When the Great Artists Pass


Over the years we have lost so many great talents in the world, some passing before their time. Each time another one passes, we lose a part of history and we lose a piece of our past. Even though we have film and music to remind us of some of the great talents like Gene Kelly, Paul Walker, Leonard Nimoy, David Bowie, John Wayne, Robin Williams, Prince, Merle Haggard, Kurt Cobain and so many more, we still miss seeing them on the red carpets and the big screen.

This week Gene Wilder passed away and took with him so much talent. May of us remember him as the husband of the great Gilda Radner. She was part of the Saturday Night Live era, with Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, John Belushi and Jane Curtain, and skits like “Land Shark” and “Coneheads”. One writer penned them the “Super Group” of Saturday Night Live. Memories we will have of these artists will always play back in our minds when someone says “Land Shark” or “Candy Gram.”
Gene Wilder, birth name Jerome Silberman, has created different memories for each person. Many of us will remember him for his part as Willy Wonka and one of his final quotes to Charlie, “But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted… He lived happily ever after.”Songs like “Pure Imagination” and dancing his way through the chocolate factory. 

“Blazing Saddles” was another classic Wilder was in with a cast of greats including Mel Brooks, Cleavon Little, Harvey Korman, Dom Deluise, Slim Pickens, Madaline Kahn, and many more. Wilder’s character was Jim and one of his famous lines was “What did you expect? ‘Welcome, sonny’? ‘Make yourself at home’? ‘Marry, my daughter’? You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.”
Gene played a man wrongly accused of committing a crime in five movies: Silver Streak (1976), The Frisco Kid (1979), Stir Crazy (1980), Hanky Panky (1982) and See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989). Had starred with Richard Pryor in four movies: Silver Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) and Another You (1991). He also performed in The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Stir Crazy, Silver Streak, The Frisco Kid and so many more. His talent was endless and our memories of him will last forever.
As you pass by the TCM channel on your cable netword stop and watch an old movie to see who left their footprint on the world at that time. Movies like Casablanca, The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz or Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory will take you back in time and give you a glimpse of some of the great talent of our time.
Gene Wilder

One Girl Taking on Her World

Every day we hear about people who are on welfare, federal assistance or demanding more free benefits from the government.  The news and social media plaster these stories all over their pages. What happened to the human need to excel and succeed on your own?  Those taking on more than one job to show they can make it in this world and be proud of themselves.  This weekend I found one girl who is taking on the world and surviving the best she can with what she has been given.

On Saturday I was with a friend and we met a young girl who was employed to do a service job.  I don’t want to say where or in what job to protect her identity, we will call her Abby.   We talked to her for a little while about her life.  Abby’s father passed away when she was very young, and her mother moved away with a boyfriend when she was fifteen and her brother was nine or ten.  They moved in with a cousin to keep themselves out of the system and she ended up pregnant.   This young lady is now working two jobs to feed herself and her daughter; she is presently looking for an apartment, so she has a place to move into when she turns 18.  The government will take away her social security, from her dad’s death, because she is eighteen, so she needs to look for more work.  Luckily she has a babysitter to help out and she is determined to do this with no public assistance.

The one thing she said that really made me think about how determined she was is “I don’t want to ask for help with food or go on welfare.  I want to do this right.”  How many people would say that?  Abby graduated from high school a year early, has a two-year-old little girl, who is just adorable and so cute, and she is working two jobs to make it.  This is the next generation we want to see taking over.  Not the ones who want free college, free food, free rent, and not have to work at a real job. This country is never going to survive if everyone thinks they deserve to be waited on and given free stuff.  Someone has to take charge and someone has to work to make this country strong and keep it running.

Several years ago a mom was telling me the story of her son who had just moved back in with her.  She was not upset he moved back in with her; she was upset with the reason why.  He quit his job at a fast food restaurant because he didn’t think his boss should be allowed to tell him what to do and tell him how to do his job.  Really?  He had just started the job and he thought he should be able to do whatever he wanted.  It doesn’t work that way.  You learn from those who are in authority and one day you are the one teaching others.

I laugh as I think about my son who was one day and he stood at the top of the stairs telling me one day he would be in charge and he would do what he wanted.  I laugh because he was only nine or ten at the time and I told him when he was out on his own and paying his rent he could be in charge and decide what was best for him.  If we raise our children right, they learn morals and how to take care of themselves.  Knowing right from wrong and that shooting a police officer or burning down businesses are wrong in so many ways.  Can you look back and say I have no regrets in my life of things I did that were terribly wrong?

As we were talking to the Abby, my friend asked if the young girl had any idea what she wanted to do with her future and we were told she would like to go to college and learn to be a nurse or something in the medical field.  My friend told her she needed to go to the local college and talk to them about going to college.  “I would be very happy to know my tax money is going to someone like you for your education,” was my friend’s response.  A smile lit up Abby’s face and she said she would work hard to graduate and get a great job to support herself and her daughter.

There are times in our life when we run into someone whom we don’t forget.  That day when you smile about a conversation you had or an experience that made you feel good. “Abby” is one of many girls in this country who do care about surviving and who are working hard to make their lives better.  They are the mom’s of the early years who also went through the same thing and survived and became an even better parent because they taught their children the gift of working hard for what you want and never giving up on your dreams.  I hope that young girl keeps believing that her dreams can come true and she can accomplish anything if she sets her mind to it.


single mom

Teaching our Kids to Cook

The other day I went over to my daughter’s to take my grandson to his football practice.  Before we left, I gave him a cooking lesson on how to put a roast in the crockpot so there would be something ready when mom got home and he was done with football.  I thought it was time for him to at least learn to make more than macaroni and cheese.

Now, I was not sure if he was going to take the cooking lesson with ease or I was going to have to work at getting him to do it.  I had him pull out the crockpot and pull a roast out of the freezer.   I then had him put a little water in the bottom of the crockpot, place the meat in and season.  He was pretty proud of himself and he was thrilled to tell mom he had made supper for them.

That lesson took all of ten minutes to do.  Learning to cook is something we all need to learn to do, doesn’t matter if we are 10, 20 or in our 30’s.  To maintain our health, we need not stop at fast food every night or order a pizza to be delivered.  The average time to make a meal is about 30 minutes at the most, prep time that is.  Once it is in the oven or the crockpot, you can walk away and let it do its thing.

I hear so many young mothers talking saying they are so busy and they don’t have time to cook a good meal, why.  My come back is, “Can you get out of bed ten minutes earlier?” Sure, everyone can.  In ten minutes you can put a roast in the slow cooker, top it with vegetables, add seasoning and water and you are done.  Push start and leave for work.

Here is another idea for a great family meal that will fill them up.  Again, pull out the slow cooker and layer spaghetti sauce, with penne pasta, mozzarella cheese and whatever toppings you would put on a pizza.  Add another layer in the same order.  Cover, put the temperature on low and 8 hours. When you come home, dinner is complete.  You can make up a salad and you have everyone sitting down to eat.

According to the Huffington Post, 28 percent of the population does not know how to cook, mainly due to never trying, ignorance.  It is hard to believe when there are so many educational videos available on sites like YouTube and there are recipes galore on the internet.  I would like to think the world is going to change and they are going to go back to spending more time at home with family and spending time in the kitchen, cooking healthy meals.  Sure, a pizza from a box is still the best on movie night.

The ten minutes I spent teaching my grandson how to make a roast were the best.  He loved it and he was so proud of himself.  The next generation needs our wisdom passed down to them so they can pass it along to their kids.  If we don’t spend time with our kids and teach them how to survive and live who is?

Have a wonderful day and travel safe.




4 a.m. and Wide Awake

When we were kids, our parents would put us to bed at nine p.m. and we would do as we were told to do, go to bed.  Sometimes we had a flashlight under the covers so we could read our favorite book a little longer or play the game we still haven’t beaten to the end.  All without the knowledge of our parents of course.  Normally we would fall asleep before 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. so we had plenty of sleep for the next day.  As a parent, you sometimes look back thinking you put the kids to bed, so they were not as cranky in the morning for school, but in the back of your mind you also knew that was time for you.  All was quiet in the house, and you could get the last load of laundry in or watch your favorite television show without any interruptions. It was your time to relax finally from a long day.

As adults in 2016, we look at a different world than our parents.  Our parents worked hard, and they did much more manual labor than we do now.  I remember mom out working the fields with my dad, after putting in a 40 hour week at the factory.  She would mow the yard, pull all the weeds in the garden and tend to the animals when dad was farming, so he could come home and go to bed.  Those were 12 and 14 hour days for both of them when it was the season to plant and harvest the crops. Now, most farm wives no longer work in the fields because the farmer hires a high school student to help in the fields or to feed and milk the cows.  The wife takes care of the children and the house after she gets home from work and makes sure everyone is fed.

“Everyone is fed” …another concept that has changed, dinner time.  When I was a kid growing up, there were no frozen chicken filets in the freezer, TV dinners or frozen vegetables from Green Giant. Hot dogs were not cooked in a microwave for a meal and the thought of putting a salad on the table for the main course was unheard of.  We had beef in the freezer and we had frozen vegetables, or canned them the prior year at harvest.  Sunday dinner was a time we all sat at the table and mom made fried chicken or a pot roast with some kind of potato, a vegetable and frequently a cake was iced and ready for dessert. Another fact, there were no electronics at the table.  We talked, sometimes received our orders what had to be done yet that day by dad but, we talked as a family.

I don’t ever remember my parents up at 4:00 a.m. not able to sleep.  Are we a society so full of things going on we can’t shut down our brains long enough to sleep a full seven hours?   I am terrible about tossing and turning at night when I have a lot of things going on and I am trying to figure out what I need to do the next day,  organizing myself while I am supposed to be sleeping.  I see other friends on the social media sites complaining it is 4 a.m. and they are up, can’t sleep.  I don’t remember my parents ever taking Aleve p.m., Melatonin, or anything to help them sleep.  They just slept.  As a society how have we changed so much we can just sleep?

So here I sit at 4 a.m. with my dog laying on his bed looking at me wondering why I am up at this odd hour.  Not sure if he is wondering when I am going to bed and shutting off the lights so he can sleep again. LOL, which is probably the case.  In fact, in the time I have written this piece I can hear him softly snoring, so I know he has fallen asleep, even with the kitchen light on and me sitting at the kitchen island with my laptop.

Maybe we need to turn the television off, put the cellphones in the drawer and listen to the experts who tell us to move the electronics as far from the bedroom as we can and sleep in a dark room, leaving your work and day stress behind you as you lay your head on the pillow.  It sounds so much easier than it really is but, in the end, when we sleep we don’t worry, we don’t stress over deadlines needing to be met or a pending book publication.  We sleep.

Have a good day, and a good night.





Galon helps Adopted and Foster Children

When you write a book you are never sure where the book is going or what impact it could have on others. Galon the Northern Pintail Duck is about a duck who was raised by the local animals around a pond. His parents were chased off by a dog, so he has no idea who they are or if he resembled them in any way.  Was he the same color?  Did he have the same markings? Many days he would look towards the sky to see if they would return to the pond. The story came to me while I was at the family pond one day and I watched a pair of ducks swimming around the water, while a turtle was floating not far away. There was a native member of the woods, a red tail hawk, flying over the pond watching everything going on. She would fly over me while I was mowing on a regular basis and then move out into the field area looking for lunch. This particular day I happened to have a notebook with me in the truck and I pulled it out, to mapping out the story.  After that, the story just seemed to flow in the direction it was meant to go.

The story came to me while I was at the family pond one day and I watched a pair of ducks swimming around the water, while a turtle was floating not far away. There was a family member of the woods, a red tail hawk, flying over the pond watching everything going on. She would fly over me while I was mowing on a regular basis and then move out into the field area looking for lunch. This particular day I happened to have a notebook with me in the truck and I pulled it out, mapping out the story.  After that, the story just seemed to flow in the direction it was meant to go.

Galon has traveled all over the world with his story. Kids of all ages have read the book and until recently I didn’t realize the length of which Galon’s wings reached out. I found out there was a need for him in the adoption and foster children’s worlds. He was something the children could relate to as they wondered about their parents or where they belonged in the new family structure they had been placed in. Today, I received an email from an organization who have children seeking out their natural parents and they wanted to use Galon the Northern Pintail Duck for their clients.

A little duck who started out at a pond nestled in a woods, outside a little town in Ohio has become part of a wonderful experience for many people. We knew Galon would be part of a bigger picture though and we created Galon’s Children to help raise money for children all over. The money will be used to help feed those in need, furnish teddy bears or books, and anything else we hear that’s missing in a child’s life. Today, Galon’s Children sent an autographed book to an organization in California that helps abused children.  Hopefully, Galon will bring some joy to children as they read his story.

If you want to find out more about Galon the Northern Pintail Duck, or purchase one of his books go to http://www.egbertbooksandpublications.com.


Galons Children Logo