I would like to announce and welcome our new member, Theodore Winstint! Samuel Pickwick has left us due to an increase of workload, so I trust that Theodore will be a great addition to our most honorable Pickwick Portfolio. Please make sure to check out Theodore's contributions once the March issue comes out shortly.
- Augustus Snodgrass (editor)
Friday, 6 February 2015
Dearest readers, our thanks for your patience!! This months issue is here. (applause and loud cheering) Our deepest thanks to Mr. Augustus Snodgrass for his editing of out paper. So without further delay: the Pickwick Portfolio!
-Mr. Sam Weller
The Pickwick Portfolio
In this issue:
- “Insulin: Hope for Dying Diabetics” by
- “The Value of Facebook” by Augustus Snodgrass
- “Dog Intelligence” by Augustus Snodgrass
- Story Time –
- “The Story of Valentine’s Day” by Sam Weller
- “The Best of Memories” by Tracy Tupman
- Poet’s Corner –
- “The Night Owl’s World” by Nathaniel Winkle
- “There Is No Frigate Like a Book” by Emily Dickinson
- “Splinter” by Carl Sandburg
- “Fog” by Carl Sandburg
- “Leisure” by William Henry Davies
This paper is part of a club called “The Pickwick Club.” “The Pickwick Portfolio,” as this paper is called, is designed for the good of the community. Its purpose is to serve as a paper of news, entertainment, and fun. Please take special note of our special Valentine’s Day selection this month: “The Story of Valentine’s Day,” written by Sam Weller on page seven. Also take special note of “The Night Owl’s World” on page seventeen, as it is written by our new member, Nathaniel Winkle.
READ, LAUGH, ENJOY!
INSULIN: HOPE FOR DYING DIABETICS
by Augustus SnodgrassBefore insulin, the disease diabetes mellitus was a silent death that went around, touched even the healthiest children, and brought them to the death bed in just months. Insulin brought hope and life to the countless diabetics everywhere. Insulin is an important medicine because of its unique discovery, interesting development, and diverse ways to use.
Insulin is an important medicine because of its unique history. According to Goebel and Wetzlich, an old document was found showing that diabetes was already well known to the early Egyptians (Goebel and Wetzlich, 12). They had noticed sugar in the urine of those with the disease, but it was not until 1869 that any discoveries were made leading up to insulin. A medical student named Paul Langerhans discovered a clump of before unnoticed cells in the pancreas which were later named Islets of Langerhans. In 1889, Oscar Minwoski and Joseph von Mering did research for the purpose of Langerhans’s discovery. Scholasticus explained that they first established the connection between the pancreas and diabetes (History of Insulin). Eugene Opie then discovered that diabetes was caused by the destruction of all or part of the Islets of Langerhans.
Therefore, based on Opie and others’ discoveries, men started experimenting with pancreatic extracts. George Zuelzer had experienced with diabetic dogs and had, according to Davidson, developed a pancreatic extract called Acomatrol that he used on five diabetic patients in 1907 (Davidson, 3). Davidson also said that the patients suffered severe side effects due to impurity of the extract (Davidson, 3). Ernest Scott had also developed an extract that lowered high blood glucose in dogs. Finally, the Romanian professor Nicolae Paulescu discovered that the Islets of Langerhans produce the hormone insulin which changes sugar in the blood into energy. He was also able to develop an aqueous pancreatic extract like Scott. It was also successful in lowering high blood glucose in dogs, but was still far too impure for humans. Insulin definitely has a unique history.
Besides having a unique history, insulin is also an important medicine because of its interesting development. In 1921, Canadian surgeon Frederick Banting was able to isolate insulin by itself. James Collip purified it, and soon insulin was ready to be injected into the first human patient, Leonard Thompson. The boy recovered within minutes. Eli Lilly was the first company to market insulin, and in 1923, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Frederick Banting and John Macleod, the professor who had helped and funded Banting’s experiments. However, some feel the prize should have been awarded to Paulescu. Ian Murray, co-founder of the International Diabetes Federation, arugued that “Insufficient recognition has been given to Paulescu, the distinguished Roumanian scientist…” (Murray, 150). De Leiva-Perez, Bruques-Bruques, and De Leiva-Hidalgo affirmed that Head of the Nobel Institute, Professor Tiselius, has admitted in a letter that he feels Paulescu was equally eligible of the prize (De Leiva-Perez, Bruques-Bruques, and De Leiva-Hidalgo, 2).
In addition to having an interesting development, insulin is an important medicine because of its diverse ways to use. One way is using an insulin pen. The traditional insulin pen includes a cartridge to hold the insulin, a disposable needle, and a dial to control the amount of insulin to be delivered. Two different types of insulin pens can be used: durable and prefilled. Durable pens have disposable cartridges, and the pen itself can be reused. Prefilled pens, however, are not reusable, and, once the insulin in the cartridge is empty, the entire pen is discarded. Some people use a syringe to inject insulin. According to National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, the most widely used way to inject insulin today is using a syringe (Alternate Devices for Taking Insulin). Although very similar to the insulin pen, Perfetti affirms that it is more cost efficient (Perfetti, 81).
Besides using an insulin pen or a syringe, another way to inject insulin is using an insulin pump, also known as continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion therapy. An insulin pump includes a cannula or needle, a tubing system, a disposable reservoir, and the controls, processing module, and batteries. Insulin pumps better mimic a pancreas as it constantly gives tiny shots of insulin through the needle or cannula that is continually in the body. On the insulin pump, different shapes of insulin can be programmed for different every-day situations. These include standard bolus, extended bolus, combination or multiwave bolus, and super bolus. There are many benefits to using an insulin pump and Animas says that “there are plenty of reasons” why one should switch from using pens and syringes to using an insulin pump (5 big advantages of Insulin Pumps). The many and diverse ways to use also makes insulin an important medicine.
Insulin is an important medicine because of its unique discovery, interesting development, and diverse ways to use. Today, it is still the only medicine known to successfully treat diabetes even after over one hundred years since its discovery. Insulin encouraged further research on diabetes for a cure, gave doctors a better understanding of metabolism and the function of the pancreas, and most importantly gave diabetics a future.
“Alternate Devices for Taking Insulin.” 2009. http://www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/insulin/
(accessed May 3, 2014).
“5 big advantages of Insulin Pumps.” 2014. http://www.animas.ca/about-insulin-pumping/advantage-of-
Insulin-pump (accessed May 3, 2014).
Davidson, John K. ed. Clinical Diabetes Mellitus: A Problem-Oriented Approach. 3rd ed. New York:
Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 2000.
De Leiva-Perez, A., Bruques-Bruques, E., and De Leiva-Hedalgo, A. “From pancreatic extracts to artificial
pancreas: history, science and controversies about the discovery of the pancreatic antidiabetic
hormone.” avances en Diabetologia, 2010.
Goebel, Katrin, and Wetzlich, Alexander W. Lenny explains Diabetes! Tolochenaz: Medtronic
International Trading Sarl, 2008.
“History of Insulin.” 2014. http://www.diabetes.co.uk/insulin/history-of-insulin.html (accessed May 3,
Murray, Ian. “Paulesco and the Isolation of Insulin.” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied
Sciences, April 1971, 150-157.
Perfetti, Riccardo. “Reusable and Disposable Insulin Pens for the Treatment of Diabetes: Understanding
the Global Difference in User Preference and an Evaluation of Inpatient Pen Use.” Diabetes
Technology & Therapuetics, 2010.
Scholasticus, K. “History of Insulin.” 2011. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/history-of-insulin.html
accessed Mar. 25, 2014).
THE VALUE OF FACEBOOK
by Augustus SnodgrassApproximately eighty percent of the world’s population has access to it. The average user spends more than an hour a day on it and twenty minutes every time they log on. It is the most widely used social media. Can you guess what I have just described? If you guessed Facebook, you are correct.
Facebook, launched in February 2004, has over 1 billion active users. If it were a nation, Facebook Republic, with all its users would be the third most populous country in the world! Even after eleven years, its popularity is still very much on the rise. The site has constantly adapted, and even reinvented itself in many ways according to the needs, and often the demands of its users. Such has been its impact that people would much rather communicate with each other on Facebook than through emails, or at times even meeting in person! But, even with all the setting and apps for phones that they provide, do these entertainments outweigh as far as it goes in wastefulness of time and security measures? The features of Facebook, the pros and cons about it, and whether we should use it or not, are all topics that should be addressed.
One reason that makes Facebook so popular is that registering on the site is quite a smooth process. The only information requested is your name, gender, birth date, and email address. Very little, isn’t it?
Facebook transcends all physical boundaries, and lets you connect with long-lost friends and distant family. If you choose to do so, you could share your thoughts and even post photographs of events in your daily life. You can interact with people with similar thoughts and ideas across the globe by choosing to be part of a group with people who have a common concern, or merely just a similar interest. This can be dangerous, too, as many people do that, purposely, to take your information. You can create groups, allowing you to share specific thoughts with only a few, certain friends. These opportunities and many others seem to make Facebook a great way to stay in touch with friends.
But, do all these entertainments outweigh the harms? There are both pros and cons about it. A man in Egypt named his firstborn daughter “Facebook” as an expression of gratitude for the role it played in the Egyptian Revolution in 2011. The website can serve as good or bad, can’t it? The many online games that are part of the website let you unwind and even promote social interaction with their many multiplayer functions. On the other hand, these can be very addictive, wasting lots of time. A Facebook account requires a password to enter and they do provide privacy reinforcements. Even with all that, there have been many incidents where someone does hack into another’s account. It is always nice if people know where you are and what you are doing. But, often, things can go too far and it seems to be very little that separates your personal life from your social life. And, recent studies have shown, that students using Facebook have lower grades in academics and tend to trust and believe anyone with anything even if they are just mere acquaintances.
So, with all that said, should we still use it? The freedom of expression on Facebook is often misused and many a time abused. We, as Christians, could become used to listening to that unwholesome language and start talking like that ourselves. The Bible says, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.” This Scripture tells us that we are being fools if we be a coward and talk and act like the world! Besides that, the games and site itself can be addictive, which can result in spiritual destruction, as well. Also, there are loads of fake accounts, with people looking to steal your personal information. Your information is then sold and used for harmful purposes. Your images can be misused, even if all the security settings are updated. There have even been several instances of online stalkers. And, of late, there has been a rise in the number of commercial adverts on the website, which can be quite annoying.
There are many other possibilities to stay connected with distant family or friends besides Facebook. Telephone and email are just two ways! Finally, the Bible states in Psalm 144:4, “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” In this Scripture, Jesus shows us how he has given us this little time on earth and that we are to use it all to the glory of God! Although Facebook can be useful, it can be very time-consuming. Let us use our time wisely.
by Augustus SnodgrassDogs are known to be very intelligent as well as good companions for humans. They are members of the canines along with foxes and wolves. Intelligence could be defined as abstract thought, logic, self-awareness, understanding, learning, communication, retaining, having emotional knowledge, problem solving, and planning. There are three different types of dog intelligence including the following: working and obedience intelligence, instinctive intelligence, and adaptive intelligence. Working and obedience intelligence refers to the intelligence of which dogs can learn from humans; this depends on the breed of dog. Instinctive intelligence is the word relating to the dog’s capability to do the tasks that he is made for, such as herding or guarding; unlike the previous, this type of intelligence depends solely upon the individual dog. Dogs are also able to find a solution to problems, perhaps such a problem as how to escape from a yard; this is called adaptive intelligence which also depends on the individual dog. All dogs can make good friends if they are trained to use their intelligence correctly.
All three sorts of dog intelligence are important for different circumstances. Although it has been proven that the intelligence of dogs also depends on what circumstances they are in, the Border collie seems to be the smartest of all dogs. One example of a Border collie’s remarkable working and obedience intelligence is found in Rico who was able to recognize over two hundred words and remember some objects over four weeks after the last time it was presented to him! Also, Betsy, another border collie, was able to recognize items by only seeing a picture of it and could remember over 340 words! Instinctive intelligence is another remarkable aspect of dogs. According to one source, the brightest dogs include the Poodle, German shepherd, Golden retriever, Doberman pinscher, Shetland sheepdog, Labrador retriever, Rottweiler, and Papillon and some of the least smart breeds of dogs are the Afghan hound, Bulldog, Chow Chow, Blood hound, Pekingese, Beagle, and the Shih Tzu. Though adaptive intelligence may be unfavorable at times such as when a dog escapes out of a yard, it is vital for the dog to have it in times of danger. The dog uses all three kinds of intelligence for different cases, making them all critical.
If one is interested in this topic, one may consider experimenting how long it takes a certain dog breed to learn a particular trick in comparison to another. Also, one may try to see if there are certain tricks that take a dog longer to learn. A test of what changes in a dog’s daily routines (such as rations of food or lack of exercise) would affect its attentiveness might also prove to be a fascinating experiment.
THE STORY OF VALENTINE’S DAY
by Sam WellerValentine's Day isn't just about candy, cards, and romance. Valentine's Day has a deeper meaning; it celebrates the power of love, and the power of God's love for us. Valentine's Day also commemorates the martyrdom of St. Valentinus, after whom the holiday was named. And the story of St. Valentinus is an interesting one. Let me tell it to you. But for this story, I am just going to call him Valentine....
A Dungeon in Rome, during the reign of Emperor Claudius the second. A man sits in a cold, dark cell, all alone, with a quill in his hand, and parchment at his side. His name is Valentine, and he is going to die soon. He sits, thinking about his life, about his accomplishments, about his hopes and dreams. He thinks of his life as a prominent and wealthy Roman citizen, respected in everyone's eyes. As a loved leader in his church; performing marriages, and leading his flock to the best of his ability. He remembers his friends, and his congregation. And he smiles sadly to himself, as a tear rolls down his cheek. He would miss them to be sure. Oh, indeed he would miss them. He sighed. Why did he give them up? Why could he have not remained quiet? Most surely he would not be in this cell, if he had.
Then he thought of Emperor Claudius, the cruel, heartless man who had persecuted his fellow believers for so many years, and most recently outlawed the marriages of the young men and women of Rome; thinking that an unmarried man would fight better than a married one; and he was glad he had spoken out, and disobeyed Claudius' orders to not perform any more marriages. Still, he could not help himself, and thought over in his mind of that life changing day, when he had defied the great Claudius.
He was in his home, with a couple from his church, and a few other special members of his congregation. He had been marrying this couple, despite the fact that the Emperor had posted the edict outlawing marriages not long before. The couple had just taken their vows, pledged themselves to each other, and exchanged rings, when the sound of horses hooves was heard in the courtyard of Valentine's large house. They heard the pounding on the door, the scurrying of the servant's feet, and then the fateful news. “Soldiers at the door, my lord!” Scarce seconds later, a dozen or so soldiers had burst in, and had made the arrest. The arrest of not only Valentine, but of the newlyweds, and all the people present.
They were brought before Claudius immediately, and would have been executed right away, if Valentine were not so important a Roman citizen. Claudius allowed Valentine to speak, “Briefly mind you”. And so Valentine pleaded, and implored Claudius to let them all go. Claudius refused. Valentine sighed. Then he thought of something, and, defying every natural instinct in his body, he proposed another deal to the great Claudius. “If you will not release us all, Claudius, at the least release my friends, and keep me prisoner. I have nothing to lose.” Oh, he could remember that moment like it was yesterday. Claudius had paused, thinking. The room was absolutely still, no one breathed. How could you breathe, when your life hung in the answer this man would give? “Oooh, alright. Let it be so. But not because I like you at all Valentine, do I free your friends, but because of your honour, and high standing of course.” And so, his friends were released, and Valentine was a prisoner.
Shortly after Valentine was imprisoned, he was brought before Claudius again. Claudius proposed a deal to Valentine. That he renounce his faith, and promise never to marry anyone else, ever, in his life. Then, and only then would he go free. Refuse, and he would die. To Claudius it seemed like a fair trade and easy answer, but Valentine sighed; he did not have to think over the proposition. He knew the answer. And looking up, with defiance, he gave his answer. “NO. I will not ever reject my faith, nor turn away from my beliefs. Never will I bend to any man, whether he be the strongest king, or most humble beggar, for in the end I will answer only to God. I will not, nay, I cannot do what you say Claudius. Have your way with me, but my mind is made up. I refuse your offer.” The room was silent for but a moment. “I would have thought you wiser, Valentine. Be it so then. You have made your choice. I have no further use for you. You will be executed when I see fit.” And that was that.
Ever since then, Valentine had been sitting in this cell, waiting to die. And the worst part was that he was no longer allowed to see his friends, his congregation. All alone he sat, in the dark. But no, he wasn't all alone, was he? He smiled. No, he wasn't alone, for God was with him. And the Lord had chosen to make his burden easier, by sending him a friend. He smiled again. And he allowed himself to remember her.
Julia, the daughter of his jailer. The sweet girl who befriended him, bringing him comfort. And he had in a way brought comfort to her as well. She was blind, and this had been a great burden to her. He had talked to her, prayed for her, and helped her be brave. And then one day, the day that Claudius found out about about Valentine's little companion, and ordered her to stop seeing him, while they were saying their farewells; Julia's sight came back to her. He remembered it all so well, the shrieks of happiness, the look of pure, blissful, joy on her face. And then the soft, loving words; “Thank you Valentine! Thank you. And thank your God for me to. I'll remember you both always.”
He sighed. That had been yesterday. And today, he had gotten word. He would be executed that evening. He had asked for parchment, and a quill, to write his letters of farewell to everyone he loved, and thank God, the jailer had agreed. So he sat in his cell, remembering everything, and wondering what to put in his letters. He began first to write to his congregation. He told them not to grieve for him, and encouraged them in their faith. He wrote to the newlyweds, and to the servants who had served him faithfully. Finally he began to write to Julia. Oh, that special young girl! What could he say to her? He carefully ripped the parchment into the shape of a heart, and began. “My dear Julia..” He wrote of how special she was to him. Of how she could learn about his God, and how much God loved her. He thanked her for everything. “Do not grieve for me dear Julia, because for me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Besides, I will see you again soon. I thank God that he sent you to me. From Your Valentine.” He finished his letter and sighed.
Then he heard it, the sound of guards coming. The door swung open. He was yanked to his feet. One of the guards sneered, “The Emperor said you're to be executed now.” They dragged him up the stairs, dragging him to his death. The door opened, the sun poured in, and he was warmed by its light as they dragged him to the city gates. And there it was, the place where he was to be killed. Claudius gave the signal for the execution to begin, as Valentine prayed one last prayer...
Author's note: There are very few facts about St. Valentine, so many of the ideas about what happened, as well as the characters, are legends. We don't really know if Valentine knew a Julia, or if that was even her name. So please keep in mind that this is just my retelling of the story of Valentine; and that some is legend and some is truth. The main website I used for this story was an article from CBN.com and a retelling of the story from the Our Lady of the Rosary Library website. The rest of the story was from memory of the other times I have heard it.
THE BEST OF MEMORIES
by Tracy TupmanKaitlin Phillips. That was her name. A fairly average 12-year-old, she had sparkling blue eyes, a largish nose, and unruly, shoulder-length brown curls which she could never keep untangled, much less straight. Although a fun-loving and often mischievous girl, she was always lending a helping hand. For instance, even after a long day of school and band practice, she often held a “homework help” session for younger kids in the school library and periodically helped her elderly next-door neighbour with house and garden work. In Oakenhaven, the small town where she lived, everyone knew everybody, so it wasn’t as hard to help out. Besides, Kaitlin found it was fun, and she loved to put a smile on people’s faces. It was her way of momentarily lightening another person’s burden of financial strain with a great big smile. Mismanagement had forced that sawmill to close three years earlier, leaving most of the families whose men had had good jobs there – including her own father, who had been the supervisor – scrambling to make ends meet. Now, two small factories on the outskirts of town kept most people employed. To make ends meet, Kaitlin’s mother worked two part-time jobs in Leemington, a town nearby, while her father worked full-time at a factory. Obviously, when Kaitlin asked for a china doll for her ninth birthday, her mother had to sigh and suggest another doll that they could better afford. But Kaitlin shook her head to that and said that no thank you, in that case she would rather have a Bobbsey Twins book instead. A china doll was the only kind of doll she wanted. In her child’s mind, she couldn’t bear a poor replacement for the doll that was supposed to help bring back memories. She’d rather have just memories than that.
~~~“Not much longer now,” thought Kaitlin as she peered through the big front window of the Lewis Antique Shop.
“Soon, I’ll have enough money to buy you, Evelyn.”
“Well?” spoke a voice, startling Kaitlin back into the real world. “Sorry, what did you say, Casey?” asked Kaitlin, turning abruptly to face the other girl. “I didn’t notice you walk up.”
“Oh, I didn’t say anything yet,” replied her best friend as she pushed a stray strand of hair back behind her ear, brushing her stylish faux fur vest as she did so. Casey was tall for her 12 years, and skinny as a bean pole, but very pretty. Her long, black, hair, resting under a deep maroon burette, framed an elegant face bearing almond-shaped eyes - from her Asian mother. “I am curious, though: how much more money do you need to buy that china doll?”
“She’s 125 dollars, and I’ve already got sixty-nine dollars and thirty-five cents,” announced Kaitlin proudly as she fingered the odd assortment of change in her jacket pocket. “I just made three dollars raking Mr. Avery’s front yard! Now I think I’ll go see if Mrs. Allison’s needs raking, too.”
“125 dollars, eh? Now, I admire your optimism, but how are you going to get the rest of that money?” Casey casually leaned her weight back against the large store window and began to count off a list on her fingers as she stared off into space. “Let’s see – you’ve washed cars, walked dogs, mowed lawns, weeded gardens, cleaned garages and windows, sold home-made bracelets – really pretty ones at that – from door-to-door and at school, raked leaves now that it’s fall, and done something or other for almost everyone in the entire town! I don’t think they hold it against you that you keep coming back for more work, but most people around here haven’t had a lot of money since the sawmill closed down, and people keep giving you fewer and fewer tips.” Shrugging her shoulders, she shook her head as she turned to face Kaitlin. “Just how are you going to get all that money before Evelyn is gone?”
Kaitlin stared at her, her mouth agape. “How did you know what I’d named her?”
Casey laughed. “You were mumbling something about her just now as I was walking up!” As Kaitlin continued to stare Casey laughed again and then reached for her hand. “Come on; take a break for a while! Let’s go grab a final ice cream to celebrate the very, very end of summer before school starts on Monday. My treat. You have to keep saving up for Evelyn, after all! And don’t forget: we have a sleepover tonight.”
“Sounds good to me!” said Kaitlin with a wide grin. “Thanks a bunch! I’m so glad that Mom could take tonight off work so that we could have a sleepover!” Her bright blue eyes then twinkled mischievously. “But fall weather has fallen upon us at last, so you can’t call it summer, even though it’s August! So let’s call our celebration ‘the celebration of freedom of no school’!”
Their laughter ringing merrily through the clear air as Casey returned her comment with a joke, the two friends skipped down the street as a crisp, cool autumn breeze blew their hair into their faces and whipped a bounteous, colourful plethora of leaves around them.
~~~“So,” said Casey, as Kaitlin and she finished the last bits of their ice cream cones, walking towards Kaitlin’s house to pick up Kaitlin’s sleepover gear. “Remind me again why you like that doll so very much.”
“Well, it all started with my grandma – the rich one, Mrs. Phillips, my Dad’s mom,” explained Kaitlin. “She had these beautiful porcelain dolls that she let me play with, even when I was just four! – and I would set them up to have an elegant tea party, and then whisk them away on crazy and quirky adventures when I played with the boys – though I involved a lot more magic in those adventures when I was alone. Or my grandmother would play with them with me. Oh, she was the best grandma ever! She just knew how to love on you – and always had my favorite cookie- mint chocolate chip – waiting for me at snack time.
“Well, there was this one doll - my favorite - who had beautiful long brown hair, and the most brilliant green eyes, and a blue checked gingham dress and a straw hat –“
“Just like Evelyn,” interrupted Casey.
“Yes, just like Evelyn. Now, when grandma died when I was eight, she stated in her will that she wanted all her collectible antiques sold at an auction, and the proceeds donated to a children’s charity that she was very passionate about. So, along with her other antique collections, the dolls were sold. I miss my grandma so much sometimes, Casey, and you know, Evelyn reminds me of some of the best times I spent with her.” Then she grinned. “When I think about it, though, my elegant grandmother had a lot of trouble understanding why on earth I would want an adventure up a tree with a breakable doll!”
Casey laughed. “You always were a bit crazy – in the best way I know! But come on – I`ll race you to your house!” And stuffing the last bit of cone in her cheek, she took off down the street, with Kaitlin close behind.
~~~“I know.” Casey stated this simple phrase just as abruptly as she dropped her lunch box on the cafeteria table where her friends ate every day. School had started only three days earlier, but they had already found a lunch-time routine. She sat.
“Know what?” asked Mandy almost incoherently, her cheeks bulging with an unfinished bite of sandwich. “Yes, what?” added Trinda as she slid into the seat next to Casey.
“Know how Kaitlin can get enough money to buy her doll, that’s what!” Kaitlin and the other girls looked at each other as Casey went on. “Look, there’s an annual arts and crafts fair in Leemington in one week and LOTS of people go there – and Kaitlin’s great at making bracelets!” As if on cue, all the girls looked down at the intricate and beautiful beaded bracelets on their wrists. “I looked in the library and also found some books with great ideas on making other crafty stuff worth selling, like magnets and cards,” she added, as she unzipped her backpack and pulled out one of the said books. “If we worked together, I bet we could easily make all the money that Kaitlin needs in a weekend – maybe even extra to split up!”
“Smph super meeda pee,” said Mandy. Confused looks greeted this proposal. Mandy swallowed her mouthful and tried again: “Sounds like a great idea to me!”
“And I could even knit some scarves!” added Trinda. “My grandma just taught me this summer.” They all turned to look at Kaitlin.
“Well…” she began uncertainly. “I’m not sure about this. I mean, it would be a lot of work, and we all have homework and other commitments… and besides, how would we convince the fair to let a bunch of kids sign up for a booth?”
Promptly, they all agreed that they would gladly do this for Kaitlin, and as for the signing up? “Oh, you just leave it to me,” said Casey, a clever gleam in her eye.
~~~“I can’t believe how much money we made!” exclaimed Kaitlin to Casey, Trinda, and Mandy. She was nearly dancing for joy, and her joy was mirrored by the bright, early-morning, October sun. The craft fair had just ended the afternoon before, and although they were all quite tired form the busy weekend, all the girls were excited for Kaitlin. In addition to getting enough money for her doll, each of the girls had another $10. At first, Kaitlin was determined to divide her quarter amongst the other girls, because she had already gotten $55 for the doll. But they insisted that she keep her “share.” “Besides,” Trinda had pointed out, “You even made cookies to sell, and you gave my little sister a bunch of free trumpet lessons.” And Mandy had added that they wouldn’t even have done the craft fair if it wasn’t for Kaitlin and her doll.
“Thank you so much for everything, guys! I may have done a bit of extra work, but you guys really made it all happen! You guys are the absolute best friends a girl could ever have!!”
“It was soo much fun, and soooo worth it!” added Mandy. “And I am so glad that you can finally have Evelyn! You are a really great friend, and I know you deserve her.” They rounded the street corner onto the street where the antique shop lay, and Kaitin eagerly ran ahead.
But then she stopped. Dead in her tracks.
The others ran up quickly. Although she had opened her mouth to speak, Casey stopped short upon casting a single glance at the window.
Evelyn was gone.
“Maybe Mr. Lewis just took her down to freshen up the display with some new things,” Casey quickly pointed out. “Let’s go inside and see.”
“He said he’d leave her – leave her there until she was sold,” said Kaitlin quietly. Nevertheless, she followed her friends into the store.
“Oh yes, that doll,” said old, moustached Mr. Lewis, who they found busily sorting a bookshelf, when he was asked about her. “Oh, yes, sold it today, I do believe, I do believe.” He turned to go back to sorting the books on another shelf.
“Do you remember who you sold her – it- too?” pressed Casey.
“Can’t rightly say, can’t rightly say, except that it may have been someone living in town,” he muttered. “And I’m not about to start checking. Far too busy, far too busy. Run along now,” he said impatiently when he saw the girls still standing there. “Do you girls have nothing better to do than watch me work?”
“No – I mean, yes – I mean, good day, sir,” responded Casey hastily. The girls left. Fast.
“Well, nothing we can do about it now, “replied Kaitlin, who had already quite recovered. “I’d best be going home to help with supper. And of course, I’ll also have to think up another way to use all this money. I’m sure God has a better way for me to use it.” She said the last bit with a smile which held only the tiniest touch of sadness. “Anyways, see you tomorrow!”
“I’m quite so sure about all of this as you are,” muttered Casey very quietly, as she waved her friend goodbye. “If I have anything to say about it, you’ll have Evelyn. Just wait and see.”
~~~“You wanted to speak to me, Mrs. Phillips?” Casey asked a few days later when a tired but kindly woman opened the door at Kaitlin’s house. “My mother told me you called.” Kaitlin was at band practice, so Casey knew that Kaitlin wasn’t home. Oh, how she had wondered why at Mrs. Phillips had called!
“Oh, yes; do come in.” The door was opened wider, and Casey followed Mrs. Phillips through the front hall. At the end of the hall, which was wall-papered with flowers, the space opened up into a living room, with a closed-off kitchen on the left. Mrs. Phillips led her into the small kitchen. “Do sit down.” Casey settled herself on a chair and waited. In the background, she could dimly hear the sounds of Kaitlin’s younger brother Johnny, who was 8, playing in the living room. “It’s about what you are trying to do for Kaitlin. Tea?”
“Oh? Ah, yes please.”
“Yes,” continued Mrs. Phillips once she had filled a cup for Casey and had sat herself down. “We – my husband and I - have heard about how you have been going from door to door all over town to try to find out who bought that china doll from the Lewis Antique Shop, and I wanted to let you know that you can stop doing that right now.”
“Mrs. Phillips,” said Casey with a slight edge in her voice, “with all due respect, Kaitlin is the best friend that I ever had. She is always helping me with homework, making me laugh on gloomy days, and most importantly, was there for me during my parents’ divorce, and is still there for me whenever I need someone to talk to. If anyone deserves this one thing that she wants, she does. And that doesn’t even include how she teaches in Sunday school, helps younger kids with homework after school, stays home with Johnny every night while you and her father work –and actually treats him like a human, which is more than can be said for many older siblings– “
“Stop, stop, I understand,” Mrs. Phillips laughed. Casey stopped in confusion. “You see, I don’t get to talk with my own daughter very much what with my two jobs – why, I have to leave in just 5
minutes “ She added, with a glance at the clock “–and I hadn’t realized that she was saving up for the doll herself…”
~~~Kaitlin walked slowly through the gently falling snow, taking the time to bask in its beauty. Little Timmy had had extra trouble with long division, but it was so worth it to spend an extra half hour helping him figure it out. She smiled as she remembered the light that had suddenly lit up his face after he completed one of the problems all by himself. Besides, she could have a break tomorrow. Tomorrow was Saturday, October 20, and a break from school – except for homework, she reminded herself with a rueful grin. It was also her 13th birthday, she realized suddenly with a brilliant smile. She knew there wouldn’t be much, but Casey had agreed to join the family for a birthday supper, and her Mom and Dad had both found a way to be there, and her Mom was making her favorite cake: strawberry short cake. She had to wonder, though, where Casey, Trinda, and Mandy had run off to in such a hurry after school. Each had rushed past her with barely a good-bye. She shrugged and grinned. Obviously, they had something very important to do…. Maybe even for her! After all, her birthday was tomorrow. Naahhh… that couldn’t be. Shaking her head, she turned the corner onto her street, sauntered down the street for three houses, turned left onto her driveway, bounded up the porch steps onto the paint-chipped porch, and then walked up to the front door. Just as she was about to turn the doorknob, she thought she could here an unusual scuffle in the house beyond. Frowning for but a moment, she then shook her head and stepped inside.
“Hello, dear,” came her mother’s voice from the kitchen.
“Mom? You’re home already?” asked Kaitlin in bewilderment as she hung her jacket on an ornamented wooden coat hook. “I thought you wouldn’t be home for another twenty minutes at least!”
“Well, usually I wouldn’t be.” She walked into the hall dusting her hands on her apron. As she did so, Kaitlin noticed an unusual sparkle in her eye. “But since it’s almost your birthday, I decided that you should have a nice – “
“SURPRISE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAITLIN!!!” And from the living room emerged friends and family galore! Her father, Mandy, Casey, and Trinda, her mother’s parents, her cousins who lived three hours away, and many townspeople who she knew and had helped stood crowded in her living room, wishing her a happy birthday. For several moments, Kaitlin stood there, unable to anything but grin, with one boot still on. Then, from the middle of the crowd, her little brother Johnny stepped out carrying a long rectangular box. With a beaming grin, he said, “Happy birthday, sis!” and handed her the gift. She stared at the box for a moment, he eyes wide. I wonder… she thought. Her arms trembling a little, Kaitlin took the box from him and then gradually lifted the lid. And she gasped. For inside, among soft white tissue paper, lay Evelyn, her smile warm and welcoming and her green eyes shining. Putting down the box, Kaitlin lifted the beautiful doll out and held her at arm’s length in amazement, the widest grin in the world on her face. “But how-“she asked, looking around in sudden bewilderment.
“And so the rest of them all pitched in with a little tid-bit here and there, and bought Evelyn for you before you had the chance!” finished Casey with a flourish. “And for some reason,” she added with a rueful shake of her head,” it took your mother a long time to get a hold of me so that I could finally contribute my part, so I ended up just as surprised as you are until just last week.” Everyone laughed, remembering how Casey had knocked on their own front door.
A little later, as they sat at the long dining room table eating strawberry shortcake and ice cream, Kaitlin looked around and realized that she was surrounded by something far more important to her than a porcelain doll. Wow, she thought, with a sudden surge of love and joy, I am really so blessed to have all these people in my life who love me. I mean, they cared for me enough to buy me Evelyn, and to give me a party, and they’ve all been telling me how much I mean to them. The Stewarts gave $10, and they barely ever know where their next meal is coming from. And my cousins who live three hours away drove all the way here just to wish me a Happy Birthday! she suppressed a giggle as she thought, And Casey knocked on nearly every door in town trying to find Evelyn! And all of a sudden, she realized that her new doll was so much more than even a precious memento of her loving grandma: It would always bring back the best of memories of all the people in her life – like those gathered around her at that moment - who she loved. And who loved her.
by Nathaniel Winkle
I am snuggled into bed, so soft and so cozy,
like a favorite toy, tucked safely into a box.
I hear deep breathing throughout the house,
like a favorite toy, tucked safely into a box.
I hear deep breathing throughout the house,
a soft calming whisper.
Random cars drive by, they too have the soothing
sound of a world calm and still.
And the wind blows strongly against my walls,
as if threatening the calmness of the moment.
But I know that I am safe, for my house is well build
and my quilts the warmest in the land.
The night light flickers in the hall,
and shadows dance upon my walls and the ceiling.
The noises of the night lull me to sleep.
And I drift off into another world, a world that does not
always make sense, but I have adventures in that world ,The world that is mine.
by Carl Sandburg
The voice of the last cricket
across the first frost
is one kind of good-bye.It is so thin a splinter of singing.
by Carl Sandburg
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
by Emily Dickinson
There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the ChariotThat bears the Human Soul –
by William Henry Davies
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
Monday, 2 February 2015
Huzzah!! It's February, and that means that our February issue is due any day!!! This month's issue is now carefully being edited by our most honorable Mr. Snodgrass. Check back regularly to see it published!! Long live the Portfolio!
Mr. Sam Weller