Trick Or Treat

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Halloween is a uniquely magical time of the year. Children turn into adults. Adults turn into children.
Halloween past was spent with my three nephews. With only a flashlight the three kids dressed as ghosts were shuffled from one house and on to the next. By the end of the evening each bag was filled to capacity. What other time of year could a kid load up on a mountain of candy and other teeth rotting goodies?
“Whatcha gonna be for Halloween this year,” is a dilemma for children this time of year.
Little girls opt for costumes like an angel, or a princess. Cheerleaders and Cinderella are popular as well as the Ice Queen Elsa or perhaps a teeny bopper (complete with a poodle skirt).
Young boys want a costume that makes a statement. A zombie maybe a vampire. Costumes like a Count Dracula, or Sorcerer Harry Potter are typical. Perhaps dressed as Batman, or Pokémon, even a pro football player (complete only with an agent)
All the little skeletons, ghosts and goblins will come out of the closet this Halloween. So, get ready to have a spooky good time October 31st.
When the neighborhood kids come to say “Trick or Treat” be prepared to see a variety of costumes. This is the best part about Halloween–a kid can be whatever he wants to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What’s In A Nickname ??

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As friends relived old times during the course of last evening the subject of nicknames arose. So, I started scribbling them down — which is basically what I intended to build this column around.
I went to school with Carla whose nickname was Hurricane. While in grade school, there was an actual Hurricane that made the headlines in Texas called Hurricane Carla. She brought the newspaper to school and everyone called her Hurricane from then on.
Moose got his nickname while playing high school football. A nickname the coach gave him. What if the coach hadn’t liked his players? What other animals would he have used? A weasel perhaps?
Tiny, was a kid in high school who stood over six feet five inches. Yes he was the tallest kid in school and played center on the basketball team.
One friend has the least original nickname ever. He has natural red hair and his nickname is “Red”. My friend Charlotte goes by the nickname Char. Simple idea really, like we don’t have to use both syllables when we call her name.
At times, nicknames make perfect sense and sometimes they do not.
My cousin’s name is William and he goes by the name Will.
Yet another cousin, Michael, answers to the nickname Ronnie.
Go Figure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hospital Bed

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If you’re like me, you have trouble some days getting into the groove. Try spicing up the conversation around the office.
At the office today, the topic around the water cooler was: If you were recuperating in a hospital, who would you want in the bed next to you, excluding relatives?
Naturally, Bob the single guy in the office opted for Beyoncé. Melody, the only single woman, mentioned Kenny Chesney.
Danny’s answer was intriguing as he mentioned Captain Smith from the ship Titanic. They could discuss the grandeur of the ship and find out what really happened.
Myrna’s answer was unique. She would like The Dutchman. Maybe in his sleep he would mention if there really was a mine and its location. Carla mentioned she would pick a Kardashian. Think of all the odd visitors they might have.”
Larry’s answer was unlike anyone else in the office. He wanted no one in the bed beside him. “When I don’t feel well, I don’t want anyone near me!” In contrast, Dianna wanted Marsha who is her best friend.
Gary and Judy’s answers were distinctive, making more than one person roll their eyes. Gary would love to talk to Richard Nixon all night, while Judy could jabber with her mother-in-law.
Norman wanted to talk sports with Bob Costas, while Murl would want to visit with Babe Ruth.
Gary’s choice was Al Capone or Jimmy Hoffa. Interesting yet I’d question if I would feel comfortable closing my eyes at night.
To the question, “Who would you want in the hospital bed beside you?” Richard was quick to answer. “I’d have Donald Trump. Think of all the beautiful Russian ladies that will be there when President Putin stops by.”
Now that’s an all together different subject.

 

 

 

 

The Power of 4-H

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The power of 4-H. For those who fall in the category of thinking 4-H is just about agriculture and raising animals, you do not know the whole story. In Indiana, only about thirty percent of the total enrollment comes from farms, the rest from urban areas.
4-H is a chance for youth to handle responsibility, learn new things and work hard to achieve goals. The primary benefits of 4-H are leadership, citizenship and the opportunity for youth to learn things of interest at their own ability level.
Last year’s most popular projects were: Crafts, Foods, Photography, and Clothing. There are over fifty projects ranging from Aerospace to Creative Writing. All projects include hands-on activities and the manuals are being continuously updated.
My nephew opted to take The Horseless Horse Project. This allows him to learn all aspects of the animal, without the tremendous cost that comes with owning and caring for a horse. He attended the Horse Club meetings, did posters and filled out his workbooks. It was an especially great project for him as he couldn’t at this time own a horse. He wants to be a horse racing jockey.
A few years ago—more years than I would like to admit—I was in 4-H and have a few blue ribbons in the closet to prove it. I remember the Action Demonstration Project. It allowed members to compete in a certain category without having to be judged against other entries. I stood and gave my demonstration on the steps required to make a pie, but never actually put the finished pie product in competition. I was judged for the demonstration and not for the pie. Maybe that was a good thing. I doubt if I would have won any ribbons on my pie.
The 4-H program provides a learning environment for the youth of the community. They can test their skills with various projects and animals. Like this year’s motto proclaims, you must experience “The Power of 4-H” for yourself to truly understand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wander Indiana

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My friend Charlotte works for the Indiana Department of Tourism. She told me she was going to Samaria for dinner. No, it does not border Galilee but is located down south in Johnson County.
Last week she went to Paris for lunch. Now who would have thought Paris was a simple trip down to Jennings County. Made me wonder if anyone actually owns any wooden Dutch clogs in the city of Holland, Indiana.
My niece just returned from Girl Scout camp at Poland, Indiana. While Moscow is a town up in Rush County – Warsaw, Indiana is located in Kosciusko County.
My friend, Katrina was quick to mention the city of Hardscrabble, Indiana in Madison County. Did the city get its name from the board game scrabble?
I did know that Cincinnati was down in Greene County and next door in Daviess County is Scotland. My husband swears Bethlehem is south of Greenwood on I-65.
The city Santa Claus, Indiana is located in Spencer County, while the town of Spencer is located in Owen County. The city of Franklin is in Johnson County not Franklin County. Go figure.
I did know that Peru was home to the circus life but did not know that you could  actually visit Siberia in  January  without  putting  snow chains on your car.
You can spend St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, Indiana or go to Jericho on any Sunday. A trip to Canaan or, if you like salsa, a trip up north to Mexico might be fun.  Visit Cuba and tell your  friends you forgot to bring them back a  Cuban cigar.
As the Indiana license plates once read: Wander Indiana.
My biggest concern now is on our wedding anniversary next month; my husband mentioned since we both have an Italian heritage we might pack a bag for Rome. I can’t help but think we’ll end up in southern Indiana.

 

 

 

 

 

Do-Si-Do and Do-Si-Don’t

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For more years than she cares to admit, my neighbor Jan, has slipped into a lacy blouse, ruffled skirt, and frilly petticoat to Do-si-do her partner, then promenade.
She rarely misses square dances. Dancing is a big part of her life. She loads up the car and travels throughout the USA with her square dance partner . . . her hubby.
Square dancing is a type of American folk dancing performed by groups of four or more couples. The couples may dance in a square formation or in a circle. They follow the directions of a caller, who calls out different movements and patterns.
Popular calls include the ‘weave the ring’ or ‘swing your partner’ and ‘for a star’. Main stream square dancing includes more than 100 different calls. All this is done to music provided by fiddles, banjos or guitars.
If you are intimidated by the outfits square dancers wear, you can relax. Some people come in their street clothes, but part of the fun for Jan is dressing up. Women often wear ruffled underwear under wide petticoats and full skirts. The men put on western shirts, sometimes with scarves or bolo ties. Yes, she has multiple pairs of cowboy boots.
A night out dancing usually doesn’t cost anymore than five dollars a person to get into the dance. Square dancers come in all ages from 9 to 90.
“You don’t have to be a dancer to square dance,” she tells me as she tried to convince me to join. Me? I can occasionally confuse my left hand with my right foot
“It’s just good clean fun,” Jan says. “If you can listen and walk fast you can square dance.”
Listen and walk fast? This leaves the blonde lady with dark roots unable to promenade let alone Do-Si-Do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Jump Start to Bridge

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My Aunt Mayrose is proud to say she is a “Life Master”.   Yes a Life Mater of the card game Bridge. Aunt Mayrose has been playing the age-old card game since she learned it while my Uncle Earl was in World War II. Wanting to learn the game I recently tagged along to one of her bridge games.

She belongs to more than one club. Members range in age 19 to 99. While youngsters learn the game each year, bridge is dominated mostly by older adults.

True, Aunt Mayrose spent the better part of one afternoon introducing me to the game. Perhaps some people are just not meant to play bridge.

Before we begin she explains, “In order to make the most of your hands, you will probably have to play them through more than once. “ I raise my arms in the air, “Sorry, I only brought one set of hands.” She was not amused.

A standard deck of cards is used: Ace (high) through 2 (low). There are four players, each pair forming a partnership. Partners sit opposite each other. A game is won by scoring 100 points, earned by taking tricks during the hand. Sounded simple so far.

Aunt Mayrose leaned over and said, “The auction begins once players have had a chance to study their cards.” I was more than a tad confused. Were we playing cards or having an auction?

Terms like – clear suit, long suit, follow suit, major suit, minor suit, plain suit, side suit, short suit, and void suit – were used all afternoon. I wondered why they were so worried about suits when most of these ladies were wearing sun dresses.

My Aunt Mayrose spoke right up and said, “First lead the King of Spades from the Dummy and follow suit.” What a remark. Obvious to me: I was the dummy of the group not the lady to my left.

“Take the early tricks in the short hand and the later tricks in the long hand,” Aunt Mayrose says. Who’s the dummy now? I look down at both of my hands: they are the same.

I should have known that the afternoon was a wash out from the start. First they call each other by positions. South, West, North and East. I am quite certain that I was sitting northwest all afternoon.