Señor Don Gato – We Meet Again!

Music is what feelings sound like.  ~Author Unknown

This blog post is dedicated to my sister’s cat Toshi (a.k.a. Lester) who used up his nine lives and sadly no amount of fish will re-animate him.  Rest-in-peace Lester!  You’ve had a good adventure, now a new song must be sung.

Laughing About Nothing … Cats!


John Manders signed the Señor Don Gato book for Kyle! He signed it to Señor Don Kyle! Love it! I love the Señor Don Gato song! c. 2004

During our most recent adventure to Parker Dam Home Away From Home – Parker Dam, I was reintroduced to an old friend, Señor Don Gato.  Who is this foreigner who seems like he would be friends with Zorro?  He was a childhood friend who I introduced to Kyle years ago.

How did Señor Don Gato make it to Parker Dam?  No one knows, but while we were splashing around in the Parker Dam creek, he came out of nowhere to make our fun even more enjoyable.

Seems like every time we go to Parker Dam, we head down to the creek, which is the overflow of water straight from Parker Lake itself.  We take the dogs there to splash around and stretch out their legs, not to mention Kyle and I enjoy the cold wet fun too.  While spending this past weekend at Parker Dam, on Saturday we participated in our side activity, just like from trips before, except my sister joined us.  As we trudged through the rocky cold water, looking for rocks or trying to make a new discovery, Kyle busted out in tune.  Can you guess?  Yes! Señor Don Gato!

Being in a little bit of shock, since I don’t remember the last time I heard Kyle singing that song, let alone thinking he remembered it, I listened to him stumble over the words for a moment.   Eventually, I joined in and we went off on our adventure like a couple of hobbits singing and experiencing the surrounding nature.


Nicole & Kyle splashing around in the Parker Dam creek with the dogs. 6/15/13

You see Señor Don Gato was a song we sang in elementary school, Sacred Heart.  Me, being a lover of all things cats, I loved the song instantly!   I remember sitting on the floor in the classroom having music class with Miss Gasper and going over the lyrics.  Keep in mind this was the first time I had ever heard of Señor Don Gato, so I really didn’t know how the story ended.  When we got to the part when he died, I started to shed a few tears for poor old Señor Don Gato.  My heart was broken.  Then, as we continued reading the lyrics, I was so happy for Señor Don Gato.  Literally, I fell that deeply into this song.  I believe it made our spring musical one year, although I can’t remember which classroom had the honor of singing it.

It was one of the few non religious songs we sang.  Not that I didn’t enjoy the other tunes, but something about Señor Don Gato really captured me.  It was as if I could see the story unfold in my head as we sand along.  I saw him reading the letter, I saw him leaping from the rooftop, I saw the funeral pass the market square and I could smell the fish.  (In my mind it smelt like Sea World which almost made me puke when I was there!)  Naturally, I never forgot it and Señor Don Gato has stayed with me ever since.  So much so, that when Kyle was just able to talk, I started teaching him the lyrics.  I’m pretty sure I sang the tune to him when he was little too.  For some reason I wanted to make sure he was exposed to the clever lyrics of Señor Don Gato during his childhood.  I knew he would love it as much as I did.

Fun facts according to Wikipedia:

The lyrics are loosely translated from the traditional Spanish song “Estaba el señor Don Gato”, but the melody is from a different song, “Ahora Que Vamos Despacio”.  There is also a French version of “Estaba el señor Don Gato” called “Monsieur le Chat”.

I thought everyone knew of this fun and silly song, however as I moved along through my adult life, I found it was sadly the opposite.  Yes there were a few, but the majority had no idea what I was talking about when mentioning old Señor Don Gato.


Kyle having a great time singing & splashing in the Parker Dam creek! We were singing Señor Don Gato, an all time favorite of both of ours. 6/15/13

Until one day, I saw John Manders, a very talented and one of my favorite illustrators of present day, illustrated the book Señor Don Gato!  This was around 2004, and he was going to be at a Barnes & Noble store in Pittsburgh demonstrating and reading from another one of his illustrated books.  I wanted to take Kyle so bad, but alas it was one of the few weekends he was not with us.  So I went with my previously purchased book to have him sign it.  What a great guy!  I met him on a few other occasions in the past, usually at art exhibits. He signed the book to Señor Don Kyle!  That was great!

That book and another one, both signed and illustrated by John Manders, was my gift to Kyle for either Easter or his birthday that year, I can’t remember.  It was a hit!  He recognized the song and to have it illustrated out before his eyes was a real treat.  Not to mention having the books signed directly to him made it personal.

I’m so glad another generation will carry on the legacy of old Señor Don Gato!

For those of you who do not know the song or those that need refreshed on the lyrics, please sing along below!


Oh Señor Don Gato was a cat,
On a high red roof Don Gato sat.
He went there to read a letter,
Meow, meow, meow
Where the reading light was better,
Meow, meow, meow
T’was a love note for Don Gato.

I adored you wrote the lady cat.
Who was fluffy, white, and nice and fat.
There was not a sweeter kitty
Meow, meow, meow
In the country or the city
Meow, meow, meow
And she said she’d wed Don Gato.

Oh, Don Gato jumped so happily,
He fell off the roof and broke his knee.
Broke his ribs and all his whiskers,
Meow, meow, meow
And his little solar plexus,
Meow, meow, meow
Ay carramba! cried Don Gato.
(when Kyle would sing this he would say, “I cry and I cry Don Gato.”)

When the doctors all came on the run,
Just to see if something could be done.
And they held a consultation,
Meow, meow, meow
About how to save their patient,
Meow, meow, meow
How to save Señor Don Gato.

But in spite of everything they tried,
Poor Señor Don Gato up and died.
Oh it wasn’t very merry,
Meow, meow, meow
Going to the cemetery,
Meow, meow, meow
For the ending of Don Gato.

As the funeral passed the market square,
Such a smell of fish was in the air.
Though his burial was slated,
Meow, meow, meow
He became re-animated,
Meow, meow, meow
He came back to life Don Gato!

Below is a video of us splashing around the creek at Parker Dam.  Me, Nicole, Kyle, Seven and Scooby had a blast!  6/15/13

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Church,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Ingrained in the Wood

Haldir had gone on and was now climbing to the high flet. As Frodo prepared to follow him, he laid his hand upon the tree beside the ladder: never before had he been so suddenly and so keenly aware of the feel and texture of a tree’s skin and of the life within it. He felt a delight in wood and the touch of it, neither as forester nor as carpenter; it was the delight of the living tree itself.  ~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings


Dad sharpening his chainsaw blade, while Kyle watches. I guess he doesn’t realize he can push back his hat to see instead of stretching his neck?

Sometimes I have stories to tell, and sometimes I just want to write a dissertation on observations from the Piper family.  This one is just plain funny.  Who knows, maybe there are others like dad or have a different infinity for something.  I guess some people notice old cars, or landscaping or birds, dad notices trees and piles of wood.

I guess that’s where I’m going to start, with wood.  Yes!  The only renewable resource placed on our planet that covers approximately 9.4% of the Earth’s surface, 30% of the total land area, or so I’m told by Wikipedia.  The sometimes tall, always intriguing and beautiful structures projecting upward towards the heavens from the ground.  Yes, woods, trees, forest, all of the above.  Dad has this affinity for the resource, rather an obsession.

Now let me step back and mention he started working at nine years of age making posts.  Can you image any child now-a-days working that young?  I mean working hard.  Well, he did.  Maybe that’s what started his appreciation for wood and his gravitation toward it.  It probably helped.  My guess, it was his career of being a woodsman, a logger that did the trick.  My pap, my Uncle Sonny and my dad owned a sawmill for years.  Dad was in charge of scouting out new timber, cutting down the logs and hauling them to the sawmill to be cut into boards.  So naturally his eyes were always on timber and of course he can name the local species of tress.  Or at least he used to, he’s slipping in his old age.


Dad’s truck he used to haul logs with from the sawmill.

When I think of my dad, the smell of cut wood comes to mind.  No joke!  When I was little and dad would come home from a long day of manual labor, he would bring some of his work home with him.  It came in the form of sawdust in his pant legs.  Dad’s not very tall, so he always had to cuff the legs on his jeans.  Then, when he was cutting down trees, the sawdust would make their way into the protection of his pant cuffs.  Before dad would walk into the house, he would sit on the top step of the porch and unroll his jeans to release all the tiny bits of wood he was dragging around with him.  I love that smell!  To this day, when I catch the whiff of fresh cut wood, dad comes to my mind and a sense of my childhood.  A truly comforting feeling!  I can’t help but try and consume the fragrance of fresh cut wood, it’s such a sweet scent and I want it all for myself.


Uncle Sonny at our saw mill  c. late 1980’s

But then again, wood, might just come from our genes, not jeans, unless we’re talking about dad’s pant cuffs.  Then yes, wood chips and sawdust did come from there.  But let’s talk about the Piper DNA.  I do believe while being conceived there is a wood gene that enters each one of us, some more than others.  Maybe I should step back even further.  The Piper’s have a long legacy of logging and working in the lumber industry.  There wasn’t just one Piper sawmill, but many.  Are they all related?  Pretty much, somewhere down the family tree, so to speak.

Do I have a strong affection for wood?  The more I think about it, I kind of do.  Not to the extreme of dad, but it’s definitely there.  I love the texture, the look, the smell of wood and everyone knows I love being in the woods, much like dad.  He always did love spending time among the trees.


Uncle Sonny walking around Shober’s camp, near Parker Dam

So what brought up this realization?  Dad of course.  For years now, dad has been known to be caught checking out other peoples woods and trees.  Heck, he just doesn’t check out their trees on their property, he notices their wood pile.  Yes!  If someone has wood stacked or just piled up in their yard, especially if they’re logs, his eyes automatically gravitates toward it.  Usually followed by a comment of something like, “Ooo check out their wood pile!” or “Wow they have some nice wood.” or “That’s a nice stockpile they have, looks like they’re ready for winter.” even if it’s the middle of summer.  Yes this has been going on for as long as I can remember, no matter where we’re at.

Once when we were visiting Nicole, outside of Washington, D.C. we went out for breakfast one morning.  While everyone was working their way out of the restaurant, dad walked to the other side of the parking lot, which faced a little patch of woods and stood and stared.  Can you believe he stood there examining the trees?   Out of curiosity, thinking dad might have saw something, I stood beside him and looked on.  Finally I said, “What are we looking at?” Without taking his eyes off of the trees, he said “I was just seeing what kind of timber they have.”  Then he began naming the species of wood and the nice trees.  I just walked away.


The side of our sawmill

All these years I thought it was just dad who seriously lives in the mind of trees.  Nope, a couple of weeks ago as a matter of fact, I was meeting with my cousins Jimmy Scanlon and Marie-Paule.  We were going over the details of the Chad Delier Scanlon Golf Outing they organize every year in memory of their son, who passed away from a brain tumor.  (It’s all in The Chad Delier Scanlon Story)  I don’t know how we got on the subject, but I brought up dad’s obsession with wood, trees and wood piles.  Sasha, their daughter, started laughing and said, “He does the same thing!” as she pointed toward her dad Jimmy.  I was in utter amazement!  It’s true, there are others!  Jimmy just laughed and confirmed what Sasha said was true.   That blew me away!  So it must be in the genes!

After saying all this, I will admit when Nicole and I were in Forks, Washington Rain Forest, Forks, Beach… All in One Day! Twilight Pilgrimage Part 2, which happens to be the logging capital of the world, or at least they used to be, I noticed everyone, and I mean everyone had stockpiles of wood in their yards.  As we drove around to see the sights, I would notice all the wood piles.  I’m guessing since that town is so remote and they have access to cut timber, burning wood is their source of heat for the winter.  Yes!  I was doing what dad does, however I kept telling Nicole, “Boy if dad was here he’d be checking out all the wood piles!”  We both laughed at that very true statement.  Ironically enough, I was indirectly checking out the wood piles as well, on behalf of dad.  I even told him when I got back, “Dad you would be drooling over all the piles of wood in everyone’s yards!”  Mom just rolled her eyes, but that caught dad’s attention.

I’m guessing everyone has their thing, dad’s just happens to be wood, which I have no doubt inherited proudly.  One day I hope to take him out west to Washington to see those trees!  I believe that’s on his bucket list.  I truly hope dad never looses his interest in wood, for I fear it would be the end of dad.

Below is a video of dad running my cousin Merle and Bruce’s forward logging truck.  Personally I shot to the video because it has been awhile since dad loaded wood like that, and I thought I would catch him doing something funny.  Nope!  He showed me, he jumped into the rhythm in a matter of minutes just like he’s been loading every day of his life.  Actually, it was pretty cool to capture a rare video of dad working with in his comfort zone.

Dad saw the junk pile of wood and didn’t want it thrown away and wasted, he wanted to at least burn it.  So that’s what brought us there, dad and his observation for wood!

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Hunting & Fishing,Observation & Imagination,Pets,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Home Away From Home – Parker Dam

Home is where the heart is.  ~Pliny the Elder


Mom, Kyle & dad are packed & heading to Parker Dam. The boys (Seven & Scooby) are in the back. 6/13/13

Making another voyage to Parker Dam this past weekend, proved to be as nice of a time, as our other trips.  It was funny though, for some reason I really payed attention to my neighbors.  First, I’d like to explain that we always camp in the area approved for dogs.  Our favorite spot is lot number 90.  A nice little section out of the way, just outside the woods and near the restrooms and not far from the showers.

On Saturday, when Kyle and I were coming back from the Parker Dam beach, while riding my bike waiting for Kyle to drop his attitude and catch up to me, which incidentally he was moving so slow he could have grew moss, I people watched.  On a side note, I was reminded of something said to me last time we were riding our bikes at Parker Dam.  Kyle said, “Aunt Heather, we are on self propelled two wheel transportation devices.”  I have no idea where that came from, but it shot out of his mouth and almost made me fall off of my bike.  Anyway, as I peddled along, for some reason I really paid attention to the eclectic group of individuals staying on the camp grounds.  Some visitors only stay a night and move on, while others set up camp for what seems like a lifetime.   As different and unique as our fingerprints, same goes for the camp site setups and their dwellings.


Sunday morning it rained at Parker Dam. Look at Nicole heading to the restrooms! I was dying when I saw her…yep she blends. Is she going to the bathroom or hunting? 6/16/13

Looking around at the different types of campers, meaning the vehicle they reside in while camping, not a reference to the person, I was utterly amazed!  Some camp sites are very rugged, getting back to the basics with a simple tent on the ground, while others set up a second home complete with satellite TV and a name plate posted in front of their temporary residence.  To be honest, I never noticed everyone else before.  We tend to stay to our own little rented out corner until it’s time to depart.  Personally, I really don’t care what everyone else it doing.   I, like my family, enjoy a little solitude and peace with nature, however as I peddled along my eyes were wide open.  I couldn’t believe what I saw!  I mean lights strung up in all shapes and sizes including chili peppers and ice-cream cones; a neon palm tree stuck in the ground with pink flamingos positioned all around; potted plants hanging from awnings; and huge tents to fit a wedding party staked to the ground.  Can you believe others take all that extra time for such embellishments while camping?  You better believe it!

I’m a pretty simple traveler no matter the destination Traveling Habits, only taking the essentials, not extra stuff.  That certainly holds true for camping.  Before we left and started packing up the camper, I thought to myself, ‘Boy this is a lot of work just for one weekend.  Is this really worth it for a two hour trip, a three day stay in a camper?’  I can’t imagine how long it takes those elaborate campers to pack up for their weekend stay, let alone set up camp.

You know, at first I can sit back and kind of make fun and laugh, but the more I looked, the more I noticed something, these little pieces of grassy lots holding all this stuff, is a home.  It certainly is that way for us.  In fact, there was a couple of times mom would say, “When we get back home”, meaning our camper.   It’s true what they say, ‘Home Is Where the Heart Is’.  And as I watched everyone have a great time, their heart was fully into camping, maybe not so ruggedly but the experience was there.  It almost made me feel like I was a part of something bigger.


Seven & Scooby are packed & ready to head out to Parker Dam. They love the ride! 6/13/13

My parents had a neighbor, the Davis’ who used to take their RV camping.  They even had an electric golf cart so they could drive around the camp grounds visiting friends and socializing.  We are not that outgoing, but we did manage to break away for our isolation to chit chat with a few of our neighbors, who were nice and very interesting.  The one lady was in a wheelchair, yet she liked to camp, so their beast of a camper called the Wolf Pack folded down in the rear, allowing her to drive her motorized transportation up into her safe haven.

There was another lady walking her dog and kitten.  Yep!  Kitten!  A cute little tiger striped eight week old kitten.  The fury feline walked alongside the lady and her husband, while he walked their dog.  Now that kitten got me to stop and make a friend, as did Kyle.  He was obsessed with the fur ball!  When I told her I also brought my cat, she said, “O ya!  I had to, she’s still on the bottle and I didn’t want to leave her with my other cats.  I thought people would think I’m weird, camping with a cat.”  I totally laughed and said, “Cats are as much apart of the family as dogs are!”  Yep, we were surrounded by interesting and really down to earth people.

The weekend turned out to be another enjoyable trip.   It started off on Thursday night.  Kyle rode up with mom, dad, Seven and Scooby and the camper packed full, while Nicole and I left Friday during the day.  We were suppose to leave Latrobe around nine, however my sister convinced herself it was Saturday and apparently she wakes up later on the weekends.  Me?  I prefer to get up the same time all week long so my body is used to it and it becomes habit. Now I’m not saying I do wake up at 5:00 am every day of the week, but I do set that alarm to keep me in the rhythm.  Anyway, Nicole didn’t get up until around 8:00 am and she had a four hour drive to get me.  What?  Really?  Yep!  She finally got to the house at 1:00 pm and we made it to camp around 3:00 pm.  Not bad, even though I was looking forward to fishing with dad and Kyle in the morning, but no harm done.  Dad said the fish weren’t biting anyway.

Throughout our time at Parker Dam, we did a little biking, a little swimming and playing in the sand at the beach, we traipsed around with the dogs in the creek, made mountain pies and s’mores over the camp fire and relived the last time we were at Parker Dam.  Somewhere between Kyle’s need of an attitude adjustment and the fun and pleasant young man I know, he was singing uncontrollably.  All sorts of songs, including Christmas tunes.  What really brought a smile to my face and a song to the my lips, is when we were cautiously walking around in the creek and Kyle started singing Señor Don Gato!  I love that song!  I taught it to Kyle when he was just able to speak.  What brought that on?  I have no idea, but it was the perfect song for singing, while splashing around in a creek, in the middle of the woods.

Saturday night they had movie night!  They played Brave at their outside amphitheater.  It was really cool watching a movie in the middle of the woods outside in the nice cool air, while sitting under a blanket.  I loved it!  Almost like the drive in, only better!  While we were there we met a lady who was originally from Latrobe.  Incidentally, she was good friends of my parent’s neighbor, who were also friends of the family, the Ferry’s.  What a small a world!


Check out the Piper bonfire! We never do anything small, not even hanging around a campfire at Parker Dam. 6/16/13

Funny story:  Sorry I can’t remember her name, but she is a manager of the park.  She also previously came across my blog, finding it on her Google alerts for Parker Dam.  She read my last few blog posts about our camping experiences at the park.  Smart lady, doing her homework and hearing first hand what others are saying.  I can only say good things about Parker Dam.  The facilities and amenities are very clean and really nice and the park rangers are very pleasant and respectful.  I’m not the only one who thinks so.  I have a friend who goes there twice a year, they’ve been doing since she was a little girl.  Well done!  Two thumbs up for Parker Dam!

Sunday morning rained.  Did we care?  Nope not at all!  We were in our very own dry safe haven.  It was just like being at home.  Nicole, Kyle and I played card games, Three of a Kind was the game of choice, although sometimes we broke out a mean game of war.  I brought the chess set, however it never made its appearance.  Kyle and I both read, I was working on Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring and his journey took place in Lord of the Rings The Two Towers.  Mom, dad, the dogs and Storm?  They laid around and nodded off and on.

With all this “stuff”, guess what also managed to make its appearance?  Yes you guessed it the Legos!  On Saturday night I sat with Kyle on our big rock by the camp fire and helped him set up the battle and played a little.  Funny story!  Kyle thought me and his Aunt Nikki were taking my car to camp so right before he departed on Thursday night with mom and dad, he loaded my car up Legos.  I mean loaded!  They covered the backseat, the passenger seat and the floor of all three places.  When I opened the door I thought I was at war.  Kyle said, “Ya that’s so when you get there, I would have already set up my battle and you can bring the reinforcements.”  Naturally, that’s exactly what I was thinking for our camping trip, to drag around a ton of Legos.  Only a few made the trip.

Now looking back on the weekend, and realizing what I am remembering are now memories, memories of fun, memories of togetherness, memories at our home away from home, I realize all the packing and hulling stuff, setting it up and tearing it down, ‘YES it was totally worth it!’  Can’t wait to do it again!

Read other adventures at Parker Dame

Fishing Towards Independence
Just Had to Take It to Parker Dam
Parker Dam State Park Story
Lego Love

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hunting & Fishing,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Lego Love

If you got to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you.  If you to to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you.  Whatever good things we build end up building us.  ~Jim Rohn


Kyle built his new Legos. His favorite activity even at Parker Dam. 5/18/13

Kyle, even at eleven years old, ready to go into the seventh grade, still has a love for Legos.  Mentioning it a time or two, or three or four (Another Lego Christmas, Kyle’s Lego Dream @LegoKidsFest 2012, Shopping Spree, Kyle Asks for Prayers, Happy Lego Birthday Kyle – 11 Years Old!, Seattle – Twilight Pilgrimage Part 4 and the list goes on and on), Kyle’s love of Legos is even stronger now than it ever has been.  This past Easter was no exception, as well as our last camping expedition.  In fact, just about everywhere we go and everything we do includes this building block activity.

Let’s start with Easter.  Unfortunately, I missed this past Easter.  I was seriously sick and just laid there like a slug.  Actually, I felt bad for two big reasons.  One, because I wanted to enjoy the holiday with my family and two, because I promised Kyle I would wake up with him at the crack of dawn, like I have done every year, to watch him find the Easter eggs.  Yes, he instructed us to hide the eggs, even though he is well aware the Easter bunny is not real.  The kid didn’t want to miss out on anything and that included looking for the pastel colored plastic eggs, usually filled with change.  Kyle is anything if consistent.

Side story!  Kyle’s youth group held an Easter egg hunt.  While they were setting it up, Kyle had to serve mass and missed being apart of the assembly of the event.  They let him participate since he didn’t know where the eggs were hidden.  Naturally, Kyle found the golden egg, which allowed him to take this chocolate bunny wrapped in gold foil embellished with a dangling collar ornament.  Mom, who picked our little man up after he was done said, “You should have seen Kyle.  He was so excited about participating he forgot he was upset.  He showed me his chocolate bunny.  He even pointed to the collar and said ‘OOo Gigi, look!’.  I tell ya what, that kid!  He always manages to come out on top.”  And he certainly does.


You’d think this smile was from the excitement of heading to Parker Dam for the weekend. I’m not entirely certain. 5/17/13

Kyle and the rest of the family enjoyed Easter, while I laid on my death bed.  I’d like to call out an observation I made.  Easter used to be a celebration of Jesus and it is, but it has certainly taken on another form, an almost Christmas gift giving quality.  To counter act this new trend, I make sure I take Kyle to the Stations of the Cross during lent.  I even reviewed the Stations of the Cross with him independently, in addition to CCD class and going to church.  Kyle knows the true meaning of Easter and Christmas, however he also has this affinity for those Legos.

Easter, arriving on Sunday, March 31st of this year was the same.  Kyle was at no shortage of Legos to put together and play with.  Did I break down and fall into the Lego frenzy?  Nope, I purchased Kyle a few books on how to play chess and an Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.  I must say, even though he loves his Legos, that goes without question, he did like the books.  Since then we’ve made a few recipes out of the cookbook and we’ve perused the chess books while playing a few mean games, picking up new tips.  Even though he appreciates his supply of Legos, I think the chess books took him off guard and was a pleasant surprise.  He loves to play chess and he’s pretty good at it.  He even wants to join the chess club at school, if they have one.  Knowing that, I wanted to encourage him.

Did he use the chess books as much as he played with the Legos, nope but that’s fine.  At least he plays with his Legos and still uses his imagination and enjoys himself.

I’m just going to discuss his Lego love from this past spring.  Nicole and Kyle have this on going deal.  When he gets A’s on his report card, she slips the kid some cash to spend on whatever he chooses.  Can you guess what he had his eye on this report card?  Yep, more Legos!  Seriously, I thought he owned them all!  I guess not.

The ordering process is down to a science.  Kyle picks out the Legos he wants, emails the Lego name and sku number to my sister and Nicole usually orders the goods to be delivered to the house.  That way he can track the packages and there is no hold up waiting for my sister to come home to drop off the Legos.

However, this one particular time there was a flaw in the system and the Legos never showed up.  Even though the online receipt was claiming it was delivered.  Kyle was stressed!  Who had his Lego?  Is he ever going to get another one?  And so on and so forth.   That sparked emails back and forth between me, mom and Nicole.  It was really funny, even though I know Kyle was sincerely stressed over the situation.  Eventually, Nicole had me go to the store to pick up the Lego to cool his horses.  I did, reluctantly.  I don’t think we should jump every time Kyle says how high, although he wasn’t pushy with us, just distressed.  Also, he did do a great job on his report card and earned that money fair and square.

Aunt Heather Piper 2-4-13

Would you believe months later, the neighbor realized they had the package all along and returned it to Kyle?  I’m not sure how someone doesn’t recognize a package delivered that has LEGO, written clearly across the top in bright letters.  I mean didn’t the sound of a million tiny little brick pieces give it away?  Not to mention, Kyle personally called and stopped over to see if Kyle’s mail found its way to the wrong house.  Whatever.

After the missing package resurfaced, I guess Kyle called my sister and asked what he should do with the Lego, since she already paid for this one and he got the same set, when I picked it up.  Another side note.  That was a nice gesture, Kyle could have just assumed he was getting that Lego or not mentioned it at all.  Yet, instead he called my sister right away to keep her in the loop.  Nicole told him to keep the Lego and have two.  A comment that sent pure happiness through Kyle.  A random surprise for the day.  For once no argument came from our little Lego lover.

Now let’s discuss this past report card, for the third quarter.  Yes, my little man got all A’s and a B in writing.  I’m perfectly fine with that!  He worked hard and did a great job!  His reward?  Ask his Aunt Nikki, who seems to be his Lego supplier.  He was rewarded with more Legos to build and play with, at his request.  His theme of choice for this batch?  Lego Star Wars.

Aunt Heather Piper 2-5-2013On May 17 – 19, just a few weeks ago, we went to Parker Dam for camping and fishing.  (Fishing Towards IndependenceJust Had to Take It to Parker Dam, Parker Dam State Park Story)  Mom and dad left earlier on that Friday before us.  I had to wait to get Kyle off of the bus before making our journey.  While we were packing and making our preparations, the Legos Nicole ordered came in.  All along prior to this time, Kyle would call Nicole and mom to check and see if the precious packages arrived.  Can you believe him?  Yep, it’s true!

Mom instructed me to put the new, highly anticipated Legos in my car.  What?  Are you kidding me?  We were going camping and fishing, not hanging out putting together Legos!  Reluctantly, I did as instructed and added the Legos to the contents of my car.  As Kyle got off the bus, he peeked inside the windows to see the huge boxes, a total of three were present.   The smile that erupted from his face was contagious and truly delightful!

Kyle-assembling-Legos-Parker-Dam-in-camper-Aunt Heather Piper5-18-13

Kyle hid away in the camper to put together his Legos. Kyle brings camping to a whole new meaning. 5/18/13

As soon as we got on our way, Kyle did his usual inspecting of the packaging and reading the number of pieces in each box, the characters supplied in each Lego set and so on and so forth.  I think he does that on purpose to build his excitement even more.  He couldn’t wait to bust open the boxes and go to town.


Close-up of Kyle assembling his Legos. A new way of camping at Parker Dam 5/18/13

Once we got to Parker Dam on Friday night, after Storm took off for the woods to play Jeremiah Johnson, Kyle opened a box of Legos and began to assemble.  He didn’t want to head down to meet up with his pap to fish, he didn’t want to help me look for my missing cat, he didn’t even want to get out his bike and go for a ride.  He wanted to build!  It’s like an addiction for him.  At least it’s a healthy learning one!

Literally, I had to pace him with the Legos and force him to think about other things while camping.  Once Kyle is involved or introduced to something else, he has a great time.  It’s just getting him to that point that can be tricky.  Throughout the weekend, we did manage to get our bikes rolling and explore the campsite a bit, as well as an unmarked dirt road.  On Sunday, we took the dogs for a walk in the nearby woods.  Even though we weren’t suppose to separate them from their leashes, we did so the boys could stretch out their legs.  After all, they were used to running free in the woods while we hiked.

But I bet the highlight to Kyle’s weekend, besides trudging through the creek and splashing with the dogs and getting all wet, was building and playing with those Legos.  Ok, maybe out fishing me made the top of his list too.

Saturday, after fishing in the morning, became the Lego building time.  Our camp fire was positioned by a large rock.  Kyle used that to play on.  It was his base of his Lego war.  As we hung around the campfire shooting the breeze, Kyle played with his Lego characters and their flying transportation devices.  He really enjoyed himself!

I guess any situation is a perfect situation with Legos, and any situation can be made a Lego good time.  Even if it was an enjoyable one without the primary colored building blocks.  I’m looking to sign Kyle up for Bricks for Kidz camp.  I bet he would enjoy that!

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,LEGO's,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Travels and have No Comments

Random Fun Facts: Tornado

tor·na·do  noun \tr-ˈnā-(ˌ)dō\ 

1.  archaic : a tropical thunderstorm
2.  a : a squall accompanying a thunderstorm in Africa  b : a violent destructive whirling wind accompanied by a funnel-shaped cloud that progresses in a narrow path over the land
3.  : a violent windstorm : whirlwind

Being astounded by fun facts, I decided to share my findings with everyone.  Sometimes I come across this information online, via television, books, word-of-mouth, etc.  You get the point.  This material is basically what I find interesting and it has caught my attention for one reason or another, usually at random.  Enjoy!

tornado form Aunt Heather Piper

Random Fun Facts: Tornadoes

This post may not be very random, after all with the recent events of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado destruction.  On Monday, May 20, 2013 a devastating EF5 tornado struck down Moore, Oklahoma, with winds of more than 210 miles per hour.   This natural disaster caused at least 23 deaths, more than 100 rescued, 237 injured and as many as 20,000 families displaced.  According to Fox News, this tornado is placed in the same class as the deadliest in United States history.  The one who owns this title hit Joplin, Missouri in 2011.  That twister killed more than 158 and injured hundreds.  As per Fox News:

An EF-5 is as bad as it gets,” said Joe D’Aleo, co-chief forecaster for WeatherBell Analytics. “It’s equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane. It means winds were more than 200 miles per hour, and it means you have to be underground, because there will be nothing left above ground.

While reading about recent tornado destruction, I found some really intriguing information.  Now I am no weather expert, so I am hoping all this information is one hundred percent accurate.

  • In the last 63 years, only 59 EF-5 tornadoes have touched down in the U.S.
  • One-tenth of a percent of all tornadoes are ranked an EF-5
  • Most powerful twisters cause 20% of all tornado damage & destruction
  • United States has the most powerful tornadoes
  • On the average, tornadoes only last a few minutes
  • Every tornado is unique – its own color, sound, shape
  • Tornadoes have been reported in every state during every season
  • Most tornadoes occur between 3 pm and 9 pm – although they can strike at any time

Pennsylvania Tornadoes

  • 1985 had the largest EF-4 tornado in Centre County (Moshannon Tornado)  – only 10 reported since 1950
  • Since 1950 only 650 tornadoes reported in PA
  • In Pennsylvania, a tornado bigger than EF-2 is rare
  • There have been a tornado reported in every month of the year in PA
  • The strongest storms happen in May
  • Severe weather primary time in PA is from April 27th to September 5th
  • The peak time of severe weather in PA is between July 1st through July 8th

Take from Weather Wiz Kids:

Weather Wiz Kids Aunt Heather Piper

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Parker Dam State Park Story

There are two big forces at work, external and internal.  We have very little control over external forces such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness and pain.  What really matters is the internal force.  How do I respond to those disasters?  Over that I have complete control.  ~Leo F. Buscaglia

Parker-Dam-State-Park-Aunt-Heather-PiperDuring a recent visit to Parker Dam State Park, Fishing Toward Independence, Just Had to Take It to Parker Dam, we naturally went down memory lane.  As we fished and shot the breeze by the campfire, dad brought up the time the tornado went through Parker Dam.  I totally forgot all about that!  With the most recent tornado disaster hitting Oklahoma, I guess tornadoes were on our minds.  This tornado, that hit home and presented a miracle and a happy ending for a group of boy scouts, was the subject discussed.  Kyle listened as we shined a light on local past news.

Just to recap, on Monday, May 20, 2013 a devastating EF5 tornado struck down Moore, Oklahoma, with winds of more than 210 miles per hour.   It was such a tragedy of 23 deaths, more than 100 rescued, 237 injured and as many as 20,000 families displaced.  What really hit home was the elementary school that was leveled out by the massive twister.  Sure natural disasters are upsetting and horrible, but when you’re pulling children out of rubble, it strikes another cord with onlookers and tends to pull on the heart strings a little bit more.


(FEMA Photo)  Devastation from the EF5 tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma on  May 20, 2013.

My thoughts and prayers are still with those who have lost loved ones and had their lives leveled in a single blow.

Moving from that natural disaster and reminiscing on another, the tornado at Parker Dam.

Fortunately, due to no loss in life and because of the remote location, most people don’t know a tornado even hit Parker Dam State Park in Clearfield County.  But it did!  On May 31, 1985 an EF4 tornado leveled about 100 miles of state forest with winds of up to 260 miles per hour.  It even pulled the water right out of the creeks.  Dad said, as far as he could see up and down the hills, trees were flattened.  “It was as if someone clear cut the woods” and left behind splinters in the wake.  “You could see all the way up and down the ridge.  It was something else.”

There were other outbreaks of tornadoes on the same day in Pennsylvania, and the one that hit Parker Dame was the longest lived, staying on the ground for a distance of 69 miles in an hour and a half, reaching Clearfield, Clinton, and Centre counties.  It was one of four EF4 tornadoes to touch down in Pennsylvania on that very same day.  A state who is no stranger to tornadoes, but not really accustomed to the natural disaster either, experienced a major change in the ordinary.


Parker Lake at Parker Dam State Park

Granted, the tornadoes that touched down in Pennsylvania don’t even compare to the Oklahoma tornado, yet the awesomeness of God’s had is still amazing.  Luckily, there weren’t a lot of people in the park when the tornado struck, with the exception of a few campers and a boy scout troop to tell the tale.

The really amazing thing was the zero death toll!  The tornado went right over the camp of boy scouts without touching them!  Granted it ripped off parts of the roof from the octagon shaped building, yet they all returned unscathed.  The boy scouts held onto the doorways and their troop leaders for support, while the massive twister hovered over them and ripped down trees and power lines.  I read an article about the 25th anniversary, commemorating their survival.   To that day, they commented on the locomotive sound that hit them fast and seemingly out of nowhere.  Without shortage of memory, they detailed the events from that day.  That is one of those moments that have stayed with them and always will.  I can only imagine!

Everyone credits the octagon shaped building the boy scouts were hunkered down in, for the reason of their survival.  They feel the way the winds were whipping over them and the unique shape of the building gave them safety.  Perhaps, but if God didn’t want them to live, they wouldn’t have had a chance, even from a sturdy structure.


The Octagon lodge the boy scouts hunkered down in while the EF4 tornado swept over them on May 31, 1985. They all survived!

It took rescuers days before they were able to rescue the survivors, because of their location and all the ground debris.  Frightful as the event was during the tornado and equally as chilling as their tales, I still love hearing those survivor stories!  They are full of hope and faith!  Not to mention, it puts everything in life into perspective.

Today, you can still walk through the recovering tornado ravaged woods.  Naturally, the trees came back, all at different rates, but nature took care of its own.  Parker Dam is another piece of heaven on earth with the green luscious woods, wild animals running free and creeks full of fish.  Yep, pure heaven, maybe with the exception of the mosquitoes.

I guess we’re all going back to camp and fish and just plain chill out.  Seriously, can’t wait!

Parker Dam History

Finding the origins of Parker Dam interesting, I thought I’d share some fun facts I’ve read on the state park.  Some information came from Wikipedia, and some I read on the signs at Parker Dam, and some from online articles.

Construction of the 968-acre state park really started in 1794 with the removal of trees, to eventually leading to the need to reforest the lands by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  During the Great Depression, in the 1930’s the real construction of the buildings and such began, giving us Parker Dam State Park, of Huston Township in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.

Surrounding the state park is the Moshannon State Forest.  Many critters call the park home including the ovenbird, American redstart, turkey, beaver (which I saw on my last adventure to the park), white-tailed deer, bears (which dad has hunted), coyotes, foxes, bobcats, porcupines (better not tell Scooby Scooby Meets a Porcupine) and elk.  Pretty much a stranger to Pennsylvania, I guess elk have settled in the remote areas of the local counties and are now among the inhabitants sometimes spotted there.

So now to the reason for the name, Parker Dam.  Laurel Run was dammed up to make the man made Parker Lake.   This 20-acre lake is usually the centerpiece of picnicking, fishing and even swimming on the sandy beach.  Yes, they have a small beach on the one side of the lake for families to cool down and splash around.  Sorry Seven and Scooby, no dogs allowed!

During fishing season, the lake can be outlined by many trying to catch their prize largemouth bass, various species of trout and catfish.   Evidently, the lake is open in the winter, once frozen over, for ice fishing and ice skating.

As I’ve mentioned hunting is permitted in designated areas of the Park as per the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Also something else I found interesting and didn’t know.  As per Wikipedia

Parker Dam State Park is the western trailhead of the Quehanna Trail System.  This trail is about 75 miles (121 km) long and meanders its way through the surrounding state forests. The Quehanna Trail connects with the Susquehannock Trail near Sinnemahoning State Park.  Backpackers are not permitted to camp overnight at the park. The trails are open to cross-country skiing during the winter months.

Everyone should visit a State Park!  You’ll be surprised at the peace nature can bring to the soul.


posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hunting & Fishing,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Just Had to Take It to Parker Dam

A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something.  ~Wilson Mizner


Chad on the left, dad on the right and Uncle Sonny & Jeremy behind him on the left. At Shober’s camp near Parker Dam c.1987

Recently, my family and I took a mini camping and fishing vacation to Parker Dam State Park, just staying the duration of the weekend.  Evidently, we are going back in a few weeks but this time Aunt Nikki is gracing us with her presence.

Going there as a child, I enjoyed revisiting the area, revisiting forgotten memories.  The Schober’s, good friends of the family had a camp in that area, not far from the entrance to Parker Dam.  We used to go up there along with my Uncle Sonny and my cousins as well as family friends to camp out, fish and hunt.  It was always a lot of fun, camping with other kids, making mountain pies, catching fish, spotting bear and sitting by the camp fire.  This time my experience included setting up our temporary residence in lot #90 with our camper, the dogs, my cat and spotting a beaver.  Yep, even after all these years, still equally as fun!

The entire time, dad was reminiscing about us camping among the state park and all his hunting and fishing trips.  Out of nowhere dad would comment, “I got a big bear back in that part of the woods.”  or “We used to catch big trout out of that lake.” or “Ryan and I used to fish in that creek.”  Actually, it was fun to hear dad comment on all the activities I was not apart of, and the ones I forgot about.

Kyle really enjoyed hearing the tails, especially coming from his pappy.  Probably because it’s so unusual to hear dad go into a story, even though they didn’t include much elaboration, not like me and mom when telling stories.  Still, hearing the stores shoot straight out of dad’s mouth even captured my attention.  I could tell dad really enjoyed talking about Ryan, Kyle’s dad.  And we enjoyed listening.


Ryan & Chad wrestling at Shober’s camp. Near Parker Dam c. 1987

Dad reiterated a few times, (being an understatement) throughout the weekend about Ryan loosing his buck knife in the woods.  This seriously seemed to bother dad greatly because he mentioned it, no joke, at least a dozen times.  Apparently, Ryan went up to Parker Dam to hunt and wanted to take his brand new buck knife.  The one dad got him.  Dad didn’t want him to take the knife, saying he didn’t need it, however, Ryan had other plans.  While moving through the woods, it fell off of Ryan’s belt and was lost forever.  As Kyle and I were listening from the front seat of the truck, dad said, “He just had to take it.  I told him not to and then he lost it.  O, well, I guess he really liked that knife.”  Kyle gave me a sideways grin because Kyle does the same sort of thing, not listen to sound advice when he has his heart set on his plans.  Kyle’s notorious for taking objects on adventures that were advised not to.  I guess like father, like son.

The whole weekend dad would pipe up saying, “I wish I could find that knife.  I know about the area he lost it.  Ryan said he looked for it but couldn’t find it, course your daddy didn’t look so good.”  as he made eye contact with Kyle.  That’s true too, Kyle doesn’t look so good either when he is looking for something or tracking it down.  It would be right in front of his face and never see it.  Just like Ryan!  Later on, dad said, “Naturally I felt bad about him loosing his knife, I went and got him another one for Christmas.”  Kyle shot me the orneriest grin after that comment.  Dad does the same for Kyle!  Good old pappy has replaced so many items Kyle lost or broke over the years, and Kyle knows his pappy will always do it.  They are all peas in a pod!

So somewhere in the  968-acre Parker Dam State Park is Ryan’s buck knife, unless it found a new home.  Although, dad swears he knows the general location of the crime scene, again it could have ended up lining the pockets of another.  One day, I would love to trek into those woods, once hiked by Ryan, with a metal detector and see if I could find it.  Dad would die happy.  I could tell he would no doubt give it to Kyle with pride.

Sometimes its the little items that bring back the biggest memories and really put things into perspective.  Can’t wait for our next family adventure!



posted by auntheather in Education & Learning,Family,Hunting & Fishing,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Fishing Towards Independence

All there is to thinking is seeing something noticeable which makes you see something you weren’t noticing which makes you see something that isn’t even visible.  ~Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It


Me fishing at Parker’s Dam. These were the only fish I caught… while dad & Kyle reeled in the big ones.  Yes it was very early in the morning!  5/18/13

Kyle amazes me, he really does.  Some days he is still the kid I’ve always known, maybe too much like a kid, and other days, he’s such an independent little man.  It’s really weird to say Kyle is independent.  He’s never really exhibited self-supporting behavior, ever.  Kyle has always been the type of the child that needed someone to join him in doing any activity, even watching TV and sometimes playing.   Sometimes he entertains himself, but he usually likes the social activity.  When he was really little, it was even difficult for him to walk back the hallway without someone by his side.  Nope, independent and Kyle have never been synonymous.  That is until recently.

Two weekends ago my family, including the dogs and my cat, went to Parker Dam for a short weekend get away.  My sister couldn’t make the camping and fishing weekend of fun, but there will be a next time.  Mom and dad got there really early Friday morning.  When I mean early, I mean early.  Mom said dad had her up at 3:00 am to leave early and get a head start on the day.  Not me, I had to pick Kyle up off the bus, before heading out and joining up with the parents, and Seven and Scooby.

Friday night was pretty uneventful, except for Storm.  She worked her way out of her harness, twice, and made a break for the woods.  The night went perfect when she came back unscathed.  In fact, she ran around all weekend, going in and out of the woods along side our campsite.  I was afraid of a coyote or owl or some other wild beast getting their claws in her fluffy middle, but to keep her caged up would be inhumane.  She loves being in the woods, much like myself.  Sometimes it’s hard to let go without hovering or controlling, but it’s a part of life.


Scooby hanging out in Parker’s Dam. Ever since the tumor was removed from his chin, he looks 10 years younger! He got a facelift. 5/18/13

And so my story begins, at 4:00 am on Saturday morning.  The time dad felt was the appropriate hour to get everyone up to go fishing.  Yes, it was still pitch black and for some reason he wanted us to have our hooks baited before we drove down the road, maybe a half a mile to our fishing site.  All the while we were getting ready, Storm got out of the camper and was running around, jumping and leaping for joy.  She was like Houdini.

As we started fishing and getting our bearing straight, basically rubbing the sleepers out of our eyes and realizing we are dealing with little hooks attached to our four pound fishing line, something changed.  As I looked around, the sun rose over the misty still water, and as I was standing in the crisp morning air, life seemed peaceful.  It felt as if God Himself was squeezing my shoulder as if to say, ‘Things will be fine, all is in My hands.’  And you know what?  They were, they are and they will always be.  Even more than that, something was changing, was different.

Once dad began pulling a few fish from the undisturbed water, I looked around to see what was so unusual.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  Everything seemed normal, and then the fog lifted and I saw it as plain as an early morning.  Kyle was fishing alone.  It was an interesting observation, a unique sight, a bittersweet moment.  Don’t get me wrong, I was happy he went off on his own, yet felt a ting of pain for such a shift in the normal.


Kyle & dad fishing at Parker’s Dam. They both are fishing machines! 5/18/13

At Parker Dam where we fished, there are two different lakes if you will.  They are actually one connected by a tunnel under the road that separates them.  The same fish move between the two areas.  All along, dad who is really the only real fishermen between us, commented periodically to move around if we weren’t catching anything.  As he’s always done.  At first dad always tells us what bait to use and where to stand, only because he wants us to be as successful as possible.  Nothing makes dad happier than to have us out fish, or out hunt him.  However, dad is always open to our judgement calls, sometimes.  This time I was in a little bit of shock.  Kyle was sitting on the bank, of the opposite lake to me and dad, all by himself.  I never even noticed the change, even though I should have because up until that point, Kyle was talking nonstop and that sudden silence should have tipped me off of the break in the ordinary.  He was quiet.  Just sitting there fishing, I think enjoying the moment.  At least for that moment.

As I watched Kyle fish with his back toward me, all that popped in my head was the movie A River Runs Through It, when the Brad Pitt character, Paul went off fly fishing on his own for the first time to find his own rhythm.  And then I thought, ‘Boy he’s growing up!’  I must say, I am honored to be there for Kyle’s next step in life.  After all, I was honored having the 0pportunity of being there when he first rolled over, first pulled himself up, first learned to walk, his first words.  Heck I even took him to get his first hair cut, and now his first big movement towards independence.  Yes bittersweet!  It’s funny, at that moment I also realized the dad in the movie, out fished his sons, just like dad always does with us.


Kyle just had to bring his new Lego’s camping & fishing in Parker Dam. I guess you can never take the Lego out of the boy. 5/18/13

Me, dad and Kyle had a great morning fishing.  However, after a few fish under his belt, Kyle decided he wanted to head back to camp.  What?  By himself?  Yes, he started walking toward our camp solo.  Dad and I both looked at each other as he crested the top of the hill, past the water, out of our site.  In fact, we were both taking bets if he would change his mind and just turn around to come back, or if he was going to complete his journey.  Keep in mind, there were boxes of Lego’s awaiting him.  So I’m sure that was his driving force.  Apparently, he made it to the rangers office, which was about the halfway point.  He said he couldn’t remember his way back so he call my mom to come and pick him up.  That surprises me because Kyle has a great sense of direction, much like my parents and not like me and Nicole.  But he did, and mom came and life was all good while dad and I continued fishing.

After we were done, we drove to a more remote part of the water running into a creek to clean the fish.  Dad and I scaled and gutted the catch of the day.  It was another moment that I couldn’t help think, this is what dad used to do with Ryan all the time.  I was even using Ryan’s knife.  It was a great day, and for most people, it was just about to start.

Now to lighten the mood, funny story.  When we got back mom was extremely eager to share a story with us.  She was already laughing so hard, she could barely tell it.  Intrigued, I gave her center stage and my fullest attention.  Apparently, when we left at the crack of dawn, mom and the boys went back to bed.  Go figure. (sarcasm)  Mom said all of a sudden her sleeping bag was pulled off of her and she felt the camper shake and lean to one side.  For the record we have a little pop up type of camper with the fold out sides.  She said the camper all of a sudden leaned to one side, she heard a thud and it bounced back.  Thinking it was us, coming back early and screwing with her, she popped her head up and looked around.  Then she noticed Scooby was no longer beside her.  She got up to find Scooby at the door, and as she opened it he ran and jumped in the opposite bed.  She figured that he was so sound asleep, he somehow rolled out of the side of the camper.  The area where the fabric is only pulled down over the foldout bed.  I’m guessing the slippery sleeping bag helped his escape.  He seemed fine, but he could have seriously injured himself.  But don’t let that stop us from laugh historically.  We are still cracking up over that story!

We had a great weekend of fishing, sitting by the campfire, walking the dogs, bike riding and hiking through the woods.  On one of our adventures via bicycle, Kyle and I were riding through the camp site to get down to a dirt road we found the day prior.  Kyle rode up beside me and started singing Jingle Bells!  I actually almost ran my bike off the side of the road from both, laughter and from shock at his choice in music.  Actually from any choice in music, since he doesn’t like exercise.  He was really enjoying himself!  That kid cracks me up!  One minute he’s showing his independence and the next he is still the small little man sitting in the backseat of my car, in his car seat singing Jingle Bells.  He never ceases to amaze me.


Mom & dad hanging by the fire playing with the boys. Seven (black Lab) & Scooby (Blond Lab) Parker’s Dam 5/18/13

Then, he turns around and completely surprises me again!  Saturday night, we took turns watching the dogs and walking down to the showers.  Roughing it I know!  But when there’s a shower available, we’re all about it, especially after baiting hooks with maggots, wax worms, fish eggs and such.  As I staying at the campsite with the Seven, Scooby and Storm, through the black of the late evening, Kyle walked back.  Alone?  Solo?  Without fear?  Being in a little bit of shock, I said, “Kyle?”  just to confirm that it was indeed Kyle I was looking at.  He confirmed my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me and then my next question, “What’s wrong?  Where’s Gigi and Pappy?”  He said they were still at the showers and he wanted to head back.  What?  Kyle walk in the dark by himself?  Granted it wasn’t that far away, maybe 200 feet if that.  Again, that kid never ceases to surprise me!

Then to make me question if this was indeed my nephew and not an alien taking over his body, Kyle said, “Go ahead Aunt Heather, go shower, I’ll watch the dogs.”  What?  Is this Kyle?  Kyle Piper?  He was volunteering to sit in the dark, by himself (with the dogs and cat), with spotty cell phone service and wait for us to return?  Where did my little man go?

A little confused I made sure he was alright with the scenario and I headed to the showers, where I ran into mom.  A little confused, as was I a few minutes earlier, she asked me where Kyle was, and who was watching the dogs?  I explained the story.  Mom basically just said, “Ok?”  She hurried herself along with dad, as to not leave him alone for too long.  Of course, if anyone would mess with Kyle, Scooby would probably tear the perpetrators face off, but no need to take unnecessary chances.


My cousin Heather cutting Kyle’s hair for the first time, while I hold him. He was afraid of haircuts for a long time! 2002

The next morning we got a little late start leaving around 5:30 am.  We are such slackers! (sarcasm)  We fished a little again in the perfect morning peace that we experienced the day before.  Not staying too long, since the fish really weren’t biting, we started to head back to camp.  Dad did stop along the creek to try his hand at the water hole just below us off of the bridge.  Once dad almost snagged himself another fish, Kyle was all about getting out his pole again.  Please keep in mind all I caught the entire weekend were a few, two and three inch blue gills.  The four inch sunfish was my prize. (sarcasm)   Kyle did manage to feed us a few trout along with dad’s catch for dinner on Saturday night.  Also no contribution from me, which humored Kyle to no end.

After casting our lines a few unsuccessful times, we headed back for breakfast.  Dad had some pretzels in the truck, which we were both nibbling on like starving fish ready to be snagged by a hook.  Just then Kyle turned to dad and said, “Your eating after you baited your hook?  That’s disgusting!”  I died!  That was such a sincere statement and too funny!  Dad just looked down at his fingers, then licked them and put his had back in the bag for more.  Yep, typical dad.  He is a true woodsman, never getting grossed out by anything and never getting sick by such acts.  Of course I was doing the same thing, and it didn’t bother me either.

Kyle is growing up before our eyes.  It’s always been happening, but sometimes there are moments that really stand out.  That weekend had many of them.  I wish my sister was there, even though she always is, even through spotty cell coverage and through stories and pictures and videos.

Apparently we are going back again, this time with the entire family.  I sincerely can’t wait!  Maybe I’ll catch a fish worthy of eating.

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Hunting & Fishing,LEGO's,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments
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