Dallas Tales – Camp’s On 2020

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Geez, it’s been a long summer already! OK, it’s only the 4th of July but it seems like Christmas was two years ago. I haven’t seen my friends in weeks, I’m having to wear this goofy mask….wait a cotton pickin’ minute. Did they intend that dogs wear masks? I didn’t think so. I told Gigi but she insisted I wear that mask. It’s like a muzzle on me. She must think I’m gonna bite someone. Seriously this gals gone a little overboard on this whole Carona Barona Virus thing! Thank goodness I’m off to camp for a few weeks. I tell you Gig was just about to get on my nerves big time.

OK, guys looks like our little pup litter keeps growing every year. Last year it was Luke, Felix, me, Coco, and Hank. This year little Willow is joining us. She is Hank, the Catahoula Hound Dogs, baby sister. She is the cutest little pup ever. She is gray and white with those gorgeous clear blue eyes just like Hank’s. So load up pups, it’s gonna be a blast!

First day at camp is always crazy. Kids everywhere, lugging those huge lockers loaded with everything from home but the kitchen sink. I sure hope they brought tons of snacks. Gigi has been on a diet and I haven’t even had peanut butter in forever. What? Camp rules say no peanut butter? For real? OK. Well, there at least better be Cheetos, they’re my favorite.

At the close of camp last year as Camp Chairman I nominated Big Fee, Felix, to be Camp Chairman for 2020. Felix will do a great job. He is very level headed and confident. He likes to play and joke around but he also knows when to get the job done. So with that being said, it’s rat meatloaf for dinner says Big Fee. Ugh! Noooooo! Hank is jumping for joy as he remembered from last year how good it was. Not me, I’m gonna snoop around for some Pizza bones when those kids get done with dinner this evening. It’s every man/dog for himself tonight.

Dallas Tales…Traveling East Texas

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Girl, it’s been a week! What began as a perfectly normal week got real crazy by the minute. Monday was a great day walking in the neighborhood with Mama. I love my new neighborhood but more on that later. Tuesday was my annual checkup. The usual round of shots I get each year. You know that song, “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger”? Whelp, those shots threw me for a loop. The next day, I had a fever and was so lethargic Mama had to take me back to the vet. They hydrated me and gave me something for the fever. I wasn’t good for nothing for several days. Mama was real worried about me. I could hear her praying and crying out to God to help me get better. To tell you the truth, I was saying my little prayers myself. After a few days of TLC I am all better, although I have developed a taste for the yummy baby food meat Mama has been giving me the last few days. I know that’s coming to an end.

Mama signed up for an art class in a neat little town named Lindale, Texas. Too far for Mama to drive home at night so sweet Uncle Derrick decided we would just make a road trip today. What a day it was. I saw all kinds of new stuff. While Mama was in her art class Uncle Derrick and I walked all over Lindale going in and out of little shops. I just knew I would run into Miranda Lambert but that didn’t happen. I really wanted to go in that candy store but he said no. I was really bummed about that. I know those kids drop candy all the time in those stores. I suppose my favorite Daddy told Uncle Derrick how much I love chips because I got to have a big bite of a chip. Just one bite cause he knew Mama would have a fit. I promised I wouldn’t tell. Shhhhhh!

We drove straight through to get home tonight. Uncle Derrick and Mama hadn’t eaten dinner so they decided it would be fine to take me inside for a burger, well not me but them. I was on my very best behavior. I sat like a little lady right beside Mama and put my head on her lap while she and Uncle Derrick ate dinner. I didn’t make a peep. I suppose those nice ladies in Hamburger Depot thought surely I was in training to be a therapy dog. I did get a few looks and one man said he thought I was a purse until he saw me move. Mercy, a purse?

So, what started as a very scary week turned out to be great fun! Mama’s painting was sort of cute. A little weird but cute.

 

Dallas Tales – Christmas With “The Cousins”

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Over the hills and through the woods to “The Cousins” house we go. Not just any ole cousin. You see, these two cousins are aristocrats. They are Irish Crème Golden Retrievers named Coco and Felix. I sort of blend right in with their color, in other words I match them very nicely. Size matters not to me at all. I mean I can run with the big dogs. The minute I arrived Coco went nuts! Mmmmm, let me see, I thought you were an aristocrat? Settle down. I’m sure she’s saying to herself, “Mom, we’ve got a new puppy in the house!” Coco says, “let’s run and play and jump on the furniture”. I say, “I really have to tinkle first, ok?” I mean I’ve been riding for five hours with only one potty break. That’s fine with me because I love to sleep while I’m riding. As you can expect the entire first day is pandemonium. I’ve run and played so hard I can hardly wait for dinner and go to bed. Speaking of dinner, I’m not quite sure why Mom brings my food because I always eat what the cousins are having. I eat like a hound dog while I’m there. I graze at home but here when the food goes down I eat it all right away. That’s because these dogs give a good first impression but sister when the food goes down it’s a free for all. They might look a little regal but don’t turn your head.

Day two and the Pet grooming van arrived out front. Good, a little peace for a while as the cousins are having their spa shampoo out in the van. Wait a cotton pickin’ minute. What? The grooming van peeps are coming for little ole me. What if they kidnap me? Mama, I never said I wanted a bath. I don’t care if it’s Christmas! Inside the van, there’s soft music playing and a luxurious tub awaiting little ole me. The ladies speak very softly and ask if I want a manicure, what shampoo would I like, and if I wanted a cream rinse to make my hair shine. Oh, and what treat would I like while my hair is drying. I tell you, I might just move to Dallas with “the cousins”!

Christmas arrives and the cousins’ stockings are full of treats, toys and a gadget called a Furbo. Their Mom and Dad plug this Furbo thing in and load it with treats. It has a camera that can spy on them during the day and actually talk to them from their parents phone. Mom and Dad can’t wait to show their two retrievers. The Furbo spits out a treat and hey those two cousins ran for the hills at the sound of that machine. Not this junkyard dog, I ran right after that treat and gobbled it up. I mean I came from the Wal-Mart in Jasper Texas. You don’t exactly sit back and wait your turn when the treats are flying right in front of you. I hear that treat machine sound again and this time there’s two treats. Yum, this is a walk in the park. Those two big dogs are scared of the treat machine. Buzz, they just keep popping out. I’m really loving the test of this new little gadget. I must’ve had ten treats before they stopped testing that thing. I drank so much water that evening I had to go out at midnight to potty. I’m thinking I may move in with the cousins. Let’s see the pet van spa at the front door, their backyard is covered with artificial turf and the coup de grace is this Furbo! Yep, that’s it, I’m moving to Dallas!

The Great Peach Seed Mystery

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I have peeled gobs of peaches this week and put them in the freezer for enjoyment later. I have always been fascinated with peach seeds. As a child I remember old men carved peach seeds into the shape of a monkey, which would then be placed on key chains. I think peach seeds (pits) are very unusual and actually very pretty. They have the distinct shape of a heart with valleys and peaks that make up their physical appearance. Maybe they even resemble a brain, not that I’ve ever seen a brain but I’ve seen photos. Everyone knows peach pits are hard as a rock. One fragment from a pit in a cobbler will remind you quickly to remove the entire pit! For whatever reason a tiny fragment of a pit will sometimes separate from the main seed and hide out in the wonderful soft flesh.

I am amazed that in one short growing season a peach tree sends forth tiny blooms. That bloom turns into a tiny peach the size of an English pea. That pea size fruit grows quickly into a luscious peach. The outer skin is soft as cotton with smooth fuzz. Directly under that thin skin is a wonderful flesh which when fully ripe drips with juice almost sweet as sugar. When you get to the middle of this soft flesh you encounter a seed that resembles concrete! Yikes. How did that happen so quickly in such a short growing season? Every now and then as you peel a peach the seed will split in half. Inside that hard seed there’s a kernel that resembles an almond. Don’t eat this folks! You may not live to tell about it.

A design and mystery only God could conceive.

Dallas Tales…Camp’s Over 2019

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Camp is coming to a close again this summer. It always makes me so sad to leave. Coming together with my cousins each year is something I look forward to all winter. Every year is different and that’s what makes it so much fun. The same location but different cousin pups make this the greatest camp in Texas. Well fellow pups let’s get this last few days going. We don’t have a minute to spare.

I need to ask what were some of your favorite events, favorite foods and favorite memories. OK, we’ll start with Felix. Felix says his favorite event was of course the ever-popular blob. He had great fun plunging down with all his might heaving Hank a mile high! Felix’s favorite food was rat meatloaf. Ugh, that’s the request he always puts in the first night we are back at camp. Yuk, he’s the only who likes that weird stuff. His favorite memory was standing by the big slide guiding us to shore while we rescued Hank on the sailboat.

Coco’s favorite event was the hike up to the big rock for the picnic. Even though it was cut short by Hank’s dilemma he enjoyed the hike. Coco went crazy over the tossed out apple slices. He loves them so much and begged everyone for their share. His favorite memory was meeting Hank for the first time. Little Hank won everyone’s heart with his goofy little smile and winsome personality. Hank is still growing so when he runs it appears that he will trip over himself because his legs are too long for his body just yet. Hank is just the cutest pup.

Bear’s favorite event was also the blob. He took great joy in launching me into outer space. I thought I would never come back down and when I did I went so far underwater I thought I’d never come back up. Whew, it was a close call. Bear’s favorite food was all the pizza bones. Those tasty crust all kids toss out almost every time they have pizza. Bear’s favorite memory was pulling little Hank to safety on the sailboat. What a champion swimmer Bear turned out to be. Not only was he strong but he was so sweet to little Hank once we got Hank back to shore.

Hank’s first camp and what memories he made. His favorite event was his trip headfirst down the big slide. His favorite food was surprisingly rat meatloaf. And I thought Felix was the only one who liked the stuff. Who knew? His favorite memory although really scary was hearing his first coyote howl at night as we camped on the big hill.

I have to say I loved every minute of camp. I was proud to serve as camp chairman although it was pretty scary at moments. My favorite event was sailing. I suppose I’m the reason Hank drifted off on the sailboat I forgot to tie down that day. My favorite food is and will always be the left over hot dogs. Yum! My favorite memory was watching Hank’s face during scary stories on the big hill the night of the camp out. A scary story is always the initiation of every camper! I am so sad that camp is over but geez I had a great time. I now nominate Felix to be next years camp chairman. I’m sure he’ll do a great job. Can’t wait to see all of you next year.

Yours truly,

Dallas Jones

Author and creator of Dallas Tales

Dallas Tales…The Campout

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Hank’s rescue yesterday was such a great team effort. As camp chairman this year I could not be more proud of all of the cousins. Everyone pitched in and didn’t complain even once about pulling Hank all the way to shore. That took a great deal of energy from everyone.

So around the campfire last night I asked Hank just how his sailboat experience happened. Hank said he was out chasing butterflies and drifted further and further from our little group of cousins. He said it was like someone turned down the volume and he no longer heard our voices. He knew we were set to hike up the hill to the big rock for our picnic but he let his distraction of chasing butterflies cause him lots of trouble. Like I mentioned before catahoula hound dogs are great at climbing. And since Hank’s a catahoula he is really good at jumping and very sure-footed. He thought it would be great fun to explore the little sailboat. It would be great fun to drift a little way then he would jump in and swim back to shore. However before he realized it he had drifted out into the middle of Inks Lake. He’s still a young pup and wasn’t sure he could swim that far back to shore. He made the right decision to stay with the boat! Hopefully that will be our last Hank episode! Right Hank? Hank gives us a toothy grin and wags his tail sheepishly. Little rascal scared us all to death!

Ok, cousins, let’s go make the best of our last few days at camp. Who wants to try jumping on that big blob in the lake? That’s something I have wanted to do every year. Who will be first? Bear jumps up and down and volunteers. Bear is the biggest dog in camp. The kids are in rest time so it’s a perfect time of day to try the blob. I will jump on the blob then Bear will jump next. Mercy sakes alive, I didn’t want to go to the moon but I thought for a minute I was blasting off into space. What fun! Next Hank jumped on the blob and then Felix crashed down. Poor little Hank went flying into the air! I see why the kids love this thing. So fun! Well speaking of kids here they come out for their afternoon swim so let’s hit the road. What do you say we hike up to that rock again today since Hank didn’t get to see my favorite trail? Here we go. I will lead and Felix you cover the back and for goodness sakes don’t let Hank out of your sight! By the time we reached the rock it was getting late in the afternoon so I thought it would be a great idea to make a campfire. Bear and Felix had Hank help them find sticks for the fire. I rolled rocks into a ring for our campfire. I found some scraps of paper and lots of pine straw to help start our fire. We worked and worked and finally got the sticks in place on top of the straw and scraps of paper. We’ll start our fire before the sun goes down. The only way we can start a fire is to find a piece of glass and hope the sun shines just right thru the glass to ignite our straw and paper. It’s always worked before. We wait and wait. I was getting a little worried when I began to see a puff of smoke. Yes! We have our campfire. There’s nothing more fun than sitting around a campfire telling stories. Especially scary stories. It’s so much fun to tease the young pups at their first campfire. I begin by recounting the story I told a few years back about spending time on the farm with old Radar. This was the time when as I was slipping inside for the night. Just then my paw slipped off the old screen door and a colony of bats swooped down towards my back. Old Radar told me if a bat ever lights on your back it’s light out. Sayonara, goodbye, adios, see ya in heaven buddy cause it’s over! I was terrified and ran screaming and howling to the river and jumped under water. I escaped those flying devils that night. I look over to see little Hank shaking. Hank asked, “are there bats out here”? By now it’s dark and all you can see of Hank are those blue eyes. Well Hank I’ve never seen any bats out here but you just never know. There could be bats up in those really tall trees in a hollow. Hanks throws a few more sticks on the fire so it lightens up our campfire nicely. Bear says, “tell Hank about the old coyote who lives out in these woods”! He doesn’t especially like us pups being out here in his woods. He runs us out any time he lays eyes on us. Well, Bear, we’re not near where the coyotes live. It would be dangerous to camp too close to them at night. “Camp?” said Hank. “You mean as in camp out?

“Oh no, I didn’t sign up for a campout in the woods at night”, said a terrified Hank. I’m ready to go back to the campgrounds. Settle down little pup I told Hank. We’re not gonna let anything hurt you. It’s fun to sleep out under the stars on a gorgeous night. There’s a full moon and it provides a lot of light naturally. Hank immediately goes over to Bear, who is the biggest dog in camp, and says, “I’m sleeping right next to you!” Yawn, I’m getting sleepy. Let’s all tuck in for the night. Just when everyone is almost asleep far up into the hillside our old coyote friend Aztec lets out a long low howl. Hank jumped completely over Bear and runs to my side. I tell Hank to settle down, I can tell by old Aztec’s howl that it’s merely a greeting and not a threat this time. Goodnight!

Dallas Tales…Hank’s Rescue

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Reveille sounds for the camp kids. They’re out and about with all their adventures for the day. It’s time for our little pack to get started for the day as well. I thought we would take a hike on a trail I discovered a few years back. It winds along Inks Lake where there are lots of rabbits to chase. We normally take a little picnic lunch to share. I rigged up a little cart with a harness that our big guy Felix has agreed to pull. They served pizza at the mess hall last night so there were a lot of leftover bones. Bones are the part those kids never eat. Also called the crust where you don’t find many ingredients. They eat the middle and toss the rest. Along with pizza there were lots of apple slices. To complete our lunch, we found a whole box of corn dogs. Ok, let’s go. I will lead the pack and let’s have big Felix at the rear so no one gets lost.

We arrive at the edge of a big rock that overlooks the lake. This will make a splendid spot for our picnic. Thanks Felix for hauling our lunch up the hill. Let’s all help spread our feast on the big rock. Geez, all that hiking has really made me hungry. I can’t wait for those left over corn dogs. They are my favorites at camp each year. Let’s circle up and put everything in the middle. What a beautiful afternoon. The kids are sailing out on the lake and having so much fun. What’s that little sailboat I see in the distance? I don’t see any kids on board. But there’s a tiny speck on board. Hand me the binoculars Bear. Let’s see if a sailboat broke away from it’s mooring last night and floated out into the middle of the lake. Oh my goodness! There’s no way! I can’t be seeing what I think I’m seeing. Where’s Hank? I know he left with us didn’t he? Hank, come here! Hank, where are you? Come on now; don’t be playing games like this. Bear, didn’t you make sure Hank left with us? Bear has a really sheepish look on his face and cowering a bit. I’m gonna take a deep breath and say a prayer right now. Clean the lens of the binoculars Coco. I focus the binoculars really well this time. Great scot, Hank’s aboard a sailboat all alone! How in the world did that happen? Catahoula hound dogs can be pretty mischievous little pups and Hank is proving to be just that and more. Come on guys, just leave everything, we’ve got to get down quickly to the lake and see how we’re going to get Hank to shore.

Assuming the role of camp chairman this year is proving to be quite the challenge. If anything happens to Hank I’ll never hear the end of it. That pup! Grrrrrrrowl! Ok, Bear since you are probably the strongest of us all I need for you to take the lead on this rescue. We’ll all swim out to Hank except for Felix. We’ll need Felix to run back to camp and stay ashore near the big slide as a landmark so we can find our way back after we’ve rescued Hank. On the water everything looks the same from a distance. So we should all remember to have a landmark to help us find our way back to shore. Coco, Bear and I dive in and start dog paddling out to Hank. By now little Hank is howling because he’s scared to death. The closer we get the louder he’s howling. We finally reach Hank. I tell Bear to get the rope in his teeth and I will climb aboard since I am the smallest. Hank is shivering with fear and he’s so glad to see me he almost knocks me into the water. After reassuring him he’s going to be ok and not in trouble Hank settles down a little bit. I really want to scold him big time but poor little pup has already had the most frightening experience of his young life. We’re all family and even though we can get frustrated with each other we love one another deeply. Bear swims hard with Coco helping pull the rope towing us back to shore. Felix is barking loudly to signal where we should dock the sailboat. There will be big tales for campfire tonight!

 

Dallas Tales..Lessons Learned

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Hank bends to peer pressure on the very first day at camp! I suppose he didn’t learn at dog obedience school that you don’t do everything your friends tell you to do. There’s Hank on top of that giant slide with no other option besides sliding down into Inks Lake. There goes Hank head first into the lake as we all stand there watching. He begins to thrash about coughing since he obviously got a huge mouth full of water going head first down the big slide. I realize immediately he’s drowning so I jump in and dog paddle quickly to his side. The lifeguard jumps in about the same time and together we get him out onto the bank. The lifeguard holds him so he can get some of that water out of his lungs. After sputtering a bit little Hank goes running over to the cousins with his tail tucked between his legs. He’s lucky he survived. I get real close to Hank and tell him it’s ok but that I hope he’s learned his lesson. Never let others influence you to do something you know you ought not to do!

After the scare of Hank’s near drowning we had to quickly set up shop under the big house and prepare to scout for our night meal. Felix was a big help. He begged some kids sweetly and they were glad to toss all their hot dogs to him. Turns out some of the same kids were at camp last year and they remembered our little cousin pack of dogs. I’m sure we’re gonna sleep in tomorrow morning. Whew, what a long day.

Mercy sakes alive, what’s all that noise? Whistles blowing, kids hollering, what sounds like a herd of buffaloes up above us in the big house was deafening. Maybe staying under the big house wasn’t such a good idea after all. Maybe we’ll make other arrangements later in the day. OK, all you pups lets rise and shine. Time to scout for food.

Breakfast was yummy just like the good old days. One thing for sure, these kids don’t eat much. Most of them don’t like eggs either. That’s a good thing for a pup. Yum. I love me some eggs! I got into the worst trouble of my life one year when I spent the summer with my cousin Radar the fox terrier. Radar lived on a farm and one of his favorite pastimes was raiding the hen house where he would steal the eggs from the hen’s nest. Raw eggs are just like caviar to a dog. He taught me how to sneak into that chicken yard and outrun the old rooster who stood guard over all the eggs. Those roosters have big claws on the backs of their legs called spurs. Radar told me to be really careful because if that old rooster spurred me on the neck I would bleed to death. Late one night Radar and I sneaked into the chicken yard. All the chickens were on their roost. That means they were pretty much all asleep. We both had feasted on several eggs when all at once out of the corner of that yard here came that old rooster. He was mostly running but every now and again those big wings would allow him to lift off the ground. I felt something brush my neck so quickly I was certain the old rooster had spurred me to certain death. Radar had jumped completely over my back allowing his toenails to scratch my neck in his attempt to escape that old rooster. I followed quickly behind Radar and got out of that chicken yard fast. I lost my taste for eggs for a good while after that near death experience! That was my first lesson in learning why I should not give in to peer pressure. Old Radar had been teasing me all day that I would be a big chicken if I didn’t go with him. I knew I shouldn’t go but I went anyway. Just like little Hank climbing that big ladder to the slide, I learned my lesson that night.

Dallas Tales…Summer Camp 2019

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The dog days of summer…..now, just who started that saying! Who knows? Probably someone who wasn’t a dog, that’s for sure. I guess it means that it’s hot outside, not much going on and everyone is being lazy. Lazy? Who me? I’m not lazy. Oh, you mean because I sleep so much during the day. A girl must have her beauty rest. Thank heavens I’m not a yard dog. Geez I can’t imagine living outside all the time. Well, prayers for my poor cousins who are off to camp. It can get really hot there. Wait, Mama just came in with my little tiny suitcase. She’s putting my things inside. There goes my leash, extra collar, and treats. Now she bagged the dog food and yikes, my kennel and blankies are going to the car! Mama, it’s hot up there! Oh well, guess I’ll be joining the cousins soon.

 

We’re on the road on the way to camp. I’m thinking back to some of the memories I made last year at camp. The cousins and I did have great fun. Oh yes, and I seem to remember Radar nominated me to be Camp Chairman this year. It will be great fun with new adventures I’m sure. Hopefully my newest cousin, Hank, will be there too. Hank’s a Catahoula hound dog. He mostly lives in Mississippi but he was born right here in Texas! Yay, a good ole Texas boy. I tell you, that Hank has the bluest eyes you’ve ever seen. His eyes look sort of like people eyes. It’s kinda of spooky, especially at night! I just asked Mama if Hank was coming to camp and she assured me he was on his way as well.

 

After a long ride I’m finally at camp. There comes Felix, Coco, Bear and Hank to greet me. Sooooo excited to see all my cousins. Laci the cat decided she would stay home for the summer as well as her little pup brother Luke. Luke is getting older and really doesn’t need to be out in the heat. We’ll miss Luke and Laci.

 

The cousins remembered I would serve as camp chairman and have my little space all prepared under the big main house. Guess Mama can just take my kennel and blankets back home. It’s gonna be dirt floors under the big house or camp outs under the stars.

 

Hey you cousins lets go down to Inks Lake and see what the kids are doing. Felix you be in charge of Hank cause this is his first camp. Off we go to the water. Can’t wait to jump in and take a swim. It’s gonna be nice to cool off after that long car ride. Felix, where’s Hank? Felix looks around to see that Hank has seemed to vanish. Where could that little pup have gone so quickly? Oh no, oh no, that can’t be little Hank up on top of that big slide? I know Catahoula’s can climb but geez he’s all the way to the top! Gulp. As camp chairman I can’t have an injury on the first afternoon. The entire camp now sees Hank up there and they’re all chanting, “slide, slide, slide”! I can’t look……….

Dallas Tales – The Ant I Met Along The Way

 

Written especially for my sweet little friend Ember

May 11, 2019

I met Mr. Ant in back of my new house yesterday. An ant you say? Yes, a big fire ant. You see he was rafting down a giant rapid next to the curb. After a big rainstorm the dirt from my Mama’s new lot at The Crescent had washed onto the street creating a tiny canyon of dirt. Water flowing down the dirt canyon provided a perfect river for ant rafting. Mr. Ant was just free falling down the river when all of a sudden he clung to a tiny stone and crawled out onto dry concrete. I asked Mr. Ant where he was going. The ant said that he was about to go down into the gutter to gather all his other ant friends who had washed down the drain. Mr. Ant said they were going to the Grand Canyon. They would hike to the nearest train yard, hop aboard and they’d be at the Grand Canyon in no time at all. Mr. Ant decided on the Grand Canyon because it was supposed to be dry there. Arriving at the Grand Canyon they hiked all the way to the bottom only to find water! Water? We are tired of water. Mr. Ant assembled all his people and they hopped aboard another train and headed out to Tennessee to hike the Appalachian Trail. He had heard the trail stretched between Georgia and Maine. Because he had relatives in Tennessee he decided to pick the trail up in Tennessee. So off they went on a long train ride. They found a cozy boxcar on the train that previously held all sorts of food items. There were crumbs everywhere so no worries about food. Upon their arrival in Tennessee all the ant cousins greeted them. What a feast the cousins threw for those Texas ant cousins. It was a sight to behold. Breadcrumbs, crackers, but best of all was the watermelon! Yum!

The next day Mr. Ant and his group were off to hike the Appalachian Trail. They encountered the tallest trees they had ever seen. Over the rocks and mountains they went. Such beauty they had never seen. And best of all not too much water. Nice easy creeks where they could float peacefully on a leaf if they wanted. They hiked all the way to Maine finding so much fun along the way. Beautiful birds, lizards, animals, flowers and lots of fun thinks to do. The most interesting thing they saw were the synchronous fireflies in the mountains at night near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. They encountered these mysterious fireflies at the start of their trip in Tennessee on the Appalachian Trail. You see, most fireflies just blink on and off but this group blink all at once and go dark all at once. They are the only species in America whose individuals can synchronize their flashing light patterns. A beautiful little mystery the Lord created.

The ants arrived in Maine and found that winter had arrived. There was too much snow and much to cold. Since they had spent their summer on the Appalachian Trail they had not prepared for winter. They could have bunked up with ant cousins there in Main but they hesitated to impose. They took a vote and decided to hop another train for Key West, Florida. They had heard Key West would be a great place to stay the entire winter. Ah, the cool breeze from the ocean and lots of restaurants. No we don’t eat in the restaurants but there are plenty of crumbs to be found nearby. But we were told to watch out for the iguanas. Scary big lizards! Yikes. We’ll stick together and we’ll be fine. We sent out worker ants who were able to find tiny bits of wood from which we made tiny chairs. As a group we worked hard all day but were finally able to drag those chairs down by the beach. We discovered with a bit of teamwork we could fashion an umbrella from a tiny shard of bark and then cover it with a bit of moss. Ah, Florida and wonderful breezes to just sit back and relax for a while. What an adventure the past several months have been. However the ants have voted to return to Beaumont. So off we go to find a train bound for Beaumont, Texas and our home in The Crescent. It’s always fun to travel, but as they say, “there’s no place like home”.