After the fire at South Arkansas Community College

I huffed a bit after climbing the steep stairs to the third floor of the newly re-dedicated Thomas Administration Building at South Arkansas Community College. I had skipped the elevator in order to see everything in the new interior.

The little lady who joined me on the top floor walked into a room once filled with student desks and chalk boards. She shook her head, “It looks so different from when I took journalism in this room in high school.” The journalism classroom now serves as the board meeting room. It’s been decades since the chalk boards disappeared from the classroom. Now a very large, new flat screen television provides information via Power Point or televised programs.

A few years ago, I sat in that same room as a journalist covering board meetings. It used to be smaller. To do my job I squeezed around the table, found a chair along the wall and balanced a reporter’s notebook on my knees as I scribbled notes. The new chairs look a lot more comfortable.

A fire 19 months ago sent fire fighters to the roof of the administration building. They poured a pond of water over entire building. It soaked everything and flowed to the basement. The entire building had to be redone: ceilings, walls, floors, furnishings.

Outside the room hung the photographic history. Before flooding everything the firefighters offered to save what they could before drenching the fire. “They carried those pictures out with one under each arm,” College president Dr. Barbara Jones recalled at the re-dedication of the refurbished building

In the hall, I looked around the perimeter of the hall. “No more exposed conduits for electrical wiring.” I said. The guide/staff member agreed. In the 1980s and 1990s electricians could barely keep ahead of the electrical demands during the explosion in computer technology.

The new clean look contrasts with what I saw as a non-traditional student. Then, the make-do wiring in the old facility could not be ignored. At the time students and community affectionately called SouthArk “the Twig” because it was a branch of the college in Magnolia. Back then, my math class with Mr. Culbreth met in a longer existing building. A year or two after graduation, I sat in my car across the street and watched the wrecking crew knock down the last wall of that oddly wired old building.

No more exposed conduits. And, no more antique tin tiles on the ceiling. I couldn’t tell the difference when I looked up at them.

“We took tile from the old ceiling and had a mold made to replicate the replacement ceiling,” the staff member explained.

“The one thing we heard over and over again as the crew worked was, ‘this old building has good bones.’” Dr. Barbara Jones said. She detailed the layers of brick and thick beams of pine that created the building decades ago. “We left some brick exposed so you can see them.”

Well, that explained the plain wall of ancient bricks behind the flat screen in a smaller conference room. I like the look of those ‘good bones.’ Mostly though, I saw newly painted gray walls, new ceilings and shiny new floors. “The pine floors warped. They had to go. They put in oak,” the staff member said.

I left the building through the east door, stepped down the steps and turned left toward the old gym with its age darkened bricks, the peeling veneer on the old doors and flecked paint. It underscored the truth about any facility: the task of upkeep never ends. One building done; another awaits its turn.

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Locked Out!

A locked door welcomed four grandchildren to our house. I stared at the very locked up house. No Grandpa came to greet us.

Grandpa is gone.” I said. I picked up the phone and called him.

No answer. I could only leave a message to a person who never checks messages, “I left my keys with my car at their home. We are locked out.”

We had to wait for him to return. Four kids had no intention of quietly waiting after a three hour drive. Our newest teenager disappeared round the back of the house. A few minutes later, he waved down to me from the roof of our ranch house. His sister quickly joined him while I tried to think of something we could do while we waited.

Come on down and let’s go to Junction City to the Pop-Up sale at ‘A Beautiful Mess.’” I said.

What’s that?”

A gathering of crafts, food vendors and small businesses.”

“A Beautiful Mess” turned out to be a restored two-story house in Junction City. Years ago I saw the house from the street and daydreamed about repairing the mansion. In recent years, Jill and Kendall Wilson quit daydreaming, bought it and began the restoration. It is now open for events such as the Pop-up Sale.

That day the house welcomed 50 small businesses to offer their wares. We circled the lawn checking out the booths of items for sale and the food trucks off to the side. Then we ventured inside. It is not yet an elegantly finished house. Old pictures and old books lined the shelves beside the securely repaired steps. The finished floors and large windows with no curtains on that sunny day made a cheerful setting. We climbed the stairs and explored the rooms and shops upstairs and enjoyed the view. I called home. No one answered. Still no one there to open the door. Time to get lunch for grandchildren. I handed each the same amount of cash. “Here’s what you can spend on food.”

It takes a long time for four children to choose exactly what they want when it is their money. We motioned three or four other customers to go ahead of us as they studied the menu and debated back and forth.

I know what I want! And I don’t want to share with you,” one insisted.

So you go order while they make up their minds,” I said.

We motioned more people to move ahead until everyone had placed an order and sat down. Once they had food in hand they offered, “Do you want a bite? Let me have a bite.” They munched and sipped happily. Even the four-year-old said, “You can have the rest of these,” as she held out a small bag once filled with sweets. A few crumbs remained.

So generous,” her big sister laughed.

Another sister looked at the money she had left and the food she did not have. “I want to order more, but I already ordered food once. It would bother them.”

It’s okay. You can order more food if you want. They are here to make money.” She decided to brave being a repeat customer and returned with a big smile and food.

By the time we finished we only spilled one glass of water and sprinkled a few crumbs around on top of the table

I called home again.

Hello?” Grandpa answered.

You’re home! Go unlock the door. We can’t get in. I left the garage remote with my car.”

This time when we arrived, Grandpa opened the door to welcome his visiting grandchildren.

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Beat Bob the one man volleyball team

t all started last spring: my husband’s excitement and interest in bringing the One Man Volleyball team of Bob Holmes to Union County. Holmes visits communities, plays volleyball with students in various schools and then talks with the students about bullying and suicide. Hubby thought Union County needed him to visit.

Hubby researched the One Man Team extensively. I have heard it all: that Bob has made the Guinness Book of World Records for having played the most athletic games of any one person in the world. Well, I would think so. When he visits Strong, Smackover and Parkers Chapel Schools Monday, he will play three games at each school. That’s nine games during the day. In the evening he will play another three games at El Dorado High School against their girl’s volleyball team and community groups such as the sheriffs, the police or fire departments. Twelve games in one day with one man playing against teams of 6 or 8.

Multiply that with Holmes having traveled around the country for thirty-five years and yes, he has easily played more than 20,000 games. That’s hard. As the only player on the team there is no substitute if he needs a break.

Of course, hubby has made sure I have seen a few videos about Bob Holmes. You, too, can see him on Youtube or at his website beatbob.com. In one game it appears he is playing 15 people, and they still can’t get it over the net to score enough points to beat Bob.

I heard that he also loses sometimes. In fact he has lost fewer than 500 games. Hmm, that means he has lost less than .03% of the games played. He plays every game with lots of on court chatter and energy.

Bob does not just play, he also speaks to the audience. From the volleyball court, Holmes finishes his visit at each school talking about bullying and suicide prevention. He does not just want to entertain, he wants to reach kids where they are hurting and show them another option, another way. That’s exactly what he will do when he plays Monday night at 7 p.m. in the El Dorado High School gym. Entrance is free and the game is fun according to what I have seen on Youtube.

All the chatter at my house began last spring when hubby remembered a magazine article about Holmes. He searched the Internet and found Beatbob.com.

Last summer hubby talked with area schools – seeking to find schools interested in having Bob Holmes visit their campuses. Some simply could not fit Holmes into the schedule this year. Others

heard that he plays as a vehicle to present a message about bullying and suicide and schedules him and immediately welcomed a visit. One community had all too recently encountered the pain of teen suicide. Bob addresses that difficult topic in a way that reaches high school students.

So I heard everything and envied the kids being able to see and hear this Guinness World Book Record setter. Then I learned I could see him play at the El Dorado High School Wildcat gym. So I am looking forward to watching him play the girls’ team and two different groups of first responders. Sounds like a challenge: play and win all 12 games in one day?! Sounds nigh onto impossible. If he does lose, he can afford to be a good loser – he knows he will win more than 99 out of the next 100 games he plays. I hope to see you there.

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30 days of Thanksgiving

 am so far behind in this month’s posting of a daily item for which I am thankful that today I will catch up and finish all at once. With that in mind, I am thankful for …

  1. My handy husband fixes before replacing anything and enjoys the whole process (well, he enjoys it until it just does not work like he thinks it should.)
  2. Power tools make things easier for my handyman.
  3. Said husband also has begun to join me in my “thrifting” hobby
  4. Our six adult children have their health and strength.
  5. God gave the jobs and energy to provide the daily bread needed for our families.
  6. All eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren are healthy.
  7. Family and friends are able to call, text, and message us to keep in contact.
  8. We have so many old and new friends.
  9. We have more than enough to do.
  10. There are plenty of ideas and options to avoid boredom without television.
  11. We possess more than enough food to struggle with being overweight, enough cars that we have a back-up, enough funds to pay the bills, enough energy to get up and enjoy life.
  12. The invention of the manual typewriter spurred subsequent technology with keyboards.
  13. Retirement has given me time to participate in all the activities I could not do when working.
  14. Champagnolle Landing and the exercise equipment and classes keep me flexible and moving.
  15. The used car dealer on College Avenue picked out just the right car for us twice in the last couple years
  16. The El Dorado News-Times welcomes my writing and the writings of other local authors, including letters to the editor.
  17. My friend persisted in saying “Let’s have a sewing group at our church.” We organized one. She and others sewed up a storm for Operation Christmas Child making little bags to hold the toothbrush, comb, washcloth and soap; as well as a rack of dresses and shorts to help fill over 200 boxes.
  18. The Sewing for the Master group at College Avenue Church of Christ provides delightful fellowship and a stash of fabrics in their sewing rooms.
  19. The estate sales and yard sales provide decoration for my house and quilts; I love to find finished cross stitch pieces.
  20. Affordable gas prices allow us to visit our far-flung family, and God gives us the energy to go as often as we do.
  21. A special kindergarten teacher knew exactly the structure and discipline that one high-energy, great-grandson needed when other teachers gave up on him.
  22. Glasses allow me to add reading to my list of many things to do.
  23. We have access to so many books at the Barton Library, the South Arkansas Community College library, the church library and books discarded from other folks’ libraries that I find at yard sales.
  24. A guy comes from a national franchise to control the bugs at my house. I really do not like those nasty, creepy things.
  25. Christian teachers and support staff work in public schools and pray or all the students.
  26. Water and electricity flow from the utility systems.
  27. Potluck meals at church provide a wonderful variety of food.
  28. Digital cameras and means to publish pictures already in scrapbooks are such a time saver!
  29. Well-stocked grocery stores, department stores, general stores and their friendly staff bless us weekly.
  30. Insulation keeps the house warm as the winter descends.

For these our many blessings and so much more, we thank you, God.

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Not the best culinary experience

In 2018 the ethnic restaurant pleased the palate. “That was so good. I am telling my daughter she needs to check it out when she comes here for business next week,” one said.

In 2019, we left the same restaurant shaking our heads, “It all was so bland. It took a long time for the order to come. I don’t want to come back again.” This when we were the only customers that evening. I doubt it will be there in 2020.

Once before I had anticipated the demise of an eatery. It happened while traveling out of town. Our family custom when traveling takes us away from national franchises to try off the beaten path restaurants – new places. We have discovered some now favorite places on the route to visiting family.

And then, there are the unforgettable culinary disasters. The worst happened several years ago on our way home. Tired of hours in the car on an open road, I squirmed impatiently, ready for a break. As my husband turned toward his favorite hamburger joint. I said, “Let’s try something different. Enough already with that monotonously repetitive menu everywhere we stop.”

He veered off the highway and aimed the car up the hill to the town’s center. Saturday afternoon and the town square looked dead. Very dead.

“See anything?” he asked.

“Closed clothing shop. Closed courthouse. A couple trucks parked around the town square of darkened windows. Oh wait! There is a restaurant on the corner with the lights on.”

We parked right beside the restaurant’s door.

Inside we had our choice of all the tables in the room. We had arrived during that slow time between lunch and supper. Fine with me. I needed time away from road noise and the din of chatter.

The proprietor, manager and owner all showed up in one smiling little lady. “This is pancake day. All the pancakes you want for a couple dollars,” she smiled proudly. “We have served a lot of pancakes today,” she testified as did the sticky tables, the sticky chairs and (was it my imagination?) the sticky floor. She seemed oblivious to the stickiness.

“What can I get you?”

“Pancakes,” my husband smiled breathing deeply the aroma of syrup and pancakes.

“Vegetable soup if you have it” I said.

“Great! My cook prepared it today.” She toddled off to the kitchen.

The plate of pancakes and a pitcher of syrup appeared. A lukewarm bowl of vegetable soup was placed proudly before me. The owner took her own bowl of soup and sat across the room at another table with a look of sheer bliss. She eagerly spooned the soup.

I did not. It looked like all the leftovers and bottom of the pan of burnt vegetables from the last couple days. It appeared to have a thin layer of grease.

I took a couple of bites and placed my spoon across the bowl. I wasn’t that hungry. The little lady obviously was. She spooned her soup and smiled. She had had a good day with lots of customers.

My husband looked at me. I was not eating. “The peas are burnt,” I explained. “I will make vegetable soup when I get home.”

The next time we drove by the little town along the river, our curiosity pointed the car off the road and up the hill. We drove around the silent town square to the restaurant on the corner. It sported a firm “Closed” sign. Not even cheap pancakes can not sustain an eatery. Not when plenty of other places offer perfect vegetable soup and clean chairs even on Pancake Day.

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Apple Pie!

Grabbing six year-old Henry around the waist, Nate lifted his son Henry up into the branches of the apple tree to pick an out-of-reach apple.

“I got it, Dad. I got it,” the first grader announced, holding the apple as he slid down his father.

None of the grandchildren grabbed an apple to eat. I did. I bit into one remembering the year we picked several bushes of apples to take home. The aroma of fresh apples permeated the house. They smelled delicious and that first bite of an orchard fresh apple tasted so wonderful that I kept eating apples until my stomach ached.

After picking a couple more apples Henry urged, “Let’s go to the playground.”

The ‘You-pick’ orchard’s astronomically high price for simply entering the orchard also included access to a free playground for the children. Once they finished helping their parents they knew John Deere pedal tractors and tricycles awaited them.

Henry raced his older sister and brother. We watched and snapped pictures.

Little brother wanted a lift to the tree and a ride around the block. Big sister wanted to make a pie. She had talked about it all weekend.

Others helped peel and slice apples. Not just any apples. According to the orchard manager “The Enterprise is a late ripening apple that comes from the McIntosh, the Rome and the yellow Delicious. They hold their shape well when baked, a bit tart but they mellow in storage.”

He brought up the texture and taste because I mentioned the Northern Spy apple of my childhood. It took a visit from my cousin for me to realize ‘why’ apple pie always disappointed me as an adult. Cousin Suzie brought a half a bushel of Northern Spies. I made an apple crisp, took one bite and I smiled. I had finally found the perfect apple for baking. Firm, a bit tart and yet sweet.

“Try the Enterprise and see how it compares,” he urged.

Sophie tried. With a pile of apple slices ready, she pulled out an industrial looking mixer to make the crust. She patted and rolled out the dough and started to lift it to the pie plate.

“It helps if you sort of fold it over the rolling pin,” I showed her what I meant.

The sticky dough flopped into the pan. She pressed it up the sides and slid it into the oven to partially bake. The dough slumped down into the pie plate before we rescued it and patted it up the sides. While it baked Sophie measured spices, flour, sugar and a touch of butter. We took out the partially cooked bottom crust, added the prepared fruit and a much less sticky top crust. It baked forever before the fruit bubbled, announcing its readiness. Firm apples take longer to bake. Bedtime came before the pie bubbled enough to declare it “done” but still hot.

Left in the oven all night, the ambient heat continued to do its magic. We went to bed with the delightful smell of cinnamon and apples.

I guess it worked its magic on Sophie and Henry’s mom and dad because we had apple pie for breakfast. Nothing like dessert for breakfast especially if you ask their brother Sam. His sweet tooth is legendary. He grinned from ear to ear and relished the treat.

So did I. It tasted great. Not exactly a Northern Spy but close enough that I came home and made apple crisp from our Enterprise apples. I did not care that we had only the two of us to eat it. I didn’t want to share it anyway.

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Kids comments about Bible lesson

Children bring a fresh, untrained eye and ear to any experience. Each week Child Evangelism Fellowship teacher Donna Allen presents a short lessons on the Bible to pre-schoolers and older students. She delights in relating some experiences with her students.

“They have really good questions. Their little minds are trying to grasp things.” Sometimes she catches their confusion while telling the story. For instance, one week she said, “We have a dirty heart and need Jesus to clean it.” As she spoke she noticed a little guy pulling on the neck of his t-shirt and looking down at his chest.

Another week she taught about Rahab and the Israelite spies. Rahab protected the spies from her countrymen. “I was explaining how she took them to the flat roof of her house and hid them under the pile of flax. “Flax is sort of like straw,” she explained to the children.

During the review at the end of the lesson “ I asked them ‘where did Rahab hide the spies?’”

One child immediately responded, “underneath the cow’s food.”

“It caught me by surprise, but he was right,” she said.

Another week Donna talked with the children about the prodigal son who had partied away all his money and could not eat until he found a job. She reminded them of the Apostle Paul’s teaching, “If you don’t work you shouldn’t eat. And that is important for you, too. Even at your age, 4, you have a job. For instance, your job tonight, when you take a bath, is to pick up your towel and hang it up. Don’t leave it laying on the floor.”

The next week when she returned to the school, four-year-old Elijah raised his hand and proudly told her, “I picked up my towel.” The lesson she taught the previous week had stuck with him.

“That was his first step of obedience to the Bible,” Donna said.

And then there was the little girl in chapel at West Side Christian School. She raised her hand and asked, “are you going to put those people up on the board?”

“She was looking for the flannelgraph figures we use,” Donna explained.

Recently she finished six weeks of lessons about Joseph who was sold into slavery in Egypt. During one lesson with young children, Donna said, “Pharaoh’s wife pressured him to be her boyfriend. Joseph kept refusing. He told the wife, ‘No, you belong to your husband Pharaoh.’”

She tells the exact same story at different schools At the one school she said, “they kept giggling cause I said ‘boyfriend’. They think I am funny. They laugh at me all the time.”

During a lesson about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, Donna held up a picture of Jesus on the cross. One child studied it and commented, “He looks awfully skinny. Does he not eat?”

Not exactly the observation Donna expected.

The crucifixion has to be tailored to the various age groups. “I try to be nice about it. I told another group, ‘He got beat so bad …’” she started to say when a student interrupted, “what did he look like?”

Startled again, she replied, “Hamburger meat…” stopped and realized with this older group, she needed help, “Okay, go talk to Blake Dailey; he will tell you all about it.”

Blake is one of the volunteer teachers with CEF. He focuses on middle school and junior high students. The program began with daycare children and this year has expanded to include after school classes for elementary and middle school students and up. All older kids challenging teachers with their unique questions and comments.

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Tree Hugger

Tree hugging never made it high in our household. At least it didn’t until the day my husband became an avid convert. It happened one afternoon as he watched yet another gripping (or is that disappointing?) Razorback game. With the sound on the TV turned to stadium loud, I retired to the back bedroom to escape the noise. I closed the door to buffer myself from the noise. With a good book to read and computer to check out YouTube videos or work on some writing, I settled down for the duration.

Maybe half an hour later, I heard my neighbor’s voice in the backyard as she went by the window. “Probably coming over to ask my husband about something,” I thought as I turned a page.

“Joan! We need you out here, right now. Mr. Hershberger is up a tree!” The neighbor had opened our back door to breathlessly call through the house.

Say what!

I ran to the front of the house where the TV blared out the half time entertainment to an empty room. One husband had gone outside to work on removing the tree hanging over our neighbor’s fence.

Bare footed, I stepped quickly over the grass, looked up and saw, my 79 year-old husband 10 feet above the ground with his legs and arms wrapped around the tree, hanging on for life. Beneath him some irregular tree stumps from a previous day’s work promised him a hurtful landing if he let go of that tree.

“You need to move the ladder under my feet,” he said. The ladder had skewed away from his body. He said something about the bungee cord breaking. One foot still clung to the ladder wedged into the ground so we could not move it toward him.

“I’ll get a ladder from our house,” the neighbor said. She sent her son.

“I have a couple more ladders around the corner of the barn,” my husband remembered.

“Never mind,” she hollered across the lawns. Another neighbor placed the second ladder under the newly initiated tree hugger’s feet.

With one foot on the secure ladder, he said, “I have to unfasten the belt to get down.” He had made a safety belt by linking together two leather belts. It worked. It stopped his fall. He sort of sat on one half. That other half hooked over a tree limb about 10 feet above the ground.

We held our breath as he unfastened the safety belt and carefully swung his other foot over to the ladder and climbed down.

“You are too old to be doing that,” the neighbor scolded. Other voices echoed her concern.

He looked at her ruefully and turned to me, “I called you.”

“I couldn’t hear anything except the TV.”

Fortunately the neighbor went outside for a half-time break from Razorbacks and heard his calls for help. All’s well that ends well and he promised no more ladder shenanigans.

I wrote a note to my daughter describing the incident. She called to say, “That’s ridiculous. I want to have him around for his 80th birthday. Have someone else cut down the tree!”

Since then while conversing with folks, I have asked him, “Do you want to tell them how you became a tree hugger?”

Eyebrows raised until he told his story. Then they just shook their heads.

I wish I had heard him that day. Days later, I also wished I had grabbed my phone and taken a picture for social media because, for some reason, my hubby has no interest in returning to his perch to replay his initiation as a tree hugger.

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Visiting the Federal Reserve STL

 Serious business happens at the Federal Reserve building in St Louis. Guards stop visitors entering its free Economy Museum for x-ray and visitor tags.

You have a pair of scissors in your purse?” the guard asked.

Yes,” I had forgotten them.

We can’t hold for you. You have to get rid of them off the grounds.”

The three grandchildren followed me around the corner to find a hiding spot for the scissors. We returned to the museum. I showed my license. They scanned the purse. We clipped on visitor tags.

Huge doors silently opened us to a room with a wrap around the history of the Federal Reserve. The lights dimmed and flashed, a recorded voice spoke. Sophie, 11, stared, “wow!” She and her brothers watched and listened to the brief history.

I wanted to stay and read all the display, but the lights brightened and the next doors opened to the main part of the museum. Sophie and I concentrated on the section regarding “How people make decisions.” Each touched on a decision’s social and economic impact. No high school diploma? Your chances of low to no income far outweigh those who pursued more education.

Every time you say ‘yes’ to do one thing you are saying ‘no’ to another. Let’s say you have two offers for Saturday afternoon: Mow a lawn and earn $20 or go to the movies with friends and spend $10. Have more cash and less time with friends or less cash to spend when you go with friends. Thought provoking concept for any 11 year-old let alone her 67 year-old grandmother.

We meandered over to the wall of screens presenting short videos. I quickly learned that the Federal Reserve began before World War I to stave off the cycles of economic depressions and bank closings. I did not know that J.D. Rockefeller pledged half his wealth to shore up the nation’s economy in 1907. Other men of wealth also stepped in to stave off the problem. If the banks and stock market failed, the whole nation would be plunged into a massive economic depression.

Once the crisis calmed, plans, programs and laws developed that lead to President Woodrow Wilson signing the bill establishing the Federal Reserve. We visited the Eighth District of the Federal Reserve in St. Louis. It covers the finances in seven states and aims to stabilize the economy against collapses.

Other videos showed how everyone has some connection with the nation’s economy and trade: “Buy a gallon of paint to remodel your room, you have affected the economy.” We smiled proudly when they named the company where my son works.

Henry, 6, stared at documentary then returned to play the Trading Pit game. I tried to compete with him. I lost because I actually looked at the numbers to get the best prices. Henry just kept hitting the buttons quickly and grinning. He always won. I guess that the best choice for keeping the economy alive and going well is to have the reflexes of an athletic six year old.

Sam, 9, glanced at some of the 100 exhibits, pushed buttons and asked “When can I go to the gift shop?” He wanted his free bag of money – finely shredded dollar bills. We each took one before we left. I went around the corner to get my scissors. No one asked to use them to open the bags. Good thing, because I am sure the guards would not have been happy. Confetti makes a mess at parties and those serious guards would want that taken off the grounds.

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I want a baby sister

Pre-schoolers know what they want. Our three-year-old granddaughter Katie does. She recently implored her father, “Dad, I want a baby sister. Everyone has one. And I never got to have one.”

“Who else has a baby sister?”

Katie listed several friends.

Dad agreed, a lot of her friends did have baby sisters and added, “Katie, babies are a lot of work. It’s not that simple.”

“I know! I’ll take care of her! You won’t have to do anything. I’ll do everything. Please! I just want a baby sister! Please!!!” she insisted.

Daddy tried logic, “Do you know where babies come from?”

“Yeah, Dad. God makes them. Just like He made me.”

Her mother posted the conversation on Facebook and concluded, “Nice try, Katie. You have Daddy wrapped around your little finger, but I don’t think he will budge on this one.

One friend commented, “She needs to be talking to God then.”

“It would take an act of God for us to have another baby!” her mother agreed.

Be careful what your children pray for. An older Katie, one nearer my daughter’s age, commented, “This Katie spent 11 years praying for a baby sister, not realizing her mommy had a fertility problem that required surgery to have babies. Here I am with my miracle baby sister. (She posted a picture of both of them). Just saying…. Lol, my parents told me to STOP praying when they found out they were expecting in their 40’s,” she wrote.

Big Katie added that she actually had to keep little Katie’s promise to do everything. “I practically raised my sister,” she said.

Katie’s cousin, Henry “still begs for a little sibling. It’s hard being the youngest,” his mom (also a youngest child) wrote.

Another friend commented, “I begged my parents for a baby sister and may still have some bitterness about not getting one.”

Not every child wants a younger sibling. When my friend’s son told his three year-old about a soon to arrive baby sister, the darling child looked at her parents in disbelief, She screamed, “No! Take her back!” and cried miserably. Perhaps at three she feared something she couldn’t quite put into words. 

It reminds me of the recent edition of the comic strip “For Better or For Worse.” Elizabeth had just learned she would have a baby sister. Elizabeth asks, “Daddy, when the new baby comes will you still love me?”

I visited a dethroned youngest shortly after the baby and momma came home from the hospital. The new big brother watched his mother pick up the baby instead of him, carry the baby around everywhere and feed the baby. Suddenly reality hit, the little feller burst out, “New baby, take back.”

Fortunately, most siblings welcome the new arrival. Daisy, Katie’s big sister, loved talking to her mom’s ‘big, fat baby belly.’ She called her mom’s belly button, the mic-re-phone to the baby. Didn’t matter where she was, pre-schooler Daisy talked to her baby sister in that belly whenever the mood hit her.

Her mom wrote, “she cracks me up….especially because she insists on doing this in public as frequently as she does at home saying, “Stop, stop, momma. ….hey, baby. You in momma’s big fat belly? Goo goo, ga ga, baby!”

At the store, a half dozen women saw her talking to the “momma belly” and laughed hilariously. It was funny and refreshing to see Daisy eagerly talk with her unborn baby sister. Daisy wanted Katie to usurp her position as the youngest. And, unlike child number four, child number three, didn’t even have to beg Daddy to let her have a baby sister.

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