Posts Tagged ‘Grandpa John’

Orrie’s Wish Comes True!

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

OrrieFor as long as Orrie could remember, he wanted to learn to horseback ride.

He heard about other children with physical disabilities riding horses, but he had never visited a program where children who used wheelchairs learned to ride well enough that they eventually could ride horses on their own.

Orrie’s mom and dad had spoken to Orrie’s doctor who felt that the motion of the pony as it walked and trotted would be good exercise for Orrie’s legs. As the doctor put it, “Riding would be very therapeutic for you, Orrie.”  Great, thought Orrie, the doctor is all for it. Now I have to find a Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program I can get to and my parents can afford.

There were no Therapeutic Horseback Riding Programs on or near “Can Do” Street. So, Orrie got on the Internet and found a program about 50 miles away. When his birthday rolled around in May, he asked Grandpa John to take him to see the program as his birthday present. The two of them set off one Saturday morning. Before they knew it they were there!

The Unicorn Therapeutic Riding Program rents space at a beautiful riding center with an indoor and an outdoor riding area. The program accepts children as young as three. The Unicorn Program has ponies for the little kids and horses for older kids and adults.

OrrieThere are 3 certified riding instructors leading classes, a physical therapist and an occupational therapist on-site whenever the program is in session. There are also three volunteers for every rider; one leads the pony or horse around and the other two serve as side-walkers to make sure the rider was safe at all times. Orrie watched as a little boy took a lesson .

One of the instructors let Orrie sit on Oatmeal, the pony, and go for a brief walk around the ring with a leader and two side walkers. He was in heaven!

Driving back to “Can Do” Street, all Orrie could think about was how could he get to the Unicorn Program and take lessons?”

The lessons are free. They are supported by donations from generous people.  Orrie kept thinking that there had to be a way to get there.

Grandpa John knew what he was thinking and said,”Orrie, we need to think about how you can get to the Unicorn Program. I don’t think I can take you every week. Grandma and I have the store to take care of. Your dad works weekends and your mom has three other kids to take care of and get to activities.

Orrie shared his wish and his visit to the Unicorn Program with Miss Pat and the class the following Monday. A few days later, Mr. Markle, the manager of “Can Do” Street Bank visited the class. After he greeted Miss Pat and the class he announced,” I’m here to present a cash award to the student of the year.”

Well, the class got quiet, very quiet. Then Mr. Markle announced,”The award goes to Orrie for not only being the best prepared for his lessons and getting the highest marks on his tests, but for always being willing to help other students with their studies.”

A cheer went up for Orrie and Mr. Markle handed him a check for 300 dollars.

Everyone wanted to know what he would do with the money. “That’s easy,” said Orrie,”I can pay someone to drive me to and from the riding program when my family can’t do it.”

Orrie turned to Mr. Markle and said, “Thanks for making my wish come true.” Mr. Markle smiled and said, “No Orrie, you did that by working hard. You earned that cash award. The bank is just recognizing your hard work.”

Orrie couldn’t wait to get home and tell his family that wishes can come true!

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Snow!

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

 sledding in the snowThe “Can Do” Kids woke up to see lots and lots of of snow. It had snowed very heavily during the night.

Was it enough snow to close school for the day, but not too much snow to keep them indoors, unable to enjoy the snow? Was it snowman snow, or sledding snow? Was it good packing for snowballs and building snow forts?

The good news…school was closed. The bad news…too much snow to get around easily. The streets needed to be plowed, so no play dates that the moms needed to drive the “Can Dos” to in the neighborhood. Walking was the way to get around until the streets and sidewalks were cleared.

At first, Willie was excited about a snow day, but he lived so far away from his friends; he couldn’t just walk to anyone’s house. Nellie, his sister, was the only one around to play with, and while he loved his sister, she wasn’t very good at building a snow fort or packing snow balls. Hector had the same situation at his house; no friends nearby and only his sister Maria to play with outside.

Things were better at Grandma Maureen’s and Grandpa John’s where Kathy, Annie, Bobby, Arthur Jay and Orrie had spent a sleep over night. They all had each other to play with in the snow.

Well, Orrie was a challenge, but Grandpa John had a surprise for him…he had built him a sled that could hold him and his wheelchair safely. Oh, it was a beautiful sled, red with high sides all around. Everyone gathered in the garage to watch how the new sled would work.

Grandpa pulled the sled out of the garage and into the snow, then put a portable ramp on to the back of the sled and rolled Orrie on to the sled. He took the ramp away, put the back guard rail in place and Orrie was ready to try out his new sled. Billy, the next door neighbor was a weight lifter, and he volunteered to pull the sled into the driveway where Orrie could join in the fun.

Just then Grandma Maureen came into the garage and said, “Good news, Grandpa Dooley put a snow plow on the front of his truck and is going to bring Willie and Nellie over to play in the snow. He will pick up Hector and Maria on his way.”

A big cheer went up. Most of the “Can Dos” would have the best kind of play date…a snow play date with snowballs and a snow fort and a snow man and warm up sessions in the house to dry out wet mittens and drink hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows!

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New Year’s Resolutions

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

The “Can Do” Kids were about to learn what it means to make New Year’s resolutions.

New Year’s Day was bitter cold out, too cold to ice skate, or to go sledding, or even take a short walk.  So any “Can Do” that could catch a ride was welcome for a play date at Orrie’s house.

Grandpa John and Grandma Maureen had come by to help Orrie’s mom with table games and serving snacks. Willie asked, “Grandpa John why do adults make New Year’s Resolutions”? Before Grandpa John could answer, Annie asked,”What are resolutions anyway?”

Grandpa Explains Resolutions

Grandpa John stopped handing out fruit and sat down at the table with the “Can Dos.” All eyes were on him as he thought of the best way to explain what a resolution is.

He cleared his throat and began by saying, “Well, resolutions are kind of like promises to do things that you need or want to do. It’s about doing things that you need to do but may not having being doing such a good job about doing so far.

For instance, let’s take sharing. You know that sharing is usually the right thing to do, but it is hard to do. So, you might make a resolution, a promise to yourself or to someone else that you will be better at sharing.”

The “Can Dos” were all quiet for awhile, then Nellie asked,”Why do people make resolutions on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day”? Grandpa John smiled and answered. “That’s a very good question, Nellie. The new year is seen as a new beginning, a time to begin again. A time to do things you want and need to do. So people promise themselves and their family to make changes in themselves and their lives.”

“Hmmm,” said Arthur J. “Maybe we should each make a resolution for the new year.” Hector shook his head. “Not me,” he said. “I like myself just the way I am. I don’t think I need to change a thing about me.”

Maria, his sister, tossed her head and said, “Think again brother. There are a few things you need to change… like being late for school a lot and using my stuff without asking.” Hector turned red and answered, “Okay, I’ll stop taking your stuff without asking but I can’t make two resolutions, so I’ll have to wait on promising not to be late for school.” Everyone laughed.

Grandpa John said, “Let’s go around the table and each of us make a resolution. I’ll start. “I promise to help Grandma Maureen around the house more.” Grandma Maureen gave Grandpa John a big smile and said,”You heard that children. You are my witnesses, he promised to help me more.” The “Can Dos” all laughed.

Then it was their turns to make resolutions. Nellie promised to help Grandma Hattie with the housework. Orrie promised to turn off his computer each night the first time he was asked to do so. Willie promised to empty the trash without moaning and groaning about it. Kathy promised to share with her sister Annie more and fight less. Arthur J. promised to help his brother with his math homework when he was having a problem.

Did you make New Year’s resolutions? Are you going to make any resolutions? What do you promise to do?

resolutions

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Grandpa John and The Ice Cream Story

Friday, August 19th, 2016

Grandpa John was sweeping in front of his store when some of the “Can Do” kids were coming down the street; he couldn’t help noticing how hot and bored they looked. “Can Do” Street was in the midst of a heat wave. It was too hot to ride bikes, or play ball, or even swim in the pool, since the water was so warm it felt like taking a bath.

Grandpa John Front

Grandpa John decided the “Can Dos” need an ice cream break before they went over to Orrie’s for a play date.

When the “Can Dos” got to his store, Grandpa John invited them in for ice cream cones. When the “Can Dos” were all seated in the air-conditioned store, enjoying their ice cream, Grandpa John asked, “Who can tell me when we first began to eat ice cream in the U.S. A.? Their blank looks told him it was story time…ice cream story time.

Grandpa John cleared his throat and began talking, “Ice cream,  has a long history in the Americas. Some of my Mexican friends have told me that the Aztec emperor Moctezuma (referred to today as Montezuma) had servants climb the snow-capped volcanic mountains for snow to mix with fruit juices as a hot-weather treat.

In 1744 Barbara Janssen Bladen, daughter of Lord Baltimore and wife of Proprietary Colonial Governor of Maryland, Sir Thomas Bladen, first served ice cream in the American colonies. Ice cream, at that time, was a fashion of the rich.

The sweet treat did not become popular in this country until after the American Revolution, when the Americans had continued contact with the French.

Thomas Jefferson learned how to make ice cream during his time in Paris as the United States’ Ambassador to France. He collected many recipes while in France, but ice cream was one of his favorites. Many visitors to Monticello, Jefferson’s home in Virginia, had  ice cream during their meals there.

Americans’ love for ice cream has only increased over the years. Mary Todd Lincoln held berry parties which featured seasonal strawberries and ice cream served on the side. An American named

Abe Doumar is said to have created the first ice cream cone, on July 23, 1904, at the World’s Fair in St. Louis. When he ran out of ice cream dishes to serve his ice cream in, he served the ice cream in rolled-up thin waffles.”

By the time Grandpa John finished his ice cream story, the “Can Dos” were finished their cones and anxious to get to Orrie’s house. Grandpa John packed a cone in a freezer bag for Orrie, and gave it to Willie to carry.

As they walked to Orrie’s, Hector said, “Grandpa John has good stories for everything.” Bobby added, “Yeah, and they sound even better when you’re eating ice cream.” Everyone laughed and agreed that Grandpa John’s stories were best told with ice cream.

History of Ice Cream Source: U.S. Government Printing Office’s (GPO) Government Book Talk

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When a Friend Moves Away

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

nellieGrandpa John is busy sweeping the sidewalk, in front of his store, when he sees Nellie coming down the street. He can see that Nellie is crying. She looks so sad!

When Nellie gets to where Grandpa John is sweeping, he asks softly, “Why Nellie, what’s wrong? Can I help in any way?”

Nellie stops in front of Grandpa John. She sniffles, wipes away her tears and says, “I’m so sad. My best friend, Minnie, is moving away today. She and her family are moving across the country because Minnie’s dad got a new job.” Then Nellie starts crying all over again.

Grandpa John says, “Nellie, let’s grab a bottle of juice and sit down and talk about this.”

They go into the store, and Grandpa John grabs two bottles of all-natural fruit juice. He opens them, and he gives one to Nellie. They sit down on two wicker chairs in the corner of the store, and Nellie begins to talk about Minne’s leaving.

“Minnie is my best friend. We play together every day, after school, and on weekends. What will I do without her? When will I see her again? Who will I tell all my important stuff to?” A big tear rolls down Nellie’s cheek and she starts sniffling again.

“Now just wait a minute, Nellie,” says Grandpa John. “This isn’t the end of your friendship with Minnie. If you have a computer, and I know you do, and if you have a webcam (a camera with your computer), you can see and talk to Minnie every day, for free.”

Nellie stops sniffling and says, “Do I need a special software program to do that? Does it cost money?”

Grandpa John smiles and answers, “You need Skype, which you can download for free.”

“Oh great,” answers Nellie. “Minnie’s dad works for a computer company, so no problem for her to get and use Skype, but me, who helps me?”

Grandpa John answers,”Well, it just so happens that my grandson, Orrie, uses Skype all the time. I’ll ask him to come over to your house tomorrow, and help you install and use Skype. ”

With that, Nellie gets up, thanks Grandpa John, and starts out the door. Grandpa John calls after her, “Where are you going?”

Nellie calls back, as she runs to catch Minnie before she leaves, “I’m going to make a Skype date with Minnie!”

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