Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How long do smiles last?

by Shirley Bahlmann
Last Monday, I went swimming with my family and got this nifty swifty smiling wrist band as proof I didn't sneak in to the pool without paying. It is such a cheerful little thing, I couldn't make myself cut through the smiling faces to take it off after I dried off. It's been a week, now, and it still smiles up at me every day. I'm wondering how long it will last before it falls off on its own. (Guesses, anyone?)
I'm not the only one playing the waiting game. When I went to the elementary school, I saw a 5th grader who'd been in the pool the same night I was. She lifted a black band of electrical tape on her wrist to show the smiley faces underneath. "My brother and I are having a contest to see who can keep their wristband on the longest," she said.
Well, I'm not putting tape over mine. That would defeat the purpose. I like to be smiled at every day.
How long do you think it will last?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Jock Jones builds Colonial Windsor Chairs in Spring City, Utah

By Shirley Bahlmann
When I visited the Windsor chair shop in Spring City, Utah, I couldn’t help noticing three framed awards above the doorway between Jonathan “Jock” Jones’ cozy showroom and spacious shop. For three consecutive years, he has received the impressive “One of America’s Best” award given by Early American Life magazine.
“I wish I’d started building chairs forty years earlier,” Jones mused. It’s been eight years since Jones retired from corporate security in Kaysville, Utah, and traveled with his wife, Bonnie, back to New Hampshire and Eastern Tennessee. That’s where the life-long woodworking hobbyist studied Windsor chair making from traditional craftsmen. Since the needed wood doesn’t grow in Utah, Jones brings in a load of eastern forest logs twice a year.
Rather than using exact measurements from original museum piece Windsors, Jones uses old world techniques to fashion furniture for today’s backsides. “We tweak them a little, because we’re the McDonald’s generation,” Jones says with a laugh.
Windsor chairs were brought from England about 1730 by colonists and made into a design of their own when they removed the frills. The style is characterized by the legs and the backrest fastened into the two inch thick seat. Maple is strong and used for the legs because it turns easy on a lathe. Eastern white pine seats are soft enough for carving, and arms are fashioned from bendable oak or hickory.
Through history, the chair has been adapted to suit the user’s needs, such as the Windsor desk chair Thomas Jefferson used to craft most of the Declaration of Independence. He later put a swivel in the post beneath the seat so it operated like our modern office chairs, or like a lazy susan. Jones even saw a Windsor chair with a foot pedal that could be used to operate an overhead fan which was also attached to the chair.
Some may think that leaning against one of Jones’ spindle backed creations would be like leaning against a pile of sticks, but when Jones invited me to try one of the elegant chairs, the back curved snugly around my shoulders as I settled in. Then he surprised me by grabbing the back of another chair and twisting it one way and another, moving it several inches each time. When he let go, the chair popped right back into shape.
“Chairs are the only furniture that’s always being moved,” Jones explained. “Every time you sit down to eat, you move your chair. Then you’re always turning or bending while you sit in it. Machine made chairs can’t hold up to the constant movement, and have to be replaced every few years.”
Jones knows of what he speaks, since his Windsor chairs have withstood seven children and fifteen grandchildren without breaking. “Thousands of colonial chairs are still in use today because they’ve been made right,” Jones said. “They’re put together like a trussed bridge; extremely strong and durable, but they look far more delicate than they really are.”
Jones drills each of the 43 holes required for a chair at a compound angle, a feat that would take longer with power equipment. “It’s faster to build the chairs by hand,” Jones said, then demonstrated how he used his old shaving horse, which is basically an old fashioned clamp. “Every household used to have one of these,” he said, pulling the old draw knife toward him and growing a large, pale curl of wood. Jones uses a lot of antique tools, some he’s refurbished and some he’s made himself. There are also cottage industries that make old-fashioned tools. He showed me an old spoon bit of the kind that’s been used since ancient Egyptian days.
Milk paint is the finishing touch on a true Windsor chair, which are painted to disguise the different kinds of wood. “Milk paint’s been around for 2,000 years,” Jones aid. “You can make your own if you let milk sit until it curdles, then mix the whey, which holds the milk protein, with quick lime and color.” Jones buys powdered milk and mixes it himself. He also uses animal hide glue in flake form, which requires heating up with water. “Milk paint and animal hide glue are hard to beat,” Jones says. “They’re non-toxic, too.”
Because Jones’ chairs are hand built, no two are exactly alike. “Some don’t come out at all and end up in the fireplace,” Jones quipped. “That’s the risk of making them by hand. The risk of making them by machine is that even though they all turn out, they don’t last, because machines can’t make them right.”
Jones showed how he fitted a chair leg into the seat, and even without the wedge applied, he had to use a hammer to get the leg out. “Cutting spindles with a saw not only loses a lot of the free-flowing artistic design, but it doesn’t allow for following the grain, so they don’t have the strength of grain-split wood,” Jones said. “It’s like Wonder bread. You can spread peanut butter on it and eat it, but it’s not the same as the bread Grandma made by the hearth. You can buy mass produced chairs, but they’re not the quality of hand built ones.”
Jones chose to retire to Spring City for its strong art presence. He markets his chairs at arts and crafts shows, through sales on the Internet, and to people who are welcome to walk into his shop at 125 South Main in Spring City, right across the street from the old rock church. Visit his website at: www.jockswindsors.com.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Distant Cousin," by Al Past

At 385 pages, "Distant Cousin" is a satisfyingly thick book that will probably take you several nights curled up by the fire to read, unless you are put off by the thought of an alien watching you from the moon. In that case, it may take longer, depending on how many times you look over your shoulder. But soon you will come to realize that this alien only has your best interests at heart. What's more, she's cute, and she looks like us, and
for good reason, too. She's a distant cousin of humankind, a race of people who left earth many, many years ago and settled on another planet in another galaxy. Now, this race is sort of like your several-greats-ancestor who moved to Tuscaloosa way back on the genealogy tree, so now that branch of the family talks real funny and eats things you'd never put in your mouth. You'd never recognize those Tuscaloosans as kin, either, even if you bumped into them nose to nose.
Well, when this astronomical "cousin" risks her solitary mission to warn earth people of an approaching meteor storm, things don't go as she expected.
Past offers some interesting twists and turns in our girl's earth adventures (I love how she deals with the bad boys at the rest stop!) and he serves up a very satisfying conclusion. I thought the book was a little slow paced at times, but I thought the same thing of "The Poisonwood Bible," and look where that one ended up on the charts. On the other hand, some passages had me reading faster, and I know that some readers appreciate a more gradual build up. I was also told that there is a face on the cover, which I could never make out, unless it was some sort of vague constellation. I figured if it was that hard to find, then it shouldn’t even be mentioned, but, lo, and behold! When I copied Past’s cover to put with this review, I could see the face! (Can you?)
This book had a refreshing new premise that I have not read anywhere else, and it has a nice mix of varied characters. I also enjoyed the realistic motivation at the end. (I don't want to give specifics away and spoil the ending, okay?) and I like the tension and surprise twist in overcoming the final obstacle.
Al certainly knows his aliens.


Shirley: Hey, Al...it is you, isn't it? There's a glare on your space helmet from the sun.
Al: Yes, it's me! Sorry! This is my first interview from the moon—thank heavens I write fiction! Let's get off the porch and go inside!
Shirley: Wow, the moon is awfully barren, especially up close. I'd hate to be here by myself. What made you think of setting part of your story here?
Al: Only the first scene was set here, really. It was because I didn't want there to be any doubt that Ana Darcy was not from Earth. I could have played that for its possible suspense value, but the story wasn't about whether Ana Darcy was really an alien or not. I wanted the reader to see us Earth people from an outsider's point of view from the very beginning.
Shirley: You gave new meaning to "Man in the Moon," or, rather, "Woman in the Moon." I really liked the events you created to assimilate the alien into society, where she didn't really fit in, but people made room for her. Have you ever been a stranger in a strange town?
Al: Thanks! I'm from west Texas. I had a friend who went exploring out in the desert and lost the plug from his oil pan. He was in serious trouble until a rancher flew by in his plane, landed on the dirt road, took him to the nearest town to buy oil, and then flew him back to his car and whittled a plug for the oil pan. He wouldn't take any money. He told my friend, "Mister, this is tough country. It would never have been settled if people hadn't helped each other." There are bad guys in Distant Cousin, but the ordinary folks are pretty decent people. Never mind what the Coen brothers say in No Country for Old Men. I've lived there; they haven't. Oh, OK, Cormac McCarthy wrote the book and he lives in El Paso, but hey, I grew up there! My dentist told me El Paso water contains lots of lithium, which tends to make people happy. Cormac McCarthy is from Tennessee, which is kind of like Tuscaloosa, since you mentioned it. Maybe he should drink more of El Paso's water.
Shirley: It would be nice if the moon had any water at all. Ahhhhh! A meteorite shower! Where's that secret moon observation post? And don't tell me it's Top Secret! I don't want any dents in my hairdo. *Whew,* thanks, Al. I owe you a Milky Way shake for this. Say, why isn't this base visible from Earth?
Al: No, this base is not Top Secret. After all, you're sitting in it! Your hair looks lovely, by the way.
Shirley: (patting hair) Aw, thanks, Al.
Al: I expect you could see Ana Darcy's base through the Hubble telescope, but that telescope is in Earth orbit, and hard to get to. For an earthbound telescope, well, it's just too small. It's about the size of a New York City apartment. I appreciate the offer of a Milky Way shake, but I have stars in my eyes for a Mars bar, if you happen to have one....
Shirley: Oh, trying to separate a girl from her chocolate, are you? That could be dangerous, you know. Your book has a lot of pages. How many light years did it take you to write it?
Al: Hmm. Well, a light year is a unit of distance, so, uh, well, I'm sorry. I can't figure that high. How about Earth years? It took about a year and a half to write, but it took twenty years to figure out. Now, multiply that by 186,000 x 60 x 60 x 24 x 365 x 22.5 and get back to me. OK?
Shirley: Okay, but it may take me awhile. Wait a minute... what's that shaking? Meteorites don't feel like that. No... do you think? It couldn't be the Mother Ship! Oh, but it is. I hope the aliens are in a good mood. Hey, I have a great idea! Here's my lipstick... now, hold still... quit resisting!
Al: What are you doing? Have you gone loony?
Shirley: I just drew a smiley face on your space helmet. Now the aliens won't feel threatened. No, really, it looks good, sort of like Bozo in a space suit. Let's go meet them. Uh... you go first. What's this? You're giving me your next manuscript in case you don't return? What's it about?
Al: Bozo in a space suit, eh? I guess that's better than lipstick on a certain porcine critter. The next manuscript will be the fourth in the series. Ana Darcy is still quietly raising a family in an out-of-the-way corner of New Mexico. Her twins are now twelve and becoming characters in their own right. And yes, there are still lots of cats and international intrigue. I can't tell you any more except the title, which will be Distant Cousin: Regeneration. I got in a rut with those. Volume 2 is Distant Cousin: Repatriation and 3 is Distant Cousin: Reincarnation. Maybe I'll ask those aliens what they would recommend. Will you go along and back me up?
Shirley: Oh, no, you'll be fine, as long as they've had lunch and don't carry laser guns. Good bye, Al.
Al: Vaya con dios, Shirley. You're a hoot. It's been a pleasure and please take this fresh moon pie back with you. Y'all come back now, you hear?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hairy Scary

by Shirley Bahlmann
I've talked to lots of women who hate their hair, but not my little sister, Bev, who admits she's been blessed with luscious wavy dark red come-hither locks. I side with our oldest sister, Melinda, who claims that while we were being created, Bev got in the hair line twice, leaving Melinda with the only thing left over: thin, limp, blonde hair.
I was in line by Melinda.
The funny thing is, lots of women straighten their hair to make it as straight as mine is naturally. Me? I curl mine. I also tease it, which made me look twice at those ladies who sit in front of me in church with little tufts of teased hair showing between thin strands that didn't get combed over all the way, or else were blown all askew by the wind. Not attractive. Sometimes when I smooth my hand over my hair, I feel the little lumps, like mice in their nests, and it makes me shudder.
But if I don't do something with teasing or spraying or threatening to shave it all off, my hair spits out clips and combs and scrunchies. It's very subtle about it, taking three or four hours to let the hair accessory slide to the floor.
Once I saw a picture of me, (complete with hair) at mid-day, after I'd spent half an hour fixing it that morning. If I hadn't known better, I would have sworn I'd just lifted my head off the pillow after a night filled with nightmares.
The other day, the tarp I tied around my front porch (in lieu of an addition that hasn't happened yet) came loose. I climbed up on a chair with fresh twine and tied to my heart's content. When I was done, I felt something tugging at the back of my hair, beneath my ponytail. I reached back and felt a twig stuck in the strands.
A twig? Where had that come from? We didn't have any trees growing on our porch.
So I worked it free and brought my hand down to find my brand new dangly earring in my fingers. Yes, one ear was bare and one wore the other earring.
What the hey? Now I have earring stealing hair!
All right, I'll admit that it's nice to have hair of any kind.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Telling It Like It Is

I have been mistaken as the wife of two of my older sons, a big sister for the other older son, and as my granddaughter's mother, so last week when an elementary student asked if I was my youngest son's grandma, it took me aback. Then I thought it was hilarious. "No," I answered, trying to hold back a laugh.
"She's my mom!" my nine-year-old said, his eyes wide with indignation.
It was only fair. I mean, if I've gotten away with being mistaken as someone younger so many times, it's only right that some honest young eyes pegged me as an older lady. After all, I am a grandma!
And life goes on to the next adventure...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

You Always Call Me Princess - by David Ted Eyre

I met the Eyre’s at the 2008 LDS Bookseller’s conference in Salt Lake City. Shellie was in a wheelchair following foot surgery, and her parents were right behind her, as they have been all her life. I smiled at Shellie and said, “I have a sister like you.”
Shellie smiled back, and dang, if she didn’t have dimples just like my little sister, Carolyn, who also happens to have Down Syndrome.
Ted graciously gave me a copy of the his daughter’s most extraordinary experience, a book titled, “You Always Call Me Princess.” As I read, I discovered in the pages an overview of Shellie’s arrival, diagnosis, and life up to the time she was crowned Homecoming Queen of Murray High School. No, this was not a Special Olympics event. This was Homecoming Queen of the entire high school student body, a title voted by her peers.
Having a sister with Down Syndrome helped me relate to some events in this book, but the story has universal appeal. As I read, I could see that adding a special needs child to a family impacts parents differently than siblings.
In this sweet account, Shellie seems to have lived a charmed life. In know that my own sister sometimes gets upset, and is not above stomping out of a room. It’s true that she’s back soon to give hugs all around and say she’s sorry. If Shellie ever had any stomping fits, those parts were left out of this story, which almost makes her too good to be true.
Ted has an incredible grasp of the English language, so good, in fact, that some of his wording was rather high brow for me. I’m more of a simple words girl myself, and think a lot of readers may prefer to read descriptions in simpler language. But the words are understandable, so don’t bypass this gem just because of that. There are also some "thank you's" to key people who helped Shellie which arguably could have been in the acknowledgments, but I may be nitpicking here. You wouldn’t want to miss the unshakable faith of a girl whose father always called her “princess.” The overall feeling of these heartfelt events brimming over with warm fuzzies and blessings shooting through trials like daffodils through winter-dead leaves should touch even the craggiest heart.
Oh, and the final paragraphs pricked tears from the eyes of this reader, because Ted captured the feeling I have for my little sister and others like her with words that aim straight for the heart.

Shirley: Ted, you look rather uncomfortable on that squishy pink velvet chair. Would your rather sit on the canopied silk sofa?
Ted: A silk sofa would probably cause my mind to not stay on the interview questions, so, even though I don't look good in pink, at least I would have a better chance of staying on task.
Shirley: Thank you for meeting with me in this Ultimate Princess Room. You must be used to princess stuff, having lived with one for so many years. When did you think of writing Shellie's story?
Ted: Within a few days of the actual homecoming, a producer asked me if they could do a movie about Shellie's experience and if I would write down as much as I could about her life so they could use some of the information for the script. When I started to write about her life it turned into the book. The movie never became a reality.
Shirley: How long did it take you to write it?
Ted: It took me one year to write the book and nearly ten years to get it published.
Shirley: Uh, oh! (Tinkling sound) Did I forgot to mention that the sparkles fall every hour or so? Don't worry, they comb out. Hey, it looks like you're wearing a crown. That's fitting, since you're the father of a princess or two. But I can't help wondering if Shellie has grumpy times like my little sister does?
Ted: My wife Ruth and I have been involved in Special Olympics for over ten years so we know that special needs kids come with as many varied personalities as any other group, but I have to admit that Shellie has an extremely easy going personality. That was one of the problems the movie people had with the story. There just wasn't enough downs (pun not intended) to equal the ups. They wanted to show a bunch of mean-spirited students or jealous sibling and it just didn't work for us. To tell you the truth, Shellie has a more constantly pleasant demeanor than anyone else in our family.
Shirley: What does Shellie think of having a book with her picture on the cover?
Ted: Shellie was thrilled just to have the book published, She was really surprise and excited when she saw what Granite Publishing had chosen for the cover.
Shirley: I see that you've already looked into a movie deal, but have you ever thought of contacting "Feature Films for Families" movie studios to check further into making Shellie's story into a big screen production? I mean, after all, it worked for "Rudy" and "Radio."
Ted: The producer that contacted us had worked with Feature Films for Families but was not with them at the time he contacted us. We know the owner of that company, or at least have met him a time or two at various weddings etc. but I have never had the nerve to talk to him about the book. His name is Forrest Baker and maybe if I ever have the chance to see him again, and if the timing is right, I will introduce the idea to him. Thanks for the encouragement.
Shirley: What are Shellie's plans for the future?
Ted: Shellie has worked for the last seven years as a teachers aide at an elementary school just a few blocks from our home, and hopes to continue there for the foreseeable future.
Shirley: I hear music… it's a parade! Quick, to the window. Come on, come on, heave yourself up from those cushy cushions! There you go. Look! There's the queen float with Shellie on it! She's so cute. Hold still… no, don't bat my arms away, I'm not pulling your hair, I'm getting some glitter to throw. Come on, lend a hand. Ah, there it goes, sparkling, fluttering through the air. Just like magic.
Thanks for your time, Ted, and thank you for sharing this heartwarming story.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Stay in Love - Make Money

by Shirley Bahlmann
I was in church when I found out that staying in love is not only good for your body and soul, but also for your pocket book. I'm not even talking about the old axim, "Two can live as cheaply as one." No, I'm talking about cold, hard cash.
How can this be?
It's simple, and I even got it from the horse's mouth. (Sorry, Shirley Ann, you're not really a horse, that's just what they say! No, they don't SAY you're a horse... ahem.) Shirley Ann is the almost-octogenarian who reported that showing affection for her equally age-advanced husband brought some green into her pocket.
"We were walking down the street in the city," she said, "and this man walked up to us. We thought he might be asking directions or something, but instead he held out a dollar bill. 'What's that for?' I asked, immediately suspicious.
"Pressing it into my free hand, he said, 'I always give a dollar to older couples who hold hands.'" Shirley Ann smiled when she said it.
So there you have it.
One 88-year-old widower was watching people walk by at a craft fair. After awhile, he commented, "You can tell what stage people are in by the way they walk. When they're young and in love, they have their arms around each other. When they're first married, they're holding hands. Then they might have a small child or two and walk beside each other. Then a little later on, one is walking a few steps ahead while the other is a few steps behind." He stopped a moment, then said, "I sure miss my wife. If I had it to do over again, I'd sure do it different."
So there you have it. Now you know. So grab the hand of your loved one, live with no regrets, and maybe you'll even get a dollar for your pocket.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sixteen dollar kids meal

My 9-year-old son was hankering after a fast food kids' meal. I was busy, and in a good mood, and it had been awhile since he'd eaten out. So I gave him five dollars and sent him pedaling away on his bike. (Lest you panic at my mothering, the fast food place is only four blocks from home, this was right after school, and we live in a small town.)
When my boy came home, he had no kids' meal, but a sack with a dollar hamburger in it. "Where's your kids' meal?" I asked.
"They said it was sixteen dollars," he said, his face sad. "They had really cool, toys, too, and I wanted one."
"Who told you it was sixteen dollars?" I asked.
"The worker," my son answered. "When he told me sixteen dollars, I asked, 'Are you sure?' and he said, 'Yes. Sixteen dollars.' So I got something from the dollar menu instead."
I was an unhappy mother. It put me in mind of the time I parked my recumbent bike outside a convenience store/gas station in town and let this same son out of the bike trailer to go in and buy four ice cream sandwiches for a dollar. There was only one sandwich in the freezer, and the clerk said it would cost him forty nine cents. When my son came out to tell me, I stalked inside and talked to the clerk, who, lo and behold, went in the back to open another box of ice cream sandwiches and only charged me twenty five cents each.
WHY COULDN'T HE HAVE DONE THAT FOR MY SON? Why pick on kids just because they're short?
I didn't get to the kids' meal food joint that day, but a couple of days later I was at the counter, asking for a toy that my son would surely have gotten if he hadn't been misinformed. The manager ended up giving me three toys.
That was soooo nice of him.
Other people just need to grow up.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Santa Letters - by Stacy Gooch Anderson

by Shirley Bahlmann
Think, “P.S. I Love You,” condensed to twelve days, with snow, and four kids thrown in.
In a style reminiscent of “The Christmas Box,” Anderson tells a tale of recovery from the loss of a beloved family member. Through a mysterious series of letters and gifts, a widow and her children experience hope where before there was loneliness.
Although this book could have benefited from another edit, it is a Christmas story with a valid message. Even though I found the Santa letters longer than my children would ever sit and listen to, my eyes prickled when I read the tender part about Trevor’s mother.
Too many of the characters had a similar “voice,” with the notable exception of Walter, yet I felt my heart thump with satisfaction when the final gift was opened.
My favorite line is: “…regular old super hero with extra skinny legs.”
This book has a beautiful cover and an overall good message to remind people what is really important all year long.

Shirley: Stacy, thank you for meeting me at the North Pole. What's
that on your feet? Galoshes? What were you thinking, girl? Go skin a
polar bear and make some real boots! Are you sure you're warm enough?
Stacy: Oh Shirley,....have you seen these thighs? There is plenty of insulation for the two of us!...;-)
Shirley: Ho, ho, ho! What is your favorite holiday?
Stacy: Christmas by far. Tinsel, twinkle lights, family, gingerbread, happiness everywhere,.....it's all just so delicious! A close second would be the 4th of July though since the neighbors don't rat us out when we use the water balloon launcher on a few of the more cranky ones down the street.
Shirley: Whew, that was close. I was scared you might say the 4th of July FIRST, then it would be so ironic that your book is about Christmas. Was getting your first book published like, well, Christmas?
Stacy: Don't know how to answer that one. I'm still kind of uncomfortable with the notoriety that has come with it since I don't really feel it is my story. It's about the Savior and the important gifts He brings into each of our lives. It's a good story but it's just one I was blessed enough to be a part of.
Shirley: That's a very touching outlook. What gave you the idea for writing the Santa Letters?
Stacy: A few years back, I found out that two of my sons had been in a sexually abusive situation. And since some of the perpetrators had been wards of the state, there was a lot of pressure for us to back off. At one point, I had so much anger for what DCFS had put us through that I almost let it destroy me. But this wonderful little voice reminded me of all the things my parents had taught me and insisted that if I wanted to raise sons with integrity, love, compassion and forgiving hearts, I had to learn to do that myself and be an example. Since there was no money for Christmas - it all had gone to legal and counseling bills - I came upon the idea of the Santa Letters as a way to help our family heal and remember all the gifts we had been given throughout the years. I never intended our experience to become a book but I had a friend who when she found out what we'd been doing, she encouraged and challenged me to share it with others.
Shirley: Wow, Stacy. What a great example of making lemonade out of exceptionally bitter lemons. Um. Not to change the subject, but there's a reindeer behind you. He's not smiling.
Stacy: (Looks over her shoulder and then back to Shirley) Oh yeah, that would be Blitzen. He's still mad at me for eating the last bowl of Cheerios - it's heart healthy you know....He loves his oats in any form!
Shirley: (To Blitzen) No Cheerios here! Go look in your feed box! Oh, good, there he goes. (To Stacy) Do you have any other book ideas, say, with reindeer? Or maybe tropical islands? Yes, reindeer can wear hula skirts. I don't
know if they can actually hula, but they can wear grass skirts... for a little while... before they eat them.
Stacy: I was thinking more penguins in puka shells.....And reindeer do hula dance. I saw them swishin' and swayin' once while Santa was playing Blue Hawaii on his ukulele. Oh, and there is the companion book to The Santa Letters that I am currently working on. No animals (other than the thugs in jail) but this one picks up with Guillermo's story.
Shirley: That sounds great! I thought they way you worked Guillermo in was a great twist in reader perspective. Hey, look at that guy over there. That's not the big guy, is it? (Eyes growing wider) It is, it is! Awww, how sweet, he's carrying a pot of hot chocolate toward us! Do you like hot chocolate?
Stacy: Love it! Especially with a hint of mint or amaretto and whipped cream on top. If he's going anywhere near the reindeer though, we may have to settle for a bowl of chicken soup....
Shirley: That's strange. I thought he had a white beard. Oh, I see.
He's moonlighting as a hot chocolate taste tester. Well, looky there.
I never knew reindeer liked hot chocolate. Now they're all smiling. I
guess it's snow cones for you and me, Stace. What do you say? It's been fun talking to you, but now that it's time to go, I'll race you home on a sled!

· Hardcover: 190 pages
· Publisher: Sweetwater Books (July 8, 2008)
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 1599551454
· ISBN-13: 978-1599551456
· Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 6 x 0.9 inches
· Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
· Average Customer Review:

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