By Ashley Lodato
Seventh-grader Eliza Sheehan is becoming an old hand at making the maritime rounds of U.S. Coast Guard sites. Two years ago she got to attend a dedication ceremony for a building that honored her great-great-uncle, Douglas Munro, who is thus far the only Coast Guard member to have received the Medal of Honor — the U.S. military’s highest award — which he received posthumously for his actions at Guadalcanal in WWII. In September, Eliza traveled to Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, to assist her older cousin in a ceremony that launched the USCGC Douglas Munro, a Legend-class cutter for the Coast Guard.
Eliza’s cousin was the “sponsor” of the ceremony, which meant that she got to break the bottle of champagne over the ship (it’s a special bottle with an engineered breaking point, by the way) and Eliza was right up there with her, two young faces launching a 4,500-ton ship.
Steve Mitchell must be a shapeshifter, or else there is a Superman-style phone booth in Rocking Horse Bakery. During Christmas at the End of the Road, I saw Steve in the bakery at 6:04 p.m., a few minutes after the fireworks had started. There were still customers, and Steve and Kavi were scurrying around while outside Teresa and Neela watched the fireworks. I thought to myself, “Steve is going to miss his photo opportunity this year.” But hardly an hour later Steve posted an incredible picture of the fireworks, taken from way above town. The fireworks ended at 6:18 p.m., so somehow in 14 minutes Steve extracted himself from the work at the bakery, made his way through the crowded streets, got himself up on a hill above town, and managed to take at least one spectacular photo. Faster than a speeding pyrotechnic was Steve.
When two little Venable munchkins and a Venable cousin at a skating party at Riser Lake on Saturday learned that it was much more fun to get pulled around on the ice in a sled than it was to stagger around on skates, they devised a foolproof strategy for non-stop fun.
First, plop themselves down in the sled and gaze upward with cherubic smiles. Next, wait patiently for someone to be unable to resist picking up the tow line and pulling them around the loop.
As one exhausted puller after another promised, “This is the last time,” the kids neither whined, nor pouted, nor pleaded. Nor did they abandon the sled. They simply sat quietly, looking up with big smiles and blinking eyes, sure that the next free ride would come along. And it always did, proving the point that sometimes all it takes are winning grins and high hopes to get where you want to go in life.