January 24th, 2021

The new year is off to quite a start. So much is happening all around us and sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all the changes. There are a few updates to share so I will get right to them.

Samantha continues her outstanding work and I wish I could share all of the sketches she has done but then you would know everything in the book! She has provided a great link on her website www.samanthasbell.com/art-contests-for-kids/. If you have children who love to draw, this is a great way to have them involved and I will post this link on the Children’s Book page as well. She is still on track to complete the illustrations for The Sneezing Toucan by the end of January. We are getting closer and close my friends!

I am adding a new poem titled 44. If you are a baseball fan then you know exactly who that is and more than likely, even if you are not a fan, you know Hank Aaron. I was reading through all the tributes online and those I happen to see on Facebook. One really caught my eye from best selling New York Times author Andy Andrews, www.andyandrews.com. The title was One Last Shot Over The Left Field Wall. As I read the article and you really should too, I could see that scene unfolding and really felt compelled to write. My friend Mike Metts is a huge baseball fan. We use to work together back in our power plant days and every Spring some conversations always led to baseball. Mike was a Reds fan and he could quote starting lineups and batting averages like nobody’s business. In October of 1991, Mike called me and said “Jim, I am leaving for Atlanta for the game tonight against the Twins. I don’t have tickets but I am going. Are you with me?” Our wives thought we had lost our minds, but we left that afternoon. Hours later we were pounding the pavement like thousands of others in search for tickets. After a brief interview with Charleston sportscaster Warren Pepper, a van pulled up beside us and we jumped inside. A woman and her daughter had 2 tickets they were trying to sell. She said they were from the office of Hank Aaron. Yeah, right. She told a story about her ex-major league pitching husband. Uh huh, right. But Mike knew exactly who he was, who he played for and started quoting stats. It took every dollar I brought with me, but Mike and I had just acquired 2 World Series tickets! To confirm it all, after we took our seats looking down the third base line, a young boy came and sat right next to us. As we introduced ourselves, he said he played tennis with Mr. Aaron every week! It’s a small connection to be sure but I knew after reading Mr. Andrews article that I had to write. RIP 44.

I have added a number of great submissions from my friends out in Nebraska! Special shout out to Mrs. Bolan’s class from Lincoln Elementary! Please continue to submit your toucan pictures so I can get them posted. I have created a new tab just for the Submittals and hope to receive at least 100 before the book is published. Get those pens and pencils and crayons busy people! I am seriously going to call some of you or text you if I don’t see some action! LOL. Remember that someone is getting a free autographed copy of The Sneezing Toucan! I have added a new picture as well from a very happy customer in Virginia, congratulations Valeria!

Some great news from a long time friend and recipient of a rhymes4life poem 18 years ago, more on that next blog! Hope your new year is off to a good start, heck, January is almost over! Thanks again for all of your support. You have no idea how encouraging it is!

Till Next Time,


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