If you are between 8 and 108 years old and like to read middle grade books, then you are especially welcome here!

A holiday letter

Posted: December 15th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

This is my second cousin once removed, composer Cornelius Power.

Composer Cornelius Power (April 1, 1821 – July 4, 1915)

Cornelius loved writing letters, and every year at holiday time, the Power family turns to one of them in particular, which has been handed down through the generations. It is dated December 17, 1856, and I’d like to share it with you.

Greetings, Holiday People!

You’ll never guess what I’m doing right now. I am actually dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh. Contrary to expectations, I am not laughing all the way. It is far too cold here in this winter wonderland for that. As it is, I am bundled up from head to toe in warm clothing, but I think I’ll burrow down deep into the cozy quilts and blankets that my sleigh driver has so thoughtfully provided.

Sleigh driver? Ha! It is my BFF, James Lord Pierpont, the famous organist and composer and my comradely rival in all musical endeavors. James has got a thing about one-horse open sleighs. The only thing he cares more about than composing catchy songs is dashing through the snow. He is working on a new song about it now, but I can’t see it going anywhere. He calls it “Jingle Bells,” and it’s fairly simpleminded, not at all up to the high standard he set with “Ring the Bell, Fanny.”

How I long for a cup of hot cocoa! We brought a whole lake of it in a thermos, but it spilled all over the floor of the sleigh thanks to James’s erratic driving. He’s up there now on the absolute edge of his seat, cracking the whip and singing at the top of his lungs. I’m burrowing further into the blankets and quilts. It’s a well-known fact in these parts that survivors of sleigh crashes are nearly always found closest to the floor of the vehicle.

I can only imagine how wondrous one-horse sleighs will be one hundred and fifty or so years from now, but I daresay holiday wishes will have remained exactly the same. By then, no doubt poor James’s simpleminded ditty “Jingle Bells” will have been long relegated to the dustbin and some other songwriter will have come along to better describe how fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh. I am far too humble to be referring to myself, of course, although some say my sleigh song “Horsey Snow Ride” is the catchiest number they’ve ever heard.

Darn it, James! That turn was much too sharp. Ohhhhhhhh!!!!

(At this point the letter ends in a series of jagged marks.)

Of course, as history shows, Cousin Cornelius was wrong about “Jingle Bells.” James Lord Pierpont’s sleigh-ride song went on to become one of the best known and most commonly sung winter songs in the world, whereas, sadly, Cornelius’s own sleigh song “Horsey Snow Ride” has been completely ignored. But he was right about holiday wishes. They’ve remained exactly the same.

Give thanks for blessings.

Say a prayer for peace.

Give a donation where it’s needed.

Resolve to be a little more patient, a little more forgiving, and a lot more helpful.

Amen to that!

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The write stuff

Posted: June 1st, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Nine-year-old Edbert Aquino, of Fairview, New Jersey has won the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest.

He is the third-grader with the best penmanship in the country.

I would like Edbert to write my name!

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Exceptions to the rule

Posted: February 28th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , | No Comments »

 

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A snowment in time

Posted: January 4th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Author Madeleine L’Engle hooked me on fantasy with her wonderful novel A WRINKLE IN TIME. Here is little Madeleine enjoying a snow day in 1928. Magical!

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A new war on Christmas

Posted: December 20th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Letters to T | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

George from Portland, OR writes:

Dear T,

I have a new holiday story to tell. It’s Rude-olph, the Rudest Reindeer. Forget about Rudolph. Rude-olph could chew him up for breakfast and spit him out at lunch. He’ll tell you you’re really smart…on Opposites Day. P.S. It’s only ten dollars. How many can I put you down for?

T replies:

Hey, George! The holidays are not a time for disrespect and bad manners. And charging ten dollars for this story is nine dollars too many. All I can say is that I hope Rude-olph learns to overcome his rudeness and is able to join in the festivities in a considerate and neighborly manner.

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Happy birthday, Beverly Cleary!

Posted: April 12th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Children’s book author Beverly Cleary is 101 years young today. Creator of fun-loving pest Ramona Quimby and happy, hardworking Henry Huggins, she wrote one of my favorite books of all time. Long live Beverly Cleary and Ralph S. Mouse!

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Happy 100th birthday, Beverly Cleary!

Posted: April 12th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , | No Comments »

Just when a kid is a good enough reader to check a book out of the library—not a picture book, but one with a hundred pages all crowded with words—there is Beverly Cleary, ready to make a reader laugh and think and laugh again. Here’s to a very happy birthday for the writer who taught me Ramona was a name and convinced me that a mouse could ride a motorcycle. Thank you, Beverly Cleary!

Beverly Cleary

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E is for Edgar

Posted: February 22nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Happy birthday to one of my all-time favorite book illustrators, Edward Gorey! Mr. Gorey long ago passed from this world to the next, but his beautiful and strange drawings will live on as long as there is imagination, humor, and weirdness in the world.

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Why Santa needs glasses

Posted: December 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , | No Comments »

Letters to the North Pole have gotten more complicated in the modern age. There is just one item on this list, and already I can see Kris Kringle squinting!

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Yes to the Yeti!

Posted: April 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Letters to T | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Keylan and Jake from Long Beach, CA write:

Dear T,

We are not interested in stories about vampires. We don’t care about werewolves, either. Or ghosts. And especially not mermaids! What we ARE interested in is the Yeti or Abominable Snowman. Here is a story we’ve written about the mighty Yeti called SNOBEAST. We both worked on the cover drawing. Those are the Himalaya mountains in the back. What do you think?

T replies:

Thanks for letting me read your Yeti story, Keylan and Jake! SNOBEAST sent chills of terror and excitement up and down my spine. I have long been fascinated by tales of the Yeti. I’m a believer!

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