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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And Then Suddenly…

Lately I have been suffering from the “and then suddenlies”. You know those kinds of moments that you know are coming and then suddenly they are here and then gone. And then suddenly moments are the bittersweets. The hang-on-just-a-little-bit-longer moments. They are a true blend of wanting to keep, but must let go.

Momma always told me time has a way of speeding up as you get older. I am beginning to see what she meant. This past month has been a whirlwind of the “and then suddenlies” of life and of death.

Near the beginning of April my oldest son turned 22. Our children’s birthdays always bring about a sentimental case of the “and then suddenlies”, don’t they?

Do you remember watching them teeter and toddle, and then suddenly they were walking?

How about watching them pretend as they looked through books, and then suddenly they were reading?

I’m sure, like me, you sent them into a Kindergarten classroom years ago, and then suddenly they walked out as a high school graduate!

No more training wheels. Remember that day? Well, that oldest son just removed his training wheels, landing his first full time job with all the benefits. He bought his own car and purchased his own insurance. Suddenly he became independent. And then suddenly he was truly riding along without me.

It was a bittersweet moment watching him drive away. I wanted to say wait, there must be something I need to tell you. But he just looked back. And then suddenly he was gone.

As I was growing up, my parents reminded me to always look back when I left the ones I loved. They taught me this because “you never know what life ahead of you holds”. You should take the time to look back because suddenly…

Tomorrow I will say goodbye to a dear friend. We met just a short time ago. We shared time and stories together on Wednesdays. We didn’t know each other long, before suddenly we had known each other forever. She was never able to remember my name, but it didn’t matter. We started talking and then suddenly she smiled and we began to remember. Most days my sweet friend looked up and smiled at me knowingly. Every day, as I was leaving, I looked back. There she was, smiling after me.

It seems like yesterday we just laughed together, we just held hands, and we just said I love you.

And then suddenly she’s gone.

I’m so glad I took the time to look back.