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Wannaskan Almanac for Saturday, February 24, 2018

Welcome to the Wannaskan Almanac for Saturday, February 24th.

Thanks to an informative posting on the Wannaskan Almanac, two Saturdays ago, I learned there was a trove of Tarzan readers discarded and homeless in the Wannaskan recycling bins. Who would throw books away? And perfectly good ones, according to my fellow W.A. writer (who has since confessed a penchant for embellishing, but, in this case, was telling the truth.) Quelle horreur!

Fortunately, I just happened to be heading west on that very day to the city of Great Pronged Silverware and could swing through Wannaska to save the day.

With an accomplice in tow, we asked for directions to the bins at the Wannaskan general store. As a thank you, we purchased a bag of lemon drops and 4 deluxe chocolate kisses. One block later, we arrived at our destination.

The child dubious, warned me of legalities, technicalities and windy weather. "Pa-shaw!" I answered, waving off his worry. I lifted the lid and peered in. There wasn't a Tarzan book in sight. Maybe my W.A. counterpart had come back and retrieved them?

I stepped on a protruding band of metal edging near the bottom of the bin, hoisted myself up and thrust my arm in. Fingertips brushed across 1950s-era magazines. Beneath the old news, I sensed, then spied, a book-looking shape. I reached with all the length of my stubby arm and frozen fingers to no avail. I called my son to come over, briefly laid out the game plan and before he could question my methods, wrapped my arms around his legs, heaved him up over the lip of the bin and dangled him in. He yelped in surprise.

"Fish out all the Tarzan books you can find!" I shouted. We found five.

As we traveled onward, my son's reticence stuck with me. What we'd just experienced is something I would call ADVENTURE! He called it crazy. Which got me to thinking:

Are kids these days adventurous anymore?

As I pondered, what initially took shape was a crotchety diatribe about "kids these days." As in, kids these days don't climb trees anymore. Kids these days haven't seen The Sound of Music. Kids these days...(fill in the blank.)

As I get older, I've noticed an alarming frequency and tempting tendency to go this route. My tenth grade English teacher, who was a spitting image of Mark Twain, warned his students of the peril of becoming an old fogey. I consider myself much too young for that.

So, I watched. I waited. And observed my kid crew.

The Toddler - Daily provokes the kitten/cat into a game that involves the cat chasing said toddler up and down the hallway. His arms are filled with scratches and still he plays with the cat. Daredevil!

X marks the spot!
The Kindergartner - Drew a map when I told her I was going to take her to the Hayes Lake Fishing Derby. We followed the map faithfully all the way to where "X marks the spot." (Her words.) Sojourner!

The Middle Child - Loves video games to which I'm an adversary. His favorites are Scratch, Geometry Dash, Minecraft and the 1993 version of SimCity 2000, i.e. an older-than-dirt game which he plays on the 1999 computer we call The Dinosaur.) But, here's the thing. He wasn't "playing" as I had thought. He's programming games, making new levels, building new worlds and establishing civilizations. (He even checked out Coding Projects in Scratch from the library.) Creator!

The Dying-to-Drive-but-Not-Old-Enough Teen - Whenever I ask him what he's doing inside his Fortress of Solitude (yes, this is a real place in his bedroom which he shares with his younger brother), more often than not, he's learning about random stuff on YouTube. How to make flexagonshow to stack dice in a cup and how ferrofluid works, which is especially fun to watch because of the narrator's accent and enthusiasm. (Bonus: This kid is a solid source and steady contributor to the fun facts section of my Saturday posts.) Scientist!

The Oldest - Between all of the homework, extracurricular activities and teen socializing, she  still makes time to build boxes - something she's been doing ever since she first got her hands on Legos. The Kindergartner presented her first box creation this week. (Guess who shares a room with her?) The Oldest calls her other favorite hobby "procrastifixing." Engineer!

So, in the end, after this extensive research, I've learned that measuring my children's adventurousness in terms of dumpster diving and tree climbing is more about me and less about them.

What's YOUR adventure?

Fun Facts of the Week

Fun Fact #1: You can hear molecules, so hot water sounds "hot" and cold water sounds "cold." Hot: Shlup, shlup, shlup  Cold: Glug, glug, glug.

Fun Fact #2: Only female cats can be Calico.

Fun Fact #3: There are over 500,000 CC TV cameras in London. Using the National Geographic map and his 6th grade math skills, The Middle Child estimated London was 576 square miles. Google maps confirmed that it is actually 607 sq. miles.

And important historic events that happened ON THIS DAY.

303 1st official Roman edict for persecution of Christians issued by Emperor Diocletian
1525 Battle of Pavia: Holy Roman Emperor Charles V's troops beat the French. French King Francois I captured, 15,000 killed or wounded
1582 Pope Gregory XIII announces New Style (Gregorian) calendar
1739 Battle of Karnal: Army of Iranian ruler Nadir Shah defeats the forces of the Mughal emperor of India, Muhammad Shah
1821 Agustín de Iturbide and Vicente Guerrero agree to the Plan of Iguala, stating that Mexico will become a constitutional monarchy, Roman Catholicism the official religion and that Peninsulares and Creoles will enjoy equal political and social rights
1868 US House of Representatives vote 126 to 47 to impeach President Andrew Johnson
1946 General Juan Perón first elected President of Argentina
2008 Fidel Castro retires as the President of Cuba due to ill health after nearly fifty years (then went on to live for another 8 years, dying on November 25, 2016.)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to 257 individuals the website On This Day thought worthy of their archives.

And finally...

A belated #STEMfem Happy Birthday! for the following ladies born on February 17th.

This gem of a Twitter Feed celebrates women's accomplishments and contributions in STEM fields. Unfortunately our posting timelines don't coincide.

1858 — b. Margaret Warner Morley, American biologist, educator, author. Children’s nature and biology book writer; wrote several seminal nature study standard school texts.

1864 — b. Hilda Hewlett (Grace Bird), pioneer British aviatrix, motoring enthusiast, early aviation entrepreneur. The first British woman to earn a pilot’s license (1911). Co-founder of an early British flying school (1910); founder aircraft manufacturer.

1877 — b. Isabelle Eberhardt (Si Mahmoud Essadi), Swiss explorer, author. Lived in and traveled extensively throughout North Africa; wrote travel journals and newspaper articles.

1881 — b. Mary Breckinridge, American nurse, midwife, reformer. Founder of the Frontier Nursing Service; started family care centers in Appalachians.

Adventurously yours,



  1. Related to Middle Child's fun fact about London's surveillance system, Scotland Yard deploys a crack unit of Super Recognizers - persons with exceptional talents for remembering faces. Maybe one of the Hrubettes possess such skills, ( should future adventure stories include Sherlocking or Miss Marpling...

    1. In Nomine Domine: I never forget a face, it's the names that get me.

  2. Kim, I'm surprised the staff at Lee's store revealed the location of our recycling bins. You must have charmed them. Small towns fear strangers will fill up their bins leaving no room for the locals. I always buy the lemon drops and kisses before asking for privileged information.
    I admire how you put a positive spin on your kids' interests. Perhaps you should have had the Sojourner child on the dumpster dive.
    I love the word "procrastifixing." As WA writer Woe says, "...change the world by one choice word at a time..."

  3. "Tarzan readers discarded and homeless in the Wannaskan recycling bins." ? Maybe I'm misinterpreting, but "readers" in the bin conjure up images of local folks all stuffed into a dumpster. Where have I gone wrong?

    Second observation regarding "kids these days": this is a term used by every generation that has transformed from highly imaginative children to creatively challenged adults. Question: Why do you think this perennial phrase has the shelf life of a Norse god?

    Aha! I am so relieved as I read on: within your very home, you have five adventurers. (Whew!) My favorite is the "fortress of solitude" occupant whose abode I have happily seen with my own eyes. My least favorite was the one describing your beleaguered kitty-cat. When do humans develop empathy? I ask myself. Your personal revelation that the "kids these days" complaint "is more about me and less about them" takes a lot of courage to admit. I'm impressed.

    Finally, I'm beginning to think you have an unfair advantage over the other Wannaskan writers: namely, the wealth of informational resources you have to draw from, i.e., your children. As one of them might say, "No fair!" Yes, all the other writers except yours truly have child/children, but all of them grew up and have flown da coop.

    Knowing how much you love adventure, I sign off wishing you a plethora of them. With your troupe of five, and including certain friends of yours I know, I predict my wish for you will come true.

    Living the Adventure, Jack Pine Savage

  4. My comment couldn't be accepted--too many characters. Sorry. Brevity isn't my best suit.

    1. You could break it down into Comment 1, Comment 2, etc.


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