A Frog, A Hog & A Dog, #2…A Hot Summer Day*

* Note: ‘If You Can’t Be There, Then Write A Story’, #4

By Grandpa

For Ben & Summer

Oh, what to do on a hot summer’s day…

That was the challenge facing the FROG, the HOG and the DOG on a hot summer day…

The first day of summer was so hot and the three friends, the frog, the hog and the dog were doing what good friends like doing on hot summer days, or any days, they were enjoying being together…

The day was too hot to hop, too hot to stomp and too hot to romp, nevertheless, the three friends knew just what to do…

The frog, the hog and the dog gathered along the edge of a nearby pond under a huge shade tree. While cooling my feet in the pond waters, I watched them with my trusty binoculars, as they tried their very best to stay cool…

The small friend, the green frog, sat on a lily pad in the pond, which helped cool its smooth skin…

Sometimes, it would slide into the water for a refreshing swim

The small frog thought that staying wet was the perfect way to stay cool on a hot summer day…

The big friend, the pinkish hog, flopped its rather big body in the muddy edge of the pond under a gigantic shade tree…

Because the hog was so big and so heavy, it sank into the soft mud, way up its wide sides, over its bottom and nearly covering its curly tail. The hog found the muddy water cool and comforting…

The big hog thought that laying in the mud on its side…

on its belly…

and on its back…

was a perfect way to stay cool on a hot summer day…

The medium size friend, the black and white dog with thick long hair, decided just to lay on the ground and rest…

The tall green grass nearly covered the dog’s eyes, nevertheless it could still see its friends by the pond, preferring to stay on dry ground, itself, deep in the blanket of soft, cool grass.

The dog thought that laying down and letting its tongue hang out the side of its mouth…

was the perfect way to stay cool on a hot summer day…

And while the frog, the hog and the dog relaxed under a shade tree, on a lily pad, in the mud, and on the grass, they could still see and speak to each other, friend to friend to friend, all about the fun times they have together…

And that is how the three friends, the frog, the hog and the dog stayed cool on a hot first day of summer…

What do you do with your friends to stay cool on hot summer days?

Ben & Summer, brother & sister and best friends forever

Steve B

June 2021

A Frog, A Hog and A Dog

Note: If you can’t be there, then write a story #3

By Grandpa

For Ben & Summer

A Story About Friends

A frog, a hog and a dog

This is a story of three very different friends, a FROG, a HOG and a DOG, and the fun they had when the rain stopped and the sun peeked from behind the clouds.

Three different friends

The smallest friend, a FROG, had smooth green skin and made funny noises with its throat, ‘Ribid’, ‘Ribid’!

The biggest friend, a HOG, had rough, pinkish skin and made grunting noises with its nose, ‘Grunt, ‘Grunt’!

The medium size friend, a Dog, had skin covered with thick black and white hair and made barking noises with its mouth, ‘Woof’, ‘Woof’!

It didn’t matter to the frog, the hog and the dog that they were different, they just enjoyed each other’s company, especially when the rain stopped, because you know what you have when the rain stops…

PUDDLES!

All sorts of puddles: BIG and SMALL puddles, WIDE and NARROW puddles, DEEP and SHALLOW puddles. oodles and oodles of puddles…

(color the rain, clouds, grass and puddles)

And what do you do with puddles? The frog, the hog and the dog knew…..

Jump in them!

Stomp in them!

Run in them!

First, the frog jumped in a puddle and made a small splash. After all, the frog was the smallest friend. But the frog was having too much fun to be concerned about the size of its splash. Look at that big frog smile!

(color the happy frog!)

Next, the hog squatted it’s bottom in a puddle and made the biggest splash. After all, the hog had the biggest bottom.

(color the ‘biggest bottom’)

The hog was having so much fun, so it splashed in another puddle.

This time the hog stomped up and down on its hind legs snd waved its front legs, which wasn’t easy because the hog was so big. Puddle water splashed everywhere…

(color the hog stomping the puddle)

Just look at that happy hog face…

(color the happy hog face)

Finally, the dog ran into a puddle, went one direction, then went the other direction before rolling in the puddle. The dog was covered with muddy puddle water from the tip of its nose to the end of its tail, except for one spot. Can you find it?

(color the happy dog)

The dog had so much fun. Just look at that happy dog face…..

(a happy dog face)

As I enjoyed watching the frog jump, the hog stomp, and the dog run through the puddles, I was distracted by the cheerful sounds of children playing in the distance.

With my trusty binoculars, I was able to see a boy and girl playing in their own puddles. They wore the perfect boots for jumping, running and stomping, a blue pair and a pink pair.

(color the boy, girl, grandpa and tree)

I wonder who they were…

Do you play in puddles with your friends?

“I wondered who they were”
“Just look at those happy faces!”

Listen My Children…1775

‘Listen my children and you shall hear…of the midnight ride of Paul Revere…T’was the 18th of April, ’75…’ (H. W. Longfellow)

A little bit of US history as memorialized in Longfellow’ long poem, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.

My 5th grade teacher, Miss Meehan, wrote several stanzas on the blackboard (remember those?) and we had write them, ourselves, then memorize them.

I’ve never forgotten those stanzas and am reminded of the history and Miss Meehan every April 18th, today. It’s important to remember our history and important people in our lives. Miss Meehan was a good teacher and that period in US history was, well, what can I say.

It’s also important to understand our past, as a country and an individual, so we can learn and make in-course corrections as we continue to grow.

Paul Revere wasn’t the only rider that night and the British grabbed him before he got carried away with his warnings to the public. However, HWL chose to use him in his narrative and now his name is synonymous with revolution and liberty.

I hope you find the poem to read, yourself. And, as I like to do, read it aloud. It seems to resonate better with me when I do.

Remember history, and the teachers who made it come alive for you.

Steve

If You Can’t Be There, Then Write A Story: #2, ‘Daisy The Dog Makes A Friend

The first story was a hit with the grandchildren. The video of our son reading it demonstrated they had great interest and even were able to decipher the sketches as to who was who. It was fun writing and illustrating the story. So much so, that I’m trying my hand at it, again.

As a reminder, the story is based on real events, all the way down to the staring.

Enjoy and any tips to help my sketching are appreciated.

Steve

The Bar Chronicle: #29, ‘There Are No Canaries In The Canary Islands…’*

*strange as it seems. I started this episode of ‘TBC’ in early 2020 and failed to finish it. Just found it, so here we go…

The cold and flu bug sacked two of us from our 29th ‘Bar Night’, including the ‘guest of honor’, tonight was to be his ‘swan song’ before heading for the Sunshine State, leaving us behind to suffer Lake Ontario’s winter wrath.

Of course, going south for warmer weather automatically designates you as the official buyer of rounds upon your return. He knows that and is eager to accommodate. Who wouldn’t be?

However, we still had a quorum, a legitimate excuse to ‘party’, four of us. And, we did, after the appropriate toast and well wishes.

Caverly’s Irish Pub, on South Ave., is still our favorite watering hole and we headed there again, on a Tuesday evening this time, instead of the usual Wednesday, and were surprised to find a full house. Don’t people know it’s winter?

That full house meant a loud house, so we ordered our ‘stouts and lites’ and made haste to an empty back room for some privacy and relative quiet. For me, even a ‘back room’ requires cupping the ear.

Tonight’s conversation seemed a bit different. We tabled any talk of extra terrestrials, for now, and filled our hour with brief , yet serious discussions of declining church attendance, Sudoku and humor, at the risk of repeating stories that we probably told in prior meetings.

We even discussed the importance of drinking water.

I came prepared with an article to share on health tips. One tip urged people to drink enough water, 8 cups a day. I’ve never been a big water drinker and find it challenging to swallow eight cups a day but have discovered that adding a dash of scotch makes it more palatable. Or is the other way around?

Starbucks coffee shops have very good water. It should be, it’s filtered three times and during hot summer months, I add a cup of water to my coffee order. And it’s free.

We ended the night on comedy. Laughing is a prescription for ending the day, or anytime, isn’t it? See what you think.

One among us knows how to set up a joke and he did it perfectly during our talk about stations in military service. He was in the Canary Islands at some point and dutifully noted for our consumption that, believe it or not, there are no canaries in the Canary Islands. I have no idea on the veracity of that statement, but he was setting us up, after all.

In the course of our discussion, the same gent offered that he also had been to the Virgin Islands. And guess what’s not in the Virgin Islands. That was my first thought, but no, it’s canaries, again. Think about it.

We headed home shaking our heads and chuckling because, it’s true, laughter is the best medicine.

Steve

Note: this was the last time the ‘Bar Nighters’ met before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down our gatherings. We next met in February 2021 via Zoom.

For more stories, check my WordPress blog, S’amusing, at ‘srbottch.com’

If You Can’t Be There, Then Write A Story

Covid-19, thé pandemic and all, sure has thrown a monkey wrench into family gatherings, hasn’t it?

As first time grandparents, we see the tots on ‘FaceTime’, but you can’t hug a phone and expect an emotional response.

What about letter writing to the kiddos? Give them something to hold that came from you. A sheet of paper?

Here’s an idea. Take the letter writing a step further and write a story about something that is going on in your daily life. They’ll read it over and over. Well, their parents will. Maybe you can read it yourself on a FaceTime.

I did just that, wrote a story, and it’s been fun. It had to be a real story, something that actually happened with a fair dose of ‘writer’s license’. That is, I could stretch the truth a bit just to make it more fun.

Here’s the story, The Troublesome Stone. if you have young grandchildren, or your own little ones,?this would be a fun story to read. You may have to enlarge the pictures to read each page.

Enjoy!

Steve

The Crossing Guard Chronicles: The Facts, Just the Facts… ‘Did You Know Abe Lincoln Had A Sense of Humor’?

‘We miss your facts’, a student at my school crossing post offered. ‘Well, here’s something, did you know that President Abraham Lincoln had a great sense of humor?’ No, she didn’t and neither did other students. I didn’t, either, until I recently read* more about Lincoln.

‘His pictures always show him looking sad or serious’, another commented. ‘Well, he was often sad and serious. He had much to be both sad and serious about in his life’.

One can get a potpourri of facts by reading.

This is the stuff we talk about at the Curbside Classroom. Facts. But there’s more. And the kids love the ‘more’.

He changed the world for the better. Dr. Jonas Salk did that. I was working on March 26th and reminded the kids about Dr. Salk and his successful research into developing a polio vaccine on this date in 1953. We discussed what we could in the very brief time before crossing.

Tying the polio epidemic and the successful vaccine then, when I was a kid, to the Covid-19 pandemic, I thought, was interesting for the kids, as well as a couple of teachers or adults who happened to benefit from crossing at the Curbside Classroom, that day. Understanding that events in history often repeat themselves was a good lesson. And to have an eye witness, me, who experienced the anxieties of both, tell them about it, was a plus.

Some of these kids are graduating this year and it’s exciting to see them planning their future. It’s been a challenging year because of the pandemic but kids are resilient and they seem to have handled it fine, for the most part.

I like to think that the Curbside Classroom helped them kick start their days. I hope it will be a fond memory, as they continue along a successful Life journey and maybe, just maybe, change the world for the better.

Congratulations, Class if 2021!

Steve

* Team of Rivals’ by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin

The Bar Night Chronicles: #30, ‘And The Survey Says…’

Five of the Bar Nighters ‘Zoomed in’, again, for an evening of general talk, laughs, useful tips, and, of course, beer. Yes, beer.

Our entire reason for gathering is ‘brotherhood’, but beer enhances it, and we can manage 1 for the night. The one among us who opted for Jack Daniels* Tennessee whiskey, America’s top selling whiskey, might believe he gets more enhancement with ‘JD’. No doubt, he does.

As usual, and most importantly, the night began with a toast: ‘Here’s to our group and…” (In Zoom, you need to raise your bottles high enough for the device’s camera to find it) “…to the good news that we’re all well and getting shots, Covid shots. Here’s to our friendship. Cheers!

And, the survey says, ‘what’s your favorite breakfast?’ Thought I’d open the ‘beer clutch’ with a probing question. And, since I asked, then it’s best to go first.

Oatmeal!

But not just plain oatmeal. ‘WOODSTOCK’ 5 Grain Cereal (it’s oatmeal) topped with raisins, crushed walnuts, sliced bananas and blueberries. WOW!

Flood it with milk and let it ‘stew’ in the refrigerator overnight for a morning concoction that makes your taste buds yell, ‘Hallelujah’ with the first spoonful. Who knew oatmeal tasted so good?

Apparently, just about everyone. Oatmeal was the favorite of three of us, cold or hot. Kashi cereal had a vote and one opted for tea and toast every morning. A nice, but dainty, ritual. Not surprisingly, it seems that we stick with our favorite on a daily basis. Creatures of habit or sensible eaters? Both, most likely.

Join the survey, what’s your favorite breakfast meal?

After my last ‘Chronicles’ posting, a few readers expressed a sentiment that the Bar Nights would be fun to join. We’d love to have you. And while our conversation isn’t titillating, at evenings end we’re emotionally satisfied. A social gathering is meant to be like that, isn’t it?

A ‘Zoom’ Bar Night is okay, but sitting alone in a sterile environment, our homes, isn’t the same as gathering together amid the sights, sounds and, yes, smells of a pub. I’ve alluded in earlier ‘Chronicles’.

However, upcoming Bar Nights may find us social distancing in a backyard, the next step up from Zooming. Under the stars would be great since we’re certain to discuss aliens/UFOs, one of our favorite topics, especially since we have an amateur ‘ufologist’ (yes, that’s a word) in our group. When he talks, the group is silent and attentive, like kids listening to a spooky story. It’s fun, now, as it was then.

Maybe, just maybe, a one in a million chance that we could have an alien join the circle of friendship. How would the ‘authorities’ report that in official government files?

Keep posted to the Bar Chronicles for upcoming information on UFO reports. And don’t forget the survey!

Steve (March 2021)

On WordPress at ‘srbottch.com’. On Instagram at ‘@srbottch’

Bar Night Chronicles: No. 27, ‘The Reunion’

A year! A whole damn year! Oh, the stuff we ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’ gabbed about. I say ‘gabbed’ because that’s what we do, six of us sitting around a beer stained table, ensconced in a mishmash of creaky, sometimes wobbly chairs, gabbing.

It’s a foggy description but if you let your imagination wander, you can picture us. Six older gentlemen, beer in hand, leaning in to hear the conversation over the din of background noises from bar talkers, dart players, and big screen ‘whatever game is playing’ television watchers.

Stop the show! I got carried away, delirious with wishful imagining, we have none of that tonight. A year has passed since our last actual bar soirée but it’s still Covid-19 season, hence we’re still following protocol; social distancing, maybe even self imposed isolation.

Tonight’s gathering, the first in a year, is via Zoom. Each of us has dialed in to a Bar Night teleconference, managed by a Zoom expert. Imagine faces in rectangular boxes arranged across the top of a PC monitor, like panelists on a game show. Think ‘Hollywood Squares’, the old television game show.

Tonight, it was ‘B.Y.O.B’ to the ‘Zoom’ experience and we raised them in a toast, giving thanks that each of us has maintained our health through the Covid months. We grinned proudly when showing our bottles to the group: Buds, Guinness, a lemonade…a lemonade? Boyish grins, revealed a playful innocence in holding up our bottles, like teens and boasting their first ‘nip’ with the gang.

Some of us had our Covid vaccines while others wait, a bit frustrated by the slow rollout and computer competition to try and snag available time slots when enough vaccines do arrive. But they will and we’ll all get ‘stuck’ by late Spring.

Did you see the news? A pilot on a commercial flight reported seeing ‘something’ he couldn’t identify pass over the plane. Something he couldn’t identify? While ground control couldn’t, or wouldn’t, one of our group could, and did. It’s ‘them’ and it’s been ‘them’ for years. Whoa, now the conversation got interesting.

The conversation has always been interesting over the past few years. Adding in UFOs and aliens to the mix gets everyone’s attention. Throw in the fact that even the US government is telling us in drips and drabs that there have been numerous spottings, unexplainable spottings, by legitimate sources (military pilots) over years, and this topic goes from kookie to classified. You can feel the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

This will make you sit up pay attention: https://www.history.com/news/skinwalker-ranch-paranormal-ufos-mutilation

Have any of you, the readers, experienced UFO sightings, or paranormal action? This is great topic for Bar Night. Fortunately, since I was already indoor, I didn’t worry about being outside, y’know, in ‘their’ environment, tonight.

Steve

“Oh, honey, would you mind taking out the trash tonight?”

February 2021. Click the Follow button to catch a story whenever I get the energy to write. They’re fun and cover a plethora of topics…