Papa G


Hi everyone,

Behold, Father Goose himself sitting beside his mate. When I looked down the steps yesterday to check on Mama G, there he was. She’s been on her eggs for about twenty-four days so the goslings could hatch any time. I’ve had a few visits with Mama but this was the first time I’ve officially met Papa.

“Mama G,” I said. “Papa. You okay today?”

Mama looked up in silence. Papa gave me a long gander over his shoulder. I sensed I’d come at an awkward moment.

“If this isn’t a good time . . .”

“You the guy I took on the other day?” Papa said.

“I am. I came down to check on the wall and it upset Mama G.”

“Don’t pick another fight,” Mama muttered. “It was a misunderstanding.”

“I ought to flog him,” he hissed. “I ought to goose him. I ought to tar and feather him. What if he figures out what you’re sitting on! Hello! Think big honking omelet!”

“Darling, he already knows. I’ve shown him.”

At this Papa flew off the handle. “You . . . showed . . . him . . . the children?” he shouted.

“Sweetie, it’s not like he’s a turtle,” she warbled. “Come give Mama a kiss.”

“Turtles!” he spat out like he was tasting rotten weeds. “They’re down there — waiting, watching. When our babies hatch, they’ll be sitting ducks for those villains.”

“You’ll protect them, Dear,” she said soothingly. “Just as you do me.”

They didn’t see me take their picture. I don’t think they knew when I left. It was, after all, a family matter.

Poetry Olio

Hi everyone,

Yesterday a post went up on Facebook about the upcoming poetry event in New Orleans during the International Reading Association. Poetry Olio seems to have become an annual tradition started, I believe, by Allan Wolf and continued by Sara Holbrook and Michael Salinger. Nine poets are being featured this year including me. I’ll get there for the last half of the program, which runs from 7:30 to 9:30, because I’ll be coming from another activity. The event is set for Saturday night, May 10, Marriott Hotel, Canal Street, Galerie 2. It usually draws a crowd.

I look forward to IRA this year. Sandy and I went to New Orleans on our honeymoon and have been back a couple of times since though not recently. Mary Jo Fresch and I will present twice about recording children in the classroom to help reinforce their awareness of basic speech sounds called phonemes.

I’ll also be signing for Shell Education, Holiday House, and Boyds Mills Press.

Cave Detectives in e-book

BULLETIN: By coincidence, this morning’s News-Leader features Matt Forir, the paleontologist in charge of researching Riverbluff Cave, which is the subject of CAVE DETECTIVES. Matt and a team of volunteers recently returned from Wyoming where they dug up the fossil remains of a large bull triceratops. The ancient creature, estimated by Matt to be about 67 million years old, will be reassembled here and mounted for display at the Natural History Museum. I worked on the board that helped create the museum and was on it while working on CAVE DETECTIVES. Way to go Matt.

Hi everyone,

I haven’t been checking on the status of CAVE DETECTIVES, UNRAVELING THE MYSTERY OF AN ICE AGE CAVE, since it went digital in February.Cave Detectives
I just did and it’s holding its own,
8th in science, 32nd in archaeology, and 34th in prehistoric. Here’s the link if you’re interested.

My thanks to Marla Wuench for inviting me to visit Truman Elementary School yesterday. I had a fine time with 150 1st and 2nd grade students. I told them I’m 200 years old. Some looked stunned but didn’t challenge it. I received a wonderful book of poems from the kids in Mrs. Darnell’s First Grade Room and an enormous poster signed by dozens of kids. My thanks to all.

Blossoms and Things that Grow

Hi everyone,

I hope you had a good weekend. Here we go into a new week with new promises to keep. I was just checking on progress on our Word of the Month for April — BLOSSOM — and theme, which is THINGS THAT GROW.

Today is the 21st and we have a total of nine poems posted. In the remaining ten days I hope to see more poets join the list. There’s more than one way to blossom and plants aren’t the only things that grow.

Hope to see your effort soon on Word of the Month!


May all your eggs sparkle in the sun

Hi everyone, and Happy Easter,

Yesterday I passed a Methodist church near our house and was stunned by the number of cars parked in every conceivable spot. The church lots were packed and the field across the street was filled with overflow. Men wearing bright orange vests stood at each drive to direct traffic. The reason?

An enormous field beside the church was ringed by hundreds of children and their parents down both sides and along the back. More were arriving each minute. The kids were intent on the field where thousands of plastic eggs caught the sunlight so that the field practically glowed.

The eggs weren’t hidden. The kids could see their goals. They waited impatiently, eager to race over the grass and gather as many prizes as they could. Their anticipation was fun to see even though I only caught a glimpse while driving slowly by.

You can draw your own conclusions and make your own metaphors. Eager kids. Clear goals. Supportive parents. I’m glad I drove by. It made the rest of my day.