A Closer Look at the Book: Grasshopper Bubblegum

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Grandma and Grandpa lived on a dairy farm just a few miles from home. We were fortunate to spend many days on their farm throughout the 70s and early 80s. Playing on the farm was always an adventure. Working on the farm became a delightful chore.

Grandma was creative. With lots of grandkids running around she had to be on top of things. There was plenty to do to keep busy, but Grandma was a genius for encouraging us to be productive in our play. She had many clever incentives to inspire this productivity and keep us out of her hair!

Some of my favorites?

Climbing to the very top of the tree for the best mulberries. Sometimes we even took a sandwich and a jug or canteen of water up with us, just in case we wanted to gather berries through the lunch hour.

Filling buckets with thistle was a thrill. We got to cross the road (by ourselves) and hike out far from the house. We were sure we were even out of Grandma’s perfect sight! Grandma offered a penny per thistle in the bucket upon our return. No matter how long it took, our buckets were always full.

And of course I will never forget the garden chores as described in Grasshopper Bubblegum.  Filling our jar with grasshoppers. Trading grasshoppers for Grandma’s pennies. And walking into town to purchase bubblegum.

I wonder if she knew the true value of her pennies. I wonder if she knew these seeds she had planted would grow crops of wisdom, ingenuity, work ethic, problem solving, cooperation, patience, sharing…

These were her true gifts. They are priceless. And she shared them with me.

If you would like to know more about Grasshopper Bubblegum visit my website http://www.shellysimoneaustories.com

I would love to hear from you! Until then…

Keep up your good work,

Shelly Simoneau

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A Closer Look at the Book: Daddy Was A Carpenter

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Sometime the middle of the night, at some point in the Spring of 1977, Mother woke us.

She was hurried.

She was serious.

Something was wrong.

I learned about loss that night. I would get to know the feelings of hardship. It would be the first time I had ever seen my daddy cry.

Prior to that night, our family had been enjoying a season of splendor. Days were filled with much laughter. Much joy. Even as a very young child I could see the value of hard work. I witnessed a community, working together, building the Wilsey Lumber Yard strong. It was a time of rejoicing. Of giving thanks.

And then suddenly, in the dark of night, began a season of sorrow. Daddy’s business became a smoldering heap of ash.

This new moment? Confusion. Disbelief. An abrupt introduction to mourning.

These are the devastations we could choose to stash away and forget.

Forget the tears.

Forget the loss.

Forget the ashes.

But what if we choose to remember? What if we choose to share the disappointments that make us cry? What if we choose to share those memories that we would rather forget?

That moment, the memory, becomes truly significant.

And we can be changed.

And those ashes? They can become a song of hope. Yes. In their own way, they can become beautiful.

If you would like to know more about this story visit http://www.shellysimoneaustories.com

I would love to hear from you. Until then…

Always Hope,

Shelly Simoneau

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A Little Fall Fun

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On my routine early morning walks I have observed more and more the coming of fall. This morning I noticed many hedge balls, otherwise known as hedge apples, lying in the ditches and smashed on the road.

 

I love seeing these every year because they remind me of childhood fun and creativity. These sticky, bumpy, green balls were actually great entertainment for my sisters and me growing up.

 

We collected them, counted them, and ordered them by size. We tossed them, rolled them, and stacked them in precarious piles.

 

We used them in place of softballs, in place of bowling balls, in place of croquet balls.  

 

When they crumbled, we hunted for another. When they rotted, we collected more.

 

These hedge balls get sticky, ewww!

 

They feel lumpy, yuck!

 

They look weird, gross!

 

Just what every kid wants! Right?

 

They are out there, and they are free! No planning required. Just pick one up. Get them while they are still in season and have a naturally fun time.

 

Oh, and for the moms out there who liken hedge balls to snakes and snails, did I mention they are a natural spider repellant?