The cards were mailed two weeks ago, parcels found new homes in far off places, a faint smell of cinnamon and nutmeg lingered for a couple of days from the freshly baked cookies, and opened presents now lay under the lighted tree. Another Christmas has come and will soon be gone. Two thousand and nine years have passed since our heavenly Father gave mankind His Gift. This one never wears out, never outgrows you and is always there when you need it. Have you accepted it yet? It’s never too late.
Yes, the Panhandle Writers Group's fourth anthology, Southern Side Up, is hot off the press. The authors who contributed short stories have their pens ready and poised for signing Dec.4 from 5:00p.m.-8:00p.m. at Panther Computers. Let me direct you to a Press Gazette advance article which gives all the details.http://www.srpressgazette.com/news/authors-8925-group-side.html This time we added something special--favorite recipes from each of the authors. Hope to see you Friday evening. Oh, I forgot; I baked some delicious cookies for you,too.
I guess it’s official: the parade of Halloween dress-ups have knocked on my door, taken their treats and sauntered off into the unknown, a full harvest moon shone with breath-taking beauty and the clocks have been turned back an hour—another season made its debut. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as though someone is out there compressing the days to make everything go by so much faster. Didn’t we say goodbye to summer a brief moment ago? Before long, stuffing will be the order of the day—and I’m not just referring to what goes inside a turkey. More than one human will do his or her share at the Thanksgiving buffet. Crumbs will scarcely be shaken from the tablecloth before the frenzied countdown to complete Christmas shopping begins. Each year my inner being pleads with me to stop; back away from the daily barrage of activities and seek another quieter path. The animals rest in winter, the trees and plants take time to regenerate and the days grow shorter. It was planned that way. Maybe nature has something to tell us. I’m ready to listen
Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve given my blog my undivided attention. That’s been the problem-- putting it on the back burner to attend to other things –like making a living. Excuses, excuses. My kindergarten teaching stint lasted two weeks before a regular teacher was allowed to be hired.(It’s all about numbers.)Dealing with two ADHD pupils, an autistic child and an angry mother in denial did not start my school year out exactly as I’d planned, but then as a famous writer once wrote --“The best laid plans of mice and men …” Things are back on track now so it’s full steam ahead. The fact that a water pipe sprung a leak UNDER the cement slab and ruined the carpet in a guest bedroom and the hallway did not help my attitude but then blessings do sometimes come in disguise. I’ve wanted to put down hardwood for a couple of years so this little mishap was the opportune time. No more carpet; bamboo flooring is the ‘wood of the day’. It’s great looking, harder than oak and better for the environment since it keeps growing right back. I just love running my little Swifter over the surface rather than lugging the vacuum from room to room. With three book marketing venues scheduled, a new book to write, company coming from Alaska for two weeks and a trip to Maine to see our twins, it’s going to be a tight squeeze to be a faithful blogger, but ‘hey’, I’ll do my best. Just pray for me that we don’t have any more geysers!
It’s D-Day tomorrow. Sixteen, excited, freshly scrubbed, and slightly intimidated little five-year-old bodies will appear at the “Purple Cat” door at my school’s kindergarten hallway. I’m not supposed to be the one greeting them but late last week my principal changed my life. “Sylvia, I need your help. We have to add an additional kindergarten classroom and it has to be ready for the “meet and greet” Friday morning at 10:a.m. I don’t have a teacher yet, so you’ll need to substitute for a week or so until I get the go-ahead to hire someone.” My stomach lurched as a million thoughts ran through my head; but these little babes have never been to school. Visions of desperate, crying-no, screaming, bodies clinging onto their mama’s arms and legs sent my imagination into over-drive. For a moment I pondered, "Is the use of duct tape considered inhumane treatment?" One glance at the desperation written all over my principal’s face and my heart softened. “Sure,” I smiled. “ No problem. I’ll get right on it.” A cursory glance at the room, vacant, except for the quarter inch of dust over all counters, tables and chairs, a rolled up dirty carpet and several dead roaches, who did not survive the summer, was enough to send me to the janitor’s room in search of cleaning supplies. With sweat dripping from every pore on my body, I scrubbed, scoured and swept until I was certain the room could pass any standards the Health Department decreed. After lugging more tables and chairs from a portable several hundred yards to my room, every muscle in my body felt as though I was qualifying for the next Olympics. But this was just the beginning. As any kindergarten teacher knows, bulletin boards must be covered in eye-catching colors and if you happen to be anything other than seven feet tall, heaven help you. For safety sake, the rule is: No standing on chairs or tables. Hunt down the one ladder that always disappears just when you need it. Finally, with the last alphabet letter glued to the wall, and a copy of ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear’ propped up against the rocker ready to be read to my pupils, I sighed a breath of relief. I’m ready. Who knows-maybe I won’t need that duct tape after all.
Since getting involved with a blog and a website, I feel the world knows more about me than I really had intended, but here I go again exposing yet another layer of my onion. A good friend asked me to get involved with “Honest Scrap”. What is that you ask? It’s eight little known facts you may or may not care to know about me. But here goes: 1. I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, until I married an American in 1972 and moved to the U.S.A.We have one son and two dear grandsons who live in Maine. We celebrated our thirty-seventh wedding anniversary July 1. 2. I taught Elementary School in Canada and continue to work as a resource teacher at Rhodes Elementary.
3. My high school had only eighty students and I was chosen to be the Valedictorian.
4. I have always expressed my thoughts better on paper so writing became an outlet for my emotions. In the eighties, I decided to submit my work to publishers and lo and behold my work began to be accepted for publication. You mean you can actually be paid to do this?? My two novels, “Helena:Unwavering Courage” and “Summer Guest” are currently on Amazon.com.
5. I enjoy cooking-especially desserts(My Canadian sweet tooth).
6. I became a Christian in my teens and sincerely believe in the power of salvation.
7. I believe once you’ve truly loved someone they will always have a part of your heart. 8. I have been blessed with wonderful friends.
Okay, there is one more; I enjoy playing Mexican Train Dominoes.
I’m convinced that good times with family and friends fly by faster than the speed of light. At least that’s how it seemed to me while I was enjoying my visit with family and friends. Yes, it rained at some point in the day, almost every day but it did not dampen my enthusiasm for being around the folks I love. Sometimes Canadian summers have a mind of their own. On the positive side, the fish were biting, the mosquitoes were tolerable, the succulent red raspberries hung in clusters enticing one to brave the scratchy, thick thorns and gather enough for a fresh baked pie. The forests and fields were alive with lush vibrant life. Even the downpour on the day of my book signing did not keep folks away. Held in a converted barn, it was the perfect atmosphere for the times and theme of my grandmother’s story. Several friends went away with a copy of Helena:Unwavering Courage. Of course, a highlight of my vacation was the week I spent with our twin fourteen-month grandsons. There isn’t a muscle in my body that hasn’t been pulled or stretched while chasing those lightening –fast bodies. Their curiosity and constant baby talk kept my eyes and ears alert. I loved every minute of it. Now it’s time to wind down and let the memories take root; thank you Lord. Once again I’ve been blessed.
My bags are packed. I'm ready to go. The call of my homeland beckons me just as surely as the swallows fly back to Capistrano. Only I'm taking Delta and going a little farther north-Canada. This year, my suitcase is light on clothes and HEAVY on books! One of my supporters in my hometown of Loring, Ontario, is putting a book signing together for me at her tourist lodge. Excited, amazed, thankful, and awesome are words that come to mind when I think about how my books, "Helena:Unwavering Courage" and "Summer Guest" have been received. So, as of July 20-August 5, I'll be with friends and family. Faithful blog followers, I'll be putting pen to paper-or is it keyboard to computer with all the Canadian news. Stay tuned.
As many of you know, I’ve been spending several hours at the local farmer’s market every Saturday convincing passers-by that along with their home-grown tomatoes, peppers and peas, they need to buy a copy of either “Summer Guest” or “Helen:Unwavering Courage”. After all, on these hot summer afternoons, what’s a better way to relax than put your feet up, take a swig of a favorite beverage and get lost in a world of words. So far, the response has been encouraging. Last Saturday, was a challenge. Since it was the nation’s birthday, and downtown Milton was abuzz with activity, the public’s focus was not on buying vegetables for the evening meal. No, directly across the street from my shaded area under the palm tree, a motorcycle club took great pleasure in setting up their two-wheeled, chrome-plated, multi-styled road runners. It wasn’t enough that every new participant revved their engines to an ear-piercing decibel level but the rock band in the background was clearly in competition with the leather- clad, bandana wearing drivers. Lip reading on my side of the street became a necessity. The crowd that walked through our parking lot was on a mission: no time to stop and look, no time to talk. The lure of the ‘vroom, vroom’ was too mesmerizing. Of course, in their defense, I assume it’s hard to read a book on the back of a Harley. Oh, well, tomorrow is another day, another crowd.
The thirty-nine guests, ranging in age from one month to eighty-five years young, have gone, the pool water lies calm, the left-over salads, dips and veggies are stacked in rectangular containers in the fridge, and the patio furniture is back in its familiar setting. My ears are still ringing from a cacophony of snap, crackle and pop sporadically produced by someone in the neighborhood with the affinity for loud fireworks explosions. As for my husband, he is fast asleep; pressure washing the food and drink stains from the pool deck did him in. The Melvin’s tried their best to honor Uncle Sam in traditional red, white and blue fashion. This Fourth of July celebration has become a ritual at our house. Some years we haven’t even been there but the party went on anyway. More than once, while visiting family up north, we received a call from trusted friends expressing a heartfelt “wish you were here; the whole gang is enjoying the pool. By the way, where did you put the barbeque?” This year we called their bluff and stayed home-invited ourselves to the festivities. Now, before I go on, let me say that ‘party planning’ is my husband’s forte. Since the weather has been one-hundred degrees all week, he decided a temporary shaded shelter was in order. “Sure, hon, go ahead,” I agreed, picturing a beach umbrella stuck here and there around the yard. The hammering and frequent trips back and forth into the garage aroused my curiosity. When he dragged out the twelve foot ladder it was more than I could stand. What was going on? One look at the skeletal structure made up of two by fours, rope and plastic covering that reached toward the sky, elicited my response, “You didn’t tell me the Ringling Brothers Circus was setting up in our backyard! Of course, I do know a couple of clowns who’ll be here!” All I got was a look that said, “Back in the kitchen, woman.” In the end, it served its purpose well. Sheltered from the blazing sun, it was a perfect place to fry the mullet, trout, halibut, flounder and hushpuppies. No southern gathering is authentic without some form of fried food! Who knows—maybe we’ll get invited back next year.
My homeland of Canada is celebrating its 142 birthday today!The maple leaf will be displayed and flying all over the land. Although I'm not there to join in on the festivities, my spirit finds its way across the border today. A sweet friend from Florida who is vacationing in Wisconsin called me early this morning to wish me a Happy CanadaDay. They are at an international camping rally and she tells me Canadians are spotted everywhere proudly wearing the signature red and white tee-shirt. Although I can't be there, I'll do my best to be a good alien and wear the red,white and blue on the 4th. My husband and I do have another reason to celebrate today--it's our 37th wedding anniversary.Hence the reason I'm not in Canada. I can assure you, our celebration will not compete with what's going on up north and we probably won't reach the same milestone in years but each day has been worth it.
The lazy, hazy days of summer are turning into hazy, crazy days. Trying to untangle a maze of problems with my new blogger and website did not start the week out well. From the looks of things, my "old blogging site " (the one that would not allow me to sign on)will be floating around in cyberspace somewhere forever because there is no way to delete it.Like a bad penny, it keeps coming back. My new one, www.Sylviassribbles.blogspot.com is much friendlier and does what I ask. Then there's the website; building a marketing platform to show the world my attempts at pursuing a literary career is more than a stretch for this gal.However, angels come in the form of friends and mine are called TommieLyn and Margie. Oh, how I wish my brain was wired like theirs but since it got short-circuited somewhere along my gestation period, I'm not too proud to cry, "Uncle! I need help!" Thanks to them, my new website www.sylviamelvin.com is 99% up and running. Drop by if you can.
The alarm was set to go off at 5:30 a.m. but not a sound was heard because I stared at the clock most of the night and I reached over and turned it off at 5:17 a.m. I didn't want to waken my husband of almost thirty-seven years come July 1st, our anniversary. Yea! My homeland's birthday.Oh, Canada! After my usual oatmeal cereal breakfast, I packed up my gear-books, water, table,chair and money change bag. I drove down to the Farmer's Market to make my claim on a tiny spot of land under a palm tree. Everyone else has a covered shelter from the searing sun's rays, but not me. I'm beholding to the natural growth so familiar in Florida. The fronds sway back and forth in the once-in-awhile refreshing breeze. I try not to get poked in the eye. I've found that I like to talk to total strangers about my books and especially my grandmother. So many seem to relate to her story in some way or another.The response has been gratifying and away beyond my expectations. Thank you Lord! After five hours, and seven books sold, my body is telling me it's time to call it a day. As I say good-bye to my neighboring vendor(Chai tea is her specialty),she reminds me that the big crowd comes next Saturday-Fourth of July! Hey, I may be a Canadian but I'll be down there bright and early like every good American!
Alright. I admit it; after living in Florida for sixteen years, I should have known better but the lure of those midnight- blue, berries, each plumper than the last , kept my hands busy plucking from the well-groomed bushes in Lundy’s blueberry field. Yes, it was one –hundred degrees in the shade and I was the only human in the entire acreage-a sure clue I had no business being there. But in my defense, company was coming to dinner and I did promise a fresh blueberry pie for dessert. Besides, my practical nature told me that the ‘U-Pick Your Own’ for one dollar and fifty cents sign out-weighed the six dollars a pound at the counter. I placed my Tilley hat firmly on my hot head, strapped the supplied bucket around my waist and took one more swig of water from the standing water cooler before I headed out into the berry field to complete my mission. Mr. Lundy’s words of warning waning in the distance with each step I took. “Don’t stay out there too long, now. It’s mighty hot.” Time was of no consequence; my main focus was filling the bucket with each added berry. A slight breeze fanned my reddening face and I was proud of my efforts. The container was three-quarters full when I heard the inquiring voice of the owner. “You alright? I came out to check on you; and here, drink some water.” “Thank you, I think I will. But I’m fine; another twenty minutes should do it.” “O.K. I’ll be waiting.” It wasn’t ten minutes and several handful of choice berries later when the first wave of nausea reared its ugly head. Oh, oh. I’m headed for trouble. This little excursion is coming to a halt. I turned direction and slowly made my way back to the sun-sheltered berry stand. I paid the fee and as I reached for my change, suddenly my body went weak and I felt the nausea return accompanied by a strange tingling feeling racing up and down my hands and arms. No, please dear God, I cannot throw up and pass out right here in front of You and this sweet, dear man. “Sir,” I managed to say, “do you mind if I sit in that chair? I guess I overdid it.” By the time I sat down, with my head between my knees, Mr.Lundy reached into his refrigerator and placed a cold bottle of water on my neck. A cool compress placed on my forehead soon followed. The relief was immediate. The tingling ebbed and I looked up to see a new customer staring at my sweat-matted hair, flushed face and glazed eyes. “Do I need to take her somewhere?” she offered. “No, no,” I protested, “I’m comin’ around.” Thoughts of calling my husband flashed through my mind but then I’d recalled his words of warning, “You intend to pick berries in the heat of the day!” I’d gotten myself into this pickle and I am an independent sort. By the time the lady strapped on her bucket and headed toward the blueberry field, I felt I was back in control of my body, thanked Mr. Lundy for his gracious help and told him I’d be back next week. “Come in the morning,” he cautioned. “I’m open at five-thirty.” Driving home with the A.C. cranked to the hilt, I mused, “Hopefully, my guests will enjoy the fresh blueberries; but maybe my slice should be called humble pie.”
I've spent the whole day trying to solve a sign-in problem on my Sylvia's Scripts blog and since I've gotten no satisfaction, I decided to start a new one. Of course that meant a new URL address and password. I apologize to my followers for any inconvenience but if you are still interested, here is my address: www.sylviasscribbles.blogspot.com
I was born and raised in Canada and married an American. We have one son and twin grandsons.
I am a member of the Panhandle Writers Group and enjoy teaching creative writing to elementary children.
I recently published two books. "Helena:Unwavering Courage" is the inspirational story of my grandmother and "Summer Guest" is a fictional romance.Both books are available on Amazon.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org