Hi everyone,


Back in June, thanks to encouragement from Joy Acey and Matt Forrest, I threw a virtual party in our back yard here at Goose Lake. Here’s a link to remind you of the event. . We partied on for three days.

Now another friend, Sara Johnson, Content Director at Shell Education, suggests that it might be time for a holiday party, this time indoors. I don’t know if we can last three days again, considering how busy folks get this time of year, but we’ll start today, hope for a great turnout, and see how it goes. I think we have enough chairs and conversation groupings.20151215_121907_resized You can also sit on the floor or the hearth. The carpet’s new and the candles won’t burn you so move them aside.20151216_120949_resized
You don’t need to bring anything but if you have a favorite recipe to share, that would be lovely. Well okay, I suppose some holiday tidbits or perhaps a drop or two of something festive would be appreciated by all, so let your conscience be your guide. By the way, there’s nothing wrong with bragging on your kids/grandkids or sharing a poem if you’re brave enough to stand up and present it. This IS a party after all!20151215_122018_resized

And not to go all syrupy on you but I feel blessed to be surrounded by friends and family today and want to say so. Thank you. Thank you for taking time to be here and share in the pleasure of one another’s company. Most of us talk back and forth all year but we’re almost never all together at one time. Is this nice or what!
That’s it. I don’t know who will show up today but if you have a specific question for anyone in particular, I’ll do my best to get it to him or her.

So come early, drink deep from the cup of friendship, and stay as long as you like. Spread the word far and wide. Tell your friends and tell them to tell their friends. Let’s party!




    • Man! I always forget something! But one nice thing about this kind of party is that I can fix such problems easily. Here’s the mistletoe. I’m carrying it on my head. Watch out, ladies!

    • Sorry! In my hast to attend to the mistletoe oversight, I forgot to mention your clever couplet and thank you for starting off the party on a playful note. Thanks! By the way, you DID see the mistletoe didn’t you?

    • Hey Renee! Glad you could make it. I love the breakfast room too. I saw something like it years ago in a magazine and designed one for the home we lived in at the time. When we built this house, we had the architect bring the idea along.

      • You’ve been quiet long enough, Renee. I hope you and Kathleen aren’t just sitting in the breakfast room looking out at Goose Lake. Well that’s fine because we have a gorgeous day on our hands, but what I’m really worried about is that you’re closer to the cookies than I am. And besides, I keep running around the house wearing this ridiculous mistletoe on my head and people keep staring it like it’s a wig or something. What I’m saying is, you women are awfully quiet out there.

  1. First poem recital. It’s from last year but I thought it might be a good one for the season. (Based on The Seven Joys of Mary, a song I love even though I am Jewish!)

    December 25:

    Listening to Loreena McKennit’s rendition of “The Seven Rejoices of Mary” and with the two great holidays here, I turned my mind inward.

    Needful Things

    The first great need we have is love,
    that tiny seedling of the heart
    to bud, then blossom,
    in old age give shelter and shade.

    The second great need we have is hope,
    lest we tarnish like silver,
    rust like iron, fall by the wayside
    like clods of dirt from a tramp’s shoe.

    The third great need we have is patience,
    for the arc may bend slowly
    but bends towards justice
    and the loving heart.

    The fourth great need we have is faith
    in the green of spring, the bloom of summer,
    the gather of autumn, the resting of winter,
    in the turn of tides, blood coursing in our veins.

    The fifth great need we have is peace.
    But without hope and patience and faith,
    without the ties of love, there can be no peace
    in this season or the next.

    Give love a chance.
    It may be our only.

    ©2014 Jane Yolen, all rights reserved

    • Jane, I love this. Thank you for sharing it and putting us in the mood to reflect on our blessings and appreciate what is important in our lives. I raise my first toast to Jane Yolen!

      • Jane, have you tried to talk to the woman wearing the lamp shade? She seems to be making an effort to be sociable. Maybe I should hit her on switch more often. Who knew?

      • That’s very male-centric of you, David, and I thought Sandy had already beaten that out of you. If the Lady with the Lamp wants to turn on, she will hit the switch herself. And then–watch out. The world will be lit up by that smile!

      • I’m laughing out loud, Jane. Sandy always reminds me that the beatings will continue until the whining stops. You’re right. The shady lady in the corner certainly knows how to take care of herself!

    • Beautiful, Lady Yolen :-). Love the pattern and imagery.
      The rust and tarnish was especially fascinating to me–here’s a much rougher riff–
      The silver, stuffed away
      In a white cardboard box,
      Grouped with rubber bands
      From the post office,
      Had blackened with tarnish
      And my husband’s family
      Stories about the adult fight
      It engendered that kept
      Him away from the toy box
      He enjoyed on visits to his aunt.
      We sorted it out into spoons,
      Knives, forks and miscellaneous
      Utensils, preparing to forward
      It to a daughter with a dining room.
      The oxidation yielded to
      Chemistry garnered from the internet
      And the soft gleam of a color
      With no rhyme re-emerged in the kitchen
      Sink, an invented thing, only
      Maintained with vigilance,
      Like culture or friendship.
      On the surface, Nature works
      To recombine and balance out
      What we strive so hard to create,
      But she also makes all
      The hidden colors we reveal.

      (This came out much different than I planned!)

      • Oh my. What a thought-provoking poem. Thank you! Now I can’t wait to find a corner somewhere to sit quietly for a few minutes to reread and re-enjoy this.

      • Good morning, Mary Nida! I’m so glad you came this morning. I know how you love nature so take a plate and sit in the breakfast room where you can look out on Goose Lake and watch the ducks drawing circles in the water.

      • Sorry, I had to rush away, after sharing with Jane how much I enjoyed her poem. I had a book signing for my latest book. I just had to pop-in again to say “hi” and check out the lake.

  2. Happy holiday, David, to you and yours. And by the way, these virtual deviled eggs are delicious. Can I have the recipe? 😉

    • Happy holidays to you, Ray. I’m delighted to see you here! Sandy must have made the eggs. All I know is you mix eggs and something devilish together and eat them. Hmm. You’re right. These are good!

      • Ray, Sandy came home for a while before heading off to Gamble’s. Turns out she didn’t make the deviled eggs either. A kind neighbor brought them over. Sometimes we think we’d starve if it weren’t for her kindness and generosity. We both hate grocery shopping until we’re reduced to pouring flat beer over shredded empty cereal boxes.

      • Love the flat beer and empty cereal boxes. I avoid shopping for a different reason–I love it too much. As I age I love more kinds of stores. When I was a kid, it was dime stores with candy, pads of colored paper, crayons, and wax lips. When I was a teen it was clothing stores and book stores. When I was a young adult, it was department stores with downstairs and bookstores on Hollywood Boulevard with attic discount rooms. As I aged, I discovered the delights of office supply stores with software, electronic gadgets, pens, and organizational stuff. Then, I graduated to hardware stores and lumber yards, sweet with the smell of pine and filled with aisles of weirdly fascinating plastic pipe. I guess you can tell I really know how to waste time. It’s a writer thing.

      • But you do it with such style and beautiful recall. Reminds me of Frank Sinatra singing, “It was a very good year . . . “

  3. David–you are too talll for most of us ladies to see the mistletoe atop your head. Sit down here by me and we will smother you in kisses. Oh sorry, Sandy, you’re right. You get to go first.

    • Ha! As my (good) luck would have it, Jane, my M.O.W. just left for an appointment. So I’ll just sit here on this sofa and hope for the best! By the way, I got a kiss as she was leaving so all is cool.

  4. Coffee’s in the kitchen everyone. Help yourself. One of the kind women on the Gamble’s staff baked some delicious cookies so have all you want, this being virtual and all. Anyone else have a favorite poem or song or quote or sage advice or silly sayings or . . .?

  5. Good to see everyone so early. I thought I’d be the first to drop by, but no, the party’s off and running. Who is that with the lampshade on her head? It is a little early for that, isn’t it?

    • Oh that’s just a friend of ours, Veda. She never left after the party in June so we finally just put a bulb in her mouth and a shade on her head. Not bad but you never know where you’ll find her. Anyway, glad you’re here!

      • Veda, did you taste the treats in the kitchen? Plenty there and more keeps coming. Besides, you can’t keep hogging the woman with the shade. Sandy and Stef want to say hi to her and I just told Jane she should make an effort.

      • I’m so sorry, Veda. I swear I didn’t invite her. Well I invited her to the party in June. She just never left. We turn her from time to time so she won’t get sunburned on one side.

  6. Wait a minute!! Is there any music playing? We need some festive songs! But not too loud – I want to enjoy some conversations, too! Oh – and I’ll bring some Christmas brownies! It’s a great 4-H recipe for brownies, and instead of chocolate chips on the top, I’ll sprinkle on the peppermint chips. Yum!

    • Oh my goodness, Susan. I love it when you talk to me like that! And I have fond memories of 4-H too. Got my start as a nature lover as a 3rd grader when I chose to start an insect collection as my project.

      • Okay, we have music going now, some in the kitchen and some in the living room. Not too loud, Susan. Just right. It’s mostly elevator music around here, which I’ve never understood because we live in a one story house.

      • So glad to know we have something else in common! I’ve been a 4-H leader for 10 years now! Love your choice of music, too! Need to keep it mellow – so no one starts dancing on the couch or tables! LOL!

      • So true, Susan. That’s how it started with that poor women in the corner wearing the lamp shade. First it was sofa dancing, then the tables. I tell you, her life is not easy these days. Worse yet, she only lights up to 60 watts and I need 100 to read by.

      • Ahh, takes me back, dear Cheryl! Thank you for bring this along. Love your outfit! Rather dashing and, uh, colorful. Now the party can start!

      • I’ll make a special batch just for you, dear Cheryl! You can freeze them and thaw them out when the craving hits!! LOL

      • Susan, so far I think Pat and I are the only men present. Considering how little luck I’ve had with this sprig of mistletoe on my head, I think I’ll refrain from singing a duet or, worse yet, a solo. But if we get some reinforcements during the day, look out!

  7. Good morning, David and other revelers! I raise a balthazar of a toast to bloggers every one, but yours, my friend, is the most Hopeful diamond in the diadem. So happy to feel the hospitality of your capacious home. Much love, Pat.

    • And much love in return, good Pat! I’m so pleased to welcome you to the party. Everyone, you know Pat Lewis — J. Patrick Lewis — former U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate? One of the most active days my blog has enjoyed was when Pat challenged us to write poems based on a prompt he provided. I don’t recall what it was, Pat. Do you remember?

  8. You should be arrested, David, for your felonious assault on my memory. Ha. Was it the zeno? The homophoem? Ah, the mind. There are a few marbles on the floor that used
    to belong to mine.

    • Ha! I thought those marbles were mine, Pat! I just did a quick check and found one you suggested in August 2012, which called for us to bowdlerize by starting with famous first lines and then, in your solemn words, “It’s off to the races with nuttiness.” That one drew dozens of responses!

      • Pat, would you mind if I went back into the files and recited some of your bowdlerized jewels? They’re so clever and I’d love to share them.

  9. Say, has anyone seen Cheryl Harness? She may have slipped in without being noticed. Here’s what she posted yesterday to help us identify her.

    “I’ll be the one in the Christmas crimson gownless evening strap w/ holly in my hair, toting a jug o’ nog.”

    Be on the lookout for anyone of that description toting nog!

    • Hey Cheryl!! Come inside! It’s too cold to be wading in Goose Lake right now! I mean – wait for me! That sounds like fun!

      • Anybody got a sweater?
        (I should’ve dressed a little better)
        I wore this gownless evening strap,
        But now I’m thinking, ‘crap!
        ‘Tis the season to be freezin’!
        I meant to be glamorous & bold,
        But now I’m thinking ‘dang! it’s cold!’
        Aren’t I glad for David’s charm,
        His glowing guests so nice & warm!
        And WOW, your house: I really like it!
        Here’s my nog + rum to spike it!
        Merry Christmas All, m’dears!
        Huzzah! Hooray! Tra La & Cheers!

      • LOL!! You are awesome, Cheryl! But seriously – let’s go wading in Goose Lake! I know the corgis would love it!

  10. I’m up for coffee along with some of Michelle’s truffle balls! And I’ll recite a fun Rudolph poem that I shared on my “A Great Nephew and A Great Aunt” series on my blog last Friday.

    A Chant for Rudolph

    Rudolph, Rudolph you’re a champ
    all around the North Pole camp.

    Yes, we used to call you names
    and leave you out of reindeer games.

    But Santa chose your nose so bright
    to guide us on this festive night—

    so . . . red-light glow and away we go.
    Merry Christmas! Ho! Ho! Ho!

    © Penny Parker Klostermann 2015

    The real fun was my great nephew, Landon’s illustration. But he’s in school right now and can’t bring the illustration to the party.

  11. Brought my own mug of coffee with some maple flavoring, but am willing to share this big gorgeous can of Swedish ginger cookies! Just need to save a few for when the kids and grandkids get here next week. BTW, I love the house! I’ll just sit by the lady with the lampshade–60 watts is fine for me.

    • Hi, Stephanie Tolan! I’m delighted you came today. Everyone, say hi to Stef! And mind that you reflect on her grandkids when you stick your paw in her cookie tin for the third or fourth time! Stephanie, you’ll have to turn the switch if you want that lady to talk to you. My honest opinion: she’s sort of a dim bulb.

      • Stef, I confess that I didn’t follow my own advice. I look like a chipmunk with my cheeks bulging with your delicious ginger cookies. I just pray that you can make more.

  12. Agreed that I am one of those from the west, and late to the party, but I have another reason, too, the snow that came in Tuesday has slowed the whole city down. Hoping that a little cold and snow arrive for Christmas for those of you in the east. It sounds like the party is roaring, David. So happy to wake up to the festivities! Sharing a quote from Dickens today, whose words I keep close this wonderful time of year. “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” That’s your party happening!

    • Where in the west are you, Linda? I’m north of Denver about 2 1/2 hours (almost in Wyoming) and haven’t left my house in two days. The snow (but mostly the wind) was terrible yesterday and the day before! Glad David has this party going on to keep me from talking to the walls! Ha!

      • Hi Susan, we had that wind and snow Tuesday. I’m right in Denver. It calmed down by yesterday, but much more snow cam than was predicted-snow day for everyone! A surprise. Glad to have this party this am too!

    • We have plenty of that going on, Linda. Thanks for matching it to your great Dickens quote. And thanks for coming! Stay warm and as comfy as you can. Maybe I should light a fire in the fireplace.

      • No problem, Linda, except for the folks sitting on the hearth. And the fact that my wood supply is as imaginary as the fire I’m about to build. The box takes 48″ logs and half a cord of those things takes up half a car space in the garage. But hey, nothing’s too good for my friends! There. Now you should be toasty in no time. Have another cup of coffee. Have another brownie.

    • Linda, how much snow have you had so far? We haven’t had any and I don’t think there’s any in the forecast. My favorite snow is on post cards.

      • I think about 20 inches, not all this week! Yes, I keep hearing that there’s not much winter going east of Kansas! Maybe don’t wish too loudly! Hope the party’s still lively!❄️❄️❄️ Have another cookie for me!

      • In anticipation of your request, I’ve already had another cookie, Linda. (:>
        I’ve never been a fan of snow but so many friends love it, especially those who like winter activities. I’ll just throw another log on the fire.

  13. Oh, my goodness, I’m impressed with the early birds — all catching truffles, apparently. Hello, everyone, and Happy Holidays! Thank you so much, David and Sandy, for gathering us together in your lovely home. Okay, confession time: These dark chocolate brownies I’m bringing are made from Ghirardelli’s Triple Chocolate Brownie mix. I claim credit only for the added walnuts. But, really, I’ve found they’re better than any scratch brownie recipe I’ve ever tried — and I’ve tried a lot. I’ll just set them down on the table over here. See what you think. End of confession and commercial. (I get no kickback. Honest.)

    • I need to send you my 4-H brownie recipe, Sandy! It’s way easy, and so yummy! (and there’s nothing “funny” in my brownies, even though I live in Colorado! Ha!

      • Here’s the brownie recipe! Fun to make on a cold, winter day! (and even more fun to eat!)

        Dump Brownies

        1 3/4 c. flour
        2 c. sugar
        5 eggs
        1 c. oil
        1/2 c. cocoa
        1 tsp. salt
        1 tsp. vanilla

        Mix and “dump” into a greased 9×13 pan. Sprinkle 1 cup chocolate chips (or whatever you like!) on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Yummy! These freeze well, if there’s any left over!

        I got this recipe from a 4-H member many, many years ago. My family won’t eat anything other kind now!

      • Oooh, this does sound easy and good, Susan. And I could stop making my pathetic confessions everywhere I go! Thanks so much! I think I’ll try this with the grandkids during their visit next week . . .

    • Sandy Asher’s here! AND with brownies no less. Jeff Harrison, are you here? You don’t like walnuts. Right? Me, I love them so bring ’em on! Sandy, there’s room in the kitchen on the counter if you want to set them in there and everyone can help themselves. Thanks!

      • Yes, I’m here, David and have already set down the brownies AND copied Susan’s recipe. Perhaps I should mention that I do eat other things, and I can talk about other things, ‘though I’m kinda shy at large gatherings. (Unlike our friend Cheryl, apparently!) I’ll just settle in here with Stef and the lamp lady and the ginger cookies and enjoy the chatter and hijinks . . .

      • Cheryl is going to be sorry she’s taking so long to slip into her party strap. Unless she’s here and we missed her in the crowd. Cheryl! You here? Anyway, I’m glad YOU didn’t take so long. By the way, Joy Acey has just moved to Kauai so because of the time difference it may be close to noon before she can join us.

      • The Montreal 5 arrive on the 24th for a 10 day stay. (Very mathematical, that!) Enjoy your gang, David. We’re certainly looking forward to hosting ours. And making those brownies! (Oops, there I go again. One would think I was obsessed.)

      • But it’s a good kind of obsession, Sandy. It’s a good thing you have two houses! Will Harvey have to give up his office while they’re here?

    • Sandy, those are my go-to brownies, too. Sometimes add a touch of Starbucks powdered coffee to mocha them up a bit, but only for a change. They go fast at any party…you’re will be way gone by now. I was gone most of the day, finishing up a writing project.

    • Hi Jeanne! Thanks for coming and for sharing the story of your granddaughter’s birthday wish. What a hoot. But good for her. Nobody is going to mess with a girl packing a chainsaw!

  14. I’ll take a comfy chair in the sunroom and a hot cup of coffee! Can’t wait to see who drops in. David, you have such interesting friends!

    • Hooray! Hi Kathleen! What a treat. Thanks so much for joining the party! I do have wonderful friends and you all are going to make this party one to remember! And keep an eye out for the swan. I haven’t seen it today but yesterday it flew over from the next lake up for its first visit all year. I tried to get a good picture. If I got lucky, I’ll post it in a day or two. Did Regina come with you or will she be arriving later? Anyone else from the library here yet?

    • Kathleen, are you finding everything you need out there in the breakfast room? There’s a great conversationalist in the living room. She’s wearing a lamp shade so it’s hard to miss her.

    • Hi, Kathleen! So good to see you! It’s been too long. Please give my best holiday wishes to everyone at the library — with a heartfelt round for yourself! Thought about you a lot while watching Annie Montgomery strut her stuff in NYC this fall. I’ll bet David’s house is about as packed now as the library was back when she performed in Springfield!

  15. Thank you for inviting us into your lovely home, virtually! My favorite part is your overflowing bookcase! I have a couple of those in my home as well. It’s getting cold here in Virginia after a warm week. My ten-year-old son wants nothing more than a white Christmas. I don’t think that’s going to happen, but hopefully he’ll get lots of snow days in the new year.

    My world is all about basketball these days (two games tonight!), so I’ll share a short basketball-related poem about life my daughter wrote after reading Kwame Alexander’s “The Crossover” last spring.

    Sometimes in life
    You miss the layup.
    The important thing
    Is to get the rebound.

    Here’s to lots of made and rebounded layups in 2016!

    • Hi Emily! I’m so glad you came today. And I love your daughter’s poem! Words to live by in 2016 and beyond. Please thank her for me, for all of us. And now make yourself at home. We are happy you could come.

    • Everyone, did I tell you that Emily and I are working on a book together at Shell/TCM? It’s the one co-authored by Tim Rasinski. Tim? Are you here? Anyway, the name of the book is RHYMES FOR THE TIMES: LITERACY STRATEGIES THROUGH SOCIAL STUDIES and it’s due out in a couple of weeks. I owe you some names, Emily. I’ll get them to you today. Promise!

  16. What a lovely gathering! I’m so pleased to have been invited. And although the talents of this illustrious group are grand, I’ll throw my Santa hat into the ring and share a recent holiday offering–my homey, little, annual year-in-review, In Our House This Christmas:

    In our house this Christmas, you will see…
    *a beautifully decorated Christmas tree filled with heirloom ornaments
    *a stack of classic vinyl from Bing, Dean, Perry, and Rosemary
    *the scent of molasses and vanilla
    *a leather-bound copy of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
    *paper-wrapped gifts of red and green with festive ribbons and bows
    *the traditional Advent calendar with 24 inviting windows
    *the hand-painted family crèche with wee lambs, the angel Gabriel tinged in gold, and three be-robed magi bent in homage
    *a little boy and his pup waiting expectantly and hopefully for the blessed day to arrive.

    Now, look a little closer and you will see…
    *the Rudolph ornament missing its nose, and Thomas the train ringed with toddler teeth marks
    *Bing on the jacket cover bearing Groucho eyebrows and glasses, and The New Zoo Review in the Rosemary sleeve
    *molasses, vanilla, eggs and more sitting mid-stir in the bowl, waiting to be gingerbread, but set aside because UPS just dropped off a package…and the phone rang…and where’d I put that pen?…and I forgot to turn on the crockpot!…oh and add toilet paper to the grocery list…
    *the lovely Dickens tome painstakingly yet surreptitiously illustrated with Spongebob and Patrick
    *the tape and folds on a few packages mysteriously and inexplicably askew, though all claim innocence and absolutely no knowledge of how that could possibly have happened
    *each and every calendar window opened by December 3
    *the lambs, magi, shepherds, and Joseph in a conga line, where presumably the angel Gabriel plays DJ and Mary sits out, because, well, she’s ready to deliver any day now
    *a little boy and his pup running like terrors through the house, laughing and bouncing and climbing and squeaking (the pup, not the boy, because she’s running with her squeaky newspaper toy, of course) and jumping over big brother, who’s lounging on the couch watching Elf…
    *…and Dad in his kerchief (read “Angels baseball hat”) and I in my cap (read “reading glasses on my head” because, Lasik, and who needs them?) have no time or space for long winter naps, but feel utterly, deeply, and blissfully grateful and blessed by our perfectly imperfect, joyful, nutty little family, and wish each of you the same perfectly imperfect, joyful nuttiness this Christmas and always.

    © Dona Herweck Rice 2014

    • Everyone! It’s Dona Rice! Dona and I met at a conference when she was there representing Shell/TCM. She came from the audience to read a poem with me, we had coffee later, and now I’m about to publish my sixth book with them. Not only that, those lovely candles on the hearth came from Dona and her gang. So make room and let’s hear it for this wonderful “In Our House This Christmas” report. Love it!

  17. Hi, David and fellow revelers! I brought some egg nog (my mother’s recipe) and some star sugar cookies, and wanted to share one of my favorite holiday poems. xoGeorgia

    [little tree]
    little tree
    little silent Christmas tree
    you are so little
    you are more like a flower

    who found you in the green forest
    and were you very sorry to come away?
    see i will comfort you
    because you smell so sweetly

    i will kiss your cool bark
    and hug you safe and tight
    just as your mother would,
    only don’t be afraid

    look the spangles
    that sleep all the year in a dark box
    dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
    the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

    put up your little arms
    and i’ll give them all to you to hold
    every finger shall have its ring
    and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy

    then when you’re quite dressed
    you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see
    and how they’ll stare!
    oh but you’ll be very proud

    and my little sister and i will take hands
    and looking up at our beautiful tree
    we’ll dance and sing
    “Noel Noel”

    • Hi Georgia! Welcome to the party. I’m so glad you came. Cummings really should have gotten that upper case key on his typewriter fixed but hey, whatever works. It’s a great poem and I thank you for sharing it. And I love the eggnog and cookies. Wow. A triple treat! XO back.

    • Georgia, have I told you how often I use Frog Chorus in my talks? I love to divide audiences into four parts, assign each a different frog sound, and attempt to direct them in singing the poem. It’s a great ice breaker. Wish I could imagine how to do it here.

      • Okay you two frogettes. Here’s how it works. Somebody clap three times or something to get everyone’s attention. Thank you! First I need everybody to crowd into the living room. You, too, Renee. Put that cookie down. Good! Now I’ll divide you into four groups. The right half of the people down here in the lower section will be the GREEDEEP frogs. Practice among yourselves. Fine. The other half sounds like this: RIBBET? Got it? Up on the second level, you on the right will be PEEP-PEEP, and the rest of you will sound like: KER-PLUM!

        Here’s the poem. It’s called “Chorus of Four Frogs” and was first published in Georgia’s book, FALLING DOWN THE PAGE. Now pay attention to me. I’m the frog leader and I’ll signal when you come in with your parts. Ready? Eyes front. Go.

        Chorus of Four Frogs
        by David Harrison
        (1st voice) (2nd voice) (3rd voice) (4th voice)



        Greedeep Ribbet? Peep-peep Ker-plum!
        Greedeep Ribbet? Peep-peep Ker-plum!
        Greedeep Ribbet? Peep-peep Ker-plum!
        Greedeep Ribbet? Peep-peep Ker-plum!




        Good job everybody!

      • Ack! I can’t get the sounds to line up under the headings so the pacing will be off as well. Georgia, sorry. I’m limited in this format. But hopefully you can get some idea of how much I enjoy using this with large audiences. I did it once with nearly 1,800 people. Big pond!

      • With Pat Lewis’s permission, here are three examples he set for us on January 7, 2013, when he encouraged us to compose what he called careerhymes. Here’s the link: and here are the examples:
        J. Patrick Lewis

        Psychiatrist: A member of
        A race obsessed with mother love,
        Another name for father hate
        For which we overcompensate.
        In short, he makes each one of us
        Feel Oedipusillanimous.

        Proctologist: A human being
        Preoccupied with human peeing—
        Oh, no, I am mistaken, sir,
        That’s not a Proct-, it must be Ur-.

        Computer Geek: A square; a nerd;
        A rather antisocial bird,
        Who keeps a mouse; a devotee
        Of virtual reality.

        [The three above appeared in Light Quarterly, Summer 1999.]

        Pat, I’ll look again for my original quest. But these are such great fun that I hated to ignore them.

      • Aha! I found it, Pat. Back on August 24, 2012 you challenged us to what you called FIRST LINE, BOWLDERIZING. Here’s the link:
        and here are your prompts, which had all been previously published in the journal LIGHT QUARTERLY, Fall/Winter 2008. A reminder as always that when Pat or Jane or others share their copyrighted work with us, we must remember and respect that.

        Whose words these are I think I know.
        They’re owned by Edgar Allan Poe;
        His shadow’s standing in the gloom
        To watch his words fill up with woe.

        In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
        A second-mortgage duplex see
        Through some bizarre installment plan
        Devised by early sub-prime man,
        Unearthed by AIG.

        The time you won your town the race
        We cheered…then slapped you in the face!
        Because your speed, as never seen
        Before, was methamphetamine.

  18. Hi, everyone! Happy holidays:>) Just stopping in with some Almond Silk Nog (sorry, healthy egg nog because the good stuff isn’t worth it) and some brickle (unhealthy and TOTALLY worth it!). And putting on a CD of Kate Rusby’s The Frost Is All Over, our beautiful newest Christmas CD. Looks like you’ve got quite the troublemaking crowd here–my favorite kind of people!

    • Laura! Perfect. So very glad to see you here! Thanks for the music and refreshments. I’m growing virtually fatter by the hour. I’m so glad that Jane pointed out that when all is said and done I’ll be no fatter than before we began!

  19. David, I’m showing up bare foot and in my Hawaiian shirt. Sorry to be so late, but you know how those time zones are. It is only 11:30 AM here. I’ve got to figure out how many time zones I’m away from Renee.
    Great party. What happened to Matt Forrest? I haven’t seen him around. Gosh it is cold in your house, I’m going over to the fire place. And has Cory shown up yet?

    • Joy, if Dorinda Nicholson shows up, she can show you how to hula, unless you already know how. And of course you’re cold, silly, you don’t have any shoes on! I haven’t seen Matt but he said he’d be here so I’m sure he’ll show up. I haven’t heard from Cory lately. We ought to send her a note to tell her to get herself here.

  20. What a party, I love the atmosphere.
    As far as I can tell no wall flowers here.
    The aroma, it’s hard to tell, I believe it is love
    Friendship, or maybe just cider, the soft kind not like whisky or beer.
    No definitely good fellowship amongst friends both far and near.
    Virtual blogs this time of year Merry Christmas
    To all that you hold dear.

    • And here’s my friend, Don Barrett! Not only that, you come bearing a poem to help us remember why we’re here. Thank you!

  21. Wow, the place is really hopping…so glad to see everybody! I apologize for being late to the shindig – but I had a good excuse: library story time this morning with Phoebe, my 2-year-old! Now that she’s in for a nap – something she rarely does anymore – I can offer you a few little snacks I whipped up for the occasion: maple-glazed scallops wrapped in bacon, bleu cheese-stuffed dates, and an apple-ginger cheesecake with gingersnap crust! Hope you like them.

    And to share, I brought the poem responsible for my career being where it is today. Exactly five Decembers ago, Lee Bennett Hopkins and I exchanged a couple of brief introductory emails (neither of us had any idea who the other was before that), and I closed my final message with this. Lee loved it so much he offered to assist me…and now, 4 years, 12 poems, 10 publications, and one book deal later, here I am!


    Tonight’s the night; he’ll be here soon.
    Outside my window, stars and moon
    cast gentle light upon the snow –
    and soon the world begins to glow.
    Each house along this silent street
    is quiet now, so prim and neat;
    from chimneys, smoky trails arise
    like signals to the winter skies.
    Both mom and dad have gone to bed,
    yet here I am awake instead
    with watchful eyes and weary head,
    awaiting one small man in red.
    I fight a yaawwwn; it’s getting late,
    but I’m determined, I will wait!
    I won’t miss out, like years gone by.
    Perhaps, if I just close…

    – © 2011, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

    • Matt! I’m glad you made it and you’re right about having the perfect excuse for being late. I hadn’t heard this story before so thank you for sharing the poem and the poet. Lee has helped many and I’m glad you are one of them. And I thoroughly enjoyed your poem!

      Thanks for all the goodies. You knocked yourself out and we’ll all glad. Joy just got here a few minutes ago. I know we have a good many others who plan to drop in as their schedules allow. I invited Lee but he hasn’t responded yet. He might be out of town.

      Make yourself at home. There are a lot of people mingling around so you’ll see some old friends and make some new.

  22. My goodness…I have been in the kitchen making baklava and have to catch up. Yes, an Italian girl can make a Greek pastry! Hey…it’s all Mediterranean you know! But, not to miss out on the Italian Christmas – we are planning our 7 fish dishes for Christmas Eve. The choices have morphed a little since my Grandma’s day…lobster instead of smelts, crab instead of baccala…modern twist on an old time tradition. Well, better clean up the kitchen…and ready for a “toast” or two to my friend David!

    • Mary Jo Fresch everyone! I am so happy to see you! And it’s not just your cooking that I love! Now if Tori shows up, we can have a meeting in a quiet corner, assuming we can find one. Maybe we could go to my office or one of the guest bedrooms where you and Hank stayed when you were here. Mary Jo and I are on our sixth book together. And now that she’s Professor Emeritus, I hope she’ll have more time to play with me! Hmm, that’s wonderful baklava. I’m following you to the kitchen!

      • Oh how I loved eating breakfast in that beautiful room when we stayed with you. The new carpet is lovely…we will try not to spill, but I have my bottle of Wine Out should we get a bit rowdy. Yes, come to the kitchen…LOTS of baklava to share!

  23. David, Thanks for inviting me to the party! And such a gorgeous day for it with cold crisp air and lots of sunshine. I had to drive out to our Ash Grove Branch Library earlier today and reveled in the weather. Merry Christmas!

    • Merry Christmas to you, too, Regina. I’m so glad you could make it to my party. Everyone, here’s Regina Cooper, Executive Director of The Springfield-Greene County Library District. It’s one of the best library systems anywhere and we’re lucky to have it, and Regina. Kathleen popped in earlier but I don’t know if she’s still here. Last I knew she was in the breakfast room with Renee LaTulippe from Italy. I fear they may have eaten all the cookies.

  24. Hello everyone! Hello David! I’m really enjoying the music (I love Kate Rusby) and have brought my favorite German cookies (chocolate covered gingerbread hearts filled with apricot jam) and some Niederegger marzipan, the best kind. Here’s a favorite Christmas poem of mine by Timothy Tocher:

    Help Wanted

    Santa needs new reindeer.
    The first bunch has grown old.
    Dasher has arthritis;
    Comet hates the cold.
    Prancer’s sick of staring
    at Dancer’s big behind.
    Cupid married Blitzen
    and Donder lost his mind.
    Dancer’s mad at Vixen
    for stepping on his toes.
    Vixen’s being thrown out—
    she laughed at Rudolph’s nose.
    If you are a reindeer
    we hope you will apply.
    There is just one tricky part:
    You must know how to fly.

    Timothy Tocher, “Help Wanted” from Kids Pick the Funniest Poems. Copyright © 1991 by Timothy Tocher.

    • Maya, I haven’t laughed so hard in ages. What a funny, funny poem. My hat is off to Timothy Tocher! Thank you for bringing his poem to the party. And thank you for joining us. Hey everyone, if you haven’t met her yet, this is Maya Kucij, the new director of The Children’s Literature Festival on the campus of University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri. This next one will be the 48th. It’s where I’ve met so many wonderful, talented people who write or illustrate for young people. Thanks again for the poem and these cookies, Maya!

      • I love the new website! What a tremendous accomplishment to bring all those names and dates together into one document. I’m impressed all over again by the many wonderful events I’ve been privileged to attend since 1978.

      • Hi, Maya…pleased to meet you, have a ginger cookie (4 left). I forgive you for not inviting me this year, and I hope it goes stunningly well! If it weren’t for Warrensburg, I’d never have met David. Or Cheryl, for that matter. Or…lots of others!

      • Hello, Maya — Good to meet you and congratulations on taking the helm of The Children’s Literature Festival! Wonderful to know it will continue seamlessly. In my 30 visits (second only to you-know-you, I have met so many delightful, talented people who have become dear friends for life. The wikipedia page is terrific! Lovely to have those friends and our history at one’s fingertips. I do hope you’ll be able to link to my website eventually. If this weren’t a virtual party, I’d be handing you my card about now, but I can’t pass it through the screen, so I’ll just have to type in the URL: Thanks! I look forward to meeting you in Warrensburg one day soon!

    • Hi Maya! I hope to meet you in March at the Literature Festival! I’m a teacher in Colorado and coordinated the 2014 CCIRA Conference – and invited a whole lot of wonderful authors I met in the ‘Burg! You’ve got some fantastic folks on your agenda, and I’m honored to call many of them friends. On a side note – both my hubby and I graduated from UCM – many, many, many years ago! Ha!

  25. Can you say ‘fashionably late?’ Looks like a rowdy bunch here today. I’m not a poet (‘less I don’t know it) but I’ve enjoyed catching up on all those posted. And the recipes. Yum! I think I will grab a few meatballs and party mix. Pass the spiked eggnog please. I’m guessing there is no turtle soup – David’s favorite naughty little shelled friends might take offense.

    • Hooray! It’s Sony Hocklander folks! Sony, if you don’t know her, recently left a post she had held long and honorably at our Gannet newspaper, News-Leader, to strike out on a new career that will include making professional videos. Sony, I know you are already at work on at least one major project so congratulations! No turtle soup, but everything else is available and extremely easy on the diet. So dig in!

      • Yay – glad to see my post popped up. Mystery solved. And thank you for the kind words. I appreciate you removed calories from this lavish spread.

      • Removing calories was Jane Yolen’s idea. Well, she reminded us in her five favorite things about a virtual party. See if you can track it down.

      • I invited Jackie and Claudette but I haven’t spotted them in the crowd and suspect they haven’t arrived. Maybe they’ll drop by later. The food will last!

  26. What a party! An amazing cast of your friends, David. I love Maya’s poem. Can’t write a poem, but i sure can offer a case of my favorite white wine: Proseca! So here’s to lots of bubbles today and fun and great conversation while relaxing and hanging out with David and his gang!

    • Oh my gosh, it’s Laura Robb! Wave everyone. A dear friend and a national treasure just got here. And the lady knows her wine too. A whole case of it. I do love that woman!

  27. One more thought! I’m glad the food’s holding out! David, you are the best! I can eat all i want and there are no calories, and i can drink to my heart’s content and stay relatively sober. A perfect way to celebrate the season!

    • You know, Laura, I think there’s a lot to be said for a virtual party. Refreshments last forever and alcohol doesn’t bother us at all. Well as you say, relatively speaking.

  28. Hi David! I’m here and I’m bringing a decadent chocolate Georgia Coca Cola cake. Love your house! I will sit in each of the posted rooms and wish my house looked like that.

    • Oh yes, Brenda Seabrooke just joined us! And to make it even sweeter, she came with the kind of chocolate cake that makes my eyes look funny and happy! Thanks for being here, Brenda. Follow me to the kitchen to cut the cake and you may sit anywhere and everywhere you like!

      • Brenda, Mary Jo Fresch and I were talking about that earlier. It can start as innocently as dancing on a sofa. Before you know it, you feel that table calling to you. After that it’s a slippery slope until one day you find yourself sitting in a corner with a lamp shade on your head wondering how you went so wrong. Just saying.

  29. May I have your attention everyone? Just want to say again how much I’m loving this day and all of you. It’s such a treat to see so many of you here and I can’t thank you enough for coming. I’ve tried to greet each of you as you arrived but I know that I’ve missed some and failed to properly introduce others. SO. Please take a moment to go around the room and tell us about yourselves. Optional of course, but everyone here has a good story to tell and we all want to hear whatever you choose to tell us. Thanks!

  30. Hi David. I would have been here earlier but it’s a long flight from England. Having travelled so far I thought I’d better bring a little something along with me, so here’s a silly Christmas poem

    Christmas morning’s here at last;
    I’ve been waiting ages.
    Counting Advent Calendar days
    As I’ve turned the pages

    I’ve cleaned my teeth and had a wee,
    Washed my hands and face.
    And come downstairs two at a time;
    The Christmas tree looks ace

    The light are twinkling, baubles shining,
    Tinsel all around.
    But, more important to my eyes,
    The presents on the ground.

    But where are all the family?
    Am I the only one
    Who knows that Christmas morning
    Has finally begun

    I walk around from room to room
    But no-one else is there.
    Did they forget what day it is
    Or don’t they even care?

    Perhaps I’ll make a lot of noise.
    That ought to waken them.
    And then I hear the clock chime.
    Oh dear – it’s three A.M.

    © Bryn Strudwick
    Happy Christmas to all your readers

    • Oh my gosh, Bryn, I didn’t see you come in! Forgive me. You must be exhausted after coming all the way from England! I love your poem! Thank you so much for sharing with the whole group. I saw lots of smiling faces around the room. So relax. Find something to eat and a place to sit. Welcome to the party!

      Oh yes, would you mind saying a few words about yourself and what you’re up to these days? I want folks to know you better.

      • You may recall that, back on 21st January, you kindly included on the Blog, my “potted biography”, so I won’t bore your followers with too much more. One thing I didn’t mention was that, for a few years, I had been working on-and-off as an extra in films and TV; usually a case of, “blink and you’ll miss me” or, “I’m somewhere in that crowd”. It did make me a bit of a bore name-dropping about who I’d been in a scene with, the highlight undoubtedly being when, along with other extras, Meryl Streep shook hands and said “Thank you” on the set of “The Iron Lady”. I have now given up the work as the novelty of rising at 3.30 on a winter’s morning wore off. Since January I have appeared in an open-air production of “As You Like It”, presented a third solo performance poetry show and appeared in a 5 minute student film, “Lost Soul” (Cast of 2) For any masochists, you can see the film on this link –
        Enjoy the rest of the party

      • Thank you, Bryn! I’m always interested in what other people have done or are doing, and you have had a fascinating career. Herman Johansen, are you here? Bryn, Herman is a playwright, actor, director, producer, and all around talented guy. You two would hit it off.

    • Yay! Kate Klise made it to the party! Welcome in my friend. I don’t know who brought the brie but everyone says it’s fantastic so I’m glad you found it. Try to avoid the woman in the corner with the lamp shade on her head. I think she’s burned out. But everyone else is going strong! Thanks for coming.

  31. We’re having a good day. Thank you for making the party rock. Guests have come from Missouri, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Arizona, Hawaii, California, Colorado, Italy, and England. I know I’m overlooking others. If I missed your state or country, sing out!

  32. Am I too late? Has everyone gone home? I just got home and remembered to log on! Haven’t even listened in yet to all the conversations … I made Christmas cookies and decorated them — here, have one!

    • Rebecca! I’m glad you made it. And of course the party is still going strong. Who would want to leave when there’s so much food and drink left?? And this cookie is wonderful. I am truly a cookie monster. Thank you for joining us. But don’t let me monopolize your time. Go mingle. See who’s here.

    • Oh the house is far from quiet! Don’t just slip in and leave. Stick around. Recite a poem. Read what others have to say. We’ve been rocking away since early this morning!

    • OMG, here’s Janet Wong! THE Janet Wong. Notice how I’m bowing as you come through the door? Janet, I’m in awe of what you and Sylvia Vardell are doing for poetry and poets. Thanks again and again for all your anthologies. You are truly appreciated!

  33. I’ve enjoyed reading the posts here – with the size of this crowd, I’m surprised you haven’t violated fire code! We just got the kids to bed and I need to take care of some writing business, but I did want to offer a little bedtime snack: papparkakor (Scandinavian spice cookies), a walnut stollen, and some mint chocolate Bailey’s and coffee. Thanks for hosting, David, and have a Merry Christmas!

    • David, trying for the second time to hail you (so if you see two almost-identical comments from me, delete one, eh?). Winter has finally arrived in Minnesota. Wishing everyone a nice warm Hot Buttered Rum and a couple of Spritz cookies!

      • Hi Joyce! Welcome to our house and my party. I’m delighted that you’ve come. Join us around the fireplace and hoist a Hot Buttered Rum. We’ll toast to those who haven’t made it here yet but are on their way. Let me know if you need anything. Pat Lewis was here earlier as was Jane Yolen and a host of others. The kitchen counter is laden with cookies, brownies, and all sorts of other goodies. Dig in.

    • Matt, it has been a pleasure to meet and greet so many friends today. I confess that I’m reluctant to call it over. Don’t be surprised if we party on tomorrow. So your great snacks will be appreciated tonight and tomorrow as well. Many thanks!

  34. Hi again! Sorry – I had to sneak out earlier to run some quick errands. But I brought back more treats! Shrimp cocktail, more eggnog, and some mini crab cake bites. I missed a lot of poems while I was gone – so glad to catch up! It’s getting a bit cold outside – may I bring the three corgis inside? They’ll be good, I promise – and they are great foot warmers for anyone who has chilly toes! So excited to see Laura Robb at the party – I’ll see you in December at CCIRA and we can tell stories about David’s party! LOL

    • Whoops! My brain is a bit frozen tonight (it’s near zero degrees in Colorado)! Laura – I’ll see you in February at CCIRA, not December!! Ha!

    • Susan, the corgis are welcome. And I thank you for the delicious treats! Some I’ll nibble tonight. The rest will keep nicely for tomorrow when we party on!

  35. Goodness, look a the time. I am about to turn into a pumpkin. So–lovely party. Tell the nice lady with the lamp to turn herself off when she leaves. I plan to do the same. Bed awaits. The glass slippers are set outside the door for a good polish by the elves. Or the fairy godmother, whoever is still awake. Not me.


    • Bed awaits me too, my friend. Thanks for helping make this such a great day. I refuse to think it’s over. Until tomorrow,

      • I think we should turn this shindig into a slumber party – and begin it again in the morning with pancakes!! LOL! (although no scary stories in the middle of the night!) Wait – scary stories would be okay, because I’ll have the corgis to protect me from things that go bump in the night! Thanks for letting them come inside!

  36. What a fun party and great group! Sorry I couldn’t stop by earlier, but today was the opening of the new Star Wars movie and I had to be there, of course. But I’m glad to come and wish everyone lovely moments of celebration during this holiday season. What a great place to start– right here in David’s living room!

    • Good morning, Sylvia! I’m glad you made it to the party, just in time to help ring in the second day. We had so much fun yesterday that we couldn’t manage to say goodbye so here we are. After I went to bed I don’t know whether folks stayed here, maybe rolled up on the floor and on sofas, or if they took a break to go home and brush their teeth before coming back. My daughter Robin was the last one to arrive last night and she brought a case of wine so I’d guess that some serious partying went on after I crashed for the night. I thanked Janet yesterday but want to thank you too for all that you and she are doing for poetry with your Friday Anthology series. It’s wonderful to see so many poems and poets introduced into classrooms across America.

  37. Good morning everyone! I was just telling Sylvia Vardell that my daughter showed up late last night with a case of wine. I went to bed so unless you stayed up and polished off the whole case, we have plenty for today. Now did anyone bring anything for breakfast? I have more coffee on and just found orange juice in the refrigerator. There’s a bowl of fruit in the kitchen. I never thought to show you the bathrooms but by now you obviously found them on your own. Some host, huh?

    • Morning, David! Let me provide fresh eggs from my chickens for breakfast! I have brown shells and blue shells – and they all taste great! But, does anyone have some bacon? There MUST be bacon! But alas, I must run off right after we eat. I’m subbing in a first grade classroom today. There’s been a snow day this week, and their holiday party was yesterday. Top that with the fact that, while I know many of these little angels, this will be the first time I’ve been in their classroom this year. A few prayers for my sanity would be appreciated! LOL! Perhaps Miss Grubb will sneak into the classroom with me today…

      • Thank you, Susan! I hear the pad of house shoes coming down the hall so I think at least some of my guests managed to find places to flop for the night. I have bacon! The plates are stacked near the stove and the silverware is in the top drawer next to the sink.
        And good luck with those first graders today. You and Sandy Asher need to compare notes later on. She’s also off to face first graders today in a school in Pennsylvania.

  38. Sandy Asher and Cheryl Harness, swallow your coffee and listen to this. The notes were posted yesterday by Julie Tinsley Bryant who, with Jennifer Fox has been editing the Missouri Reading Association Journal. Julie dropped by the party yesterday and went from there to the first party in June and left these lovely comments. I wanted Sandy and Cheryl and everyone else to see Julie’s thoughts so I’ve copied them to add here as well. Thank you Julie!

    o Julie Tinsley Bryant
    December 17, 2015 @ 2:15 pm Edit
    Sandy Asher was one of my favorite authors as a kid! I remember her coming to our school at Bolivar!!! She was a celebrity to me…just like all of my children’s lit authors are still today!
     Julie Tinsley Bryant
    December 17, 2015 @ 2:19 pm Edit
    Cheryl Harness…the lady I have a pic of wearing a coon skin hat! Love her work! It is fun she is here and has read Janie’s book! I LOVED it and can’t wait for others to devour it, too! By the way, I’m happy to stop by the grill, but as usual, I have very little time to linger, and no time to cook, so I simply grabbed a prepared fruit tray from Walmart for you all, and I’ll be zipping through the drive through on my way to my son’s DARE graduation!
    1. Julie Tinsley Bryant
    December 17, 2015 @ 2:25 pm Edit
    I’m glad you said this lasts days and days because I simply MUST come back! This party has SOOOO many of my very most favorite people! Besides my family, these authors are the ones I spend much of my time with each and every day! I soak up their words, I become friends with their characters, I walk through adventures with them, and at the end, I respect their time, their work, and their willingness to share!!!!
    David, this was a brilliant idea! I must enter grades and get over to the school to cheer for my son, but I will try to swing back by to check and see the rest of the guests! Thank you for inviting me! Party on!

    • Well, my day is made! Thank you so much, Julie, for the kind words, and thank you, David, for reposting them. While blushing about being called a “celebrity,” I have to laugh at the image of my fellow honoree Cheryl Harness currently decked out in her gownless evening strap — and blush a little more. Then there’s me huddled next to the lampshade lady, still stuffing my face with all kinds of brownies and gingery things. Bet you never pictured us this way when you were a kid, Julie!

  39. What are you two sitting here wasting the day gabbing. There are poems to be written–and they don’t write themselves, you know. Rhymes to be found or invented. Revisions because everything has to be revised. Even yours, even mine. Not to mention last night’s dishes and crumbs scattered on the pond for the birds and the anonymous turtle who might just stick his neck out of his shell for a treat.

    • Did someone get up on the wrong side of the bed? For the record, I’m working on a story as we speak. Started it yesterday during the thick of the chatting and slept with it in my head. It’s not coming together yet but I like the premise and will keep pecking away until something clicks. I can already hear you saying that if I’d shut up and write, the story would come along faster! Here, have some coffee. Glass of juice? You’ll be jolly in no time.

  40. Hey, ho, David + our Fair Lamplady. Arrival of our gal from Boston yesterday, led to frivolity here + with our friends out & about. Today I have a deadline on a volunteer writing gig, but thank you for this excuse to take a break to read as many delights as I can + nosh + nibble a bit. Since fruit at our organic market is a gift itself, is anyone eyeing this glass bowl of fresh-picked pomegranate seeds?
    Attaching a big silver bow to the bowl
    + my fresh Careerhyme inspired from above, by J. Pat.rick Lewis

    ELF: A sprite, an industrious assister;
    A rare visitor; A child charmer;
    Who delivers wishes come true;
    A needed part of Holiday frivolity.
    I wish one, or a bunch, for you.
    – c. Jan Godown Annino

  41. David: What a happy holiday get-together! And, I must add, this is the only party I’ve attended at which the word “pulchritude” was used. Thanks for throwing this wingding, David, and holiday greetings to all my friends and admired poets. May your holidays be merry and your upcoming year be peaceful and bright.

    My sister, who taught a Sunday School class quite some time back, claims this happened in her class: She read the Christmas story, then asked kids to draw a picture of their favorite part. There was something in one child’s picture that she did not understand, so she asked, “What’s this round object in your picture?” “That’s Round John Virgin,” was the reply. Of course… what was she thinking?

    Good old Round John. We have very few pictures of him. ;0)

    Best to all!

    • Holiday greetings, Karen, and thank you for coming to my party! I love your story. Thanks for sharing it with the group. You brought a lot of smiles. I hope you and your loved ones are preparing for a wonderful time. Wishing you peace and happiness.

  42. Whew! The morning with first graders has flown by, and now at lunch, I just HAD to check in on the party! Glad you had some bacon, David! I needed the extra protein to make it through this day! Actually – the kiddos are being pretty sweet. I’m more frazzled with the possessed heating system in the room. This morning I was roasting, and now my fingers are purple and shaking from the cold! How I wish I was back at your fireplace with a nice cup of hot chocolate! Keep the party going until I can get back!

    • Hang in there, Susan! Sara’s meatballs will warm you when you get back, and I’ll throw more wood on the fire. I well remember those heating and air gremlins that rule every school building in the land. No one has ever seen one but no one denies that they exist.

    • You spent the morning with 1st graders, Susan? So did I. I visited with four classes of them at Martin Luther King Elementary School here in Lancaster, where they were celebrating their annual Share-a-Book Day. Many great moments, but my favorite was this bit of advice, delivered with the serious demeanor of one who knows: “If a pet lizard doesn’t like you, he will bite you.”

      • I spent the entire day with the kiddos, Sandy. They turned on the “ornery” after lunch! Ha! But…Mrs. Hutchens knows how to calm the wild ones – by reading to them, of course! LOL. I found it funny that one boy picked a book by Jane Yolen for me to read to the entire class. I chuckled when I saw it, and told them I had “met” Jane at a “party” last night!! Being first graders, they gave me a funny look, and I just proceeded on! No explaining from me!!!!

      • Ah! I had it stuck in my head that you were an author friend of David’s! Just checked you out on Facebook and NOW I get it. I think I forgot to hit the “friend” button. Will do that now! A Merry Christmas and Happy, Healthy 2016 to you and yours!

  43. Sorry I’m late to the party! I was making crockpot meatballs and split pea soup–two staples at our house during this time of year. I made a double batch of both to share with everyone! The secret in the split pea soup is two meaty ham hocks. (It pains me to say, but I learned that trick from my mother-in-law.)

    Our house is full of preschool and toddler Christmas wonder these days, and frequent discussions about why we cannot open any presents until December 25th. It’s very hard to wait.

    Here is list of the holiday books we’ve been reading over, and over, and over….

    1. The Polar Express
    2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
    3. Little Blue Truck’s Christmas
    4. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
    5. Santa’s Noisy Night
    6. The Snowman
    7. A Charlie Brown Christmas
    8. Merry Christmas, Big Hungry Bear!
    9. Duck and Goose, It’s Time for Christmas!
    10. Christmas in the Manger

    Warmest of holiday wishes to you all! And thank you, David, for throwing the most wonderful parties. You have an uncanny knack of making all feel welcome and cherished.

    • Sara’s here! Sara Johnson’s here everyone! And with more treats and more good cheer and even a reading list for those excited little ones. Thanks for one and all, Sara. These are wonderful additions to the party. For anyone who hasn’t met Sara, I talked about her at the top of the blog. This party was HER idea! So if you are having a good time, tell Sara. She deserves an attagirl and a pat on the back.

  44. Hey David — never been to a virtual party before. Love your home.

    In our home we await the homecoming of our kids — Emily tomorrow from Seattle, Jenny and her boyfriend on Tuesday from St Louis, and Mike and his family from Washington. Our Mary is already home from NYC. It doesn’t seen like the Holidays until the family is together — reminds me of that old song from WWII – I’ll be home for Christmas.

    Have any family poems David?

    • Greetings my friend. Everyone, it’s Tim Rasinski from Kent State. He and Gay Fawcett and I wrote a book together called PARTNER POEMS and it’s still one of my favorites. Tim and I recently spoke at the same conference and we recited one of the poems from that book called “Lollity Popity day.” Our next title comes out with Shell next month. I mentioned it earlier. Tim, I’ll check to see what I have about families. I wrote a whole book called A THOUSAND COUSINS so I surely have something. So glad you came. Sounds like a good Christmas coming for you and your family.

      • Found one, Tim. How about this?

        What Makes it All Worthwhile
        by David L. Harrison

        I do my homework every night,
        I climb in bed by nine,
        I say, “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir,”
        And I never beg or whine.
        I make my bed
        And clean my room
        And hang my clothes away.
        I shine my shoes
        And wash my hair
        And shower every day.
        Mama says that I’m as good
        As any son could be,
        And Daddy tells my brother
        To try to be more like me.
        Which makes my brother crazy,
        Which makes me sweetly smile,
        Which makes him scream,
        “I’ll get you for this!”
        Which makes being good worthwhile.

        © by Boyds Mills Press, 1996
        By Permission of the author

      • Hi Again David – Hope you don’t mind I spent the night at your place! Just wanted to say I loved the poem. I love your way with words. Merry Christmas my friend — to you, Sandy, and your entire family.

      • Good morning, Tim! You are more than welcome to stay with us anytime. You’ll fine fresh towels and toilet paper in the linen closet in the guest bathroom. Laura Robb stayed in the same guest bedroom and so did Mary Jo and Hank Fresch when they were here. I’m glad you like my “family” poem! Years ago Kent Brown suggested that a time would come when it would be right to bring out a collection of my work that would include some of the best from the past. One of these days maybe I’ll look into it.

  45. David, you definitely know how to throw a wonderful party! I’m contributing pumpkin muffins. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to stop by earlier, but I’ve enjoyed visiting with everyone in retrospect (if that’s possible). I wish all wonderful holidays and a healthy, peace-filled 2016! I’m raising my cup of coffee in a toast to poetry, to friends, to more lovely gatherings like this one.

    • Greetings, Rebecca! Glad you made it and have been busy getting acquainted. We’ve had a full house and I think everyone is enjoying it. Folks, the senior editor for Boyds Mills Press and Wordsong just got here. Say hello to Rebecca Davis! Rebecca, thank you for your good wishes. The coffee is hot and I’m loving on these pumpkin muffins! Happy holidays!

  46. I’m late to the party, but sending warm wishes from Michigan. It hasn’t looked much like December this month, but today is cold and snow flakes are drifting and swirling. A good day to huddle inside and sample all the virtual goodies at David’s house!

    • Hi Buffy! Aren’t you glad I kept a light on in the window for you? I’m glad you made it! Party’s still going on and we have lots of good things to eat and drink. Come in and say hi to everybody!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s