Tucker McBride

Return to a time when a boy could be a boy; when life was more clear from the top branch of a tree; when a kid could trade anger and disappointment for action and adventure; when the whole neighborhood was his playground; and the sloppy kiss from a dog could make everything right.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Celebrate Summer

In the United States, we celebrate our country's Independence on the Fourth of July. We have yummy family picnics of grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, potato salad, and cookies decorated in red, white, and blue icing. At sundown, the community provides an explosive fireworks display. 

Tucker loved every opportunity to get together with family and friends. In the first book, Tucker McBride, a special guest came into the backyard on the fourth. 

Who would you want to attend a summer party at your house? What is unique about them? What activities would you plan? What would you remember to tell them?

One activity people enjoyed in Tucker's childhood was croquet. Players drove wooden balls through a course of metal U-shaped points called wickets from one end of the yard to the other. The mallet and ball are colored to match, so each player recognizes their own ball.

As a child, I'd fly out the front door after lunch, hitting only a few of the steps to the driveway and across to the side yard where the croquet game stood ready every summer day. Neighbor friends would gather for a round. Sometimes, even the boy down the street would drop his bicycle at the edge of the yard. He'd stroll into the yard, select a mallet from the equipment stand, and join in a game. He was three or four years older, so it seemed a privilege that an older boy would take time to play a game with my friends and me. 

On the fourth, we'd join cousins, aunts, and uncles at Old River, the company park for the NCR. The evening fireworks were the best in town. 

It's your turn. Write about your special summer day. I'd love to see some of your ideas.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Oh, The Places We Might Go

We just returned from a trip to Houston, Texas. We saw no cowboys riding the range of America’s southwest, or huge cattle drives like Tucker would imagine. We drove out west to enjoy our family and to attend a wedding.

In Tucker’s day, Grandpop didn’t drive. He stepped on the train as it slowed near his home and took him to work, building and repairing railroad bridges.

A road trip for him and Gramma was impossible unless someone else did the driving. But remember, Grandpop worked for that railroad for many years. When he retired, along with his pension, the railroad company gave him a train pass for two. He could take Gramma anyplace the railroad tracks went. It was like a golden ticket to interesting places they had never been.

Even though they could ride the rails from one end of the line to the other, it was hard for them to get away. They had Tucker and his two sisters at home to care for. Tucker’s brother Tim, was older and eventually in the Marines. Still, with a house-full still at home, they rarely traveled.

If you had that magical railroad pass to go anywhere you wanted to go, where would you travel? You could look up the major railroad companies and see where their tracks go. What cities would you see? What activities and attractions would be outside your train window or just beyond the railroad station? Plan a wonderful trip for yourself and your family or friends.

Or imagine that the railroad tracks went anywhere and everywhere you want to go. Draw pictures and write descriptions of everything you would like to see along the way. Perhaps your imaginary train could fly. You could take your entire family with you. Think of the places you could go, the people you would meet, and the things you would see.

Create pieces of art that tell the story of your travels. Write descriptions about your drawings. Keep them safe. Someday, you might really take many trips, on the railroad tracks of your dreams.

Tucker McBride and the Christmas Present

  It's December 1, and the stores are draped in red and green. It is the Holidays, the Christmas Holidays. The Christ Child came to brin...