Father’s Day: Lessons and Love.

Verna and John Fussner002

 

Father’s Day ❤  Lessons and Love. ❤

A neighbor complimented me recently on the way I greeted his dog, back of hand presented for sniffing, and I thought of my dad, who taught us to do that and to approach new animals and new people with respect and friendship.  He and Mom also allowed us to enjoy and care for a variety of pets, including the mouse that Mom found in the bathtub and a baby bird my brothers found, and my brothers’ snakes, which did teach me not to be afraid of them.  A box turtle who spent one winter in our house would bite my mom’s toe if she hadn’t noticed it waiting by the refrigerator when it wanted to be fed.

Dad taught lessons at convenient teaching moments.  When a drunk neighbor shouted from the street for my dad to come fight him, my father told us that would be foolish, and then the man didn’t know what he was doing, and then moved us away from the front room to be safe.  Walking away from a fight as the sensible option . . . which is just what I did when dealing with a girl who was inexplicably eager to fight with me; I changed our route home, assuring my brothers that Mom would approve when I explained.  She did, and probably did “mom negotiations” to resolve the problem.

Probably the most important lessons had to do with safe driving and dealing with reckless drivers and other hazards. Dad would say, as an aggressive driver passed us, “Good.  I’d rather have him up ahead where I can keep an eye on him.”  He’d also hope that when the inevitable accident happened, they wouldn’t take some innocent family with them.  Dad never had an accident in all his years of driving.  I wish I could say the same, that we could all say the same.

It seemed nearly every year I taught at the high school we would lose a student to reckless driving, new drivers showing off new skills in new cars.  Our activities director recommended old, slow, sturdy cars for new drivers.  I shared with students that my dad had told my brothers he’d put a governor on their cars if he heard of them speeding, then wondered if that could still be done with newer cars.  “Oh yes it can,” said one young man, but didn’t share how he knew.

I remember family picnics at the Saint Louis Zoo, which has no admission charge, so everyone can afford to go. Dad used to encourage us to have fun rolling down a grassy hill, a fun memory.  When I mentioned it to Mom she told me that it helped us burn off energy while she and Dad got a little rest on a bench.  Parents have to be clever.

I don’t know if picnics are allowed inside the zoo now, but Forest Park has many open spots for gathering nearby, including the site of the outdoor Shakespeare Festival St. Louis.

** Also remembering the sweet southern wife of the Prudential manager in Minneapolis, who explained how her fastidious husband came to be a willing diaper-changer of their three girls.  “I told him that I didn’t like diapers either, but I loved my daughter and wanted her to be healthy and comfortable.  I said I thought he loved her as much as I did, but if he didn’t, that was fine and I would do it.”   ❤

 

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https://storytellermary.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/grandpas-young-uns/

Black-Eyed Susie’s Honey

One bright summer day, two pretty little flowers were standing in a field near the edge of the woods.  The flowers were Black-Eyed Susies, members of the daisy family.  They have a dark brown or black center with a single row of yellow petals around them.

One of the daisies said, “Isn’t this a lovely day, so clear and bright?  Look at the beautiful blue sky and the pretty white clouds.  It’s like a big ocean with lots of sail boats.  Oh, it’s so big and beautiful!”

“It’s nothing of the sort,” said the other daisy.  “The sun is so hot that it’s about to cook me.  I don’t like the blue sky.  I don’t like anything that’s blue.”

“Well, well,” said a little Jack-in-the-Pulpit standing nearby, “then you don’t even like yourself, because in a way you are blue except for your head.”

“That’s right,” said the shy little violet.  “The green color is made up of yellow and blue; so from your neck down, you are mostly blue.”

“Oh I don’t believe it,” said the second daisy.  “Besides, we were talking about the sky.  I don’t care for the white clouds.  I’ve seen too many white clouds turn black with rage and cry all over.  Just yesterday, I got all wet when a little baby cloud got lost from his mother and cried all over the place.”

“Now, now,” said Sweet William.  “You’ve sort of mixed things up a bit.  If it wasn’t for the crying clouds making rain and the hot sun making it warm, we couldn’t be here.”

“That’s true,” said Morning Glory, climbing a nearby tree.  “Everything and everybody is part of a big thing, and we all have our jobs to do and our rewards to receive.”

What is our so-called job?” Asked daisy number two.  “I can’t do anything with my roots buried in the ground and my head cooking in the sun.”

“Oh yes you can do something,” said the first daisy.  “You can look pretty for everyone to see, and you can make honey for the bees.”

“I’ll admit I’m the prettiest flower in the woods and I have the sweetest honey that ever was, but if you think I’ll have a dirty old bee walking on my head, you are badly mistaken.  I’ll give no honey to the bees or to anyone else.”

“Oh, that’s too bad,” said Morning Glory, climbing still higher up the tree and opening more blossoms.  “I’m climbing as high as I can and wearing dozens of honey-filled flowers for the bees so that my reward will be big.”

“Reward, reward!” shouted the second daisy.  “What reward can you hope to receive?  You know as well as I do that all summer long, the bees will run all over your head gathering honey, the bugs and worms will eat your leaves, and then old Jack Frost will paint you so Old Man Winter can freeze you.”

“That’s partly true,” answered Jack-in-the-Pulpit.  “Some of us will die, but as a reward for giving honey to the bees, we will be given the chance to make seeds which will grow next year.”

“Oh!” cried the second little daisy.  “How foolish can you be!  I suppose the bugs and worms we’ve been feeding all summer will wade around in the snow, planting the seeds we leave for next year.”

“No,” answered the Morning Glory, “the birds will eat most of them.  You see, the birds must live, too, and they live on bugs, worms, and seeds, mostly.”

“Oho,” moaned the second little daisy, “so now we have to feed our hard-earned seeds to the birds.  After they get finished, what reward do we have left?”

“Now wait up a minute,” answered the first little daisy.  “The birds don’t eat all the seed.  Most of the seed is dropped on the ground.  When the birds scratch around looking for them, they bury many more than they eat.”

“That’s right, they do us far more good than harm,” wisely stated Jack-in-the-Pulpit.

“I care not what you say, do, or think.  I’ll not give any of my honey to the bees,” angrily shouted the second little daisy.  “Look, here comes one now.”  With that, she quickly closed her petals, keeping the bee away.

The bee flew to the first little daisy and took some honey, saying, “Thank you.  I’ll be back tomorrow.”

“What about us?” asked the other flowers.

“I only take honey from Black-Eyed Susies.  There will soon be other bees along for your honey.  Bye now,” said the bee, and away he flew.

The second little daisy refused all day long to give honey to any of the many bees that came her way.  Just about sundown, a little boy came along. Seeing the two daisies, he reached down and picked the second little daisy.  Walking along, he pulled the petals off one by one, saying, “She loves me, she loves me not, she loves me, she loves me not . .  .”

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Skeeters

Warm weather, rains, green growing things, frogs singing and — mosquitos!  I am one of those who taste good to skeeters, one reason I mostly enjoy the outside from indoors . . . love the bay window view and listening to the frogs from behind a screen door.

My friend’s blog  http://storytellerscampfire.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/the-truth-about-alaska-mosquitoes/

reminded me of a couple of my dad’s stories . . . take warning and don’t get eaten.

 

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Skeeters He’p Grandpa Clear Land   by “Uncle” John Fussner

Ah recken you be thinkin’ that were a powerful lot of work fer one man in such a short span o’ time.  Ah gotta hadmit it were, but you see, he had some hep.  ‘Twere a strange sorta he’p, hit were.

When the warm weather hit, hyar come the dad-blamed skeeters.     Big, powerful critters they be!  Well sir, long ’bout sundown, Grandpa would carry a big ole blacksmith hammer down to the woods whar he be clearin’ land.

“Now, how you gonna clear land with a hammer?” you ask.

Grandpa had hit all figgered out, he did.  He stood ‘side a likely-lookin’ tree he wanted moved, and waited fer a skeeter to buzz up.  That old skeeter ‘twould smell Grandpa, take aim, and hyar he come.  Jest afore he got to him, Grandpa ducked behind the tree.  That skeeter ran his beak right through that thar tree, and Grandpa would take his hammer, and with one mighty swing, he clenched that thar skeeter’s bill.  Wharupon the skeeter ‘twould take off, tree an’ all, mostly toward whar Grandpa was buildin’.  ‘Bout time them skeeters got to the cabin, they’d be plumb tuckered out.  Down they’d come, skeeter meat fer hogs and dogs, and logs fer buildin’ an’ burnin’.

 

Skeeters Ate Grandpa’s Cow  by “Uncle” John Fussner

Grandpa made good use of the skeeters clearin’ land, but as always, hit sort of back-fired on him.  One mornin’ he went out to do the chores an’ Old Bessie the cow war gone, and so was the calf.  After a light breakfast of a half-pound slice of home-cured ham, a half dozen cackle berries, followed by a goodly stack of hot cakes, and washed down with a couple of big mugs of coffee, he allowed as how he’d best be goin’ to fetch old Bessie home.

About the time the sun was noon high, Grandpa came up through the pasture, leadin’ the calf.  Grandma went out to meet him, asking, “Whar be Old Bessie?”

Grandpa said in a sorrowful voice, “Old Bessie hain’t with us no more.  She strayed over to Moonshine Cave, up Skunk Holler, and them dat blamed skeeters done ate her up.  Hain’t nothin’ left of Old Bessie but a pile of bones.  This yare calf got fur ’nuff back inter the cave to whar hit were a leetle tight fer them thar skeeters, or they likely would of got to her, too.”

Well sir, that left Grandpa ‘thout a cow.  He and his brother went off to the sale barn to fetch home another one, but seein’ as how neither one had near ’nuff cash to come close to buyin’ one, they put all thar eggs in one basket so to speak, and bought one cow fer the both of ’em.

Grandpa’s brother havin’ put in the bigger share, he ‘lowed as how the rightful thing to do were to let him pick what half be his.  Grandpa was thinkin’ that since a cow has a right side and a left side, with a back bone markin’ whar they be jined, he ‘lowed as how ‘twould be fair ’nuff.

But as often happens when two people look at the same thing, Grandpa’s brother didn’t see right an’ left, but front an’ back halves.  You all’s seen ’nuff cows to know which end is by far the better half.  Well sir, the brother ‘lowed as how he hankered fer the back half.

Grandpa fed and watered his half fer more’n a month, and come sunup or sundown his brother took a pail of milk out’n his half.  One day Grandpa had all of hit he could take.  Instead of feedin’ his half, he killed hit and dressed out the meat.  Well sir, would you believe hit, his brother’s half up and died, too.

More of my dad’s stories at https://storytellermary.wordpress.com/daddy-john-stories/  and https://storytellermary.wordpress.com/category/stories/daddy-john-stories/

 

Singing

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Someone at New Salem said, “Sing!  If you don’t sing well, sing louder — revenge!”

My friend Leigh McGee gave me the music to “St. Louis Blues” after we’d requested it from musicians from New Orleans to Istanbul (where I was tricked into singing a bit of it for a large group — and no one booed).  I worked parts of the song into a telling of “Worry Bundles” that I liked very much.

Make your own music however you can . . .

** Post from 1/28/14 — thinking of Pete Seeger and hoping for a grand, unbroken story/music circle . . .

Today my mind is full of the gifts from Pete Seeger —

— the lovely experience of joining in with hundreds of storytellers singing with him in Jonesborough,  the harmony of the multitude of voices joined in pure joy.  I had just completed the “Singing for People Who’ve Been Asked Not To” COCA class, which used his songbook as its text.  It was an extraordinary experience!

—  the time I quietly sang “This Land Was Made for You and Me” to a little boy flying to the U.S. with his adoptive parents, looking out the window just as our plane passed over the first bit of land.

 We were so fortunate to have Pete with us. ❤

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HE4H0k8TDgw  “This Land”

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The Left-Handed Cricket  by “Daddy John” Fussner

One day Tweedle and Twill were out in the woods counting babies.  They were very busy because they were counting bugs, bees, grasshoppers, etc.  They have their own way to make the count, but we will probably never know just how they do it.  We do know that Twill has a pair of field glasses that he uses only when he’s counting bugs.

Twill had just counted some grasshoppers.  “Mark sixty-six grasshoppers,” he said.

“Right-handed or left-handed?” asked Tweedle with a smile.

“Left-handed,” answered Twill, not knowing that Tweedle was teasing.

Soon Twill called, “Mark twenty-two katy-dids.”

“Right- or left-handed?” asked Tweedle, still teasing.

“Left-handed,” answered Twill, still not knowing Tweedle was teasing.

After a while, Tweedle and Twill went home for lunch.  Just as they started to go into the house, Twill heard some crickets chirping.  Out came the field glasses.  Twill stood very still.  Tweedle sat in the old rocking chair on the front porch.  Twill looked all around with his field glasses.

“Mark eighteen,” called Twill.

“Right-handed or left-handed?” asked Tweedle, still teasing.

“Right-handed,” answered Twill.  “No, no wait!” he shouted.  “It can’t be, but it is.  One of the crickets is left-handed.”

Who are you trying to fool?” asked Tweedle.  “Are you trying to make me believe that crickets, grasshoppers, and katy-dids can be right- or left-handed?”

“No,” answered Twill, “I’m trying to teach you that all crickets are right-handed, that is, all but this one, and he should be.  Also, all grasshoppers, katy-dids, and the other singing insects are left-handed.  If you would just learn to look at what you see, you could find out these things for yourself.”

Now it may seem strange to hear someone say that you should look at what you see, but what Twill means is this:  Take the cricket for an example.  Lots of people see crickets, but how many have really, sure-enough looked at one?  How does he sing?  How does he hold his wings?

The right wing of the cricket overlaps the left wing.  The cricket has a little hook on each of his wings that he scrapes across the opposite wing to make his song, something like a fiddle bow on a fiddle string.  Every cricket holds its right wing over its left wing and uses the hook on the right wing as a fiddle bow to draw or pull across the left wing.

Will our little left-handed cricket be able to play his song with his left wing?  He should be able to.  He has a hook on each wing.  As Twill watched, the cricket tried.  His song was no more than a squeak, just a weak little scrape.  The left-handed cricket waited awhile and tried again.  He still couldn’t make his song.  It seems as if our little left-handed cricket must go through life without a song.  That would be sad, wouldn’t it?

As Tweedle and Twill both watched, our little left-handed cricket moved his wings, and soon, with much hard work for one so small, he had his right wing over his left wing.  After a short rest, our little cricket tried once more to chirp his song.  Well, what do you know?  He did it!  Tweedle and Twill then went into the house, ready to enjoy a big meal and a nap.  Suppose we do the same.

More of Dad’s stories at

https://storytellermary.wordpress.com/category/stories/daddy-john-stories/

Aside

Ole Freeze-Up  

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Photo: The house my father and his brothers built and in which the five of us grew up, fitting in somehow . . . and watching lightning from that porch.

 

I’m hoping winter is behind us, but thinking there might be some long-term effects of this tenacious winter, as in this story by my father, written in dialect and therefore hard to proofread for consistency.

Chuck Larkin told me that these, “Uncle John” stories, unlike the original “Daddy John” bedtime stories, are mostly variations on well-known yarns, but with Dad’s own spin on things.

 

Ole Freeze-Up by “Uncle John” Fussner

Grandpa had some good and some not so good livestock.  He had an ole mule he called Freeze-Up, ’cause he war borned the winter when everythin’ froze up.  Hit war so cold that yar that the smoke froze up solid in the chimney most ever night, and Grandpa had to take an ax up on the roof and chop the smoke out’n the chimney an’ toss hit down.  By spring, he had a goodly pile, an’ when hit thawed out, ’twas most as bad as a forest fire.

Well sir, on the coldest night whilst the temperature was down to two feet below the bottom of the thermometer, an’ a hard blizzard be tryin’ to blow the farm away and fill the valley with snow, Old Eve gave birth to a big, long-eared mule colt.  He were a tough one, he were, and cold be dam’d, he got up an’ found his breakfast.  Turned out to be the biggest mule Grandpa ever owned, and by far the best worker.

Well sir, long bout the time old Freeze-Up war past ten, goin’ on thirty yars old, thar be the hot dry summer.  Jest to show you all how hot and dry it be, Grandpa be catchin’ five-pound cat fish that didn’t know how to swim.  Had niver bin in ‘nough water to larn how.  an’ hit war so hot that atter catchin’ ’em, you needn’t cook ’em, ’cause they be ready to eat.

Well sir, one day Grandpa war drivin ole Freeze-Up, comin’ down the lane twix two fields of corn.  The sun war gittin’ hotter and hotter, ’til that thar corn started poppin’.  Old Freeze-Up, still ‘memberin’ the winter he war born, thought the poppin’ corn was snow and stopped dead in his tracks, standin’ thar shiverin’ and shakin’  and ’bout as cold as a hot mule kin git.

Grandpa be wantin’ to git home to a big cool drink and yelled, “Freeze-Up, git goin’.”

Well sir, old Freeze-Up did jest that.  He stood right thar and froze to death and went to wharever crazy mixed-up mules go when they depart from this crazy mixed-up old world.

More of Dad’s stories at

https://storytellermary.wordpress.com/category/stories/daddy-john-stories/

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“None-Ya” and Name-Calling

My brother dated “Nonya” (none of your business) for a while until he was ready to tell my mother . . . ❤

A friend’s comment on unsolicited opinions, specifically her shoveling snow (because, you know, that’s work for a man) got me thinking about compiling a mental list of potential comebacks for these teachable moments.

My mother once responded to a clueless young man’s comment that my energetic niece was “spoiled” with, “No, they all smell that way.”

An answer beginning with a “Why would you assume . . . ? or ask . . .?” would establish the “non-ya” aspect.

Perhaps, “I arm wrestled the guys for the fun of shoveling, and I always win.”    (A special ed. teacher taking her student back from my class saved his dignity by claiming an arm wrestling victory).

There’s always Miss Manners’ cold stare-down.

Most important, don’t let them spoil anything.

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Name-calling, OTOH, lowers the level of discourse in any conversation and is an admission of lack of rational arguments to use.

Maya Angelou once discussed the fact that anyone putting down any person or group would be invited to leave her home because she doesn’t want negativity within her walls.

 

Dumb and Bell  by “Daddy John” Fussner

Once upon a time, there was a little brownie.  We don’t know what his given name was, because no one ever used it.  This poor little brownie always studied hard, but he could never learn anything.  He always made the lowest grades in his class.  All the other little brownies called him Dumb, just plain Dumb.  Little Dumb didn’t care.  He was a good little brownie and never got mad at anyone or anything.

Well, everything rolled along until one day a cute little fairy started to school.  Her family had just moved into the neighborhood.  Her name was Bell.  She was very quick to learn and could stay at the head of the class easily.  For some strange reason, small, smart little Bell took a liking to poor, fat, friendly Dumb.  Soon, he was carrying her books and she was carrying his lunch.  (Dumb always forgot his lunch).

It didn’t take long for the rest of the brownies to start teasing.  When they saw little Bell and Dumb coming down the road to school, they all started to shout, “Ding, dong.  Ding, dong.  Here comes Dumb Bell.”

Dumb didn’t mind, but Bell didn’t like it at all.  “Stop your teasing at once,” she ordered.  “I don’t like to see anyone teased, and it’s very rude for you to do.  Stop it this very second.”

Well, the brownies stopped, because little Bell looked like she meant it, all, that is, except one.  You guessed it, the big school yard bully kept it up.  “Ding dong.  Ding, dong.  Here comes Dumb Bell.  What ‘cha gonna do about it, huh?”

“I’ll show you soon enough,” said Bell, and before anyone knew what was happening, the bully was down on the ground with Bell sitting on his back with both hands full of the bully’s hair.   The bully didn’t like that at all.  He rolled away and jumped up to run.  Bell jumped him just as he started running and rode him piggy-back.  She pulled his ears to make him turn and tickled his ribs to make him run.  Around and around the school they went, until the bully was so tired that he couldn’t run anymore.  He promised little Bell he would behave; so she turned him loose.

Dumb and Bell had no more trouble from the other children.  Little lady Bell helped Dumb with his schoolwork every day, and soon his grades got better.  As time went on, he slowly climbed to the head of his class.  After he finished school, he went to work in the head man brownie’s office, bought a house, and married Bell.  Soon he had children of his own going to school.

As time ticked on and the years slowly passed, the head man brownie retired to go fishing and hunting.  Who took his job?  Why, Dumb, of course.  He is now the boss and tells all the other brownies what to do.  Yes, even the bully takes orders from easy-going Dumb.

More of Dad’s stories at

https://storytellermary.wordpress.com/category/stories/daddy-john-stories/

 

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Jack-in-the-Box

A birthday story . . .

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Mother Goose and Jack-in-the-Box by “Daddy John” Fussner

One day Mother Goose hitched Rabbit, her little pony, to her little buggy and drove down to her warehouse.  Every child she saw waved to her and shouted hello.  You see, all the children like old Mother Goose, because she likes children and is good to them.

Mother Goose owned the largest warehouse in town, and in that warehouse were row after row of boxes stacked way, way up, all the way to the roof.  Why did she have so many toys?  Was she keeping them for Santa?  No they were her own toys, and she had them to give to children on their birthdays.  Every day, she hitched Rabbit to her little red buggy and drove down to the warehouse so she could pick out toys for the boys and girls who were having birthdays that day.  Some days the list was long, sometimes the list was longer, but never, never did she have a short list.

Well, this day she had a long list of boys’ names and a long, long list of girls’ names.  Up and down the long rows of boxes she went, with Jack-in-the-Box pushing a big box on wheels for Mother Goose to put the boxes of toys in.  Every day he went up and down the long, long rows, but never, never did he know what toys were in the boxes.  as he looked at the list, he saw Billy’s name.  He asked Mother Goose what Billy was getting for his birthday.

Mother Goose looked at Jack and said, “I know that you know, that I know, that you know that I won’t tell you what is in this box.”

Well, Jack got just a little peeved, and as they were finished with their work, he jumped into his box, ducked down, and pulled the lid shut with a bang.  You know that Mother Goose doesn’t like anyone to be peeved at her; so she knocked on the lid, calling for Jack to come out.  Come out he didn’t.  After a while, she opened the lid, but Jack was not in the box.  Where was he?  Nobody knew but Jack, and he wouldn’t tell.

“Well,” said Mother Goose, “he’s done it again.  I’d sure like to know how he gets out of that box and where he goes.”

With that, she closed the lid and started to leave.  as she was going out the door, she heard Jack call, “Good-bye, Mother Goose.  Don’t worry, I’ll take good care of everything.”

Looking back, Mother Goose saw Jack standing in the box, waving and grinning.  “I’d sure like to know,” said Mother Goose.  Waving good-bye, she closed the door, climbed into her little red buggy, and drove off.

More of Dad’s stories at

https://storytellermary.wordpress.com/category/stories/daddy-john-stories/

 

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Santa Dreams a New Toy

Santa Dreams a New Toy  (and CD/book giveaway)

by Daddy John (Fussner)  Image

One day Santa went to his workshop to work on a new toy.  Santa had had a dream the night before and had seen this new toy in the dream.  Many of Santa’s new toys come from dreams.  First Santa took a piece of wood and sawed it on his power saw.  He cut many little pieces.  Next he took a big piece of plywood and cut it up into many small pieces.  Soon he had a big stack of wood.  It looked a lot like kindling wood.

Just then old Grumpy came in and said, “Santa, if you want to build a fire, I have some old wood you can use.  It’s foolish to cut up new wood for a fire.”

“Oh, hush up,” said Santa, “and go find Tweedle and Twill for me.”

Tweedle and Twill are two of the brownies that help Santa.  Some people would call them elves.  Old Grumpy left, and soon Tweedle and Twill came in.  Santa pointed to the stack of cut-up wood and said, “Get busy.”

While Santa sat in his old chair, Tweedle and Twill started playing with the pieces of wood.  Twill built a house for a little doll.  Tweedle built a church.  Next Tweedle built a store while Twill built a school.  They kept building until they had used up all the wood.  While old Santa sat and watched, they took it all apart.

Twill said, “Let’s build a tall skyscraper.”  Soon they had a building as tall as they could reach.

Twill said, “I’m going to put a flag pole way up on top.”  He reached as high as he could, and just as he was placing the flag on the roof, he slipped and fell.  Down came Twill, building and all, “Crash!”

Old Santa had been napping, and he awoke with a start.  Jumping up, he shouted, “What happened?”

Tweedle and Twill told him, and they all had a good laugh.  After placing all the parts neatly in a box, Santa, Tweedle, and Twill went in for lunch.  Soon the factory was making box after box of Santa’s new toy, to be given to little boys and girls who like to build things.  Would you like one for Christmas?

** My father made many clever toys for us, and built useful things for the house as well.  One toy was a Karo syrup can with a wire through it as a pull handle and rocks inside to make lots of noise . . . obviously an outdoor toy, and oh, the racket a child could make pulling it up and down the driveway! — Mary Garrett       A few more stories here.

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** Giveaway!!  Storyteller Mike Myers sent me a gift of a Precious Purple Plinka Plunka which inspires me to offer a free CD or book of your choice to one lucky commenter to this blog.  Take your time, as I’ll be busy figuring out which stories can use a bit of music.  Final entry date will be Christmas Day, which will give time to get yours to you by Three Kings Day.  ** Mike is already a winner . . . just tell me what you’d like, Mike.