All posts by turg7269

About turg7269

I am a Minnesota woman who grew up on a farm in Swede Grove Township and spent much time in the Arizona Desert during the winters. For many years I was a professional communications writer. I had my own recipe column with a weekly publication and was the press secretary/assistant communication director for Minnesota's Secretary of State. I am a two time cancer survivor and am currently in remission from Multiple Myeloma a blood cancer.

Living With Cancer: I Cried Yesterday.

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Since last November the proteins in my blood that can indicate Multiple Myeloma in my bone marrow, that have been gone for several years, reappeared.  I have had them tested for months every six weeks.  Then, I got a three-month testing reprieve this spring, which ended last week.

The little rascals increased slightly again.

So, when I saw my oncologist yesterday we had a long talk and I did something that I haven’t done in a very long time…I had a good cry.

I did not cry, because my Multiple Myeloma may be creeping back into my bone marrow.

I did not cry, because I need to have a bone marrow biopsy next Wednesday.  For those of you who have never had the privilege, they are a real treat!

I did not cry, because getting this type of cancer is just bad luck. Nothing I ate, did or stressed about had anything to do with this diagnoses.

I did not cry, because I am depressed.  I am not.  I have known since my original diagnosis five years ago that Myeloma is not curable and always returns.  While, I don’t like this, and do not have too, it was rather expected to happen some day. Besides my food and bee sting allergies are much more dangerous anyway.

I did not cry, because I will never be disease-free or able to lift a grandchild, work, wear pretty dresses or high heels, lift my saxophone, ride horse, mow the lawn, dig in the dirt, bike, swim, run, or walk off-trail in a woods without back pain again.

I did not cry, because cancer drugs are so expensive the thought makes me seasick.

Nope those things would not make me cry.

I cried, because I really want knock the mean people of this world who blissfully go about their self-absorbed orderly lives mentally, emotional and physically abusing others upside the head with my cane.

Yes, I cried, because people are mean!

People are mean by commission and omission.   Truth has been castrated and humiliation elevated to a moral virtue. Shame extinct, and vulgarity and violence epidemic.

I cried, because people are so busy looking for something to complain about, they don’t count the blessings in their lives.  For instance, you are not me!  Or, any of the precious people sitting in the infusion room with me.  Infusion rooms filled to the brim with pleasant, patient and peaceful people.  No politics here!  Priorities!

I cried, because too many people have become their own gods.  Their own ideas and self-importance supersede consideration of anyone or anything.  We have become an deaf society of busybodies.  Our motto is, “everyone is stupid, but me.”

Then, too, I cried, because I’m bored.  Sometimes, I feel buried alive in this house.  I miss working.  Miss serving others.  Miss making a difference in people’s lives.  Miss being in a position to protect those who cannot protect themselves.  I miss me.

I cried, because I could. My doctor is a great listener and can keep a straight face when I have a hissy fit about badness and boredom.

I cried, because society as a whole could benefit greatly by having many more great listeners and fewer talkers.

I cried, because my phone rang during my appointment.  It was the Red Cross calling for blood donations due to a severe blood shortage.

I cried, because I am a blood user not a donor.

That made me angry, and I cry when I am angry.

Kindness needs a little love once in awhile.

Please, think of others today and give blood!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thor’s Stories: Possum Passel Posse Panic

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Thor and his best friend Rex, his trusty dog, certainly had a great time celebrating Independence Day…July 4th.  Grandpa Walter and grandma had come to visit and went with Thor and his parents to view their town’s big parade and fireworks extravaganza.  After they all got home from the fireworks they toasted the great United States just as the forefathers had intended…with root beer floats. Even Rex ended up with a vanilla ice cream mustache.

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It had been a late night.  So, it was extremely inconvenient when Thor and Rex were rudely awakened from a sound sleep by hysterical hen hallooing.

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Thor ran to the window to look into his backyard, called the jungle, to see what the reason was for the ruckus. Thor’s eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw the cause of the chicken crisis….it was a possum passel posse panic.

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A group of possums is called a passel.

A possum passel posse panic is what happens when a party of possums invade a chicken coop to steal eggs and eat chickens.

It did not take Thor long to realize that the possum passel posse had penetrated the poultry pen and was pinching primary production products…the big ugly rats were already stealing eggs and stalking hens.  For a possum, the egg always comes before the chicken.

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With the poultry pen penetrated, and its perimeter compromised, it was just a matter of time until the eggs disappeared and the possum passel posse of jacks, jills and joeys began to focus their foray on the chickens.

While panic rarely helps, there is a time for it and this was one of those times.

Thor raced to the entrance of the jungle, opened the gate door and ordered Rex to attack!  Rex charged straight away at the enemy!  Then, he took one look at those rows of sharp teeth on those ratty faces with the insane grins and he hit the brakes.  Choosing the better part of valor, Rex treated at full speed to escape the jungle and the miscreant marauding marsupials.

                                            Rex charging.                        Rex in full retreat. 

As Rex blasted between Thor’s legs almost knocking him off his feet, Thor let out a loud plea for help to save his beloved chickens.

The call for immediate assistance was sure to go unanswered as Thor’s parents had left for work long ago.  Thor had defended his chickens so many times before, but this was different, this wasn’t about kidnapping, capture or ransom this was a matter of life or death.

Thor’s hens with their sharp pecking beaks and flailing wings were still bravely defending their eggs and each other, but they were tiring.  A massacre by miscreant marauding marsupials was merely a matter of minutes.

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What Thor needed and needed badly was a big old mean rooster who had a razor sharp beak and talons, enjoyed a good fight, knew no fear, ignored all rules, never fought fair, believed mercy was for wimps, took no prisoners and never left any survivors.

Yup, this would have been the perfect job for Red Beard, The Rooster Pirate King.  Except Thor had bested the rooster pirate king long ago and that old boy was cooling his de-taloned heels in a cage at the farm for wayward roosters and misbehaving chicken rehabilitation center located far outside of town in the country.

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There was no time to mope over what could have been, Thor knew he had to deal with the here and now and that meant formulating a practically perfect possum-proof passel posse impasse plan.

Thor raced into the house to get his safety glasses for eye protection, two spoons, a bright coppery new penny, pencil, envelope, a piece of scotch tape, duct tape, rubber gloves, a bunch of mismatched black socks, a paper party hat, and umbrella. He stuck a whole unopened package of  firecrackers in his front pants pocket, grabbed four red, white and blue helium balloons that he’d brought home from the fireworks the night before, a dog leash and his trumpet.  Then, stormed off into the jungle to save his chickens!

The situation in the jungle was growing more dire for his chickens by the second.  There was no time to lose!

Thor quickly put the bowls of the spoons together, held on to the handles, and began rapidly clacking them together. As you know, this is the secret alarm to alert leprechauns. Thor scribbled a quick note to the Leprechaun King on the roll of toilet paper regarding the possum attack that read, “Help…possums passel posse panic….eggs gone….chickens in grave danger!”

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After finishing his note, Thor taped the penny into the center of the roll of toilet paper and shoved it down the blue door in the hollow tree that was the gateway to the leprechaun world.  As you know, sending a message to leprechauns costs one shiny new penny.

Next, Thor set his trumpet on the picnic table, tied a loop in the end of each balloon’s string and bolted towards the passel of possums who were just about to grab their first chicken.

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As Thor ran he pulled the package of firecrackers out of his pocket.  Waving the pack of firecrackers wildly above his head and screaming like a banshee he charged the possums.  Banshee screaming had been taught to Thor by the leprechauns for just such types of emergencies. For just a moment the possums backed away from their poultry prize to assess the level of danger from this boy and his fist full of finger, toe and tail removing explosives.

Now possums are curious creatures.  They are ugly, look like big rats, have a long slimy snake tail, beady black eyes, fifty sharp little teeth for gnawing up their victims and when threatened they waddle fast, growl, belch, pee and poop on themselves.

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They also are known for “playing possum.”  They roll over shut their eyes, put their feet in the air and pretend to be dead. While in this position foam bubbles out of their mouths and nasty smelling juices come out of their butts.  They smelled worse than Grandpa Walter’s farts after he has gorged himself on brats, sauerkraut, and beans.  Possums can pretend to play dead for up to four hours.  Grand Walter’s brat, sauerkraut and bean farts can be deadly for much longer than that if you take a direct hit.

Before the possums had time to realized that Thor was not allowed to play with matches or light fireworks when his parents were not home and they were in no danger from the firecrackers, Thor had looped a balloon string onto the ankle of each of his chickens and had them quickly floating aloft to roost high in the trees.

Life would be so much harder for chicken chasing varmints if chickens would just learn to fly.  Thor figured the reason chickens never learned to fly was it is just too hard to do when you are all breasts and thighs.

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With the chickens out of harm’s way, the possums focused all of their rage on Thor.  They began advancing on the boy….slinking forward, ferociously growling and relishing the idea of sinking their sharp teeth into Thor’s flesh and gnawing on him to revenge their lost chicken feast.

Thor stood his ground, glaring right back at those vicious little beasts.  When the possums were almost close enough to pounce, Thor sounded the trumpet that would never call retreat and grabbed his umbrella.

At that moment small little white ghostly figures began popping up out of the ground all over the place.  There is nothing scarier than an army of tiny ghosts who would love nothing more than to crawl up your nose or into your ears to eat your brains.  The possums stopped their snarling, peeing and pooping and froze.

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The ghost in the lead was wearing the King of the Leprechaun’s hat with the magic feather he had plucked from the rooster pirate king so very long ago.  Once the king had put that feather in his cap, he’d never once removed it….until now!

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With a tug, the feather was free from his hat and with a loud “pop” there stood Red Beard the Rooster Pirate King in all of his masculine glory with his blazing red eyes, flowing tail feathers and razor sharp talons encased in expensive black Italian thigh-high pirate boots with exquisite golden high heels.

If just the sight of all of those tiny ghosts had frozen the possums in their tracks. The appearance of the rooster pirate king flipped them on their backs.

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               A horse kindly exampling a possum playing dead. 

There were upside down possums playing dead all over the place.  Feet in the air, mouths wide open with drool and foam running down their chins.

possums playing dead

Once the possums had assumed the position of a bloated cow, Thor aimed his umbrella toward the prone pests and rapidly flapped it open and closed with all of the speed he could muster.  When he had created a wind great enough to push any possum stench away from the jungle. Several of the tiny ghosts, who turned out to be leprechauns, tore off their toilet paper sheets and raced to securely toilet paper diaper the unconscious rats before stinky juices escaped the possum’s poop maker.

The largest gathering of people dressed as leprechauns was 262 leprechauns who gathered at Canal Theatre, Dublin to celebrate Guinness World Records Day 2011

Operation bundle butts was a great success and the jungle remained smelling minty fresh. The rest of the leprechauns threw off their white tissue disguises and shouted a loud hurrah!  Then, they all enjoyed a good laugh at the expense of the possums.

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It was a good thing that Thor’s dad had just aerated the lawn.  In a flash those small green people disappeared down all of those little holes just as quickly as they had popped out of them.

As the rooster pirate king strutted around the jungle proudly displaying his broad chest and incredibly attractive plumage, the hens saw him, dissolved into silly giggles, immediately swooned and fell out of the tree.  The balloons gently drifted those ditzy dazed hens back to the jungle floor.

The rooster looked those chicks over and liked what he saw.

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As much as that Rooster would have like to spend a bit more time with those chicks after so many years of being in a prison for misbehaving roosters, he was still a pirate….and those possums had tried to plunder the wrong pirate. They needed to be taught a lesson about what happens when you mess with a pirate or his chicks.

With all of the possums still playing dead, Red Beard got right to work. First, he removed his fancy custom-made Italian boots to use the sharp talons on his feet to pluck out all fifty teeth from each possum.  It would have been more efficient for him to use his sharp beak, but he wasn’t getting his handsome face or sweet breath anywhere near foaming, reeking possum drool.

Soon the possum passel that had created such poultry panic were left with nothing but toothless gums and flabby lips.  Red Beard stood back to appreciate the moment and admire himself and his excellent dentistry.

After thoroughly washing his feet in Rex’s water dish, the rooster pulled on his pirate boots.  However, Red Beard was not done with these foragers of fragile feathered females…not by a long shot.

First, he thought about pecking their eyes out so they would never be able to see another chicken.  Or, maybe cutting off their long tails so that they would forever be called stumpy.  He would give the severed wormy looking appendages to Grandpa Walter to use in place of night-crawlers for fish bait.  Then, too, he could easily snip off all of their toenails preventing them from ever again scratching for bugs to eat.  Yes, yes, slow painful starvation…that is what they deserved.

                                     Possum tail.                                                  Night-crawler worms

Lucky for those possums, what they richly deserved was not something Thor was about to allow to happen.  Even slimy, stinking, sewer rats deserve forgiveness. However, there are consequences for actions and Thor was not interested in ever witnessing another possum passel posse poultry panic. No chicken ever deserves to be bullied or fear harm.

As he contemplated the fate of the possums, Thor noticed that Pirate Rooster King was winking and flashing dimpled smiles at the lovesick hens. Why that vane rooster was actually trying to convince the most gullible little gal to take a peek under his patch. It was at that moment, Thor made a decision.

He put on his rubber gloves, grabbed the black socks and duct tape.  Thor then picked up each jack, jill and joey, put them bottom first into a sock. Then, used duct tape to wrap each possum into neat little bundles with just their heads and tail tips peeking out.

When he had finished his possum mummification project, Thor put them all into a large basket.  Next he tied the helium balloons to the basket and just before he sent those possums heavenward, he wrote a note to the farmer who owned the farm for wayward roosters and the misbehaving chicken rehabilitation center.

Dear Mr. Farmer,

I am sending you a package of a possum passel for rehabilitation. If there is anyone that can make mice of these marsupial menaces it is you.  Beware!  Both ends of these varmints are juicy and stinky.  Handle with care.  Seek out large quantities of old lady’s perfumes and keep them handy should possum juices leakage occur.  We have taken the liberty of removing all of their sharp little teeth rendering them harmless to chickens and your corn harvest.   In exchange for your assistance in this matter, I will assume full responsibility for the Red Beard, The Rooster Pirate King.  His contribution to averting the possum passel posse panic in my poultry pen proved particularly perfect! I believe his rehabilitation has been successful and look forward to having a pirate living in the jungle.  

Sincerely,

Thor

After Thor signed and addressed his letter to the farmer, it was tri-folded, put in an envelope, enveloped sealed and handed to the King of the Leprechauns. Then, Thor let go of the balloons and the possum passel peacefully floated towards the heavens.

Everyone knew that there was not enough helium in those balloons to get that passel of possum packets to the farmer.  So, the Leprechaun King said that he’d take care of it. As soon as those balloons cleared the trees, a rush of wings was heard and a great bald eagle swooped down with the the King of the Leprechauns riding on his back.  The king grabbed the basket’s handle and away they all went.

The king and eagle circled the jungle once. Then, they went into a steep dive.  Before Red Beard knew what pinched him, the king had plucked out the rooster’s longest tail feather and stuck it in his hat.

As they flew into the clouds the king hollered, “Red Beard, behave yourself and follow Thor’s rules or this magic feather will send you right back into the cage you came from!”  With a wave to Thor, the eagle and the King of the Leprechauns flew off with the possum passel posse package.

Thor walked over to his chickens.  They all quieted down as Thor looked the rangy rooster right in the eye and said, “Red Beard, I think you will fit in well here in the jungle.  I will expect you to guard my hens and their eggs.  It is your responsibility to keep all possums and possum passels out of the jungle forever.

However, if you are going to stay there are going to be a few rules.  Your pirate hat, boots and outfit will have to go.  You must look like a regular rooster. No foul fowl language.  And, those long sharp talons of yours must be always kept trimmed short.  First, time I see a scratch on any member of our jungle family ….it’s back to the farm for wayward roosters for you!”

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The Rooster Pirate King cocked his head to the side as he thought about Thor’s offer.  It would be hard to not be a pirate anymore, he loved plundering so….but he liked chicks more.  Off went his pirate clothes, boots and hat.  The hens nearly fainted just watching the show.

Thor had one more task to finish, he took the dog leash and walked out of the jungle, across the driveway and reached under his neighbor’s porch.  It did not take too long before his hand came into contact with a familiar dog collar.  Snap, on went the leash!  A very embarrassed Rex crawled out from under the porch just in time to have Morton the spitting squirrel pitch a wet one right into his face.

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Rex let out a howl and the chase was on.  Back into the jungle he ran after that pesky squirrel.  Morton scrambled up the nearest tree and began raining juicy lucys down onto Rex and Thor.

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Thor’s safety glasses provided excellent eye protect from warm squirrel saliva, so he enjoyed watching Morton’s mother sneak up behind her less than obedient son.  Just as he was about to let go another volley of squirrel spit wads both of his ears were grabbed simultaneously by his mother so hard she jerked him right off of his feet. She then threw him over her shoulder and marched home to give that boy a well-deserved time out.

Rex sat patiently waiting for Thor to put the party hat of humiliation on his head.  Rex knew the rule. When you choose to take the better part of valor…retreat…you also choose to wear the hat.

Just then Thor’s dad walked into the jungle. As he looked around the jungle for Thor, he noticed that Rex was wearing the hat of humiliation, toilet paper littered the grass, there were several deflated balloons in the rhubarb, an umbrella was hanging from the clothes line, duct tape and Thor’s trumpet were on the picnic table, a tiny pirate outfit including a hat and some really amazing boots were flung around the outside of the chicken coop, there was a pile of sharp little white chips that looked a lot like teeth in the garden and a large red rooster wearing an eye patch was in the hen house.

Thor’s dad asked, “Son, what did you do today?”

Thor responded, “Nothin much dad.”

It was then his dad spied something strange…a package of fireworks laying on the ground.  He walked over and picked them up and held them in front of Thor.  Thor knew that telling the truth no matter what, is what is most important, even when the truth will get you in trouble. “Dad.”  Thor explained, “You told me never to light matches or set off fireworks when you were not home.  The package was never opened and you will not find any matches missing. But I did take them out of the house. ”

Thor’s dad pocketed the firecrackers and walked with Thor to the shed to get rakes to clean up all of the toilet paper and….teeth?

Recipe: Delicious Desserts and the Boy in a Box…Frozen Pumpkin Dessert

These gals still meet on a regular basis. My mom missed their last meeting due to my dad falling in the machine shed and breaking his hand. The club took a nice boat tour and my parents a tour of an emergency room.

Dad will have to be in a cast for six weeks, however, just a week after his fall he was back on a tractor cultivating his sweet corn patch. He says its more work with the cast doing stuff on the farm, but he’s adapting. Not bad for being in his mid-eighties. He said the corn is looking great.

His only complaint was the ER almost started putting a pink cast on him, which was quickly changed to blue.

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

Sunshine Club
Sunshine Club current members.
Photo from Independent Review Newspaper

The Sunshine club has met for 82 years. Agnes Palm was a founding member and my mother has been a member all of my life. I have many memories of going with mom to club when I was a very young girl, especially when it was held at Mrs. Palm’s house.

I remember the delicious desserts, being horribly bored and being allowed to play with two plastic horses. One was extra special as it had little gold chains for reins. I will never forget her beautiful white faced cows and calves and the big mean old bull that once escaped the pasture and tried to ram our white ford station wagon with the red interior.

My most vivid memory is of her youngest son Darrel. He was in his late twenties by the time I first met him when I…

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What Is On My Mind Today? Happy Independence Day From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary!

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INDEPENDENCE.
…what it means according to the  Merriam-Webster Dictionary: 

Definition of INDEPENDENCE:
—-freedom from outside control or support : the state of being independent

Definition of INDEPENDENT:

—-not subject to control by others

—-not affiliated with a larger controlling unit 

—-not requiring or relying on something else

—-not looking to others for one’s opinions or for guidance in conduct

—-not bound by or committed to a political party

—-not requiring or relying on others

—-showing a desire for freedom

Definition of FREEDOM:   

—-the state of being free: such as the power to do what you want to do

—-the ability to move or act freely

—-the state of not being a slave, prisoner
—-the state of not having or being affected by something unpleasant or unwanted

—-the right to use something or go somewhere without being controlled
 —-a political right

Have a great time today celebrating independence and freedom! 

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Recipe: The Day My Dad Shot Elvis…Four Roosters and Chicken Pasta Fruit Salad

This is a great salad to serve during the summer months, and who doesn’t like a great chicken story.

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

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Once upon a time on my dad’s farm lived four young roosters who needed names. A good name can make or break a soul in this world so when dad called me at 8 a.m.in the morning, while I was at work, and asked my assistance in selecting names for his roosters, I was honored.

Since I had never seen his new roosters, I asked him to describe them for me.

The first rooster was black, small for his age and the first to learn to crow. He really had a thing for the lady hens. His most distinguishing characteristic was the long feathers that hung down on either side of his beak like sideburns. We named him Elvis.

Then, dad explained he wanted his other roosters named after Civil War generals.  I am a Civil War buff, so he felt I would be the one to help him find appropriate military names. He stressed that the…

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Recipe: Minnesota National Guard Pie Fight Rescue–Serving up Patriotic Berry Pie on the 4th of July

This is a great patriotic berry pie to serve your guests as you celebrate the 4th of July.

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

pie social

Traditions die hard in small towns and our church’s annual  ice cream social was no exception to this rule.  Each summer our church would hold an ice cream social usually as a fundraiser for our youth group –FLY–First Lutheran Youth.

My church was our town’s Swedish Lutheran Church.  In a small town with less than 600 people we boasted four churches.  Three were Lutheran…Swedish, Norwegian and German and then there were the Baptists. The basic difference between Lutherans and Baptists as far I could tell was that we could dance and they could not.

In my early teens, I was vice-chair of  FLY and my older more responsible cousin was chair. What I may have lacked in responsibility, I certainly more than made up for with a strong desire to help God out, great capitalistic attitude, endless creativity and boundless enthusiasm.

As it happened right about the time I became part of the leadership team for FLY, we needed…

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Letter’s From Grandma Pat: Three-fingered Kenny and 4th of July Trivia

Happy 4th of July and be careful with those fireworks.

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

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Howdy!  Hope that your week is going great and that you are having a lot of fun during your summer vacation from school.   However, fun, no matter how inviting or exciting, is never an excuse for not being careful and safe.  Brains were not made by God to set on a shelf, they are meant to be used. You have a good one, use it.

Which brings me to the point of this week’s letter…not blowing off your fingers or toes, or blinding yourself with fireworks. Fireworks are great fun to see, hear and have during our nation’s birthday celebration on the 4th of July.  However, they are dangerous and demand respect. I know its fun to shoot off a firecracker or two, but safe first!

I once knew a kid in high school that did not have respect for the power of gun powder. He became known as “Three-finger…

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