Of Groundhogs and Chipmunks

groundhog

L.F.Young

It is the day before Groundhog Day, 2015. The CBC has put out an article that is making the rounds on the internet about the origins of this day in North America, how ‘we’ borrowed it from the Europeans. Some people say it originated with the Scottish, some say German. The fact of the matter is in some places in Europe it is starting to turn to spring-like conditions this time of year, in early February. That is not to say that we haven’t seen an early spring here too, but that is usually not to be expected.

What we can expect on this side of the Atlantic Ocean is a storm on or about Valentine’s Day, and coincidentally, again on another holiday which is sometimes called the St. Patrick’s Day storm. So for me, personally, I don’t much care for the Groundhog Day tradition. Oh it’s cute and folks look like they are having a grand time scaring this poor groundhog out of its tiny fur encased brain. It just never struck me as anything more than blowing off a little winter cabin fever, and in one of my clearer moments I realized that this rodent couldn’t control the weather; and to think of all those years wasted, wishing for a cloudy day on February 02.

“So, did the little guy see his shadow?”

“Yeah, it was sunny all day here, man.”

“CRAP! Six more weeks of winter.”

And then you’d mope around for the next month and miss all the sunny days.

“Hey look. It’s a sunny today, and not snowing.”

“Yeah, but don’t be fooled. It’s only been two weeks since that little &%@$ saw his shadow.”

So one day I just woke up and didn’t buy into the whole business. I know people will be shocked that anyone could say such a thing. It’s a tradition for crying out loud. How can you not like Groundhog Day? I get that. Have your day, torture that poor critter again and don’t ever let him go, because you’re gonna need him next year.

I’ll tell you what I told my son when I caught him shooting at the birds with his pellet rifle. I told him that the rifle was only for target practice, on non living targets. I also told him it was okay to kill an animal if he was hungry and needed to eat, but that it was wrong to tease an animal or to just shoot it to kill something, as if its life meant no more than the paper on his target. He said he understood, and I told him if he killed an animal just for fun, he would have to eat it, to show it respect and thanks. I don’t think a half hour had passed when I heard him around the side of the house. I was grilling supper on the back deck when he came slowly up the steps, snivelling, and hiccupping. When I asked him what was the matter he reached into the pocket of his jeans and pulled out a pathetic wad of fur. He burst out crying, and I began to piece together the story between broken sobs.

He had been aiming at the branch, and the chipmunk had sort of run into the pellet, and he was very sorry. The kid was breaking my heart. Of course I was going to set an example, so I told him to go inside and clean his supper. Now before you call the child welfare folks, this was not going to happen. We had every intention of stopping the boy. That’s when the meat burst into flames on the barbecue. My wife ran to get the spray bottle of water, while I tried to move the grill away from the wooden railing. We got the crisis under control just in time for our son to announce from behind us, that he was ready to cook his supper now. I couldn’t believe it. He skinned that rodent better then Davey Crocket could have at his age. I almost burst out into gales of laughter but an icy stare from the Missus put that desire right out with one punch.

We came clean and told him he didn’t have to eat his kill, but we hoped he had learned a lesson. He said he was going to cook the little fella up anyway to show some respect.

It’s funny how the smoke from that darn barbeque got into my eyes at that exact moment. That night we all had a taste of grilled rodent. It was almost better than the burnt mess that everyone was very good about saying how tasty it was, and how we should have blackened chicken more often.

For some reason looking at the picture on the news site, of last year’s Wiarton Willie Festival in the now well known town, made me sad, and it made me think of that time so long ago. I know the actual animal they use is in a heck of a lot better place than his cousins, or is it? Don’t worry about me. I’m also starting to think it’s a shame to kill a perfectly good healthy tree so we can put gifts under it, and then throw it away two weeks later, but that’s a story for later on this year.

Thanks for reading, and please don’t call me names.

My View of The Creek

Very special place indeed.

The Linden Chronicles

My View of the Creek by Patrick Jones author The Wolf's Moon, The Linden Chronicles Book 1

We have a room  on the south side of the house we call, “The Sun Room”.

During the day, there is plenty of sunlight filtering through the four picture windows,  I do most of my writing in this place.

The thing I most like about writing here is that during those short periods that I go blank, there is a creek that runs the length of my property.

In the morning the sun lends her light, ever so softly at first, waking the birds.

I watch the red flashes of cardinals flying from their nests looking to feed.  The bluejays are not far behind.

Cardinal

The warming rays motivate the squirrels from high in the trees to the ground searching for food.

Squirrel

Soon woodland creatures are all moving looking for that tasty morsel.

One day as I sat at the keyboard working on a short story (which is taking on the…

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The Dark Path

As sometimes happens after a wonderful trip to an exotic place, we start thinking about the special things we’ve seen there. One night I was remembering that the South Africans called a paved road a tar road. And then I wondered about what the animals thought about this strange dark path, and the funny looking animals that traveled it, with their eyes shining. What would we be like from their point of view.

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The Dark Path

L.F.Young

 

 

The morning broke, like most days do.

With sun splashed brilliance, on morning dew.

On waking up I smelled the grass.

I smelled the earth warmed sunlight’s cast.

 

And cautiously I ventured out.

With starch straight ears and twitching snout.

Beyond the tall grass, the bush and tree,

Wherever my legs did carry me.

 

I ventured past my normal ground.

Past water hole, looked all around.

This place was strange and new to me,

And strange new things are what I see.

 

A dark path, void of plant or grass.

The sun’s heat seems to stick, to last.

This path is not of mother land.

Not made of dirt. Not made of sand..

 

And these strange creatures on this path

Don’t seem to stay. Don’t seem to last.

They come along the path so slow,

With eyes so big, sometimes a glow.

 

I do not like this path of dark.

Black ribbon running through my park.

And back I’ll go to grass and tree.

Dark path has seen the last of me.

Pro Procrastinator

Dirty Dishes

L.F.Young/2015

I was going to write this a while ago, but then again, I’m a Pro. Haste just is not in my vocabulary anymore. Oh don’t get me wrong, I used to run around in a crazy state of mind, rushing to get to the next plumbing service call, rushing to finish because the poor people were going to be busted broke before I was half done as it was. And it didn’t stop at work either. There was the rush to get home, because even if a person is stuck in traffic at a bare crawl, their mind is still racing home ahead of themselves. Life itself was an out of control rush all the time.

It started so long ago with the first words “Hurry up, we’re late” and it didn’t seem to ever slow down after that. I remember as a kid watching my dad pace back and forth, looking at his watch, cigarette smoke pouring from his mouth as he shouted down the hall to my mother to “for C____ sakes Madeline get a move on! We’re late!” I found out much later in life the reason for all this lateness.

It wasn’t out of any disrespect. We didn’t mean to be late for the recital, or graduation. We didn’t miss most of the wedding, or funeral because we were trying to be mean. We just put things off a little too long, that’s all. I could have climbed into the shower a half hour before I did, but I didn’t. I didn’t say to myself, by god, I’m gonna miss the wedding because I just don’t want to take a shower right now. It was more like, My God in Heaven, LOOK AT THE TIME! Did you know that at moments like this Time actually stops for a nanosecond and laughs at you?

I found out in school actually. Yes I did learn a few things, and one of them was this really big word, that summed up why everyone was always in a rush. Procrastination. Once I read the definition of that word I knew. It was like the clouds opened up, the sun shone through and violins proclaimed that this was a moment to remember. I wish I could say that once I knew what this ‘putting off till later’ thing was called I’d not do it so much. The corrective action to always being late was right there. What actually happened was that now that I knew what it was and what it was called, I got worse. I’d find myself looking for ways to procrastinate. This thinking led to a few fights with the Missus. We had a bad rainstorm one year and our roof leaked around the chimney for the fireplace. Consequently a beautiful fist sized hole appeared in our living room ceiling, and expanded with very little picking on my part to the size of an over inflated volley ball. Because we were having guests over that long weekend, and there was no way to repair the hole in time, I skillfully draped the Canadian Flag over the hole. Thank goodness it was Canada Day weekend. The hole was fixed after that weekend…four years after that weekend.

So you see when I say I am now a Pro Procrastinator, I’m not just puffing wind. Now that I am semi retired, and have discovered writing once again, I am realizing that writers are some of the world’s best at procrastination. So for all you folks out there who are looking at your watches and tapping your feet for us to hurry up, please be patient. It takes a lot of practice to turn Pro.

The Legend Returns Launch

I am so grateful to everyone who came to my Launch Party on January 15th, and celebrated with me in my great fortune to present my new book to you all.

The Legend Returns is a story about a boy and his love of and respect for nature. When Ryan discovers an ancient secret, he realizes that the fate of an entire new species is in his small hands.

It would give me great pleasure if you would read my book, and let me know what you think in the form of a review. Reviews are like food for our Author’s souls. Good or bad a review helps us get a feel for our reader’s reactions to our works. I certainly don’t want to be putting out stories that are just so-so. I want to put out a book that will make my readers want more. Don’t worry, thick skin comes in the tool box, and I’d rather have a reader tell me they didn’t like something, as tell their friends the same.

Please enjoy the culmination of of nearly 20 years from start to stage. Thank You.

http://morningrainpublishing.com/project/the-legend-returns-by-l-f-young/

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The Legend Returns

Launch page Masthead

 

 

 

I am very pleased to announce the official launch of my new book The Legend Returns. This sequel to Ryan’s Legend picks up where the first book left off, and continues with the same easy to read chapters that have made the first book such a favorite for middle grade readers, and parents alike.

Please join me at the Facebook Launch Party on January 15th 2015 at the following link.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1523604834575080/?ref=51&source=1
Launch page Masthead

Happy New Year 2015

2015

It’s hard to believe that another year has slipped by while we were chin deep in our lives. It seems we were just getting the hang of warm summer days, lounging in the shade sipping cool drinks, and along came the cold wind. Out of the deep blue sky it blustered and bulldozed it’s way in, elbows swinging for summer to get out of the way. The cold air turned the sap in the leaves into retreating armies of tree blood, racing for the warmth and comfort of the trunk, for now it was their time for sleep.

Mornings grew darker, as we struggled and fought our circadian rhythm to “please just let me wake up.” School lunches bagged, tonight’s meal in the slow cooker for the day, and your motor revving up to fastest and out the door into the morning night. What light there is, a grey depressing glimpse out an office window on your way to another never ending meeting. Days end, and again exhaustion wrapped around you like a blanket as you shiver in your defrosting carsicle watching street lights come on as they mock your summer memories of long sun filled evenings.

An announcement on the radio reminded you that there are only ten days left before Christmas, which sends you into a slight hyperventilating panic as you realize you have not started shopping yet. Some how you dug deep, found another gear faster than fastest, and you have done it. Christmas day wrapping, smiles and turkey stuffed bellies just a fading memory as you recall last night’s countdown to the end of another year.

What will you do this year to change? The New Year resolution is, after all, a promise of sorts to change your life for the better, to improve your overall state. We make those promises every year to quit smoking; stop spending; lose weight; be more friendly; and every year we set our goals to unreachable heights, and we end up being disappointed for breaking our New Years resolution. How about if I resolve to try and maintain where I am and not slip backward? If I have room at the end of the day I’ll go for the improvement. Well, that is okay, as far as I’m concerned, to maintain and not slip back. That’s okay…for a little while. You see, if there is no change there is stagnation. So as much as we don’t want to try that new way to accomplish a task, we owe it to ourselves to do it anyway, at least once.

This year I’m going to try to slow the passage of time. I’m pretty sure 2015 will fly by just like the last one did, and my expectations will once again be smashed to bits, but this time I’m ready. I won’t let myself be disappointed if I can’t actually slow the passage of time. If I fail to meet this resolution I’m going to just shrug my shoulders and smile. Unless I actually do slow the passage of time. In that case there is going to be the longest weekend party ever!

Happy New Year everyone. Please be nice to one another. Smiles are cheap and the happiness they bring is priceless.

The Forgotten Ones

rainy window

I heard a story the other day that touched me to my core, and I thought I would share it here. A lady was talking about her son who was in the local hospital. Her son didn’t have a broken leg, or a bad appendix. Her son had a mental health issue, and he was admitted to get his medications reevaluated.

In our local hospital there is a special psychiatric ward, which is a locked down section of the hospital, and security needs to be in place as some of the patients are or can be violent. Some patients have tried to commit suicide, or are very depressed. Whatever the mental illnesses or issues, this ward has very different tools for patient care. One of those tools is a pool table and a ping pong table. There is also a PlayStation 3 and one or two games. What the ward doesn’t have, like the rest of the hospital, are the personal toiletries we all take for granted. If we get sick and have to spend time in the hospital, we still need to bring our tooth brushes, soap, shampoo. All these items most of the patients who are in this ward don’t have access to. They were either homeless or near destitute or they have no family to bring these things to them.

The most amazing thing happened when this lady asked her son what he wanted for Christmas. He told her he didn’t really want anything, but that he did have a couple of items on his Christmas wish list. He wished the pockets on the pool table could be fixed, because the balls kept falling on the floor. He wished they had another ping pong paddle to replace the one that was broken, and maybe one more ball. He wished for some comfortable seats for the TV room. Not one thing on this young man’s Christmas wish list was for himself. It was all small things to make an already really bad time just a little bit better for everyone else.

Every city has at least one major hospital, and I bet there are things their psychiatric ward could use but never get. A simple call can get you all the information you need. Just call them up and ask what they need for their patients. Some of the things mentioned were toothbrushes and individual or small tubes of tooth paste. If you tell your dentist what your plan is he would likely donate some things like brushes or dental floss. Playing cards from the dollar store, or an old board game you have kicking around. Even books and magazines might be very welcome on a floor or ward that doesn’t see many visitors. Ask them what they need or if they can accept certain items. In some cities this secure ward is also the place in the hospital where they may escort criminals, so the restrictions could be different from place to place. I thought about this lady’s story and I called this piece The Forgotten Ones because this is such an obscure place that for most folks, if they knew such a place existed, they never gave it a second thought. This is my second thought. Before you go visit Aunt Jane in the hospital, take a minute to ask the switch board for the nurses station on the Psych. Ward. They’ll know where you mean.

Path Of A Bullet

Path Of A Bullet final

I am very happy to announce the launch of a new Anthology I will have a story in.

Path Of A Bullet is a new release by Author Tim Baker. The Anthology, a collection of short stories by Tim and six other contributing Authors follows the antics of Good Guy crime fighter IKE, an ex Navy Seal who gets business done his way, sometimes by unconventional means.
Due to hit store shelves and eBook stores on December 01 2014, this compilation produced by Blind Dog Books is sure to please any fan of justice for the people, in true crime fighting fashion. Included in this special collection are stories by Authors Tim Baker

Rebecca Heishman

Susan M. Toy

Gi Arena

Ann Marie Vancas

L.F.Young (That’s me!)

Becky M. Pourchot.
Just in time for Christmas, you will want to grab a copy or two of Path of A Bullet. Watch this space for a soon to be released link to the book.

The Writer

A poem for National Poetry Day.

Pen and paper

The Writer

A writer writes with pen in hand

He writes of things about the land

He sees without his eyes you see

He sees the things we cannot see

He sees the seed beneath the tree

And writes about what seed will be

Sometimes he writes of terrible things

And pens the words that terrible brings

Sometimes he pens with ink so dry

Those words won’t come, they simply die

On page of white, no ink to stain

But then the words come back again

And slow but sure the tide will rise

And words come back to swell his pride

For every writer who writes does know

That he only writes to complete the show

From mind the words on paper flow

And letters swell and concepts grow

And soon his thoughts on paper fly

And sometimes thoughts catch reader’s eye