Thursday, April 12, 2007

Writers' Dairy Queen Wisdom

I met with an incredible group of writer friends this afternoon for lunch.
Our ages spanned three generations. Someone in our group named us "The Seven Hens and One Chick" (for hen lit and chick lit).
We had a hoot coming up with sayings from our parents and grandparents. Can't wait to feature some of them in upcoming columns!
I loved being with them. It reminded me of when my parents used to have coffee with folks who were older than they were. I always felt a sense of peace and gentleness from sitting in on their visits.
It was a good day -- a Dairy Queen Wisdom-kind-of-day.. .a day I hope you'll have sometime soon, too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Kids & dandelions

Catch a dandelion bouquet before it blows away

It's that time of year again, when sunburst-yellow blossoms appear – and multiply – across our yards. Homeowners hate 'em.

But kids? Well, kids love 'em today as much as you and I did when we used to pick dandelions, too. I'll bet you not only picked the yellow blossoms, but their fuzzy spheres, right? Remember holding them to our faces to make wishes? With one puff of childhood innocence, we sent them into the air – and probably into our own yards. Wasn't that a blast?

Then we'd pick the tallest yellow buds we could find and ask our moms to put them into jars of water on the kitchen windowsill.

I did that for my own kids. Those bouquets meant more to me than any fancy floral arrangements. I miss those days.

Stephanie Myers can relate. She has a name for dandelion bouquets: "Mom flowers".

"My kids used to pick them for me. I took pictures of them to scrapbook. I loved it when they brought me mom flowers!" Myers said. She misses those days.

Judy Sprague’s five children not only picked dandelions, but buttercups. "We lived in Spokane, Wash., and the newspaper used to hold a contest to see who could turn in the first buttercup of the season. My kids were always going out right after the first snow melted. It would still be chilly but if they came in with a buttercup, they were just delighted! They thought that was good stuff,” said Sprague.

But that’s not all.

"The kids held them to their chins. If they got pollen on them it meant they liked a certain boy or girl,” she said.

As for dandelions, Sprague displayed them in tiny glass jars of water on her windowsill. “After the first night the flowers closed up and they never opened again. I’d throw them away when the kids weren't looking,” she chuckled.

Sprague thought back to the days when a child’s love was innocently displayed in dandelions and buttercups.

“When children are little, they step on your toes. When they get big, they step on your heart. “I miss those days,” Sprague reflected.

So if you still have little ones around, I wish a bazillion dandelions just for you – not in your yard, but on your windowsill; for behind each sunburst-yellow blossom is a whole lot of love. And someday, I have a feeling you’re gonna’ miss it.

© 2007 by Judy Halone

Saturday, April 07, 2007

You gotta' admit: Kids are pretty incredible!

I think kids are incredible - don't you? I love their energy, innocence and their where-in-the-world-did-you-come-up-with-that ideas. Toss in their laughter, imagination and transparency to be just who they are, and you've got one incredible person who will one day do very incredible things.

A couple of weeks ago I flew a few states over to visit two incredible kids: My “grandgirls.” The youngest is six months and cute as a button. The oldest is a 3-year-old. She's cute as a button, too. She doesn't call me Grandma; she calls me My Friend.

"I'm going to play soccer with My Friend. Then I'm going to make a pink cake with purple frosting with My Friend,” she bragged to her parents. I think she's incredibly charming - don't you? We ventured to a nearby park. We swung double-Dutch to the moon and touched the sky with our feet.

“Go higher!” she shouted. I loved her contagious belly laugh.

I think kids have an incredible zest for fun.

Then a little boy unabashedly approached her. “Do you wanna play?”So they did.

I think kids are incredible at making friends.
When we finally left the park I carried her piggy-back. She wiggled and tried to hold her stuffed Captain Uniqua with her left hand while barely grasping my neck with her right.

“Don't lean back, I might drop you,” I warned.

“Like this?”
She leaned back.
“Yes - like that!”
We laughed.
I think kids are incredibly unafraid.
In the evening her parents left for a date night.
“Me and My Friend are having a sleepover!” she informed them. We also read a pile of books. You've been around kids, so you know how it works; we read each one. Again.
I think kids are incredibly smart at stretching their bedtimes.
When it was time to kiss my grandgirls goodbye at the airport, I gently rubbed their cheeks once more before closing the car door. Bet you've done something like that, too.

Then it occurred to me on the flight home: Kids can give us a new take on life - if we let them. They give us their energy, innocence and their where-in-the-world-did-you-come-up-with-that ideas. They toss in their laughter, imagination and transparency to be just who they are. And one day, they will do very incredible things.I think kids are incredible - don't you?

Note: Send me a brief comment on how a child has given you a new take on life and it might be featured in a future column.

Judy Halone ( is a member of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Copyright (c) 2007 by Judy Halone.