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Joyce Carr Stedelbauer – Alphabet Animals Go International – October 11, 2018

Joyce Carr Stedelbauer

THE AWESOME PARTY is about to go to far-flung places!  I wonder if any of these animals like to fly?  Certainly the Owl, Junco, Ibis and Vulture know about the beauties of the sky but the Rhino’s and the Elephants are going to require big cages and they may get a funny feeling in their oversized tummies.

This colorful children’s book which was published by HIGH TIDE PUBLICATIONS in the spring has been chosen by the ladies in a community church to include in their Christmas Shoeboxes.  These wonderful surprise boxes are distributed every year by SAMARITAN’S PURSE to needy children all over the world. When these excited kids first open their gifts they will see animal faces smiling at them from the sunny yellow cover of THE AWESOME ALAPHABET ANIMAL BOOK.

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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – Columbus, The Pirate

Sharon Canfield Dorsey

Today, most people know that the legacy and achievements of the explorer, Christopher Columbus, who the nation once dutifully celebrated, depict a false narrative, honoring a man who initiated the colonization of the peoples indigenous to the Americas.

I wonder if most people realize just how far-reaching the impact of Columbus and his voyages truly were. Within a century of European arrival, entire communities had begun to disappear. Natives were killed. They were enslaved. They died of disease. And they were brutally exploited for their land and belongings.

We cannot go back in time and change the attitudes of colonists and conquerors of a time now far away, men who thought whatever they “discovered” was theirs to take. But we can act in a way that shows we will no longer celebrate the exploitation of one people by another.

Many cities, counties and universities have begun celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day or Native American Day, instead of Columbus Day. It is a way of acknowledging the truth about the past, so we can make positive changes in the present. It is honoring the achievements of indigenous peoples whose social, cultural, artistic, musical, scholarly, and literary accomplishments have contributed so much to our country.

It is especially appropriate for Virginians. On October 3, 2018, members of seven Virginia tribes gathered to celebrate being formally recognized by the federal government. They gathered at Werowocomoco, in Gloucester County, on land once occupied by their ancestors. It’s been a long time coming. The Pamunkey, Chickahominy, Chickahominy Eastern Division, Monacan, Nansemond, Rappahannock, and Upper Mattaponi have been fighting for federal recognition for decades. The designation guarantees the tribes sovereignty to decide their own destiny. It restores to them rights that were stolen generations ago. Rappahannock Chief, Anne Richardson voiced the feelings of tribal members, “This is liberty for us. This is justice for us. We’re finally seeing the promises that are inherent in our constitution that we’ve been left out of all these years.”

HAPPY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ DAY!!

 

 

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

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Cindy L. Freeman – A Pet Peeve, 10/01/18

Cindy Freeman

People-watching is one of my favorite pastimes. The teacher in me especially enjoys observing parents as they interact (or fail to interact) with their children. I must admit to being brutally judgmental in that department. After all, my children are grown, and I’ve conveniently forgotten all my parenting mistakes. That qualifies me as an expert, right?

Yesterday my husband and I were eating lunch on the terrace of a local restaurant. It was a gorgeous sunshiny day, and a gentle breeze swirled through the courtyard as we waited for our food. Soon a couple entered with two young children and settled two tables away from ours. From working with children for more than forty years, I have an uncanny ability to pinpoint ages. After placing the one-year-old (I’ll call him Mikey) in a high chair and the six-year-old (Let’s call him Josh) next to him, the mom pulled out a coloring book and markers for Josh. Good job, I thought, you brought something to amuse your child while he waits. Her strategy would have worked beautifully had she not placed the siblings next to each other. As soon as Mom turned her attention to the menu, Mikey began grabbing markers from his brother who was coloring quietly, minding his own business. Of course, Josh raised his voice in frustration and tried to grab them back. Mom could have deescalated the conflict quickly by seating herself between the children and distracting the toddler with an age-appropriate activity, but that’s not what happened. Instead, she scolded Josh harshly while Dad pulled out his phone, completely ignoring the situation.

“Stop that and be quiet, Josh!” Mom shouted across the table, her face twisted into an ugly scowl. “He’s only a baby.” Then she turned to Mikey with a doting smile and sugary voice. “Right, sweetie? Let’s give the marker back to Josh. Okaaaay, sweetie?” Well, that wasn’t going to happen willingly, as you can imagine. Now, with both kids screaming, Mom was going berserk, grabbing markers, slapping hands, and creating an unnecessary scene. Dad was still staring at his phone, and now the busy server stood waiting for their order.

Unfortunately, I see similar situations play out nearly every time I eat at a restaurant or shop in a store. Often the parents ignore their children instead of interacting with them. Of course, kids are going to act out to get their parents’ attention. When they misbehave, they get scolded or worse, and an unnecessary scene erupts. Here is an opportunity to spend rare quality time communicating with children and teaching them important social skills, but either the parents are staring at a screen or correcting their children loudly and punitively.

Instead of instructing their children proactively about the behavior they expect in various settings, many parents overreact with surprise when their children behave like normal kids in public settings. It’s almost as if these clueless adults are setting up conflict intentionally so they can exhibit power and control over the smaller, weaker humans in their care. I can’t help but wonder at what age Josh stopped being “sweetie” and turned into the object of his mother’s fury and his father’s disregard.

Cindy L. Freeman (a retired musician and music teacher) is the author of two award-winning short stories and four published novels: Diary in the AtticUnrevealed, The Dark Room, and I Want to Go Home. Website: www.cindylfreeman.com; Facebook page: Cindy Loomis Freeman. Her books are available through amazon.com or hightidepublications.com

 

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Susan Williamson – Horse Racing Returns to Colonial Downs

Susan Williamson

When we researched the many attractions of Williamsburg, VA, we were excited to learn about Colonial Downs. Then, we were sad to hear that it was no longer operating. Although I have read all of the articles, I’m not sure where the fault lies, so I will not comment on that.

But it is re-opening with historical horse racing and by 2019, live racing. Yes! I’m not sure how the historical horse racing works—couldn’t you just look up the results before placing a bet?  Obviously I’m missing something here. The Virginia legislature apparently had to legalize historical racing and a billboard along I-64 says “Thank you Virginia.” I concur with any action that allows this lovely facility to operate.

I’m also not quite sure about the interior remodeling.  First of all, it was only open a short time—why would it need to be remodeled? And the description I read said sleek and modern, with feminine historical touches. Pardon? That sounds like a recipe for decorating disaster.  On that thought, maybe that should be a new show on HGTV—Greatest Decorating Disasters.

But I digress. Virginia, birthplace of Secretariat, should of course have live racing. The sport of kings is most appropriate in the Tidewater with its colonial heritage. Economically, horse racing supports horse farms and their suppliers and results in the continuing land use by beautiful horse farms.

Socially, there is nothing quite like a day at the races– an occasion to wear a hat, perhaps, or to dress in tweeds and boots, to watch magnificent animals do what they were bred and born to do. I can’t wait.

Hmm, it might even be a place to sell horse themed mysteries and children’s books . . .

 

Susan Williamson is a lifelong horseperson, former newspaper editor, extension agent and food coop manager. She is the author of three novels: Desert Tail, Tangled Tail, Dead on the Trail and a children’s book, The Riding Lesson, as well as How to Buy Your First Horse.

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Cindy L. Freeman – See Me – 9/26/18

Cindy Freeman

My name is Everett, and I’ve been told I’m a handsome guy. I’m feeling neglected today. In fact, I’ve been feeling that way for some time now. Here I sit in this lovely sunroom surrounded by greenery both inside and outside the expanse of windows. My setting is pleasant enough, but I’m not used to being idle and mute. I try to gain the attention of my mistress, but she walks past me to get to her laptop. Wouldn’t you think she’d notice me since I occupy nearly half the space of this room? I try to call out to her but cannot. Devoid of her attention I am constrained to silence.

For many years I received daily strokes and responded faithfully, but now she is more interested in writing. She sits only a few feet away, scarcely acknowledging my presence. If my legs were not stiff and wooden, I would stomp on that laptop of hers. I wonder what I’ve done to warrant this neglect. Have I become invisible?

If I could express the depth of my emotions without her help, I would tell my mistress how abandoned I feel, that I miss her touch, and that I’m fairly bursting with repressed communication. Doesn’t she remember how fulfilled our interaction once made her feel? Has she forgotten how willingly I responded to her loving caresses, answering with the songs of my soul and hers?

Only a few months ago, my mistress spent a good deal of money to move me from our previous home to this condominium. I was heavy and required a specialized moving company. The careful attention to my safety and comfort made me feel valued and important, but only briefly.

My name is Everett, and my life’s purpose is to serve my mistress with sweet warbles, cooing and chirruping as she tickles me lovingly. Occasionally, she runs the feather duster over my smooth mahogany shell. Still it’s not enough to unlock the captive melody within. Pound me, kick me, scream at me. Any attention will do. But please don’t ignore me.

Cindy L. Freeman (a retired musician and music teacher) is the author of two award-winning short stories and four published novels: Diary in the AtticUnrevealed, The Dark Room, and I Want to Go Home. Website: www.cindylfreeman.com; Facebook page: Cindy Loomis Freeman. Her books are available through amazon.com or hightidepublications.com