Let’s party hearty!

Hi everyone,

It’s party time! I welcome you today to my fourth blog party. Come one come all. Bring something if you want, or not. Virtual parties are known for the ease of cleaning up afterward and one cupcake may well last all day and please the palates of dozens of guests.

Cool off in the pool if you brought a suit. For men with a 38 waist, I have a couple of spares. For women, Sandy might come up with one for you. I keep pool heated to 90 degrees, which is handy because when we’re not swimming we throw in a bag of potatoes and serve soup to the neighborhood. The water is only four feet deep and we have a stock of new noodles to help you bob around.

The grill is clean (by my standards more than those of my M.O.W.’s) so help yourself to it if you want to throw on burgers or brats.

You’ll find tables here and there. My two favorites are the ones closest to Goose Lake but there is one by the pool, one close to the kitchen door, and another at the far end of the patio for those who just want to enjoy the view and be left alone.

We have twenty outdoor chairs around tables and others that can be arranged to suit you needs.
I think all the plants are watered but if you’re given to puttering around in gardens, you’ll find a watering can wherever Sandy left it last. (No, my darling, I didn’t mean anything by that last “crack.” You’re just being overly sensitive. Yes, of course I apologize, Sweetheart.)

Sadly, my fallen tree is sprawling across part of the yard and down into the lake. We have someone coming to remove it next week. At some point I may offer a toast to the fallen beauty.

If you brought something in need of refrigeration, I’ve left the kitchen door open so help yourself. The counters are pretty much clear and the cutting boards are next to the coffee pot. No, the other coffee pot. The one that works. One of these days I plan to take the broken one to the garage, but it’s a long walk of twelve feet or maybe more and I’ve been busy these last two years.

So welcome! I am delighted to greet you, whether you’re a newbie to my parties or a veteran. The idea behind these events is to encourage folks to become acquainted and enjoy a chance to visit. If you spot someone you’ve been wanting to meet, march right up and introduce yourself. If you have questions to ask, ask away.

I never know how long these parties will last. One went on for three days. Please come and go as your time permits. My suggestion is that if you are returning to the party, you might want to make an announcement so everyone will know you’re back. Otherwise it’s easy to be overlooked in the crowd. And don’t forget to thank Joy Acey and Matt Forrest for dreaming up this party in the first place. Joy lives a lot of time zones away these days so you may have to shout to wake her up.


180 comments on “Let’s party hearty!

  1. Aloha David, I came a day early. It is still Thursday in Kauai. I can’t be late for your special party. Hey, Sandy really put out a great spread. Let me kiss you guys on each cheek while I slip these leis I brought over your heads.

    • The leis are gorgeous, Joy! Aloha to you! I’m glad you could make it. We couldn’t have this party without you!

  2. Popping in for a quick hello.
    I’ll take some tea and off I’ll go.
    If I can, I’ll stop at the end of the day.
    Not sure I will. It’s hard to say.

    Thank you Joy and Matt. What a great idea-r.
    Thanks David and Sandy. It’s lovely here.

    • Ha! Now there’s a rhyme you don’t see often, Susan! Thank you for coming and kicking off the day with a poem! Come back if you can.

  3. Fist, I shall offer a summertime toast
    to David, our friend and blog party host!
    And along with dear Joy, I feel its our duty
    to offer a toast to the tall, Fallen Beauty.

    Thanks for hosting, David – and please tell the M.O.W. we’ll be sure to clean up, so she can enjoy the festivities, as well. I brought along some deviled eggs, a roasted corn & blueberry salad, and some strawberry shortcake (w/berries macerated in Cointreau, of course). Hopefully Joy brought marshmallows, otherwise I’ll need to run out get them for later!

    • Good morning, Matt, and thank you for the toast, the delicious treats, and for the idea of getting together this way! Guests are beginning to arrive. It’s going to be a beautiful day filled with good friends and lively conversation. I can’t wait!

    • Wow! Diane, welcome and thanks for coming such a long way! I know you are already off to a grand start with your picture books so congratulations and keep them coming. Mmm, I don’t usually start on moonshine this early, but who can resist Australian moonshine???

  4. Yes Matt, I brought the marshmallows and I also brought some coconut graham crackers. They are made by the Diamond company on Oahu and I brought some of our Kauai chocolate. The cocoa pods are grown in my own Puna moku(regional area).
    I must say this corn and blueberry salad is to die for. You’re such a foodie. BTW, congratulations of Flashlight Night and its starred review. What a great way to debut. Did you bring some of those promotional flashlights with you? I thought that was so clever of Boyds Mill Press. Will you be going on any promotional tours? Got any book signings lined up? Spill, spill.

    • Hi Joy, thank you so much! Yes, I brought along enough flashlights for everyone to use later tonight during the marshmallow roast. When Boyds Mills’ marketing rep, Kerry, spoke with our illustrator, Fred Koehler, and I over the phone a couple months ago, we all agreed we wanted to use flashlights as a marketing tool in some way…and voila! I have 2 signings lined up so far – a book launch just outside of Boston on Sept. 7 and one here in town the following Sunday. I’m sure there will be more to follow, so if I make it out to Oahu, I’ll let you know!

    • Aloha dear Joy, good to see ‘hopping’ around. What a great party. Tell me about your latest projects. Let’s work on some word ladders. I wonder where HAWAII will take us …

  5. Do you all see the box warning about Facebook that popped up a while ago? I’m afraid to click on it. It looks bogus and I’m not sure what will happen if I touch it.

    • If you haven’t met her yet, say hi to Mary Jo Fresch, professor emeritus from Ohio State. Mary Jo and I are currently wrapping up our sixth book together. What an amazing partner!!

    • Thanks for confirming. I hate stuff like this. No idea where it came from. Nothing seems to be wrong. I’m not getting many Facebook notes so far this morning but some are coming in. You might try sending me something to make sure, but I’m going to stop worrying about the box for now.

      • If you’re referring to the facebook box under my visit – it’s MY fault :-(. I tried to attach a photo of our moon across the Bay from my facebook page, but it didn’t work. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. Don’t want to spoil the PARTY !!!!

      • Aha. Mystery solved! Thanks for clearing it up, Diane. These things happen. Just glad to know it isn’t anything serious. On we go!

  6. Morning! I’m up early and enjoying the cool Rocky Mountain breezes flowing through the house! How hot will it be in Springfield today? I might have to break down, put the jeans away, and and find my summer shorts. Sounds like the food is starting to line up on the tables – yum! As always, I’d love to bring some brownies. No – NOT “Colorado” brownies, but yummy brownies made from a 4-H recipe I got years ago. Don’t let the name, Dump Brownies, fool you. They’re good! Watermelon sounds good too, so I’ll be sure to bring a nice, ice cold one. Oh? Expecting a big crowd? Maybe I’ll bring two watermelons!

    • Great! I’d say two watermelons for sure, dear friend. And you know I live for your brownies! I think we’re to hit upper 70s today and close to 90 tomorrow. Should be a good day all around. Don’t forget your swimsuit!

      • I just sent you some Facebook messages. Let’s see if they work! The weather sounds great today! Not sure I’m brave enough to don a swimming suit, but I’ll happily wade along the edges of Goose Lake. Are there any minnows or crawdads to be caught?

      • Humph. No one ever wants to be the first in the pool. (:>
        You can walk down to the lake and watch from the landing, which is a few inches above lake level. It’s a good place to spot wildlife around the shoreline. I have several binoculars you can choose from.

  7. Hi, David and everyone– happy blog party! It’s raining buckets today in Dallas, so I’m ready for a sunny pool party! Hope everyone finds some time for some summertime fun– with a poem or two too!

    • Sylvia Vardell, everybody! If you haven’t met her, now is your chance. Sylvia, I’m delighted you came! It’s sunny here so make yourself at home, watch a few geese or butterflies, relax. It’s party time! And yes, we’re already getting some poems and I know we’ll get a lot more before this party is over!

    • Sylvia, aren’t you zipping off to Utah after this party? What will you be doing there? And did I hear the drum beat of another poets gathering next April in Dallas? Want to tell us about that?

  8. I brought my best suit
    but shan’t put it on
    I have to confess… I’ve gained weight.
    I’ve been on vacay,
    with desserts EVERY DAY…
    sadly, I showed no constraint.

    I’ll just chat and hang.
    There’s pie? Oh dang.
    Perhaps there’s room at the table?
    Just… one… piece…
    must… not… indulge!
    I’m willing — not able!

    • Welcome, Donna, and thank you for the poem that so many of us can relate to. All I can say is, stay away from those brownies Susan Hutchens brought! Well, maybe just one.

      • Donna – you and I can sit and chat! I’m not a pool person myself! Do you like corgi puppies? I’ll tell you all about the litter we had in February, and the two puppies we still have!

  9. Good morning, David! It’s a beautiful morning for a party at Shawnee Mound, MO! Thanks for inviting me! I’m enjoying my view! A few of the longhorns are grazing in the field and several of the ducks are sitting at the side of the drive contemplating their first trip of the day to the pond. Josephine the duck came off her nest for breakfast, squaking the entire time. The chickens are scattered throughout the yard. The dogs can’t decide if they are ready to embrace the day or not. I’m surrounded by Ethel, Rex, Roxie, Maci, Chubs, Desi, TC, and Rosie. The other dogs – Beau, Ellie, Hoss, TJ, Harvey, and Barney – are sleeping here and there in the yard. Oh wait…here comes Beau. I think he’s ready for some love. I don’t think life can get any better than this!!! I’m sending a virtual hug your way. Can you feel it?

    • Good grief, Sandy! Sounds like a LOT of animals to love around your place!!! I hope they’ll be okay if you slip away to visit around our back yard and sample all this wonderful food (and moonshine!) folks are bringing. Glad you are having good weather too. Yes! Your hug just now arrived and I loved it. Thanks!

  10. Good morning David! A blast from the past I thought I’d drop in, but must ask..have you looked outside?
    There’s limited parking, two labs are barking and crowds loom at your door. Geese doing fly by’s, and more drinking mai tai’s, then stagger away from the shore. I know you’re not faking – it’s a fine place to take in the joyful noise of the wild. When the geese settle down, and the night rolls around, I’ll hang with you there for awhile.

    Great to connect!

  11. Good morning, David, and everyone. Joy and Matt, thank you for the idea, and David for the party. Tea for two, for three and more/just what I’ve been waiting for!/Watermelon, sweets galore/I think I’ll stay down by the shore! Just returned from my am walk. Our first heatwave is arriving in Denver, so early out and back in is best. I dropped in my favorite bakery and brought chocolate croissants. Enjoy!

    • Hi, Linda! Thanks for coming. The party is beginning to warm up now as more sleepyheads rouse themselves for the day and early risers take a party break. Thank you for the poem and croissants. I love them both!

  12. Hey David – It is time for a party – a poetry party. I am great advocate of using poetry for reading. Here’s a word ladder I made to bring to the part!

    Start with Poetry – (something that David is very good at)

    POETRY– now take away 2 letters to make a word that means “to give it a go”
    try — change the middle letter to make something a child likes to play with
    toy — change the last letter to make another name for a young child
    tot — change the first letter to make what you might boil water in
    pot — change the vowel to make a dog, cat or other animal that lives in your home
    pet — change the first letter to make what you might do if you gamble. You’d place a …
    bet — change one letter to something we normally sleep on
    bed — change one letter to make a color
    red — add one letter to make what you do with David’s and other poets’ poems

    Poetry is reading – the best kind!

    Check out my website/blog (www.timrasinski.com) for more word ladders!

    • Alright! Thank you, Tim. You’re the best at these. I’m honored that you created one just for my party! Folks, if you haven’t met Timothy Rasinski from Kent State, here he is. We collaborated on the book, PARTNER POEMS, as well as the more recent one, RHYMES FOR THE TIMES. If you go to a conference and the main room is packed, you can figure that Tim is giving a talk.

  13. Happy blog party day to the one and only David Harrison!

    I’m Savannah Waszczuk, an editor and writer at 417 Magazine.

    I met David in a non-profit we were both a part of for a few years. I am glad that I did!

    David, I love all of your work. Thanks for being so great and bringing so much to our community!


    • Hi, Savannah! I’m delighted you could join us today. Thank you for your kind words. It is always a pleasure when I get to work with you. Heads up, everyone. Savannah just happens to work for Springfield’s most popular and successful magazines and has also served as president of Writers Hall of Fame. Glad you’re here!

  14. Happy to drop in on your grand celebration, David. Sorry that I have nothing to offer but a casserole of good wishes for all that you do. I stand in awe of your accomplishments, my friend.
    Ever, and then some,

    • Pat, many thanks for the casserole! Greatly appreciated! One of the highlights of my year was working with you and Steve Withrow on our book of sonnets. Let’s hope we see them in print one of these days. But win or lose, it was a delightful challenge.

      Everyone, don’t miss a chance to visit with a former U. S. Children’s Poet Laureate and a true gentleman!

    • It’s always wonderful to chat with Pat. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to the release of NatGeo collection in the fall! Hope all is well. Baci e abbracci from Italy!

      • Hi, Renee! Thanks for making the long journey to be with us today. I miss seeing you on the net and can’t wait for your kids to get married and move away so you’ll have more time for me. Hugs back, unless that wasn’t hugs you were sending!

    • Thanks for joining the shindig, Pat – and thank you for all the support you’ve lent to your fellow children’s writers. I, personally, owe you a great deal, so please have an extra helping of shortcake!

    • Hi Pat, I see you dropped in again this year. Thanks again for adding one of my poems to your big book. This is what happens when we show up on David’s W.O.M. blog. What a big party. I hope I can find my way through. I think I hear Veda’s Voice or was it Cheryl’s?


    My dear hubby has “checked out” the party, but says he doesn’t know anyone (except David) and is hesitant to join in. Maybe if some of you encouraged him, he’d make an appearance. He’s a lot of fun, but we need to watch him around Goose Lake. As a kid, he says he had a habit of “accidentally falling” into bodies of water. Ha!

    • Ha ha! Danny, ya big sissy. The water isn’t over your waist anywhere. I think my pool is deep than it. Bring your trunks just in case.

    • Danny, welcome. Hey would you check out the temperature of the lake water for me? Is it worth going in?
      Hey, if we got everyone in the lake, that would really get this party hopping.
      Oops, there I go again, trying to stir things up.

  16. Great to see everyone. I’ve brought my usual fruit. Learned a new way to cut up a watermelon that is easier than my old scoop method, so it’s cut in cubes this time. Help yourself.

    • Veda! You’re here. I was hoping you’d make it. Thanks for the watermelon. It’s delicious. Tell us about your MFA! And how many books have you published now? And how do you manage to sell so many books in digital form?

      • I will graduate next month. My thesis, a coming-of-age novel about one man’s time in Vietnam, was approved, so now I just lack giving a lecture and doing a reading from my thesis at the residency in July. I’ve learned tons.
        As to e-books, I’ve learned that children’s books don’t sell since kids don’t have credit cards, but romances do. So I painstakingly updated my out-of-print old paperback romances and put them on Amazon, so I get a nice monthly check from old work. I write a Christmas novella e-book each year, and it keeps interest in the older titles.

      • Veda, you are a marvel! I’m so impressed. In the strange world of writing, you find your way and make it pay. No couplet intended. Thanks so much for telling us more about your accomplishments.

    • Hello, Veda! I had no idea you’ve been working on your MFA. I’m so impressed! I wish you’d say a few words about that for our SPEAKING OF “OLD” Facebook group. That’s exactly the kind of “growing vintage” inspiration we’re interested in hearing about!

      • Oh, there you are Sandy, I see you are trying to get that young Veda to inspire us “old” group. We need all the inspiration we can get. I am on my way out. David didn’t see sneak in.

    • I thought I heard you and Cheryl’s voice. Nice to see faces I know. I had a difficult not tripping over all the shoes, bare feet and toes sticking out. I heard you are keeping busy. Good for you. I enjoy your blog. Oh I better see what Cheryl and Sandy are up to. Have fun.

  17. What a great party, David! Running a bit late. So many friends are here. Can’t wait to mingle. I was inspired by Tim Rasinski (Thank you, Tim) to create a word ladder (my first) just for this special occasion. Here goes . . .

    I’ll start with BLOG (yours– of course!)

    B L O G ― now take away one letter to make a piece of wood
    L O G ― change the vowel to mean “pull/carry”
    L U G ― change the vowel again to a verb meaning “delay”
    L A G ― write the word backwards
    G A L ― change on letter to make a friend
    P A L ― change one consonant and you’re golfing
    P A R ― add a consonant and you will feel like you “belong”
    P A R T ― one consonant more — because David’s hosting his annual BLOG —–
    P A R T Y

      • THANK YOU, Tim! It was challenging but SO much fun. I just followed your lead. A great workout for the brain. I plan to do more.

      • Thanks, David. Then I’d better get busy … I’ll sit by the pool, sip some of Sandy’s freshly brewed tea and ‘ladder’ a few more ….

      • You go, girl! See that table over in shade about ten feet back from the pool? It’s a good place to sit and think.

      • Thanks, Tim. I think I’ll try my hand with LEXOPHILE. Now that sounds like a VERY challenging ladder. The table in the shade is perfect, David. I forgot my sun hat.

    • Yahoo, well done, Cory. Yes, Tim’s challenge is inspiring. I’m going to have to work on this one. Actually this sounds like something Eric Ode would be good at. Has he shown up?

  18. Oh that Veda – isn’t she a diligent & charming wonder? I’ve brought along some kiwi fruit, nicely sliced into lovely green polka dots like the ones on the flowing silk caftan I’m wearing. Just the thing for a spring pool party with all of your breezy guests, dear David & Sandy. How fetching you look in your matching seersucker rompers!

    • And you are the first ones to notice our new duds that Sandy made especially for this party. Thank you, dear heart. I don’t know about my M.O.W. but my feelings were getting hurt just a bit. You look truly lovely, by the way, and I’ll never know how you pull off things like matching kiwi and caftan. You are SO clever!

  19. Greetings, all, from the rural Mid-South —
    Home of Opry’s Uncle Dave Macon!
    I’ve brought all the pie you can fit in your mouth
    Plus biscuits, cheese grits, and hot bacon.

    Thank you so much for this shindig, David! And thanks for the wonderful idea, Matt and Joy! By way of (further) introduction, I mostly write light, rhyming verse. I was honored to learn from David at a Highlights Foundation workshop back in August 2016. I’ve published a couple of poems in Highlights, and I recently signed up to edit the 2016 Today’s Little Ditty anthology (along with Matt, I think!)

    Uncle Dave is a country music legend in my hometown of Murfreesboro, TN. Coincidentally, his full name is David Harrison Macon! Clearly, this is all kismet 🙂

    • Hey, Jesse! That was a tremendous workshop. Thanks for being part of it. I love your poetic introduction so thank you for that too. Congratulations on the editing gig. You’ll be good at it! I’m smiling at the thought that I have a name-connection in your hometown. Kismet for sure! Thanks for telling me. Make yourself at home. We have enough food and drinks for an army!

      • Hi, Joy! Sorry I missed you on Friday evening! Just stopping by to pick up my casserole dish 😉 I’m not familiar with the Festival, though it sounds like something I’d love. Looks like it’s in Jonesborough, TN, which is a few hours northeast of Murfreesboro. Hope I can check it out sometime!

    • We are, Mel, and my thanks to you, Donna, Karen, and all my friends at Charlesbridge! Can’t wait for A PLACE FOR A FAMILY to come out in early 2018!

  20. Greetings from Michigan where dragonflies light,
    while swans blow their trumpets and sandhills take flight,
    I’ve brought my menagerie. Can you hear redwings call?
    (but now I’ll retreat, before rain starts to fall.)

    • Hi, Buffy! Glad you made it. I love the guests you brought with you. I love dragonflies. Every summer we have one that patrols the air above our pool. You know it can’t be the same insect each year yet there is always only one. It’s a nice day here so turn your swan loose to play with ours. Our crane can show yours around. I haven’t seen a redwing around here this spring but there are several other blackbirds around. Dig into the refreshments!

  21. Buongiorno! Hello! It’s already evening here, but still hot, so it’s the perfect time to dangle my legs in the water and sip something with an umbrella in it. What do you suggest? (Preferably not the umbrella stand.)

    It’s wonderful to connect with you, David, and everyone else! I’m finding it harder and harder to stay in the loop with all these kids running around, so thanks for the FESTA and the chance to say CIAO to all the guests. MWAH!

  22. Hi guys!
    I can’t stay, but maybe I’ll stick my head in later. Have an extra hot dog for me!
    Ok off to read some manuscripts…


    • Melissa Manlove, from Chronicle everybody! One of the fastest editors alive. Not to mention one of the best as well! Thanks for coming over today, Melissa. Read pretty!

  23. Hello David… and everyone! Thanks so much for the invitation to your party. A big shout out to Matt and Joy for starting this tradition. I’m bringing homemade cheese straws. My bakerman hubby makes them, and I’ll bet you’ll love them. David, there is nothing I like better than sitting quietly by a lake, so I’m going to borrow a set of your binoculars, find myself a cool libation and head for the shore. I’ll make some new friends along the way, I’m sure. Cory… that word ladder is really cool! I’ve got to try one. Cheers, everyone!

    • And to cheers to you, Karen. I’m glad that we, too, met at a Highlights Poetry Workshop out there in the Pennsylvania woods. So glad you’re here. I do love these cheese straws! Kudos to your hubby! Take you pick of binoculars. I have several.

    • Hi Karen, Sorry I missed you. Either I was mingling or tucked away in the quiet working on another ladder. The BLOG one was a piece of cake compared to LEXOPHILE.
      Join the word-ladder fun, Karen. you’ll be great!

  24. Has anyone spotted Lee Bennett Hopkins? I’m hoping he’s here. I’m going to start milling around to see if I’m missing him in the crowd.

  25. Hi Everyone! I hope the ribs are on the grill, David, and they are slow cooking for later. I could use a Bloody Mary while it’s still morning here in Portland, Oregon, but later I’ll be looking forward to one of your favorite V&T’s. It’s kinda cloudy here today, so it’s a good day to dive into a chapter to revise for my new book: Read the Writing: Teach the Writer. It’s coming out from Stenhouse late winter/early spring 2018. What’s with editors, anyway? They make you revise a book that is about revision? That’s just so bizarre, right? (David–quit laughing!)

    • I can’t help smiling, my funny friend! It’s Ruth Culham, everybody! A true expert on writing, the go-to trait lady, and sought after speaker for major conferences. Ruth, I’m eager to see the new book, which is going to be another blockbuster. Yours always are. Thanks for coming by today. Help yourself to the ribs while I make a Bloody Mary. Enjoy!

      • I’m so hungry smelling them cook all morning…yummm! Nothing goes better with a Bloody Mary, right? So last night, a group of us watched All the President’s Men. The movie never ages and seems more timely than ever. Maybe later, around the pool, we can talk more about it? Speaking of the pool, I can’t wait to dive in.

      • Hooray! At last someone is ready for the pool! Towels are out. The temperature is perfect. Noodles are there by the steps. Dive in! Glad you like the ribs and naturally you like my Bloody Mary. Everyone does. That’s really what I do best.

  26. All the food sounds great! But, did anyone remember the ice cream maker? Not an electric one – but a good old-fashioned, hand-crank one! I can bring lots of fresh eggs if anyone has an ice cream recipe that needs them!

    Tim and Cory – now I want to try a word ladder! I’ll let you know what I come up with! I’ll be over in the shade, watching the waves ripple in the breeze.

    • Hey, do I look like some rank amateur? Of course I have a freezer; two of them. But I confess they are the lazy boy variety. I cranked enough of those original ones in my youth, thank you very much.

      • LOL! I guess homemade ice cream is best – no matter how it’s made! What flavors would everyone like?

  27. Hello, everyone! So happy to get to the party at last, after a busy morning doing KPETS Reading Dog duty at King Elementary with Gracie. Last visit of the school year. Couldn’t miss that. So, David, here’s the link to the man who makes hats for his visiting toad. Perhaps we could have a craft session later? http://mymodernmet.com/toad-hats/. I’m sure your resident toad or toads would appreciate that. And what’s a party without party hats?

    • Hi Sandy! Thanks for coming even though you are probably tired after your school visit. I laughed out loud when I read this link. Thank you for the added fun. You are right. What is a party without hats! Considering how many toads we had in the pool a few weeks ago, and knowing that by now we must have a robust population around here, I’m hoping this guy takes orders and offers a quantity discount. Love and XOs.

  28. A dip in the pool is just what I need while I wait for my car at the repair shop and try to tune out an obnoxious television in the background. I much prefer the chatter of lovely guests and ornery geese. Anyone care for some fresh-picked blueberries?

    • Ack! Who would want to sit around a repair shop when she can splash in a pool. Jump right in, Michelle. I’m really pleased that you came, and not just for the blueberries either!

  29. Oops, forgot to mention: I’ve brought sweet potato chips. A giant package, from Costco. Which I could eat myself in no time at all, so you need to know what a supreme effort it is for me to share. As part of my National Poetry Writing Month participation this year, I even wrote an ode about sweet potatoes in response to the prompt to write a poem inspired by our sense of taste:

    Where does a healthy diet end
    and obsession begin?
    In the humble sweet potato,
    root veggie and subsistence tuber
    of the masses
    raised to high art by chefs
    who slice,
    and fry,
    thereby combining all three
    addictive foodstuffs
    — sugar, salt, and fat —
    into one irresistible mouthful.
    The package boasts nutritional value
    to further seduce the brain.
    I savor and then
    but happy.

    • Sandy Asher, you temptress! I don’t even like sweet potatoes but you make it all sound so appealing. Sylvia Vardell, are you still here? You asked for poems and you’re hearing a load of fun and funny ones!

  30. Here’s my stab at a word ladder. Thank you, Tim and Cory, for the inspiration!

    FRIEND – change both vowels to describe a branch
    frond – change the last consonant to be “in the lead”
    front – take away a letter to describe what a printed letter looks like
    font – delete the vowel and add two more vowels to “pass out”
    faint – delete the first letter to drive a teacher crazy
    aint – delete one vowel and invite this insect to the picnic
    ant – change the letters around to get a touch of the sun
    tan – change one consonant to play a game
    tag – change the vowel to describe clothing
    tog – read the letters backwards
    got – change the vowel to describe what you must do for David’s party…
    GET here!

    • BRAVO, Susan! Wasn’t it fun! I am still working on a LEXOPHILE ladder. It’s a tough one! Perhaps I’ll take a break and mingle awhile.

      • Thanks, Cory! Yes – this was a fun challenge. Whew – good luck with LEXOPHILE. Here – why don’t you drink some tea and dip your toes in the lake for a bit?

      • Sounds great, Susan. Let’s do that. Let’s dip our toes in the lake and drink some tea and commune for a while with the goslings and geese. Maybe we could collaborate on another ladder.

    • Yay for you, Susan! You and Cory and Tim are making these look easy and I know they are not. Thanks for another great example.

  31. Sorry I’m late, had to stay on and vote
    In the U.K .general election.
    And, just like in the USA,
    We had a motley selection.
    We’ve more parties than you,
    So it’s hard to predict
    Just what our Government would be.
    So, with no clear winner,
    Our Parliament’s hung.
    And some people think that they should be!

    Oh dear – forgot my trunks again. No swim this year

    • Hi, Bryn! Thanks for coming today. We have guests from England, Canada, Australia, and where else? Am I missing a country? I really love those last four lines especially. Sorry about the trunks. Later on after dark, and after Lemondrops, moonshine, Bloody Maries, and vodka & tonic, it might not matter so much.

  32. Hi David! Thanks for inviting me. This is beautiful and reminds me of growing up in Wisconsin and Michigan. I see so many old friends. I’ll try to check back later as I have an appointment to float in a sensory deprivation tank. You float on body temperature, salt water in the dark. It is either an expensive nap or it improves creativity. I’m not sure yet. Before I go my wife made this taco salad that I’ll leave here for everyone and now I’ll jump in your pool. Cannonball!!!

    • Wow! Didn’t see that one coming, Ken! But Ruth and Michelle are laughing so I don’t think you’re in trouble. Please tell your sweet wife how much I love her salad. And of course we all want to hear more about your experience in the deprivation tank!!!

  33. I made it, David. It’s been a busy morning. Hello to everyone! I wish we could hang out in person. I see many familiar faces and that is so sweet. Speaking of sweet, I don’t eat chocolate or desserts much, but I brought a pitcher of my favorite cocktail. Lemondrop. Glasses must be sugar rimmed though. Guys, writing calls and I’m working on a project, so I think I’ll take my notebook and go sit over there in that comfy chair. I’ll leave the rest of the lemondrops. Save one for me. I’ll check in after dinner! (Oh, this is Rebecca even though it says I’m scribblesinpeacock) 😉

    • Glad you made it, Rebecca! And thanks for these tasty Lemondrops! I have plenty of sugar and what’s to say I can’t have two? Help yourself to anyplace that looks inviting to you and work away. Have fun!

    • And here is Lee Bennett Hopkins, everyone. And who can not be delighted with cabbage stuffed with poetry??? Thank you for joining us, Lee. Lots to eat and drink so help yourself and wander around to see who’s here. We’re into the hundreds now.

  34. Thanks, David, for inviting us to your pool party at Goose Lake! This is the perfect respite for a tired goose winging his way back home to the treehouse today after a week of end-of-the-year school visits and bookstore events. Delighted to see so many of our friends gathered here today! Hope you enjoy this cool pitcher of my wife’s famous peach tea! 🙂

    • Hmmm, love this tea, Charles. Please let her know! Hey, everyone, taste this tea and say hi to none other that Father Goose. Charles, you have so many books coming out I can’t keep track and I know your published poem count is up there somewhere in the stars. I’m delighted you could take time to land on my lake for a while!

    • Hi Charles. I guess now David knows I am here that I stopped to say,”hi.” Such a large group and so many new faces. I sneak in for David was busy. Hi David. What a party filled with wonderful people. Boy, you are going to be pooped when its over. I am on my way out. Happy landing.

      • Ah gee, Mary Nida. How could I miss you? I’m really sorry, but thank you so much for coming. You’re right about the party. It’s a dandy and more people arrive all the time. I hope you enjoyed your visit with Charles and others. Thanks again for coming!

  35. So sorry about your tree, David. This winter our neighbor lost a tree–in our yard. It was a considerate tree, though, for when it came down, it didn’t take any of ours with it despite narrowly missed our house, and its top ended just short of my car parked in the driveway. But–like our neighbor’s tree–winter is just a distant memory on a gloriously beautiful almost-summer day. In honor of the warmth of the day, I have brought iced coffee. I hope everyone likes hazelnut creamer.

    So glad to see Sandy Asher is here (the sweet potato chips she brought are just a bonus to her company). And who can resist toads in hats? I feel remiss for never considering the haberdashery needs of the rabbit who has been visiting this year.

    • Greetings, my friend! It’s good to see you and hope it won’t be so long until next time. Your tree story is sad and scary. Glad it had a more or less happy ending. I do like hazelnut creamer and see several others taking advantage of having it handy. Thank you for the coffee too! Rabbits in hats? Sure. Why not?

    • Vivian! Thank you for your kind words! I’m a day late in finding you and you may never even see this, but it’s good to hear from you. And just think of all the creatures who might be wishing they, too, had hats — including the opossums, bats, and crows that hang around our city! I think I’ll just have some iced coffee, a few sweet potato chips, and ponder those possibilities. Any left, I wonder?

      • Shhh, Sandy. I don’t think David has seen us lurking in the yard long after he thought he’d rounded up and sent home the last guests. If we’re quiet enough, he may not notice us swimming in the pool and finishing up the last of those snacks…

      • I see you! I heard you gabbing and splashing around out there first thing this morning. But I loved it of course and Sandy does too. We just came in from sitting out there watching you and enjoying our visit. Swim on!

    • Yay! Dona Rice, everyone, from Teacher Created Materials! Dona came to a presentation and heard me present some poems, and that began a friendship as well as a business relationship that has led to six books. Dona also directs plays for and with young people. Dona, check to see if Sandy Asher is still around. She was a while ago.

  36. Hellloooooo??? Janine Clark-Barry here! It hasn’t ended yet, has it? Sorry to be late, had a yard sale and just closed up. I’m hot! Which way to the dressing room, David? I need to put my swimsuit on…oh, and I brought some coleslaw to share…where might the fridge be?

    • Nah, it’s not too late at all, Janine. Lots and lots of people still here so go through the kitchen to the bathroom there for a quick change and then into the pool with you! You’re the only one who brought coleslaw so I thank you for that! You want a beer or tea or wine? My daughter Robin brought a whole case of wine. Make yourself at home and thanks for coming.

  37. Greetings, Jane! Looks like a good walking companion you have with you. Sorry I can’t stay to rub his ear. Sandy and I are going to break away from the party for a while to have dinner with our daughter Robin and family. Party on!

  38. Hi everyone,
    Please don’t leave even though I have to pause for a while to have dinner with our daughter Robin and son-in-law Tim. I’ll be back on later tonight and hope I don’t miss greeting you if you come while I’m gone. So far we’ve had about 500 visits so that’s a pretty good party. If anyone winds up sleeping under the stars, tomorrow should hit 90 and we’ll still have plenty of food plus fresh coffee and melon. You have made this day special and I am extremely grateful. I know you all and am happy to call you my friends.

  39. The pool sounds especially nice. Just spent some time this week at Color Art Warehouse getting ready for the 5 book giveaways STL-SUB-ILA (IRA!) is doing this summer. Some of the books are new, some are gently used. We worked this week to doctor the gently used ones so they will be ready for new homes.

    Also got my presentation proposal done for the Fall Early Childhood Conference at Tan Tar Ra http://www.missouriearlylearning.com/. Regestration opens in August, hope to see some folks there.

    Once again I want to thank David for his many contributions to the Missouri Reader over the years. Be on the lookout in the fall for his newest contribution to our journal. Catch up on old issues at http://missourireading.org/themissourireader/.

    For now you’ll have to excuse me. That virtual pool looks mighty fine, think it’s time for a little swim. Sam

    • Sam! Forgive me for skipping out on my own party just as you arrived. Our daughter and son-in-law invited us over for dinner and who could turn down an offer like that? Thank you for the good information about your upcoming activities, especially the Childhood Early Learning Conference. Way to go on that. Thank you, too, for co-editing Missouri Reader. That’s a whale of a job and I’m delighted that you and Glenda Nugent have agree to take on this vital effort. Thanks for coming to my party, Sam. I hope you enjoyed the dip in the pool.

  40. Wow. That time again! How lovely to see everyone here and especially you, David. Thanks for the invite. I brought brownies to share. Now I think i will graze around the tables and say hello to everyone.

    • Rosi, your brownies are fantastic! I’m having one for breakfast. I hope you enjoyed visiting around the yard with everyone else who came. We had quite a turnout this year. Seems like we always do. I’m always delighted to see so many friends show up!

  41. Just wanted to thank you and Sandy for putting on another wonderful party, David…it’s always fun to visit here, and I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments. I’m roasting one more marshmallow (having soaked it in Chambord first, of course) and then calling it a night. Have a great weekend!

    • Good morning, Matt. Sorry to miss the tail end of my own party! When I got home last night from dinner I was too tired to stay with my guest very long before turning in. I was thrilled with the turnout. My thanks again to you and Joy for being the inspiration behind these parties. Aren’t they fun? Have a good weekend yourself.

  42. Hi Rosi, I’m Janine. I don’t get out much, but wouldn’t miss David’s blog party! I don’t know everyone here, would you take me around with you and introduce me to some folks please? I am unfamiliar with Dona, Savannah, and Vivian, and would love for Susan’s husband, Danny, to join the fun, he sounds like a great guy. Matt’s flashlight will come in handy as dark descends this evening, though Joy will not have darkness for a bit yet in the Aloha State. I wonder if she knows of Sue Cowing on Oahu who wrote a great book of poetry for Hawaii’s kids called My Dog Has Flies. I grew up with her son.
    Have you tried Mary Joe’s tomatoes with Jesse’s cheese grits? DIVINE! Rebecca’s lemondrops are a good cure for Bryn’s election blues, along with your brownies and Linda’s chocolate croissants.

    Now here’s some of the filling from one of Lee’s cabbage rolls:

    Lexophiles have too much wit
    for this brain-its having a fit
    I do agree
    that poetry
    is the best to read !

    I’d love to meet all the partiers in person, as all sound so kind and fun, but this is the next best thing. I wonder if Sandy’s farm animals can hear Buffy’s redwing calling…oh, have you tried Karen’s cheese sticks yet, or Ken’s taco salad? Nice zing, don’t you think?
    Well, I’ve had a good round of the table, perhaps another dip in the pool…

  43. Happy to see that three of you are still here! Sorry, it’s been a long and busy day. Let me help clean up, at least! And here’s a sampler box of coffee and biscotti for you to savor with your melon in the post-party calm tomorrow morning!!

      • Janet has a small batch coffee roasting son in Seattle? My son in Portland, OR, just sent us a gift bag from Johnny Coffee in Seattle. It was fantastic! Can there possible be a connection? I would’ve brought it to the party, since some of us are here in the a.m., but we drank it up fast. Same story as the sweet potato chips. No self control whatsoever.

    • Janet, sorry to miss you when you arrived. I’m having your coffee and Rosi’s brownies this morning and having a fine time thinking about all the good friends who came to play with me yesterday. I appreciate all you do for children’s poets and applaud you and Sylvia for helping so many poets see their work in print. Fantastic!

  44. Hello Janet, it seems our host and guests have gone to dreamland. I’ll help you clean up so David and Sandy won’t wake to a mess. Is that Espresso in your coffee sampler? I had my first real Italian espresso in Maiori, Italy last month and thought I’d gone to paradise! Perfect with the biscotti and the memory, thanks.
    Oh, I see a wine glass on the end table there, I’ll get that and perhaps you could locate the dishwashing pods..?

    • Sandy and I loved coming home to a clean yard and house, Janine and Janet! Not only that, we have so many leftovers in the fridge we won’t need to cook for a week. Thank you so much!!

  45. Hi folks. Just got home from an evening out, tired and headed to bed. I apologize for not being here all evening but in the morning I’ll count noses and see who I failed to greet properly. Thanks again for making this such a special day! Night night.

  46. WOW! David, I have an advantage here. It is still early evening in Kauai.
    I don’t think I saw Jane Yolen and was Heidi Stemple or our Heidi Mordhorst around? There must be too many people off on summer vacation.

    • Good morning, Joy, and thanks so much for coming to the party! I loved having you here. Jane was a no-show but I know she is packing and winding up details before leaving for Scotland on Wednesday. I didn’t see either Heidi and they were missed too. A lot of people couldn’t make it but we had a great turnout with a lot of first-timers and that made me very happy. Counting Facebook visits, we had about 550. Safe travels, my friend.

  47. Well, gosh! Hope you don’t mind I spent the night curled up on a couch somewhere! It was just too late to drive home by the time we all got done chatting and swapping stories. The lake sure is pretty this morning! Do I smell bacon?

    • There you are, Susan! How nice to see you here this morning! Sure, we have bacon, eggs, and tons of brownies and fruit left over. Let’s dig in! Oh, and the coffee that Janet brought. Try a cup of this and you’ll be singing all day. Maybe Danny will join us for breakfast and an early dip in the pool. Hey, Danny!

  48. Good morning, Susan, I hope the couch was comfortable. I too fell asleep in one of the guest rooms (Didn’t want to wake you, David. I hope you don’t mind.) I can see that I missed quite a few friends who have come and gone.

    That word ladder wore me out. This is how I left it. I challenged myself with Lexophile.

    L E X O P H I L E ― remove 4 letters and ‘banish’ remains
    E X I L E ― replace X with V and drop an E
    V I L E ―change a vowel and a rodent appears
    V O L E ― change a consonant and cast your ballot
    V O T E ― drop the V and unscramble into a ‘digit’
    T O E ― add a consonant and ‘rip’ it into the past
    T O R E ― change a consonant to describe your attire
    W O R E ― drop the E and add a consonant to make a four-letter —-
    W O R D ― make it plural, you lover of . . .
    W O R D S!

    • Cory! All I can say is “Wow!” you have the gift, my dear. And of course you were more than welcome to stay with us. Sorry I was such a sleepyhead last night. Come, sit and visit. Have some orange juice?

    • Wow, Cory! Super job! No wonder you fell asleep in a guest room. All that brain work must have worn you out! Maybe we can find some more words and have fun making word ladders together. Where’s Tim?? Hey Tim! Get out of the water and come over here!

      • hi David Cory and Susan — sorry, I was side tracked. We had our own family visiting from Manila, Seattle, St Louis, and NYC . Loved all the word play! Your word ladders show that word study can be fun. David, thank you for allowing me to part of your extraordinary group and party. Until next time. tr

    • What a joy to have you with us, Cory. You came a long way and helped make the party a success. I know for sure that Tim Rasinski was impressed with your word ladders. I know I am! Safe travels until next time.

  49. I best be leaving too, David. Those corgi puppies are calling, and I’m sure there will be a few “presents” to clean up. Thank you for the wonderful party, dear friend!

    • Thank you, Su. It has been great fun and, as always, I’m sorry to wave goodbye to the last guest. Thank you for all your help and the delicious treats. I hadn’t had homemade ice cream all year so I really loved that! Tell Danny next year he has to come. I’ll tell Sandy the same thing. I think she dropped by but couldn’t stay. She had to work all day at our gift store. Be well.

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