Thats Not Hay In My Hair by Juliette Turner

hayinhairBook Description

New York City life had crammed sidewalks, gasoline-filled puddles, and angry taxi drivers, but Juliette enjoyed the towering sky-scrapers, the half-block walk to school, and the restaurant smells wafting into her bedroom. She had never cared for a horse, let alone a long-horn, when her mother announced their imminent move to a 300 acre ranch in Texas, where they would be caring for three horses, five dogs, twenty-five longhorns, and a cat … all by themselves.

Juliette couldn’t help feeling excited, even though she’d have to climb a hill to get a bar of cell-phone service. Soon she was running from bats and snakes, rescuing a calf from a twenty-foot ditch, medicating ponies, and having adventures so crazy it’s hard to believe they’re for real—but it all happened exactly how it’s written.

Get ready for side-splitting laughs, heart-wrenching tears, and surprising life lessons learned down on the farm and shared by fourteen-year-old Juliette Turner.

My review:

This book chronicles the move of Juliette Turner from New York to a Texas ranch.  The move starts out slow but once you get to the ranch the pace picks up in the book.  There are tales of going to a new school (will they like me), celebrating a holiday, mishaps with animals and even a snake that outmatches Nagini from Harry Potter.

All in all it is cute book for the tween ages.  I am sure my niece will enjoy reading it.  I give it 3 out 5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Gladly The Cross Eyed Bear

GladlyOnce upon a time in the great big forest, there lived a couple of bears.  Now Mrs. Bear was sad, because she and Mr. Bear had no children.  Mr. Bear loved Mrs. Bear very much, and tried to make her happy.  He brought her the sweetest honey from the hives, and lovely flowers from the fields.   But Mrs. Bear remained sad and this made Mr. Bear sad too.

Then one day, a joyous event happened, Mrs. Bear had a little baby bear.  Mrs. Bear was so happy to have a baby; she had waited so long for this child.  She was so pleased, that she named her little baby Gladly Bear.

Gladly was a beautiful little bear, his fur was thick and brown.  His teeth were white and sharp, and his eyes were round and brown.  There was only one problem, Gladly’s eyes would not look straight ahead.  Yes poor Gladly was cross eyed.

When Mr. Bear came home and saw Gladly’s eyes, he was upset.   How could he have such a poor child, he was not perfect.  Yet when Gladly cuddled up to him, the love he had for his son welled up inside him and poured out.  Yes even with his eyes, Gladly was perfect to Mr. Bear.

As Gladly grew, he often went out in the forest to play.  There he met the other animal children, but because of his eyes they would not play with poor Gladly.  They laughed at him, called him mean names, threw dirt at Gladly and chased him away.  The other children were not nice.

But one child, Benjamin Squirrel did not chase Gladly or call him names.  Poor Benjamin was also picked on by the other children for he had large buck teeth.  He knew how poor Gladly felt and joined him to play.  Gladly and Benjamin quickly became close friends, and played together every day.

One day while they were playing together, Gladly and Benjamin came across the other animals playing a game.  They asked them if they could join in the game, but the other animals started calling them mean names.  Then the other animals started to throw dirt at them and chased them away.  Gladly and Benjamin were so upset that they ran crying into the forest, soon becoming lost.

As they wandered in the forest, they came across Rosie the Wise Old Owl.  “What is wrong, why are you crying little ones?” asked Rosie.

“The other animals are making fun of us and calling us names”, replied Benjamin.

“They said we are ugly and funny looking”, cried Gladly, “they don’t want to play with us and chase us away.”

“Why there is nothing wrong you”, said Rosie.  “Don’t you know that you are both special to God?  In fact God made you just the way you are and He knows how special you are.  God loves you so much he sent His own Son down to earth for you.

Everybody does bad things, this is called sin.  Sin keeps us away from God because He can not be around it.  This makes God sad, because He wants to be with us.   But God sent us Jesus His son to help us get rid of sin.  He took all of our sins and put them on Jesus.  Jesus died for our sins so we can be with God.  So now when God looks at us, He sees Jesus.

“Now”, said Miss Rosie, “it is getting late.  You children better run on home before your parents start worrying about you.”

“But we can’t go home”, cried Benjamin. “We got lost running away from the other animals and don’t know where we are.”

“Well I guess I will just have to show you the way home then”, said Miss Rosie. And she started down the path, leading Gladly and Benjamin back to their homes.  Soon they saw the lights shining happily through the windows of their homes and ran on ahead.

After that, Benjamin and Gladly spent many days visiting Miss Rosie.  She told them many stories about Jesus and how he loved them.  One day, Gladly stomped in to visit Miss Rosie looking upset.

“Why Gladly Bear” said Miss Rosie.  “What on the earth is the matter with you?  You look very angry.”

“It’s those mean kids”, sniffed Gladly.  “They have been calling me names again and throwing dirt at me.  I hate them, they are not nice.”

“But Gladly”, said Miss Rosie. “Remember what I was telling you about Jesus.  He would want you to forgive those kids, and to pray for them.  Now give me a smile, and we will pray for them now.”  So Gladly and Miss Rosie prayed for the mean kids, asking Jesus to help them learn how to be good.  Gladly’s heart felt much lighter after he forgave the mean kids.

A few days later, Gladly went over to meet Benjamin to play.  Benjamin’s mother told them to be careful while playing, for Man had been sighted in the forest.  Benjamin wanted to have a race, but Gladly wanted to play Hide and Seek.  So they ran off to their favorite clearing where they would have plenty of room to do both.

Gladly smelled a strange smell as they came near their favorite clearing,.  Cautiously they crept up to their clearing, peering out through the bushes.  There they saw Man.  Man had built cages of wood and ropes, and had locked the other kids in the cages.

“Benjamin”, said Gladly.  “We must do something.   We can not leave the other kids with Man.  Man will hurt them and do mean things to them.”

“But Gladly”, said Benjamin.  “They were mean to us, why should we help them.”

“Remember that Jesus helped us”, said Gladly.  “He would want us to forgive them and help them also.  I will keep Man busy, while you chew the ropes and free the others.”

So standing on his rear legs, Gladly broke through the bushes running towards Man.  Fiercely he gave a mighty growl scaring Man, causing him to run out of the clearing.  Gladly followed him a little more, growling and roaring to keep Man running until he was out of the forest.

While Man was running away, Benjamin scurried over to the cages.  Using his impressive buck teeth, Benjamin chewed through the ropes on the cages.  As the ropes broke, the cages fell apart and the other kids were able to escape from them.

The other kids surrounded Gladly and Benjamin while cheering loudly.  Happily they thanked them for saving them from Man.  Slowly Hannah Rabbit walked up to Gladly and Benjamin.

“Thank you for saving us”, said Hannah.  “But why did you help us after we called you all those mean names, and threw dirt at you?”

“Miss Rosie the wise old owl told us about Jesus”, replied Gladly.  “And he would want us to forgive you and help you.”

“Can we learn about this Jesus also?” asked Caitlin Otter.

“Of course”, replied Benjamin.  “Follow us and we will take you with us to Miss Rosie’s.  She can teach all more about Jesus.”

So the other kids followed Gladly and Benjamin, through the woods they went to Miss Rosie’s house.  Miss Rosie brought out a tray of cookies she had been baking and soon was telling all the children about Jesus and His love.

The other kids soon became good friends with Gladly and Benjamin. Every day they would go see Miss Rosie, where they would learn more about Jesus.

Saving Faith

She was just a simple stray, dirty and underfed. Her ribs showing this cat needed some tender loving care.  In 1936 she found the place for this care, St. Augustine’s and St. Faith’s Church on Waiting Street in London.

Thomas Evans the church’s verger discovered this poor stray cat in the church and tossed her out on the street.  Indignant she searched for another entrance, but once again Evans tossed her out. A third time she tried but Evans found her again and ejected her.

Finally she found a window that was not fully closed and squeezed through. Exploring the room she spotted a pile of rags and purring contentedly she settled down for the night.

She awoke the next morning as the sun was peeking through the shutters. Her stomach growling she set off in search of food. Room after room she searched until she spotted a warm glow ahead. A thin line of light spilled out from a partially open door.

Eagerly she pushed on the door until it opened wide enough for her to pass through.  A warm fire crackled in the hearth spreading a golden glow throughout the room.  A wondrous scent of sausage and bacon hung in the air and her stomach growled once again.  Across the room a man sat eating a full English breakfast and sipping tea.

Stealthily she crept toward the man following that heavenly smell intent on gaining some of that bacon.  But another man grabbed her from behind and picked her up.

“You again”, said Evans. “How many times do I have to throw you out of here?”

“Easy Thomas”, said Father Ross the other man, “Bring in a dish we can pour some cream in. The poor creature is just hungry.”

“But Father”, protested Evans, “if we feed her we will have that much harder time getting her to leave.  I’m just trying to save us the trouble; we have never had a cat here before.”

“Thomas we do not need to get rid of her, we must show mercy. For as the Lord says in the gospel of Matthew, ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.’   Let us find her a place to sleep and see if anybody claims her.  But until then she must have a name, letus call her Faith after the name of our church plus she has shown great faith in her efforts to stay here.”

“Well my wife Rosalind likes cats”, said Evans. “I suppose we can find her some place to sleep.”

So Rosalind Evans was called in and she knew exactly what to do.  She found a medium sized basket and lined it with old blankets for Faith to sleep in.  Next to this she placed a shallow dish for cream and a dish for food.  She crumbled up some sausage in the dish for Faith and added cream to the other.  When Faith had finished eating she crawled into the basket to examine the soft blankets.  Snuggling down in the blankets, she showed her approval by purring contentedly.

Nobody claimed her so Faith became a permanent resident of the church.  Faith was grateful to her benefactor Father Ross and worked hard to prove herself.  She explored every nook of the church and rectory, cleansing them of rodents.  She also attended every service with Father Ross, sitting at his feet in the pulpit if he was speaking or sitting in the front row with him if he was not.

Faith became a well-loved member of the church.  The older members would bring in treats for her which she would daintily accept.  She was no longer skin and bones, Faith had found the TLC she had needed.

One August morning in 1940 while having tea Rosalind noticed that Faith looked just a little bit plumper.  Was Clara the alter guild lady bringing in too many extra treats for Faith?  Faith did not care, she just sat there licking her lips and waiting for some cream.

A few weeks later, towards the end of the month Faith failed to awaken Father Ross.  Every morning she would enter his room and jump on his bed licking him in the face to awaken him.  Today she had failed to do so.  Father Ross went looking for her and found her curled up in her basket.

Lying next to her was the reason she was still there.  Over the night Faith had just had a kitten, a tiny tom cat white with black ears and tail.  An announcement was made and a celebration was held. The church choir celebrated his birth by singing All Things Bright And Beautiful at the Sunday service.   They decided to name the young kitten Panda since his black and white coloring resembled that of the bear.

A few weeks later Father Ross noticed Faith trying to open the door into the basement.  When he had opened it for her she went and grabbed Panda by the scruff of his neck and took him downstairs into the cold dank basement.  Thinking that it would be bad for him down there, Father Ross carried Panda back up to his basket with Faith following and protesting all the way.

Twice more Faith took Panda down to the basement with Father Ross moving him back upstairs.  Finally he consulted with Rosalind and some other women in the church who decided that Faith thought Panda must be in some danger upstairs.  They felt the best thing to do would be to move the basket down to the basement and humor Faith.

The following day on September 7 the Battle of Brittan had begun.  The Luftwaffe sent 348 bombers escorted by 617 fighters to batter the city of London.  The bombing started at 4 p.m. and continued until 4 a.m.  Father Ross had business away from the church that day and spent the next night in an air raid shelter.

When he returned to the church on September 9 it was destroyed from the attack.  There were small fires everywhere and support timbers laying in the rubble.  The rescuers asked Father Ross if anyone had been in the church at the time of the attack and he replied that only Faith and Panda were there.

The firemen told him they were most likely dead and he needed to leave as the building could collapse at any moment.  But acting on faith, Father Ross struggled through the building to the spot in the basement where he had taken the cat’s basket. They were still there, huddles in the blankets Faith covering Panda with her body.  Father Ross grabbed the basket and carried them out of the church just before the roof collapsed.

Father Henry had Faith’s photograph taken and hung on the chapel wall.  This was displayed below the photo:

“Faith”
Our dear little church cat of St. Augustine and St. Faith.
The bravest cat in the world.
On Monday, September 9th, 1940, she endured horrors and perils
beyond the power of words to tell.
Shielding her kitten in a sort of recess in the house (a spot
she selected three days before the tragedy occurred), she
sat the whole frightful night of bombing and fire, guarding her
little kitten.
The roofs and masonry exploded. The whole house blazed. Four
floors fell through in front of her. Fire and water and ruin
all round her.
Yet she stayed calm and steadfast and waited for help.
We rescued her in the early morning while the place was still
burning, and
By the mercy of Almighty God, she and
her kitten were not only saved, but unhurt.
God be praised and thanked for His goodness
and mercy to our dear little pet.

 

Her devotion and bravery became well known throughout London, inspiring many a person through the dark days of the war. Faith could not be awarded the Dickens Medal because she was a civilian pet. A special silver medal was made instead and presented to Faith by the Archbishop of Canterbury on October 12, 1945.

 

Economy Beef Stroganoff

Stroganof

1 1/2 lb stew beef, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2 tablespoons margarine or butter

1 1/2 cup beef broth

2 tablespoons catsup

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup sour cream

3 or 4 cups hot cooked egg noodles

1 tablespoon margarine or butter

Cook and stir beef in 2 T margarine or butter in 10 inch skillet over low heat until brown.  Reserve 1/3 cup of beef broth.  Stir remaining broth, catsup, garlic and salt into the skillet.  Heat to boiling then reduce heat.  Cover and simmer until beef is tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Stir in mushrooms and onion.  Cover and simmer until onion is tender, about 5 minutes.  Shake reserved broth and the flour in tightly covered container, stir gradually into the beef mixture.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir 1 minute then reduce heat.  Stir in sour cream, heat through.

Toss noodles with 1 T margarine or butter.  Serve beef mixture over the hot noodles.

Night Night, Daddy By Amy Parker

nightnightBook Description

Cuddle up for a calming bedtime story with this sweet board book that combines bedtime rhyme with adorable animal art to help your children get ready for a good night’s sleep.

Night Night, Daddy features an animal family settling down for bedtime, recalling shared moments between father and child that occurred throughout the day. All of these special moments are relatable to you and your toddler or preschooler, and this bonding time is a wonderful way for your child to tell you “night night” as he drifts off to sleep.

Sample text:

A bubble battle at bath time

Makes getting clean more fun;

Soon we’re laughing oh so hard,

We don’t even know who won!

For now, I’ll sink into your arms

And let them hold me tight,

Knowing that you’ll keep me safe

And loved all through the night.

My thoughts:

This is good book to read to your child at bedtime.   The story starts with a fun activity with Daddy during the day and progresses to Dinner, Bath time, and Bedtime. The illustrations are bright and colorful and this book is printed on a sturdy shiny cardboard stock.  Your child will like looking through it.  I would give this 5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Togo the other dog

You have most likely heard about Balto the dog that saved the town of Nome, Alaska from an epidemic. In freezing and whiteout conditions, Balto delivered the serum. Using his sense of smell he found the right path to Nome.

In 1925 diphtheria was ravaging the town of Nome. They had serum, but it was expired. Rather than risking the expired serum the town doctor radioed for more serum. Because of the extreme cold and weather no train or plane could make the trip so sled dogs were used to transport the serum.

Dr. Welch had requested 1 million units of serum but they were not available.  However 300,000 units were found at the Anchorage Railroad Hospital and they were sent to Nenana for transport to Nome. The teams ran 674 miles across Alaska from Nenana to Nome.  20 mushers and over 150 dogs participated in the “Race for Mercy”.  The trip took five days to complete.

The team that transported the serum for the last 55 miles was Gunnar Kassen and his team of dogs led by Balto.  When Kassen reached Nome he became a celebrity, but he insisted that just as much credit be given to his lead dog Balto.  But there were others who made the run that did not get all the glory.

Another musher was Leonhard Seppala with 20 dogs, his lead dog was named Togo.  Seppala was supposed to pick up the serum in Shaktoolik and deliver it to Nome.  He raced 91 miles into the oncoming storm to pick up the serum. To save time he took a dangerous shortcut across the Norton Sound. (Even today the Iditarod does not cross the sound as it is too dangerous.) The temperature fell as he traveled, it dropped to -34° F but the gale force winds lowered the wind chill to -84° F. Racing the storm he made it to the other side a little over 100 miles outside of Shaktoolik.

Believing he had over 100 miles to go still to reach Shaktoolik, Seppala pressed on.   He spotted another team whose dogs were tangled from an encounter with a reindeer, but he decided not to stop as he needed to pick up the serum.  Suddenly he heard a shout, “The serum. The serum. I have it here.”  It was fellow musher Henry Ivanhoff who was supposed to deliver the serum to Seppala.  He informed Seppala of the fact that the epidemic had worsened, that was why they added more mushers.

With the situation being so desperate, Seppala decided to return across the sound. Cracking ice and drifting floes made this a risky move as Seppala could wind up stranded unable to reach the shore. Whiteouts of blinding snow left Seppala unable to see and wound up relying on Togo to find the way with his nose. But Seppala had faith in Togo to lead them there safely.

On a previous trip across the sound, the ice cracked and left a gap too wide for the sled to cross.  Racing across the ice, somehow Togo sensed the break and stopped short preventing disaster.  But it was too late as the ice had started drifting and there was no way off the ice floe. For over twelve hours they drifted across the water until the ice drifted near another floe that was still connected with land.

But still there was a gap of water over five feet wide, Seppala was unable to jump it or cross with the sled.  The had come so close but still they were stranded.  But Seppala had a plan, he tied a lead around Togo and heaved him across the gap on to the other ice floe.  Togo began pulling on the lead, bringing the ice floe closer to the one he was on.  But then the lead snapped and the end fell into the water, the floes were still too far apart.

But all hope was not yet lost, for Togo leapt in to the water and swam to the broken end of the lead.  Grabbing the end of the lead with his mouth, Togo once again began pulling.  Slowly the pieces of ice began coming together, little by little until finally they were close enough for Seppala to escape.  He drove his team and sled across the gap and headed for land.  Togo had saved the day.

This time though they could not afford such a delay, the serum had to get to Nome.  Through the storm they raced across the ice with Togo leading the way.  Fortune smiled upon them and they reached the roadhouse at Isaac’s Point by eight p.m.

Exhausted they rested until two a.m. when they set out across the sound once again.  The storm had increased and the ice was cracking, but Togo lead them straight and true.  The reached Little McKinley Mountain by daylight where Seppala turned to see that the ice they had crossed was now all cracked apart and drifting.  They had barely made it safely to shore.

Climbing to 5,000 feet they crossed the mountain, descending they saw their destination ahead.  Reaching the bottom of the mountain they headed to the roadhouse at Golvin.  There Seppala handed the serum to the next musher and fresh team of dogs.

By the time Seppala finally pulled into Nome, the newspapers were proclaiming Kassen and Balto as the heroes of the race for mercy.  Featuring one team was more exciting than the tedious list of many mushers.  Kassen and Balto even starred in a film about the run and toured the United States.

Togo however eventually got his due.  He was flown to Maine where he was bred and in 1930 became the father of the modern Siberian Husky breed. (Balto was not bred as he was neutered as pup, since he was considered an inferior specimen).  Also in 1997 the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo added statues of Balto and Togo outside of their wild wolf exhibit.

 

The Berenstain Bears Bear Country Fun Sticker and Activity Book By Jan and Mike Berenstain

bearactivityBook Description

The Berenstain Bears come to life in The Berenstain Bears Bear Country Fun Sticker and Activity Book that fans are sure to love! Join the whole Bear family in creative and interactive fun with 32 pages of age-appropriate activities such as word finds, mazes, puzzles, coloring pages, and colorful reusable stickers that are sure to please. Features Mama, Papa, Brother, Sister, Honey, and their friends from Bear Country.

My Review:

I loved the Bear family growing up, brother and sister and Mama and Papa, they were all special.   Now Jan and Mike have continued the tradition, keep the bears alive and fun.  32 pages of fun activities and 2 pages with 50 reusable stickers pack this book.  Mazes, crosswords, picture searches, sticker fun and coloring are all through the book.   Your child will love it and have hours of fun playing with this book.

This book is geared for ages 4 to 6, I give it a 5 out 5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Smoky The War Dog

In 2003 in Memorial Field on Valley Parkway, the Cleveland Metroparks dedicated a statue to the smallest war hero and the dogs of all wars. She stood only 7 inches tall and weighed only 4 pounds yet this little soldier won 8 battle stars on 12 combat missions. Smoky the Yorkshire Terrier was probably the cutest service member in WWII.

In February of 1944 in the New Guinea jungle, American soldier Ed Downy found Smoky in an abandoned foxhole. Thinking she may have been a pet of a Japanese soldier he took her to a nearby POW camp. But Smoky did not understand commands in Japanese or English.  Mr. Downy gave Smoky to Motor pool Sargent Dare who then sold Smoky to Corporal William A Wynne for 2 Australian pounds.  He sold her so he could return to his poker game.

In the next 18 months, Smoky lived in tents and shared C-Rations with Corporal Wynne.  They backpacked in the New Guinea jungles and went on combat flights. She spent hours dangling from a pack and even jumped from a 30 foot tower with a specially made parachute. Smokey served in the South Pacific with 5th. Air Force, 26the Photo Recon Squadron and flew 12 air/sea and photoreconnaissance missions. Smoky was credited with 12 combat missions and awarded 8 battle stars.  Corporal Wynne credited Smokey to saving his life while they were on a transport ship. As the ship deck was booming and vibrating from anti aircraft gunnery, Smoky guided Wynne to duck the fire that hit 8 men standing next to them

In January of 1945 Smoky’s status was elevated to War Dog and Heroine when she rose to the challenge to serve her country in a most unusual way. Corporal Wynne’s group was helping revamp a former Japanese airfield for use by American planes.  They needed to string communication wire under the airstrip which was a major challenge.  This three day job would have required digging up the airstrip and putting it out of action for that time leaving it vulnerable to Japanese bombing. Smoky solved the problem by helping guide the wire. They tied a string to her collar and Corporal Wynne coaxed her through the eight inch pipe under the runway.  She climbed through piles of sand accumulated in the 70 feet of pipe to bring the string out on the other side. Smoky’s special mission in the combat area of the Lingayen Gulf on Luzon resulted in teletype and phone lines being activated for the U.S. and Allied forces.

Not long after Wynne adopted Smoky, he caught dengue fever and was sent to the 233rd Station Hospital. After a couple of days, Wynne’s friends brought Smoky to see him. The nurses were charmed by the tiny dog and her story, they asked if they could bring her around to visit with other patients who had been wounded in the Biak Island invasion. For five days while he was in the hospital, Smoky slept with Wynne on his bed at night.  In the morning the nurses would collect her to take her along on patient rounds to help cheer up the patients.  At the end of the day they would return her to Wynne to spend the night with him again.

Smoky had a powerful effect on the soldiers in the hospital. She lightened the mood with her presence and her personality and Wynne noticed it.  They laughed as she chased the butterflies, and of course, they loved the tricks Wynne had taught her mostly to relieve the tedium.

The duo’s repertoire started modestly enough with basic commands, and Wynne soon had his diminutive charge playing dead. When Wynne would point one finger at her and yell “bang!” not only would Smoky fall over to the ground at the command, but she also would lie there listless while Wynne came over to poke and prod her and even as he lifted her from the ground.

Wynne eventually trained her to ride a homemade scooter, walk a tightrope and even spell her own name.  He had large cutout letters set out, and as he called them out to her Smokey would pick them up in order.

Word of their act spread, and while Wynne and Smoky were on convalescence furlough in Australia, they were invited to perform at a few hospitals. As he watched the men in wheelchairs holding Smoky in their arms, he could see the difference that the tiny dog was making. “There’s a complete change when we came into the room,” he says. “They all smiled; they all loved her.”

Smoky was hardly the only dog aiding in the recovery of wounded veterans in the aftermath of the Second World War. At an Air Force convalescent home in Pawling, New York, the medical staff witnessed the remarkable effect one dog had on a reluctant patient, completely changing his mental outlook. After that, they brought more dogs into the hospital and eventually built a kennel on the grounds to house them all.

The trend caught on, and in much the same way patriotic owners volunteered their dogs to serve with American forces fighting overseas, they brought their pets to serve as hospital dogs to provide uplift for injured soldiers as they recovered from their wounds. By 1947 civilians had donated about 700 dogs. In many ways, these dogs were the first therapy dogs, whose curative abilities were not only recognized but also harnessed to great effect.  Therapy dogs are still used today, visiting hospitals and nursing homes to help cheer up the patients.

After the war was over, Wynne and Smoky continued to tour hospitals, bringing their act to recuperating soldiers back home. In 1955 at the age of 12, Smoky retired.  Two years later at the age of 14 she died peacefully in her sleep in 1957.

As Bill Wynne remembers her, “She was just an instrument of love.”

Hannah and Michael – A love story

Hannah and Michael

One cold morning Arnold Fine, editor of The Jewish Press was walking home in Brooklyn. Looking down at the street he spotted a wallet that someone had lost. Being an honest man he opened the wallet and looked inside for identification so he could contact the owner. But all he could find were three lonely dollar bills and a crumpled envelope that contained a letter. The letter was worn and looked like it had been in the wallet for years; the legible thing on it was the return address.

Fine opened the letter hoping to find a clue to the owner, but his hopes sank when he saw that it had been written sixty years earlier in 1924. It was a “Dear John” letter, written in beautiful feminine handwriting. The writer named Hannah was writing to Michael to tell him that she would no longer be able to see him because her mother forbade it. Even though they were apart, she would always love him.

Unfortunately Michael had no last name and neither did Hannah so Fine was not able to find the owner that way. But Fine did not give up; he called the operator and inquired if she could help him. The operator was not able to give him a number, but transferred him to her supervisor. The supervisor called the phone number at the address on the envelope and asked if they would talk to Fine.

Fine asked the woman on the other end of the line if she knew anyone by the name of Hannah. She replied that they bought the house from a family who had a daughter named Hannah. But that was 30 years ago. She also told Fine that Hannah had to place her mother in a nursing home and they might have a contact number for her, even though her mother had passed away a few years before.

Fine thanked her and called the nursing home, the woman who answered explained that Hannah herself was now living in a nursing home. He then called the nursing home in which Hannah was supposed to be living. The man who answered told him that Hannah was staying there.

All though the hour was late, it was 10 p.m., Fine asked if he could stop by and see Hannah. The man answered that she might still be watching television in the day room if he wanted to chance it. Fine drove over to the nursing home and went to the day room where the nurse introduced him to Hannah.

Silver haired with a sweet disposition, she had a warm smile and twinkle in her eye. Fine showed her the wallet and told her about finding the letter inside of it. The second she saw the powder blue envelope with that little flower on the left, she took a deep breath and said, “Young man, this letter was the last contact I ever had with Michael.”

Softly she said,, “I loved him very much. But I was only 16 at the time and my mother felt I was too young. Oh, he was so handsome. He looked like Sean Connery, the actor.”

“Yes, Michael Goldstein was a wonderful person. If you should find him, tell him I think of him often. And,” she hesitated for a moment, almost biting her lip, “tell him I still love him. You know,” she said smiling as tears began to well up in her eyes, “I never did marry. I guess no one ever matched up to Michael…”

Fine thanked Hannah and took the elevator to the first floor. Now he had a last name for Michael and he was just a little bit closer to finding him. On the first floor the guard inquired if Hannah had been able to help him and Fine told him she had. He informed the guard that he now had name to go with the wallet he was trying to find the owner for. He then took out the wallet to show it to the guard.

When the guard saw it, he said, “Hey, wait a minute! That’s Mr. Goldstein’s wallet. I’d know it anywhere with that bright red lacing. He’s always losing that wallet. I must have found it in the halls at least three times. He’s one of the old timers on the 8th floor. He must have lost it on one of his walks.”

Fine thanked the guard and returned to the nurse’s desk where he told her this new information. They took the elevator to the 8th where they talked to the nurse up there.
The nurse told them that he might still be in the day room as he liked to read at night.

They entered the day room and saw an old man sitting there quietly reading a book. The nurse went over to him and asked him if he had lost his wallet. Mr. Goldstein checked his pocket, looked surprised and said yes he had. The nurse told him that Fine had found his wallet and was there to return it to him.

Mr. Goldstein smiled when he saw his wallet and offered Fine a reward for returning it. But Fine declined the reward and told Mr. Goldstein that he seen the letter in the wallet and read it hoping to find the owner.

The smile on his face suddenly disappeared. “You read that letter?”

“Not only did I read it, I think I know where Hannah is.”

He suddenly grew pale. “Hannah? You know where she is? How is she? Is she still as pretty as she was? Please, please tell me,” he begged.

“She’s fine…just as pretty as when you knew her.”

The old man smiled with anticipation and asked, “Could you tell me where she is? I want to call her tomorrow.” He grabbed my hand and said, “You know something, mister, I was so in love with that girl that when that letter came, my life literally ended. I never married. I guess I’ve always loved her.”

“Mr. Goldstein,” Fine said, “Come with me.”

They took the elevator down to the 3rd floor where they went to the day room. Hannah was still sitting there watching television. The nurse walked over to Hannah and gently tapped her on the shoulder.

“Hannah,” she said softly, pointing to Michael, who was waiting with me in the doorway. “Do you know this man?”

She adjusted her glasses, looked for a moment, but didn’t say a word.

Michael said softly, almost in a whisper, “Hannah, it’s Michael. Do you remember me?”

She gasped, “Michael! I don’t believe it! Michael! It’s you! My Michael!”

He walked slowly towards her and they embraced. The nurse and Fine left them together with tears streaming down their faces.
Three weeks later, Fine got a call at work from the nursing home. They wanted to know if he could come out that Sunday and attend a wedding, Hannah and Michael were getting married.

Michael wore a dark blue suit and stood tall and Hannah wore a light beige dress and looked beautiful. The residents of the nursing home wore their best and all turned out for the joyous affair. Fine was best man and the nursing home even gave them their own room. A 76 year old bride and 79 year old groom but they were as giddy as a couple of teenagers.

A love worth waiting for, they spent 60 years apart but had found their perfect love.

The Forgotten Recipe by Amy Clipston

recipeBook Description
After losing her fiancé in a tragic accident, Veronica Fisher finds solace in the old recipes stored in her mother’s hope chest—and in a special visitor who comes to her bake stand to purchase her old-fashioned raspberry pies.
Veronica Fisher knows how lucky she is to be marrying her best friend. Seth Lapp is kind, hardworking, and handsome—but most importantly, he loves Veronica.
When an accident on the job steals Seth away from her, a heartbroken Veronica is certain she will never love—or be loved—again. Yet when she discovers a batch of forgotten recipes and opens a bake stand to sell her Mammi’s raspberry pies, Veronica picks up a regular customer who gives her heart pause.
Jason Huyard was with Seth when he lost his life—a memory that haunts him still. So when he seeks out the grieving fiancée to convey his condolences, the last thing he expects—or wants—is to fall in love. Nonetheless, Jason soon finds himself visiting Veronica’s bake stand every week . . . and it’s for more than the raspberry pies.
Now, as Veronica’s heart thaws, Jason can’t bring himself to tell her he was there when Seth died. Can he ever reveal where he was on the day her life derailed? Or will his secret rob them of the second chance at love they both want?
My Review:
Amy has written a heart wrenching story about two strangers, one loses the man she’s going to marry, the other loses his best friend. You just can’t help but fall in love with Veronica and Jason and their families. And even though the most difficult times in Veronica’s life, it is clear that God is still working, even when it seems He is silent.
Sadly the recipe for the pie was not included at the back of the book. I would have liked to try making it.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 < http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”