JUST JUNIORS JOURNAL
Doing that American thing.
LOU RUNS FOR PRESIDENT IN 2004
Well, uh-oh, Lou is running for President of the United States.
Lou declared his candidacy for President in February, running as an independent. His reason for running, he says, is because the country needs a real American for President. "You think Bush has ever earned minimum wage for anything? Think he's ever worried about paying his bills?" Lou says. "America needs a president who knows what it's really like to live in this country. And that's me."
Lou's running mate is AGA Staci Wyland. In an interview with Staci, she explained why she made the decision to accept the candidacy for second most powerful office in the country.
"Nothing was on TV," she said.
Now, mind you, niether Lou nor Staci can actually, at present, hold the office they are running for. The Constitution says that a President has to be at least thirty-five years old. But,"What the hell," says Lou. "I got a birthday coming up."
Lou's campaign will largely be based on the premise that if he's elected, he promises to nuke New Jersey. Which will not get him too many votes from Jersey, but should please Pennsylvania and New York. He also promises to bring our troops home from Iraq.
Lou plans to lower taxes by eliminating a lot of the White House help. "The White House decorater can go," Lou says. "Any decorations already up there look better to me than anything that's not. And the White House cook? Gone. I like Chinese take-out. The Presidential barber, too. I can get my hair cut at Holiday Hair like mosy Americans. No perks for me, no special priveleges. I'll cut taxes instead."
The elections are held in November. Lou plans to campaign until then, hopefully beating out Bush and whoever the Democrats pick.
"I stand a chance," he says. "After all, it's not like Bush was actually elected the first time around."
-Debbie Benfield, President
-Ginger White, Staff
The LS Kids, at Debbie's suggestion, went to Rickett's Glenn State Park on March 28, 2004. Crissy Miller, Krystle Welch, Debbie Benfield, Ginger White, Biz Albright, Lou, and Michelle all attended. On the way, they stopped in Columbia County at the East and West Paden Bridges, the country's only twin covered bridges. These were damaged by a falling tree in November, and the LS Kids surveyed the damage. Then, it was off to Rickett's Glen.
First, they hiked the Falls Trail. Crissy thought she saw a footprint from Bigfoot, but on closer examination, it turned out to be a large human print. "I don't think Bigfoot's bought hiking boots," said Lou.
They saw four waterfalls while hiking all the way in to Ganoga Fall, the highest waterfall in the park at ninety-four feet high. They also saw the shortest fall, Cayuga, which was eleven feet high.
Then they walked back to the Highland Trail, and Lou, Crissy, Biz, and Ginger hiked up to the Midway Crevasse, a large division on the trail formed from boulders. The others waited in the van and rested. They climbed up onto the highest rock, and Crissy and Biz imitated animals.
Afterward, they all headed back to the van after a hard day of hiking.
-Crissy Miller, Secretary
-Biz Albright, Staff
On March 21, 2004, the LS Kids had their weekly meeting and learned how to bake bread at the same time. Lou's wife, Michelle, is taking a class of baking bread. She taught Staci Wyland, Debbie Benfield, Ginger White, Crissy Miller, and Biz Albright how to do it.
They had the choice of making white or whole wheat bread, and adding garlic, sesame seeds, or poppy seeds. They baked the bread while discussing the upcoming events, and teaching Biz how to write articles.
In February, AGA Staci Wyland celebrated her birthday....For the fifth time.
Staci is the only member of the LS Kids born on a Leap Day, the extra day in February that appears on calendars once every four years. Born February 29, 1984, Staci has only actually had five birthdays in the twenty years she's been alive.
Traditionally, Staci celebrates her birthday on March 1. Her mother chose that as her "official" birthday, to appear on her birth certificate. The next time her birthday is actually on February 29 will be in the year 2008.
Staci didn't actually do much on her birthday. "I called Lou and Michelle, and talked to them," she says.
Purim is one of the most festive holidays in the Jewish calendar. This year, the Jewish year 5764, Purim fell on Adar 14, or March 7, 2004. Purim celebrates the survival of the Jews in Persia, as described in the book of Esther. So, I invited Crissy Miller over to celebrate.
"Sure," said Crissy. "After all, I had a pretty good time at Hannukkah."
Traditionally, we read aloud the book of Esther, during which we make noise whenever the name of Hamman is mentioned. The purpose of this is to blot out the name of Hamman, who was the bad guy in the story. Crissy, who pretty much made noise throughout the whole thing, made enough noise to blot out Hamman up into about 5770.
The other commandment is to eat and be merry. We managed that. It was nice enough for my mother to pull out the grill for a day, so we all had hamburgers.
SETTING GINA TO MUSIC
NORTH CAROLINA- One of Gina Spence's poems may soon become a song, courtesy of the JJJ and Lou's younger brother, Jonathan.
While reading the 2003 JJJ Fall Special, Jonathan saw Gina's poem "Flat Line", a poem about death. Jon, a guitar player and sometime musician, e-mailed Lou to ask if he could try to create a song around the poem. "The poem was really cool," he said. "If the girl who wrote it doesn't mind, I'd like to try to put it to music and make a song out of it."
Gina, the JJJ poet from Florida, didn't mind. She responded with a positive e-mail, claiming,"Yeah, thats cool. And if he can, I wanna hear what he can get."
Jon promised to send a recording when the song was finished.
This month, Biz Albright joined the LS Kids. She's been a friend of mine for a while now. Very energetic and full of optimism, she loves to read and write stories. Although she isn't used to writing articles yet, she does show promise.
She loves the idea of helping the community, and says she can't wait to help in any way she can.
Though she can be a smart aleck, she is still wicked cool. Then again, what would the LS Kids be without all the smart a**es, and different personalities?
BLONDE AT HEART
I got a new hairstyle, to wear to my mother's wedding. It involves putting my hair in rows, with a lot of little tiny rubber bands holding it down. Now, it's time to take it out, and I have to find a way to remove them.
I can't ask my boyfriend to do it. I don't trust him near my head with a scissors. I can't do it myself, because I'd have to look in the mirror to do it, and everything's backwards, and I'm not so coordinated. I already have one bald spot, from the time I got a brush stuck in my hair and had to cut it out. (Don't ask.)
I asked my sister Meghan to remove it, next time she's home from college. Her, I can trust. I'm just hoping she comes home to visit soon.
RHYME AND REASON
Closes her eyes.
Listens to her cries.
What words do you believe?
Do my eyes truly decieve?
A small tear drops
From the decieving eyes.
One small whisper
Is heard from the hurtful cries.
Lost in the heartache.
Lost in the way you show it.
Lost in her hurt.
This heart broken poet.
ADORE IT/DEPLORE IT
Adore It: Hope and prayers for Joe William Sheffield, a Georgia boy who has cancer. And adoration to the community in Georgia who found an inventive way to lift his spirits.
Deplore It: A review of Pennsylvania's "Megan's Law" procedures, community notification of violent sexual predators, shows that the program is often "incorrect, late, and ineffective," according to Auditor General Robert P. Casey. This state has stringently enforced regulations regarding the temperature of the water used to wash glasses in a bar, but can't keep track of their violent sexual offenders? Come on.
The Just Juniors Journal Is:
Assistant: Staci Wyland
National Advisor: Vesta Jones
President: Debbie Benfield
Vice-President: Krystle Welch
Secretary: Cris Miller
Quartermaster: Meghan Rockey
Staff: Biz Albright, Hilaire Reese, Destini Geraty, Marjorie Shelley, Mia Shelley, Ginger White, Sarah Wilson, Ida Yost
Distant Correspondents: Kazlynn Otto, Meghan Wilson, Amber Fleming, Rachel Wykry, Regina Spence
Foreign Bureau: Janice Marco
"Okay, guys, I want you all to learn one new thing today. Look around, ask questions. And extra points for anybody who spots Bigfoot."
This is a variation on my usual speech to the Kids, before setting out on a big trip. I always tell them interesting things to look for, and try to get them all to notice one new thing---That's a standing order. And they always manage to learn something, in spite of the fact that they've never paid attention in school in their lives.
Sometimes, the Kids discover something they're interested in. Sometimes, I have their attention.
I always like doing that, being able to show them something that interests them. Debbie and I were talking recently about the time, last August, when we stood out on Church Street and I pointed out Mars to her. Staci was once interested like that, on a trip to Byler's Farm last fall. I remember, a few years back, standing with Brenda Geyer on a farm in Andover, and pointing out the stars to her, while she watched and asked questions, fascinated.
I like being able to do that. It's one of my favorite things about this group, showing the Kids something that sticks in their minds. Being able to explain something, and catch their attention, and educate them. (They're not nearly as interested in things they're told in the educational system.)
I had described Rickett's Glen State Park to Debbie once, a few months ago. Somehow, that got her attention, and she listened. When I asked the Kids where they'd like to go during the month of March, she came up with Rickett's Glen.
Debbie, I suspect, has a whole long list of places she's heard about, that she's storing away for future use. I've seen her light up the same way when I talk about Valley Forge and Linesville. "No kidding? Cool!" she says, or some close equivalent.
So, we went to Rickett's Glen. I think that's going to turn out to be one of the more notable places we go---One of the places the Kids request further trips to. Like Centralia, the Kinzua Bridge, Slatington, and the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, the Kids are going to remember that one.
We saw four waterfalls and the Midway Crevasse. The Kids enjoyed that, looking at the falls and taking pictures. I showed Crissy and Biz how to orient ourselves on a map. I gave Crissy a compass, my old one, and she was thrilled. She was pulling it out every ten minutes to check our location. (I'm betting she brings it on every trip from now on. We go out in my backyard, and she'll have that compass.)
I like that. I like being able to show them things, and watch them get interested. I like seeing the light in their eyes....And knowing that I was the one who put it there.
-I am but mad north-northwest