunderstorms. So even though we were indoors, we still had a storm delay until the thunder moved farther away. First he squatted to pet the barn cat. Then, he wanted to touch the horse’s hooves to see what they felt like. This was fine, but I was leery of him squatting in the sawdust beside a 800 pound plus Haflinger pony. She is very sweet and docile but any horse could spook at a close lightning strike.

After I convinced him to stand, the pony stretched out to pee. That’s disgusting,” he said.

I said, “You know, horses don’t have bathrooms. They go wherever they are.”

“Could a horse use a toilet?” he asked.

“I don’t think so,” I said.

The storm abated and I lifted him onto the saddle. I told him to ride over to the wall. “Can a person ride a shark?” he asked.

I got the first part of that, but I wasn’t quite interpreting his pronunciation of “Shaaawk”, so I asked for a repeat. “CAN A PERSON RIDE A SHAAWK?” he shouted. Finally I got the shark part and wondered where it had originated. Of course the path outside the arena now looked like a lake, so perhaps the water image was responsible. And he was looking outside, and at the ground and at me and everywhere except where he was going. Consequently the pony was wandering aimlessly.

“You have to look where you are going,” I said. “Okay, tell her to trot.”

He shook the reins. “Never do that,” I said, in a perhaps less than patient voice.

He looked at me, a bit shocked, and proceeded to trot and post very well for the rest of the time. When we ended I bragged on how well he had done. And he had, once he came to the lesson.


Posted on

Sharon Canfield Dorsey – Voices From the 50’s


Sharon Canfield Dorsey

What a difference 60 years makes!

“Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging 7 cents just to mail a letter?”

“If they raise the minimum wage to $1.00, we won’t be able to hire outside help at the store.”

“Guess we’ll have to leave the car in the garage, now that gas is 25 cents a gallon.”

“I can’t believe some baseball player signed a contract for $50,000 a year, just to play ball.”

“I never thought I’d see the day when typewriters would be electric.”

“Things are so tough now-a-days, a few married women are working outside the home.”

“What has the world come to when mothers are hiring sitters to watch their kids while they work?”

“I’m afraid the Volkswagen is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business.”

“Thank goodness I won’t live to see the day when the government takes half our income in taxes. I wonder if we’re electing the best people.”

“Fast food restaurants are convenient for a quick meal, but I doubt they will ever catch on.”

“I guess we’re going to have to cut out our trips. It costs $2 a night to stay in a hotel.”

“No one can afford to get sick these days — $15 a day in a hospital is too rich for my blood.”

“If they think I’m going to pay 30 cents for a haircut, they’re crazy!”

“Did you see that Elvis Presley gyrating on the Ed Sullivan Show? Disgraceful! Give me Sinatra or good old Bing Crosby.”

“I caught my daughter listening to rock and roll the other day. It sounds like a bunch of noise to me. I can’t even understand the lyrics.”



Sharon Canfield Dorsey is an award-winning poet and author of two children’s books, Herman, the Hermit Crab and the Mystery of the Big, Black Shiny Thing and Revolt of the Teacups; a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; and a book of poetry, Tapestry. Her poems are also included in an anthology, Captured Moments. WATCH FOR A NEW CHILDREN’S BOOK IN THE FALL OF 2018, ILLUSTRATED BY HER GRANDDAUGHTERS.

Posted on

Larry Finkelstein – Pew Research

Pew Research has just released a study “Strong Men, Caring Women”, regarding what Americans value (and don’t) in each gender. The results, while not terribly surprising, have significance in the workplace. If we are not aware of these predispositions, what careers we consider for ourselves and who gets considered for which job will be affected by bias. And, how individuals present themselves in interviews may need to be fine-tuned.

Some of their findings:

Often there was no consensus on society’s expectations for men and women.Yet some clear patterns emerged.

Americans were much more likely to use “powerful” in a positive way to describe men and in a negative way towards women

“Honest” was used much more often as a positive value regarding men than women

“Leadership” and “ambition” were seen as traits that society values more in men than women

“Aggressiveness” was seen as more negative in women than men

“Kind” and” responsible” were seen as positive for both but more consistently used towards women than men

“Compassionate” and” caring” were considered positive traits for women but more negatively for men.

Posted on

Sharon Canfield Dorsey – Childhood Truths and Secrets

Sharon Canfield Dorsey

At six, my world was black and white,

without those shades of gray.

My truth was sometimes mine alone,

no mind what others say.


I knew I would awaken every morning to the delicious aroma of bacon and hot biscuits.

I didn’t know my mother rose at 5 a.m. to start the fire in the iron cooking stove.


I knew if we planted corn in spring, we’d have roasting ears with butter in summer.

I didn’t realize the kernels had to be watered and weeded – it was all garden magic.


I knew on July 4th, we’d pig out on watermelon and homemade strawberry ice cream.

I didn’t question why Daddy hung the flag and saluted the old men riding in the parade.


I knew on Saturdays, Daddy and my uncles drank wine from bottles in brown paper bags.

I didn’t understand why Mom and the aunts yelled at them when they passed out later.


I knew school was a magical, safe place, filled with books I couldn’t wait to read.

I didn’t know those imaginary worlds would carry me through so many hard times.


I knew from our Bible School stories, there were poor children in far-away lands.

I didn’t know until I entered junior high school in seventh grade that I was poor too.


I knew my grandparents adored me and treated me like a beautiful princess.

I couldn’t know how much I would miss that unconditional love when they were gone.


At six, my world was black and white,

the good, the bad, the strange.

My truth was often mine alone,

to create — rearrange.



Sharon Canfield Dorsey is an award-winning poet and author of two children’s books, Herman, the Hermit Crab and the Mystery of the Big, Black, Shiny Thing and Revolt of the Teacups; a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; and a book of poetry, Tapestry. Her poems are also included in an anthology, Captured Moments. WATCH FOR A NEW CHILDREN’S BOOK IN THE FALL OF 2018, ILLUSTRATED BY HER GRANDDAUGHTERS.