Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Lord our God is Good! Happy Thanksgiving!

The Angelus  Jean Francois Millet
 As for God, His way is perfect;
      The word of the LORD
is proven;
is a shield to all who trust in Him.

“For who is God, except the LORD?
      And who
is a rock, except our God?
God is my strength and power,

      And He makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of deer,

      And sets me on my high places.
He teaches my hands to make war,
      So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You have also given me the shield of Your salvation;

      Your gentleness has made me great.
You enlarged my path under me;
      So my feet did not slip...

The LORD lives!
be my Rock!
      Let God be exalted,
      The Rock of my salvation!...

Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles,
      And sing praises to Your name.
 II Samuel 22:31-37, 47, 50

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tears, Wolves, and Rodney Atkins

I almost hit a wolf on the way out of Thief River Falls the other evening.  I'm pretty sure it was a wolf, but I suppose it might have been a coyote. 

I was driving the Smiley Road; must have been just east of the river.  I was feeling a little bit blue, because I had passed Alison and Jona's new house, looking all happy and peaceful with its lights all aglow in the winter night.  Yes, to be quite frank, I was crying.  Sobbing, in fact.  It's so easy to know God is good and merciful and has a great eternal plan.  But knowing and feeling are two very different things.  And it just plain feels unfair that this young couple has to bear such great grief.

And so I was crying. 

I was trying to wiggle a tissue from my purse when I got to the part of the trip, where the woods comes right up to the road on both sides, and the compacted snow and ice are pretty much ever present.  I had to give up on my tissue pursuit until I got past the icy area.  Bleary eyes on ice is bad enough; I didn't think I ought to add distracted driving into the mix.

Once I was past the icy spot, I once again attempted to work the tissue out of my purse.  Just as I got it free, I sensed movement out of the corner of my right eye.  Out of the ditch, just ahead of the car, darted a gray figure.  Shot like a bullet, straight for the side of my car.  I flinched, but tried hard to stay the course and not veer out of its path.

At first I thought it was a deer.  I saw the gray figure for only a split second.  It was all so quick.  I looked back thinking it would run right into the back side of my car, at the passenger door area, or the back wheel.  But it was gone as quickly as it had appeared.

I'm quite sure it was not a deer.  It ran low to the ground and darted rather than leapt.  Even in the brief moment I saw it, I sensed its skulking posture.  But it seemed bigger than a coyote ought to be, and fuller, and... well... just plain big.

The adrenaline of that pretty much chased my tears away for the next few miles.

Until I heard Rodney Atkins singing It's America.

It's a high school prom
It's a Springstein song
It's a ride in a Chevrolet
It's a man on the moon
And fireflies in June
Kids sellin' lemonade
It's cities and farms
And open arms
One nation under God
It's America.

Anybody have another Kleenex?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tribute to Jacob

Jona with his boys: Jacob, Joshua, and Noah
 I know of a sleep in Jesus' name,  
A rest from all toil and sorrow;
Earth folds in her arms my weary frame  
And shelters it till the morrow.
My soul is at home with God in heav'n;  
Her sorrows are past and over.

I've been wanting to post about our friend Jake's sudden death, but until now have not.  At first, it seemed as though I'd somehow cheapen his death, or the pain the closer friends and relatives are suffering to post about it on a blog.  I also don't want to seem to glorify my own pain, when others must be hurting exponentially more than I am.  But I generally post about the things that are on my mind and this certainly has been the dominant incident on my mind of late. 

Jacob Robert Bernier, son of Jona and Alsion Bernier,  died suddenly at nearly 18 years of age, from problems related to the multiple congenital heart defects with which he was born.  

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord. 
Job 1:21

When we first moved here, almost ten years ago, Jake was seven, almost eight.  My Matt was also seven.  Trisha Bernier was almost nine when we moved here, and Jeremy was eight and a half.  Louisa and Noah Bernier were both five.  And Josh Bernier was three and a half, right between Clara, who was almost two,  and Elsie who was almost four.  

Their family homeschooled and so did we.  They lived only about five miles from us at that time; and although that sounds like a somewhat large distance, in this neighborhood, it is not.  They were near neighbors who lived just around the corner, and down the block a ways.  Of course, the "corner" was a mile and half up the road and "just down the block" was another 2 1/2 miles.  And so the Berniers ended up being some of our first friends in our new community.

When we arrived at our new home sight unseen, in early December of 2001, after driving for a day and a half through a horrible blizzard, many of the members of the churches Joe was to serve were here to meet and greet the new pastor, to feed us supper, and help unload the van.  They were strangers to us, but they welcomed us with open arms and open hearts.  Alison tore off a piece of a paper plate, wrote her phone number on it for me and said, "Call if you need anything.  Anything.  Really."

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor, giving preference to one another.
Romans 12:10

Alison and Trisha
And after a few days, I did call Alison.  I don't remember what I called about.  But I do remember how nice it was to have another young mom who had put herself at my disposal to help with whatever I needed at my new home.  That paper plate stayed hooked to my fridge with a magnet for several years.  Long after my fingers had memorized the order of the digits in her number, I liked to see that corner of paper plate.  It reminded me of the kindness Alison and her family showed to us when we were strangers in a strange land.

A few weeks later, we were invited to the Bernier's house for pizza.  Jona had won a big "pizza party" from PizzaHut and they kindly offered to share it with their new pastor and his family, as their Christmas gift to us.  The pizza was great; but the friendship, and the invitation for an evening with another family, was nicer than the pizza.

"Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?"  
C. S. Lewis

During the course of that evening, Alison and Jona told us about the things their Jake had been through.  I may get some of these details wrong.   He had been through many things already at that young age.  Jake was born with only two functioning chambers in his heart.  He had a little tiny bit of a third chamber that was undeveloped, and no fourth chamber at all.  Jake had some transposed vessels, and faulty valves.

Jake had two heart surgeries when he was young, during one of which he suffered a stroke.  At the time Alison was telling us about this, the doctors had done all they could.  Jake was monitored regularly and was on a mix of medicines that was keeping him alive.  I believe Alison described it as being the vascular pressure which was mostly responsible for circulating his blood; his weak heart was only adding a small amount of help.

But Jake was surviving, and even thriving as a young boy.  He was not able to participate in everything in which his siblings participated.  And everyone knew that his life was precarious.  God might decide to take him home at any time.  But Jake was always active and stayed plenty busy.  He was a great reader and kept his mom busy as she schooled him at home.

Jake and Matt hit it off right away, having many of the same interests.  Throughout the years, they built forts and made campfires; they hunted and fished; rode snowmobiles and four wheelers; and just plain bummed around.  After the Berniers moved closer to Thief River Falls, we didn't see them as often, but the boys still managed to get together.  Joe or I would often drop Matt off at their house on our way into town; sometimes we'd pick him up again on our way home, but often we'd arrange a ride the next afternoon with one of our neighbors who work in Thief River.  Matt would take his school work along, and the boys would have a sleep over with plenty of time to play and do school.

Once Matt started attending public school, the boys saw each other even less, but they still managed to spend time together now and then.  Sometimes Jake's family would spend Sunday afternoons at Alison's parent's house, and when they did, Matt was usually there for part of that time.  And when Matt didn't have after school activities, the two boys spend many Wednesday afternoons together.  One of Jake's chores once he got his driver's license was to drive his younger siblings to our church's Wednesday school, and then find something to do to pass the time until they were done.  He always came up to the parsonage to see if Matt was free.  If Matt was around, they'd take off to parts unknown.  Sometimes they went into Oklee to see Jake's Bernier grandparents, or his Uncle Cole at the body shop.  Sometimes they went to the Lundeen grandparent's place or the great grandparent's farm.  Sometimes they went to the river to fish, or just hike around and visit.

A friend loves at all times.  
Proverbs 17:17

Although Matt and Jake were good buddies, and although Alison and I became close friends, I feel as though I never knew Jake very well.  I was always a kind of scary mom, being not of a gushy type of friendliness.  I often think of myself as Aunt Marilla, Anne's adopted mother in Anne of Green Gables.  So especially until I began to teach Sunday School, I didn't get to know the other kids at church very well.  I think they were kind of scared of me.  I seemed a bit stern.  So Jake would come up to the house, ask for Matt and then hustle back down to church.  If Matt was home, he might hustle down to Matt's bedroom.  Perhaps it was partly due to his heart troubles, and not only because I was scary; or maybe it was just because of the constant commotion around here, with so many more people than most homes contain.  But somehow, Jake never really hung around our house much, so I didn't get to know him well.

Regardless of how well I knew Jake, my heart is breaking for all who grieve his departure.  For my son, who at only 17 was pall bearer for his best friend.  My heart is breaking for Alison and Jona; although they knew they might have Jake only a short time, and although God granted Jake almost 18 years, their human hearts cry out that it was not enough.  My heart is breaking for Josh and Noah and Trisha, because they will never see their dear brother again in this life.  My heart breaks for Jake's grandparents and great grandparents, and aunts and uncles, who not only grieve themselves, but also will worry about everyone else who is hurting.

I'm not much of a crier, but I have cried over this.  I've cried more in the last week than I have over anything else in my life.  I don't cry much around the house, but I cry in the car.  The car is my thinking spot and some things are just easier to not think about, I suppose.  But whenever I am alone, my sadness is hiding just around the corner, waiting to jump out at me in the quiet moments.  I have yet to drive anywhere and not ended up sobbing as I'm driving down the road.  (Watch out everyone, if you see me coming.)

But, alas, we know that this world and this life are temporal.  We know that Jake believed in Jesus as his Savior.  In spite of our great grief, we know that we will see him again.

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.  
I Thessalonians 4:13

In spite of having such a severely malformed heart at birth that the doctors didn't quite know what to do for this child, God allowed the doctors to keep Jake alive for 17+ years to give joy to his family and friends.  The Holy Spirit put His name on Jake through the washing of Holy Baptism; and kept him in faith through His Word and Holy Communion. 

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “ Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine."  
Isaiah 43:1

Jake is in heaven with his Lord and our Lord, and his sufferings are over.

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
      And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
      That in my flesh I shall see God,

 Whom I shall see for myself,
      And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!  
Job 19:25-27

It's easy to remember, in our brains, those promises of God.  Our hearts need constant reminders.  I pray that God grant peace and healing to all the broken hearts in our community.

The LORD is my shepherd;
         I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
         He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
         He leads me in the paths of righteousness
         For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
         I will fear no evil;
         For You
are with me;
         Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
         You anoint my head with oil;
         My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
         All the days of my life;
         And I will dwell in the house of the LORD

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chillin' on an Ice Road...Alex Debogorski on large families

I saw King of the Road, by Alex Debogorski at the library the other day.  The sub title is True Tales from a Legendary Ice Road Trucker.  The cover also shows a little logo thing from the History Channel that says, "As seen on Ice Road Truckers."  Had I noticed these things when I picked up the book, I might have realized that there is a History Channel show with such a name, and I could have researched it to find out ahead of time that this is a reality show that's been going on for five seasons now and features the author of this book.  But I didn't notice these things at all.  And since I'm notoriously lacking in pop cultural literacy, I didn't know about the show at all until talking with people about this cool book I was reading.

What I did notice was the cover picture of a fellow who has that "good old boy" look to him, standing next to a big rig.  I noticed the ice and snow.  And I thought of the lonely and fatalistic man-against-the-elements tales of the far north by Jack London, to which I am inexplicably drawn.

So I checked it out, brought it home, and started reading.

Well, I'm going to come right out and say that Alex Deborgorski is the polar opposite of Jack London. This book, which tells the story of Debogorski's childhood, coming of age years, and how he ended up being an ice road trucker, is a hoot.  Totally fun and off the cuff; filled from cover to cover with unbelievable yarns that Mr. Debogorski spins with the skill of the born story teller.

The book is a quick read, with plenty of breaking off points in between the anecdotes, that allow a busy mom to read a bit and then easily put it down until the next cup of coffee.

I want to share particularly the following couple of paragraphs that portray a view of family that one does not often find in today's world.  It was wonderful for me to read something like this and to know that this author is out there in the mainstream and even pop culture world, becoming a publicly recognized figure of sorts, and that he holds this rare view of children.

I know that children are a blessing from God.  I am comfortable that God gave Joe and I each of our kids, and that each one is special.  But I still sometimes feel as though I ought to feel guilty or stupid for having so many children.  Even among friends with whom I share many basic aspects of my world view, I find that most people kind of think, "Enough's enough, lady." 

So it was refreshing to me to read this.
For some reason, working class white families are having fewer and fewer kids.  What's that all about?

People will say, "We can't afford to have more than two kids."

So at what point in history could people afford to have a lot of kids?  Do you think the pioneers could afford large families?  Do you think the farmers with one little tractor and a couple of horses could afford to have a large family?  The fact is, people have never been able to afford large families.  The previous generations recognized a simple truth--kids are not a liability, they are an asset.  People have to turn their thinking upside down.

My aboriginal friend Richard Cadieux says we'd better watch out because the population of Indians is growing like crazy  and we white people are having small families.  And he's right.  The aboriginal people know that kids are a joy.  Money isn't important.  People are important.  And your family is your only true wealth in this world.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Recommended Poetry Books for Children

Favorite Poems Old and New: Selected For Boys and Girls
by Helen Ferris Tibbets and Leonard Weisgard
This is my favorite poetry book.   It contains poems at a variety of levels, arranged by topics such as seasons, animals, going places, historical figures, etc.  The indexes are handy, because they not only list by author and title, but also by common titles or first lines.

The Golden Flute:  An Anthology of Poetry for Young Children
selected by Alice Hubbard and Adeline Babbitt
This is another collection that I enjoy very much.   We picked this up used somewhere along the way, and it's gotten much use throughout the years.  The audience is a bit younger in the one than in Favorite Poems Old and New.  The chapter categories are similar.  The indexes include a comprehensive list of possible subjects under which one might find a certain poem. It's too bad this nice volume is no longer in print.

Book of Famous Poems
Compiled by Marjorie Barrows
These poems are especially suited for introducing young children to many classic poets and poems.  It includes a familiar verse or two from many longer poetical works, the knowledge of which was at one time considered part of our cultural heritage.  There are little mostly black and white inset decorations here and there to lend interest.
At the bottom of the front cover, this book includes the note, "A Companion Book to One Hundred Best Poems for Boys and Girls."  I'd love to find that one somewhere, too. It appears it was briefly republished in 2004, but doesn't look as cool as the old one.

The Random House Book of Poetry for Children: A book of 572 Poems for Today's Child
complied by Jack Prelutsky; illustrated by Arnold Lobel
We have this book sitting around somewhere, but I haven't used it as much as some of the others.   I believe it includes a higher percentage of contemporary poems.  The kids like many of those for the silliness they lend. Lobel's illustrations make this nice for the kids to read on their own, or just fun for pre-readers to peruse.

Classic Poetry: An Illustrated Collection
Edited by Michael Rosen, Illustrated by Paul Howard
We used this one for school one year, and then it got put away with the school books.  I really need to get it out again.

The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems
edited by Donald Hall
This one, too was put away with the school books, so I can't tell you much about it, just that we liked it. This one is not as large a volume as some of the previous ones, but I thought that since its focus was American poetry, it might be useful to build a sub-category in the cultural literacy framework in a reader's brain.

The Poetry for Young People series.  I love these books.  We used to get them from Scholastic; they usually came in a three- or six pack.  We'd give them away for gifts, or put them in our kids' Christmas stockings.  Most books in this series are available in paperback or hard cover each title highlighting an important poet or topic, and colorfully illustrated to keep the interest of the younger children.  Featured poets are Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Carl Sandburg, Edgar Allan Poe, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edward Lear, Emily Dickinson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Langston Hughes, Lewis Carroll, Maya Angelou, Robert Browning, Robert Frost, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Wallace Stevens, Walt Whitman, William Blake, William Butler Yeats, William Carlos Williams, and William Shakespeare.  Featured themes are American Poetry, Animal Poems, and The Seasons.  Also available is A Treasury of Poetry for Young People, which includes the complete text and illustrations from the books on six American poets from the above list. I'd love to have this entire set.

I Saw Esau: The Schoolchild's Pocket Book
Illustrated by Maurice Sendak; introduction and notes by Iona Opie.
If you are accustomed to Sendeck and his quirky humor, you will enjoy the illustrations in this title.  The book is by a British publisher, so to some here in America, parts of it might seem somewhat coarse or inappropriate.  We got this book for Matt when he was quite young, maybe four or five.  One illustration that the kids found quite,... uh,... mezmerizing accompanied the rhyme, "I one my mother, I two my mother, etc."  Sendeck's illustration featured a mother nursing a toddler.  At each line of the rhyme the child gulped down more of the mother, beginning with one breast at the line for "one," and both breasts for the line with "two," etc., ending with the mother being completely consumed at the line, I eight my mother.  It's been years since I've looked at that one, but I believe there was also some portrayal of naked children, or children engaged in arguably shocking varieties of naughtiness. 

Books by Paul Fleischman; one of his specialties is poems for two or more voices to read together. The one I linked, Big Talk, is poems for four voices.

Anything by Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky.  These men are/were geniuses with words and picture language.  The kids love going through their collections on their own, once they can read independently.

Picture book collections by Douglas Florian.  He has many fun and creative spins on language.

Family Poetry Night at the Abrahamsons

When the kids were younger, we tried to have family time every night.  What did we do for family time?   Mostly we read.  We always had a read-aloud going, sometimes we played games, and Friday was movie night.  Periodically I would ask the kids to memorize a poem suitable to their age and ability; we'd then plan a night of recitation.  If you are not a homeschool family, this probably sounds artificially quaint or anachronistic even.  I mean, really, who makes their kids recite poetry and calls it entertainment?

But please understand, Joe and I are both lovers of the written word.  We don't have television, and at that time tried to limit even a DVD on the computer to Friday movie nights.  We intentionally strove to instill in our kids an appreciation for the simple things of life. 

And we were homeschoolers.  So we could call such evenings "school."  Besides the enjoyment of "simple things" we were striving to instill, we were teaching with these poetry recitations.  The children honed their skills in elocution, memorization, and speaking in front of others; they broadened their exposure to famous poets and poems, built their vocabularies, and gained familiarity with rhythm and sound.  And we'd often get little history lessons in, too, if a particular poem had historical merit, such as Walt Whitman's Captain, my Captain, which he wrote after Lincoln's death.  Any time we spent on these things in our evenings was time we did not have to spend on it during our school days.

But alas!

Gradually the increasingly greater age span of our children made finding a books or activities that would interest all of them at once more difficult. The older kids were often busy with evening activities.  One or another child sometimes had school work or lessons remaining into the evenings. Or Mom and Dad were simply tired out.  Gradually our family time slipped to periodic, then rare.

Lately, after the additional changes to our lifestyle due to having our kids in public school, our evening family time has dwindled to almost non-existent.  We try to stand firm on evening devotion and prayer time, but even that is challenging some nights.  Some kids fall asleep before we're ready, other's are coming in at all different times.  Supper gets late, or chores take longer than expected.

This has been a very sad thing in my life.

This fall, I've tried, striven, demanded that we regroup and get back to this time together.  I'm trying, with only moderate success, to be more faithful about an early supper.  I'm trying, with mixed results, to get most of the supper prep dishes washed up while I'm preparing the meal.  I've asked Joe to try to be home from his office during the evening, to lend a helping hand, or simply to "be there". 

And I've worked to initiate a "no computer from 5:00-8:00 pm" rule.  This has probably been the hardest, since we have such bad habits.  The computer sits in the kitchen.  Somebody is always on it.  Whoever is sitting here might visit with whoever is preparing supper.  The younger kids are always running through, and they know that if Joe or I is not the one fixing supper, we can be found at the computer during that time.  So they come there to visit with us.

But there is also much just plain, mind numbing, spacing out to whatever is on it, to the avoidance of everything else in the home.  It's like we've forgotten how to live without staring at the stupid computer.  I think a big part of it is that Joe and I have become so overwhelmed with the responsibilities that come with raising this many kids, that we've resorted to escapist computer use to deal with the pressure.

Bad, bad, bad.

How to we get back to better habits?

For one, we're starting with read-aloud.  I am bound and determined to keep plugging along no matter how many or few kids are home.  No matter if supper dishes are done or not; dirty dishes will always wait until morning.  No matter if Joe and I have laryngitis, as we did this week--one of the older kids read for us; they are able.  No matter what!

We're reading Little Britches by Ralph Moody.  Read this book if you never have.  In fact, read Moody's whole series of autobiographical books.  He has been described as the male counterpart to Laura Ingalls Wilder. 

We've actually read this book several times for read-aloud, but not for perhaps four of five years.  Even though it is one we've read previously, I chose it because 1) since it's familiar to the older kids, if they miss some, it's OK;  2) its story draws in boys and girls alike; 3) its timeless themes of hard work, independence, and family, is of interest to a variety of ages;  and 4) it's a family favorite, so I'm hoping to play on my older kids' sentimental side-- if they are tempted to think, "Stupid family time,"  they might instead think, "Hey, I remember this part!"

So far so good.  Not perfect, but we're still hanging in there.  I started my mission to recapture family time about a month ago, and we've gotten through 11 chapters.  We are mostly all still eager to get to the living room once Joe or I call, "Family time!"  But we still don't get to it every night.  It's something to continue working toward.

Last night we did something different.  Matt was off at the hunting shack with the family with whom he hunts; Clara and Sophie were at a slumber party; and Joe and I still have this annoying laryngitis type bug.   I especially didn't want Clara and Sophie to miss Little Britches, since they are old enough to be fully engaged in it, and young enough to not really remember much from the earlier times we've read it.

So we needed something different.  Yes, it was Friday, so we could have had movie night, but sometimes it seems as though the kids see so much video type stuff these days anyway, that even movie night is no longer special.  That's another thing we have to try to change.

I decided to try an extemporaneous poetry night.  I called the little ones over, grabbed a couple of my poem books, and quickly assigned each of the four little ones a little something to learn.  Then I assigned Louisa, Elsie, and Joe each one younger child to help, and I helped Inge.  She really is too little to quickly learn much of a poem, but I helped her learn John 3:16.  Much more valuable that a poem in the long run, anyway.

Joe helped John learn the first verse of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's, Paul Revere's Ride.
Listen my children' and you shall hear 
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.
On the eighteenth of April, in seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive 
Who remembers that famous day and year.
Stella memorized Apple Blossoms by Helen Wing
The apple blossoms grow so high
Upon the branches of our tree,
I can't reach up to smell them; so
They send their perfume down to me.
Louisa helped Donna memorize the first verse of Helen Hunt Jackson's, September.  At least, that is what she was supposed to help Donna learn.  Jackson's poem begins,
The Goldenrod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.
But, yes, well, my Louisa apparently wanted to add a little,... uh,... pizzazz to our recitations.  Donna, for her part, learned well what Louisa taught.  But that stinker, Louisa...What's a mom to do with such a girl?

Apparently, Donna, being unfamiliar with the word orchard, kept saying, "apple turds."  (I'm not sure what this says about my family.  A four year old is more familiar with turds than orchards.  What can I say?)  So Louisa built off this little confusion to come up with an entirly new ending to the poem,
The Goldenrod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees with apple turds
Smell yucky and taste gross.
Hmm.  Poor little Donna, standing there in front of us, saying her little poem in all seriousness; and Joe and I staring aghast for those first few heartbeats of realization.  Then, of course, we all kind of chuckled, Joe and I reprimanded Louisa for being so cheeky, and I quickly taught Donna the correct words so she could do it again, the right way this time.  That Louisa!

We finished off our poetry night with us older people reading our selections.  Elsie read The Moon, by Robert Hereford; and Louisa read The Road Less Traveled by Robert Frost.  I, with my croaking voice, read through the rest of Paul Revere's Ride.  Joe chose Longfellow's, Excelsior.

I'm sure they would never admit it, but I think even the older kids had fun, in a quiet (or cheeky) sort of way.