Category Archives: grandchildren

Planters’ Days Woodland, WA 6/2013

Fun for all once the rides have been set up!

Fun for all once the rides have been set up!

Worker setting up ride for Planters' Days

Worker setting up ride for Planters’ Days

Window on Woodland
Planters’ Days 2013
by Pat Nelson
Woodland will burst with excitement when it kicks off its 91st Planters’ Days celebration June 13. The carnival on Horseshoe Lake opens Thursday, June 13 at 3P.M., and soon after, kids with chalk in hand will decorate downtown sidewalks while they wait for the beginning of the 5P.M.children’s parade. Many years ago, I proudly marched in the parade alongside my grandchildren Max and Chelsea. Max, in a green-feathered bird suit, pulled his little sister through town in a wagon. Now, they are both teenagers, and more interested in the 10P.M. fireworks that shoot high in the sky and reflect beautifully off Horseshoe Lake.
Most who look forward to Planters’ Days weekend each year have probably forgotten . . . or never knew . . . the meaning of the celebration. Over 90 years ago, Woodland’s farmers worried about their crops every year because of the threat of flooding from the nearby Lewis and Columbia rivers. Once dikes were constructed, the farmers and the community celebrated, and 91 years later, the party continues.
This year Planters’ Days will host a new carnival, Davis Amusement Cascadia, with some different rides and an advance-sale wristband that will be available for purchase at Woodland’s Burgerville. The wristband, on sale for $23 prior to the beginning of Planters’ Days, appears to be a better value than wristbands in previous years because it will be good for a full day, both daytime and evening hours.
For me, watching the carnival set up can be as thrilling as riding the rides. One year, I took photos of a carnival worker as he assembled a large circular ride. Watching him climb the high structure to complete the assembly took my breath away.
Back in the 1930’s, the fire department started serving food on Planters’ Days weekend. Now, with the generous support of Walt’s Meats supplying the beef and Burgerville supplying the buns, the fire department continues the tradition by serving barbecued-beef sandwiches on the Saturday of Planters’ Days weekend. Long lines will stretch through Horseshoe Lake Park Saturday, June 15 as people await the annual treat.
On March 1, 2013, Woodland’s firefighters joined with Clark County Fire and Rescue, and this year Captain Mike Jackson is happy to say about the Firefighters’ Barbecue, “there will be a few more hands to make it happen.” According to Jackson, the firemen start getting ready for the event months in advance by gathering firewood. On Thursday of Planters’ Days weekend, they will get the pit ready, with the help of the Public Works department. Early Friday morning, they will start the fire that will cook the beef to perfection. By the time Saturday’s parade draws to a close, there will already be a long line in Horseshoe Lake Park at the Firefighters’ Barbecue. I admitted to Captain Jackson that one year when I saw flames shooting above the roofline of Horseshoe Lake’s outdoor kitchen, I called the fire department . . . and learned that it was their fire I had called to report!
The Saturday parade starts at 11A.M. but I always try to get there early to set out some chairs and to enjoy the excitement of the little kids waiting to see the horses, fire trucks and clowns. If you don’t take in the breakfast buffet at the Moose Lodge or the pancake breakfast at the VFW hall, there’s still plenty to eat along the parade route, from Woodland’s local family-owned restaurants to fundraiser stands offering baked potatoes, kielbasa and corn on the cob to many weekend-market food stands and, of course, the carnival food wagons.
With activities in downtown Woodland and on Horseshoe Lake all day Saturday, there’s no reason to head home after the parade. The hard decision will be deciding which events to see: the antique farm equipment display, the weekend market, the carnival, the firemen’s barbecue, the military vehicle show, the frog jump, the penny scramble, the firemen’s muster, the bed races, the RC boat show, the duck-boat rides, or the cruise-in. If it’s a hot day, you’ll find me playing in the lake, where I’ll have a good view of the carnival and many of the activities.
June 16, Father’s Day, is sure to be lots of fun, starting with a breakfast buffet at the Moose Lodge or a biscuits and gravy breakfast at the VFW Hall, the 4×4 Show and Shine, and a car show featuring hundreds of shiny classic cars lining downtown streets, plus a talent show.
Planters’ Days weekend has helped my family create memories for the past 15 years. Take in the events and let Planters’ Days weekend create memories for your family!
Copyright 2013 Pat Nelson. Reprinted with permission: The Valley Bugler, Longview, WA and Pat Nelson, Woodland, WA

Sidebar:
What: Planters’ Days Weekend Celebration
When: Thursday – Sunday June 13– 16
Where: Horseshoe Lake Park and Davidson Street, Downtown Woodland
Event Schedule: http://www.plantersdays.com/forms/2013_planters_days_schedule.pdf

Bio:Pat Nelson, writer and editor, is co-creator of three humorous and sometimes edgy anthologies: Not Your Mother’s Books: On Parenting (publication date September 10, 2013), On Grandparenting and On Working for a Living (both still accepting stories at http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com). Nelson blogs at http://www.storystorm.me and her stories appear at http://www.LewisRiver.com.

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Filed under Burgerville, carnival, celebrations, children, Family Memories, firefighters, firefighters BBQ, fireworks, grandchildren, kids, parade, Planters' Days, s, Valley Bugler, Walt', Woodland, www.publishingsyndicate.com

Parenting Book Story Deadline

Parenting Book Story Deadline

The deadline to submit stories for the anthology “Not Your Mother’s Book . . . on Parenting” is December 3, 2012, so hurry! And if you don’t get your story in on time, don’t worry because we have more than 30 books in the works that need your true stories! Too late for the Parenting book? Try “Moms” or “Family.” The funnier the better! And if they are a little edgy, great! Give us a good laugh. If it’s no racier than PG-13, it’s not too edgy for us. Story length: 500-2500 words. See http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com for story guidelines and a list of books seeking stories. I have two more books in the works: Not Your Mother’s Book on Grandparenting and a new title: Not Your Mothers Book . . . on Working for a Living. I’m waiting for your stories!

Two of our books are already published, and a third will make its debut in December. Already available in bookstores and as eBooks: Not Your Mother’s Book . . . on Being a Woman and the hilarious Not Your Mother’s Book . . . on Being a Stupid Kid. Can you believe I’ve read each one THREE times? Seriously, I have! And I’m still laughing. I can’t wait for Not Your Mother’s Book . . . on Dogs in December, NYMB . . . on Travel in January, and then MY first book in the series, on Parenting in March!

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November 28, 2012 · 1:29

Writing with My Daughter and Granddaughter

I love to write, but what’s even more fun is to write with my daughter and my 12-year-old granddaughter. Writing with your children pays off. My daughter and I wrote together when she was a child. She won an essay contest when she was around the age her daughter is now. I run into her essay from time to time when I clean out the file drawers, and it always brings a smile to my face.

My daughter surprised me last year by writing a book. I didn’t even know she had ever considered writing a book, and suddenly there it was . . . all 300 pages of a young adult fantasy. Wow! I didn’t think I cared much for fantasy, but this one grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go. It wasn’t just that my daughter wrote it. I forgot all about that as I got lost in the story. After I read it, the characters and their lives stayed with me for days. I thought about them and wanted more. I’m helping my daughter edit, and then it’s on to the publisher!

Speaking of publishers, Publishing Syndicate has a really unique publishing offer. They have designed a program to help you get published, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, either! We will definitely see what they can do for my daughter after we polish her book. This company is worth checking out: http://www.publishingsyndicate.com.

My granddaughter and I have written stories together for several years. When I edit our creations, she watches and sees how I think about a writing project . . . how I move things around, delete unneeded words and even whole sentences, and look up a word when I’m unsure of the spelling. We talk about the changes I make. She’s becoming a good writer, and is developing the skills that she needs to become a great writer.

This summer, my granddaughter will try writing for publication. Publishing Syndicate (www.publishingsyndicate.com) has three new anthologies: One for kids, one for pre-teens, and one for teens. It’s called OMG. My Reality. This will be a test of the skills she has learned, because she will be on her own; parents and grandparents cant help.  Whether or not her stories are published, writing with the hope of publication will strengthen her skills even more. And if she is published, it will look great on scholarship and college applications, along with her other activities and her good grades.

Write with your kids and grandkids. I do, and it’s great!

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Filed under Anthology, books, Family Memories, grandchildren, kids writing, OMG My Reality, Parent, pre-teens writing, Publishing Syndicate, submitting stories, teens writing, writing, writing for publication, www.publishingsyndicate.com, young adult fantasy, young adult writing

www.publishingsyndicate.com

Publishing Syndicate is actively accepting non-fiction submissions, written by individuals 18 years and older, for these two books that I (Pat Nelson) am co-creating: Not Your Mother’s Book . . . on Parenting and Not Your Mother’s Book . . . on Grandparenting. This new anthology series, featuring more than 35 different titles, will be targeted at a mature audience and, as such, many, but not all, of the stories will contain language and situations with a rating of PG-13 or TV-14. Stories must be entertaining, humorous, or inspiring, not sad, sappy or preachy. And please, no death or dying stories. Royalties will be paid. For more information, go to http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com.

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April 18, 2012 · 1:29

Volunteers have something to give. Students thrive with extra help.

By Pat Nelson
For The Daily News, Longview, WA, reprinted with permission 2008

 

A thin girl with straight brown hair and dull brown eyes sat down beside me in a classroom twenty-some years ago, put her head on her desk on her folded arms, and shut her eyes. I was there as a volunteer, helping elementary students to improve their reading skills. This little girl’s eyes weren’t dull every day, but she often arrived at school sleepy, and sometimes she hadn’t eaten breakfast. On those days, she started school with two strikes against her.

Another child I worked with was alert and attentive, but lagged behind some of the other students in his reading skills, which undermined his confidence. He needed a little extra attention.

Every elementary classroom has students like these who can benefit from one-on-one help. Teachers can’t always provide individual help, so they must count on volunteers.

I’ve volunteered in my granddaughter’s classroom for the past two years. She attends  a small country school, with only 18 students in her class. Because I’m a writer, I chose to help with writing. This September, I will start my third year with the same group of kids. When I first decided to volunteer, I cleared it with the teacher and then filled out a form at the school office to have my background checked.

Two years ago, as I sat at a low table in a little chair, students brought their folders to me one by one. I checked to see that they had completed their homework, and helped them if they had not. I listened to them read, and worked with those who needed extra help. Because I worked with the same students each week, I came to understand their individual learning styles or difficulties, and as time went on, I became better at directing my help towards the students who needed it the most.

Other times, the teacher allowed me to present a writing lesson. One day, the students all sat on a carpet in front of me, cross-legged, as I talked to them about what goes into making a book. I had written a book many years earlier, so I showed them the manuscript, the editor’s copy, the page proofs, the galley proofs, the cover design, and the finished product. I explained to them that each of the books in their classroom had gone through the same stages. They were especially interested in learning that even authors make mistakes, and enjoyed seeing the red proofreading marks on the edited manuscript.

Parents, grandparents, and other interested adults can help students boost their skills, interests, and confidence by volunteering in a classroom on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to take long. Last year, I helped with writing just thirty minutes a week. The children knew me and I knew the class routine, so I slipped into the classroom quietly just before the writing segment, and observed to see who needed help or a little extra encouragement.  As students got to know me, they started voluntarily coming to me for help, and they were proud to demonstrate their accomplishments. They liked showing me that they had hung my newspaper columns in their classroom, and they talked to me about my articles.

Last year, I presented an exercise on observation. I brought a basket full of items from home, and each child drew one item and filled out a description of the item based on using their senses. Those descriptive words then became part of a short story.

Students from the classroom  won first, second, and honorable mention in a county-wide writing contest, and I was excited to celebrate their achievements with them.

If you would like to share your own time, skills, and experience with a classroom at an area school, plan to sign up soon. Woodland’s school offices open August 18, and other school offices are about to open as well. By calling now, you can get the background check started, and you and the teacher can discuss your schedule. You’ll be giving a lot more than time. You will be helping youngsters thrive. If you would like to make a difference, this is a great way to do it.

SIDEBAR

School Volunteers Checklist

1.       List your areas of interest and expertise.

2.       Note the days of the week and hours that you can be available on a regular basis.

3.       Contact a school of your choice to sign up as a volunteer.

4.       Arrive at class a few minutes early and enter the room quietly, disrupting the classroom as little as possible.

5.       Sign up again next year. You’re always needed.

 

 

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Filed under elementary students, grandchildren, school volunteer, The Daily News, Woodland, writing, writing contest, writing lesson, writing mentor, young adult writing

Friendship that lasts the test of time

By Pat Nelson for The Daily News, July 11, 2008

Reprinted with permission

 

Best friends come and go, so a friendship that has lasted more than 50 years is something to brag about. My longtime friend, Marilyn Herold of Longview and I celebrated her birthday and our friendship recently with lunch at Woodland’s Lewis River Golf Course.

Whenever we get together, we reminisce about our childhood days. I moved into her neighborhood in Longview when I was nearly nine, the summer before fourth grade. I was shy, and even though I wanted to meet the tall, pretty girl on the other side of my backyard fence, I was afraid.

One day when Marilyn was playing outside, my mother walked me to the fence. I hung my head as we approached, and mom urged me on and then introduced me to Marilyn. Marilyn was 10, one grade ahead of me and as outgoing as I was shy. She invited me to play “store” with her. Mom helped me climb the picket fence, where empty soup and vegetable cans neatly lined a wooden shelf in Marilyn’s make-believe market. That’s the day we became best friends.

At lunch recently, with the beautiful Lewis River flowing by, we talked about the memories that our friendship is made of. We were always looking for a way to make money. We sold lemonade and comic books from a small table in Marilyn’s yard.

Couponing was our favorite moneymaker. At that time, grocery stores would allow you to exchange cents-off  coupons for cash, whether or not you bought the product. We would look through the magazines in the grocery store until we found one that had coupons exceeding the cost of the magazine. One day, we found a 15-cent magazine with 35 cents worth of coupons. We bought the magazine, clipped the coupons, returned to the store and cashed them in. We bought another magazine with the proceeds, and repeated the process again and again.

At lunch, Marilyn asked, “Do you remember when we used to coax dogs with tags to follow us home so we could get a reward?”

I was shocked. I couldn’t imagine stooping so low just to make a few bucks.

“No,” I said, “I don’t remember ever doing anything like that!”

But, as the days went on, the memory returned. I remembered that the first dog really was lost. We called the owners. They were happy to get their dog back, so they gave us a few dollars. That gave us an idea, so we coaxed a couple of other dogs to follow us home Although we were thanked by their owners, there was no reward, so we gave up that venture.

Other times, we went through the neighborhood with a wagon and knocked on doors, asking if anyone had bottles they didn’t want. There was a deposit on soda and beer bottles, so we loaded our wagon with bottles and hauled them to the store to trade them for cash.

In the summer, our parents bought seeds for us and we grew vegetables. Then we sold the vegetables back to our parents. In the fall, we made Christmas cards. The longer we practiced our business ventures, the less shy I became.

Whenever one of us went outside, we called to the other, with a loud “Eee-Ah-Kee,” a call we had heard on the show “Lassie.” I was always disappointed if I hollered out the friendship call and there was no reply.

We talked on the telephone a lot, too. Marilyn and I thought we were the luckiest girls in the world because our families shared a party line. When she talked with friends on her phone, I was able to join in by picking up the phone at my house.

In the spring, we brought home free baby chicks from the feed store, even though my mother warned us not to. We raised rabbits in both back yards, and pollywogs in a jar on top of our oil stove. A washtub in my back yard held salamanders that Marilyn and I caught in the nearby slough. We often walked to the slough with a gallon jar to get the nasty green water that we knew our salamanders liked. We each had a dog, and we entered them in neighborhood dog shows, beaming with pride as they sat, rolled over, and barked on command.

We have so any great memories of our years together. Now, we both watch our grandchildren as they choose friends, and we hope they, too, can find life-long best friends.

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Filed under best friends, grandchildren, The Daily News, Woodland

Save gas…find fun close to home

by Pat Nelson

Reprinted with permission, The Daily News, Longview, WA June 6, 2008

If you’re worried about this summer’s high gas prices putting the brakes on your vacation plans, try thinking closer to home.

We’re fortunate to live close to mountains, forests, lakes and beaches, as well as places to go birding or to explore caves.  A couple years ago, before we were facing gas prices in excess of $4 per gallon, I took my two grandchildren, Max and Chelsea, on a camping trip…only ten minutes from home. We packed up toys, sleeping bags, swimsuits and food and headed for the Echo Park campground, only a few minutes east of I-5 at Woodland, on Lewis River Road.  The trip was so short that the kids didn’t even have time to sing our favorite travel song, which goes like this: “I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, I have to go to the bathroom.”

The adventure started as soon as we registered at the camp store. The kids had fun choosing our campsite. After driving through the small, privately-owned campground a couple times, they agreed upon a spot away from the road, but not far from the restrooms and the heated swimming pool. As long as our vehicle was level, I didn’t care which site they chose. At the campsite, tall trees stood over us, and the aroma of the forest told us we were on vacation. The Lewis River flowed peacefully nearby. The site had water, electricity, and a picnic table, and the three of us agreed that it was perfect.

It was a hot day, and it didn’t take long for us to change into swimsuits and get into the refreshing swimming pool.  Max jumped in, over and over, and then dove for colored rings with some newfound friends. I heard myself saying, “No running,” “feet first,” and “be careful,” all the warnings a good grandma gives her grandchildren when they’re swimming.

At that time, Chelsea was just learning to swim, and as I gave her a push through the water towards the side of the pool and let her go, she paddled fiercely to the edge, emerging wide-eyed with wet hair slicked back against her head, droplets of water clinging to her long lashes, and a wide smile. The same scene was repeated over and over, until , hours later, the kids finally admitted to being tired and decided to play at the campsite.

Max is a picky eater, so my biggest concern about camping was feeding him. With a burn ban in effect, we couldn’t build a campfire to cook his favorite food, hot dogs. We were about to make sandwiches for dinner when my husband called from Woodland to say he was on his way with dinner from Burgerville…including Max’s other favorite food, chicken strips .

At night, we snuggled into our sleeping bags and told stories in the dark. The night was quiet, and we soon fell asleep in a forest that seemed like it was far, far from home.

Later that summer, we visited the park again, but just for the day. The campground allows visitors to pay a fee to swim when pool capacity allows, so Max and Chelsea invited friends to join us for swimming and picnicking.

We’re looking forward to camping there again this summer, so I stopped by recently and talked with Assistant Manager Diane Cretsinger, who told me, “The park has new owners. Now it’s the Lewis River Country Store and R. V. Park.” Diane proudly listed the features of the park: hot food available in the store, firewood for sale, heated swimming pool, fishing hole, bath house, dump station, and gas pumps.

If you want to save gas this year, try a vacation close to home. One more advantage is that when the trip is over, you won’t be faced with a long, tiring drive home.

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Filed under camping, fishing, grandchildren, The Daily News, travel, WA, Woodland