10. Pheasant Hunt

10.   Pheasant Hunt

After I was presented with my 4-10 shotgun, Daddy suggested we go pheasant hunting.  I was certainly excited to go hunting with Daddy!

We crossed the highway and walked slowly through the tall grass in the field on the east side of our property.  Daddy carried his 10 gauge shotgun over his shoulder.  As I had been taught, I kept my gun carefully pointed safely at the ground in front of my feet.

Suddenly, a pheasant burst from the thick grass a few feet in front of me.  Startled, I jerked back, firing the gun!  The bird dropped dead, a direct hit!  I had accidentally bagged a prime rooster pheasant.

That night, as we enjoyed dinner, we had to carefully spit out the bee-bee shot in the bird meat.  Daddy said to me, “Robbie, next time let the bird get further away before you shoot.”  I said “sure”, but I was too embarrassed to tell him my shot was not on purpose, but an accident of my being startled.

I just enjoyed the compliments for bagging a pheasant on my first hunting trip.

After seeing the beautiful dead bird, and thinking how easy it was to accidentally fire a gun, I decided hunting was not for me.  We never went hunting again.

Danny the Dragon and The Ladybug Known as Lil are semifinalists for the 2019 Royal Palm Literary Awards competition!

Danny the Dragon and The Ladybug Known as Lil are semifinalists

                for the 2019 Royal Palm Literary Awards competition!

 

             

Danny the Dragon and The Ladybug Known as Lil are both semifinalists in the Children’s Picture Book category, for the Florida Writer’s 2019 Royal Palm Literary Awards competition!

The winners will be announced at the Florida Writers Association’s awards banquet Saturday, October 19.

Danny is following the same track in the contest in which Mouse in the Manger was a finalist, and Tommie Turtle’s Secret won Best Children’s and Book of the Year.  We are rooting for Danny to go all the way.

The Ladybug Known as Lil was entered as a Children’s Picture Book in the unpublished category, so there are no illustrations.  

We are very affirmed to have two books in the running, and would be delighted if one or both become finalists, and a winner.

If Ladybug advances to finalist, or wins, that might be enough to get the interest of a publisher and we could get another book out to the children.

9. Daddy the Medic

9.   Daddy the Medic

One hot summer day I asked Mom and Daddy to take me to Woodard Lake for a quick cool-off swim.  Woodard Lake was the closest place that had a swimming pavilion.

When we got there, I was dismayed that the place, bar and all, was closed and deserted.  The shallow water swimming area was fenced with chicken wire, but with Daddy’s approval, I climbed the fence and enjoyed showing off my swimming ability, and getting cool.

Then I put my foot down.  Ouch!  I stepped on a broken beer bottle and cut a big deep gash in my foot.  I clinched my teeth, and climbed back over the wire fence, bleeding profusely.

During the short ride home, I was in the back seat, with my leg up, and holding my foot as tight as I could.  Still bleeding profusely, I asked if we were going to the hospital.  Mom said, “no, Daddy was a medic in the army, he’ll fix it at home,”

At home, Daddy cut a “butterfly” fastener out of adhesive tape, and fastened the edges of my cut tightly together.  Then he wrapped my foot in gauze bandage which quickly turned red with the oozing blood.  Daddy said, “Don’t worry, it will stop soon.

I did worry, but the bleeding stopped, and the foot healed.  Daddy to the rescue!

8. Life-Saving Rescue

8.   Life-Saving Rescue

I did a lot of “pretend” games when I was seven or eight and playing alone on Grandpa’s farm. One day I was playing “Commando” climbing in the big maple tree across the driveway from the kitchen door of the house.

My Commando popgun rifle was strapped over my shoulder as I climbed down from the tree. I had to slide through a forked branch and then drop to the ground. When I slid by the branch, my hand slipped and the popgun caught in the fork, with the shoulder strap around my neck. I was trapped! I would be strangled if I let go of the branch! My mind raced as I tried to pull myself up enough to free my neck from the strap tight around my throat.

By God’s provision, Daddy was passing through the kitchen.  He looked out the screen door, and saw my plight.  He slammed through the door, leaped off the porch, and ran to wrap his arms around my legs and lift me up so I could get the gun strap off. Daddy lowered me to the ground, and said calmly, “No more tree climbing today.”

Daddy saved my life!

 (The tree in the picture is the tree where this experience occurred.)

7. Move to the Farm

7.  Move to the Farm

When I was seven, “Gag Ga” (Grandma) Howe passed away, and we moved up to the farm north of Ionia Michigan so it would not have to be sold.

It was 1942. Pearl Harbor was attacked the previous December, and the United States was at war. To a boy of seven, a move from “Big City Detroit” to my grandparent’s farm in the country in central Michigan, was like moving almost to heaven.

“One hundred sixty acres,” Mom said. The house, barn and buildings were on forty acres west of Michigan Highway 66 that ran north and south dividing the property. East of the highway was 120 acres of fields divided by a lane that stretched to distant trees.

For Daddy, moving back near Ionia was moving back to his “roots”. His parents, John and Gazella Hicks, lived on a farm south of Ionia, another quarter section of 160 acres on a dirt road past Tuttle cemetery. There was a stand of maple trees at the back.

Unlike our place which was no longer a working farm, Grampa John was still a subsistence farmer with cows and horses, geese and chickens roaming the yard, and huge hogs in a mud hole close to the house.

Our house was a big old, two-story farmhouse my grandfather Zala built at the turn of the twentieth century, finishing about 1903. Mom said that Grandpa had somehow used work horses to combine three houses to make the house. There were six bedrooms and a basement. Grampa and Grampa Hicks’ house was one bedroom upstairs, and a “great room”, parlor and bedroom downstairs. This is where Daddy grew up in his childhood.

Behind our house was a large shop building with a garage attached to one side. A tiny brick chicken coop housing a few chickens sat in the shade of a tall mulberry tree behind the garage. Daddy later built a big chicken coop connecting the back of the garage to the brick coop.

My other grandparents’ house was set way back from the road. There were several small sheds for storage and where the chickens retreated at night.  A small barn housed the cattle and horses. I do not know why I never went to Grandpa John’s barn.

Daddy drove 4 miles to Ionia for his job at AC Spark Plug. Gasoline was rationed, but spark plugs were a critical wartime product, so Daddy had lots of gas coupons.

We did do some farm crops; wheat, oats, and hay put in the barn. But, the crops did not make much money. Daddy bought a tractor with a plow and a mowing attachment to cut hay. I was proud that Daddy let me drive the tractor, and actually plow the field west of the barn for a crop one year.

Christmas In Hawaii

Christmas in Hawaii

by Robert Z. Hicks

It’s Christmas in Hawaii and there isn’t any snow.
Christmas lights in palm trees are swaying to and fro.
The sun is bright and warm, and shining all day.
Can Santa really come, with no snow for his sleigh?

It’s Christmas in the islands, and all over town,
Keikis packing slippers and their best sleeping gown.
They’re goin’ sleep at grandma’s hale, and see the family.
They’ll hang mistletoe and holly, and trim a Christmas tree.

They’ll be making cookies, malasadas and more,
To share with the neighbors who live next door.
There’ll be barbecue chicken and Christmas kaukau,
And haupia pudding and ono laulau.

The keikis all snuggle up cozy in their beds,
While visions of Li Hing mui dance in their heads,
When up on the rooftop they hear “pitter patter”.
Hoof beats of reindeer? Naw, just rain, it’s no matter.

Down by the beach someone yelling, “Yoo-hoo!
Santa comin’, in one outrigger canoe,
Pulled by dolphins jumping out of the blue.”
With presents for the keikis, and tutu too.

“Gather ‘round all kanes and wahines too,
There’s lots of presents for all of you.”
Quick as a wink Santa gave gifts to all,
To Maile a muumuu, and to Kimo a ball.

Then Santa with a shaka sign to you and to me,
Jumped in da canoe and set out to sea.
He called “Mele Kalikimaka”, as he sailed out of sight,
“Aloha nui loa, and to all a good night.”

Bob Hicks
Christmas 2007

**********************

Hawaiian Vocabulary

Keikis                    children
Hale                       house or home
Malasadas            deep-fried doughnut – may be filled with pork, coconut, etc.
Kaukau                  food
Haupia                   coconut pudding
LauLau                   pork or fish wrapped in taro or luau leaf
Li Hing mui            candy made from salty plums.
Tutu                        grandma or grandparents
Kanes                     boys
Wahines                 girls or young women
Muumuu                 a loose, brightly colored dress
Shaka sign             sign of friendly intent or  “Hang Loose”
Mele Kalikimaka     Merry Christmas
Aloha nui loa          much love

The Mouse Who Saved Christmas

THE MOUSE WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS

By Robert Z. Hicks

T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, except for a mouse.
He crept to the kitchen and stopped by a chair,
To nibble at breadcrumbs that had tumbled down there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of candy canes danced in their heads.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Saint Nicholas would soon be there.

When up on the housetop there rose such a clatter,
The mouse jumped in alarm and thought, “What’s the matter?”
Down through the chimney came a round little man,
With a bright red suit and a Florida tan.

Over his shoulder was a bag full of toys,
Dolls for the girls, and games for the boys.
Out in the kitchen, still tarrying there,
The mouse heard a scuffle and sounds of despair.

He ran down the hall to a terrible scene,
Santa tangled in cobwebs from last Halloween!
Caught like a fly, he turned and he twisted,
The more to be tangled, the more he resisted.

The mouse was dismayed by an awful thought,
“What will happen to Christmas if Santa stays caught?”
No thought for his safety, he knew what to do,
He leaped to the cobwebs and began to chew.

His teeth flashed in the light from the Christmas tree,
And in no time at all, he had chewed Santa free.
“Oh thank you kind sir,” said Santa to the mouse.
“You’ve saved me, and Christmas, so for you and your spouse,

I’ve two pounds of cheese and chocolates to share,
And a castle to live in under the stair.”
Santa dished out the presents in the blink of an eye,
Then whisked up the chimney with a wink for goodbye.

Stars twinkled above as he jumped to his sleigh,
“Up Dancer, up Prancer, let’s be on our way.
Merry Christmas,” Santa called, as he zoomed out of sight.
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Special Offer

Doing any “Cyber Monday” shopping for Christmas?  We’re offering “Danny the Dragon” in a special with my other two books.

Take a look at the fantastic interactive web page the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) set up for “Danny the Dragon” for Christmas shopping.

Click this link: https://www.scbwi.org/scbwibookstop-display/?id=541823 (This link ends Dec 6)

Sign the guest book and click on the various “blocks” to discover some interesting facts about “Mr. Bob”.  Enjoy

SPECIAL  — instead of clicking on ” Buy the Book”,  give us a call for our Cyber special:  727-842-8314

Buy “Danny the Dragon” and “Mouse in the Manger”, and get “Tommie Turtle’s Secret”” FREE.  Thats all three books for $25, and FREE shipping in the US.

This special offer ends Dec 6th!  Gives us plenty of time to ship it to you before Christmas.

6. My First Memories of Daddy

6.  My First Memories of Daddy

Leland Victor Hicks married Ferne L. Howe on June  2, l921 in Ionia, Michigan.

Leland was 27 years old, Ferne was 25.  Next to Ferne in the picture is Nellie Payne, Ferne’s best friend.  There is no mention of who the man on the right is in the picture.

Mom and Daddy moved to Detroit in 1926; perhaps in order to get a job.  Their daughter Jan was born in Detroit, August 20, 1927.  I, Robert Zala Hicks, was also born in Detroit, July 25, 1935.  I was named Robert, because they liked the name Bob which Daddy used.  Zala was Grandpa Howe’s first name. 

My memories of Daddy started when I was five years old.  Mom told me he took a correspondence course in Accounting and worked at Fisher Body.  They wanted him to keep two sets of books, one for the IRS and one for them with the real numbers, so he quit, and got a job keeping books at a local Buick dealer, Louis Rose Buick Inc.  Daddy told us that the Detroit gangsters came to his dealership to buy their Buicks.

Daddy and some friends formed a German band; Daddy with his big bass horn, Scotty played trumpet, Steve on the trombone, and Otto playing clarinet.  They wore red and white striped shirts and black Derbies.  It was fascinating to watch Steve put a big glass mug of beer on his trombone slide while they played a fast polka…and never spill a drop.  They played almost every weekend at picnics, parties and anniversaries.

When WW11 started, they changed the name to a Polish Band, and played more polkas.  Daddy volunteered for the army, but was rejected because he was too old.

I remember air raid drills.  We closed all the window curtains, and turned out all the lights as part of a “blackout”.  When I peeked out, I could hear sirens wailing, and see searchlights waving through the sky, occasionally highlighting small dirigibles that were supposed to “catch” airplanes. 

Daddy bought me a Mickey Mouse wristwatch which a big kid at school broke, so I was glad when my folks said we were leaving Detroit.

5. Memories of Daddy – Souvenirs

5.  Memories of Daddy – Souvenirs

 Daddy brought an amazing number of souvenirs from Germany, along with the vase from France I mentioned last time. I wanted to share with you the interesting stories behind some of them.

The “churchwarden” or in German, the ”Lesepfeife” or “reading pipe,” was a tobacco pipe with a long stem. Obviously, the longer distance the smoke had to travel made for a cooler smoke, and kept the smoker or reader away from the smoke and heat from the combustion.

 The metal in the middle with the stripes at the top may have had something to do with Daddy’s rank of Corporal, and his grade of “Musician”.

The medal on the leather strap was the Michigan National Guard. The medal with the bars attached had a name of a battle on each bar, such as “Meuse – Argonne” the major decisive battle I mentioned in Blog # 3. 

The Purple Heart is recognized by most people, and was awarded because Daddy was wounded by the arial bomb. 

When I found these German marks showing 100,000, I thought maybe we were rich. Wow!

Checking, I found out they were of no value, because wartime currency was out of date.