Monthly Archives: April 2019

The Supervisors

Children at parks and playgrounds should be supervised.

What do you think of first when you read those words?

A parent watching from a nearby bench? An older sibling or friend playing nearby? A teacher running out of numbers counting bodies in motion?

These are all good things. Today I want to present another option. It only applies in small towns.

At this particular park – maintained by a local civic organization and featuring a baseball diamond – the neighbors might like to supervise.

They promise to stay nearby — unlike the occasional teen.

They know how to raise an alarm — but generally are quiet.

Hands off — let the children learn to problem solve — it might be their motto.

When pasture borders playground — supervisors are plentiful.

Once Upon A Time…

…there lived a small boy. He had many animal friends — plush and comfortable.

He talked to his friends. Some days he took one or two outside to play. And always, always, he gave them soft hugs before he fell asleep.

Time passed. The boy grew. Yet…part of him remembered.

So one rainy day, he gathered his friends and opened a book.

Once upon a time, he began…

…and they went on an adventure together.


Is it Spring Yet?

Spring can be a sly season in the Upper Midwest.

The sun will shine and warm the air. Snowbanks will shrink to reveal brown grass. Then with the suddenness of an eighteen wheeler on the Interstate — the temperature drops and winter blows in.

It’s rather like waves on the lake against the shore. Advance. Retreat. Rinse. Repeat.

Residents learn to be cautious. Memories need to be long enough to cover a multitude of possibilities. You see it everywhere — winter coats and boots remain on the back porch, within easy reach. The front loader stays on the tractor, at the ready. Winter precautions for plumbing stay in place.

Drinking fountain under wraps. It proved to be a good idea when over ten inches of snow arrived 36 hours after this photo.

Temporary Greeter

Tourist attraction. Local attraction. Research facility. Open air delight.

The Garden.

I’ve heard, and used, most of these to describe The Missouri Botanical Garden.

Regular followers of this blog are aware that I visit often and dot this space with photos from those visits.

One of the many things I like about my visits? Each one is different. There is always something new, or perhaps I see a plant at a different stage of development, or in a new light.

The staff works hard to make some of this happen. They erect seasonal items to enhance the plantings. Often these have a theme — sometimes connected to a festival.

This handsome fellow welcomed visitors during the Chinese Lantern Festival several years ago. 

Across the Generations

Perhaps you notice it more in small towns. Or maybe they manage to keep some things for more years.

On a recent visit to the inspiration for Crystal Springs, I stopped at the Legion Park. They’ve made improvements through the years. They have restrooms with flush toilets now. (You don’t want a description of what they had during my childhood.)

Off to the side — across the drive from a play area with modern climb and slide toys for the smaller children — I found these familiar items.

Do you want to swing or get dizzy?

What did you say?

Yes. You have my full attention.

I hear you very well with my large, agile ears. But allow me time to translate from human to my native language.

A story. With dogs. Dogs like me. Who do good things — heroic things.

I like that. Where can I find it?

All the popular on-line retailers? Excellent. I’ll nudge my human into action.

Seed of Desire

More than Size Matters

Libraries. My heart has a tender spot for them.

Some of them are housed in impressive buildings. The main building of the St. Louis Public Library recently had a facelift and overdue detailed cleaning. If you visit — be sure to look up and marvel at the ceiling.

Branch libraries, and those in medium-sized towns, run from elegant old buildings to sleek glass and steel. Most have separate areas — actual rooms — for children’s, teen, reference, study, meetings, classes, and computers.

Then there is the small town. Let’s be specific and reference the model for Crystal Springs (check out the three romances set in this fictional town).

The current library is housed in a long, narrow frame building. When I was a child, it was the doctor’s office. Some older folks still referred to it as the “furniture store building”. And I do believe it had other uses before then. The location is great. It’s on main street next door to the elementary school. Parking across the street. Tavern and convenience close by.

Inside they have all the necessities. Books for all ages. Magazines. Audio books. CD’s. Computers. Newspapers and a quiet spot to read them. And friendly staff. They host events and clubs for adults and children. And even the occasional book signing.

The author chats with a home town resident at her debut book signing.

Be Sure to Pack…

During my life, I’ve packed for several different sorts of travel.

There’s the quick trip for business or to attend a conference. Pay close attention to the wardrobe — you want to make a favorable impression.

The vacation. Road trip or airline travel? Companions? Save room for souvenirs! Consider the weather and how much time you intend to spend out of doors.

Some trips are planned far in advance. Others come up at short notice. All of them require a few invisible items. Patience. Flexibility. Sense of humor.

You never know when you’ll need the purple flamingos!


Change of Season

According to the calendar — spring will be two weeks old tomorrow.

How does it look outside of your window?

Bare brown grass? Lush early flowers? Shrinking snowbanks?

In the fictitious village of Crystal Springs — they are eager to see the last of the snow on the shady north side of the barn melt. Gardens are being planned. Farm machinery is being checked, repaired, oiled and greased up — ready to go as soon as the fields are dry enough. Mud rooms display their name. And on a fine day — blankets and quilts are hung on the line for a good dose of fresh air.

Need some reading to match?  Open up Hiding Places and join Linc Dray as he faces the problems of an orchard in June — plus his own unique challenge.

Available at your favorite on-line retailer.