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“I’ve been a humor writer for 13 years – a source of unceasing embarrassment for my wife and daughters. Over the years, I’ve routinely received suggestions for what readers think would be a funny article for me to write about in my column. I’m grateful to the scores of people who have unselfishly submitted their ideas. I distinctly remember this one time when the suggestion was almost usable”.... Continue reading

"Techno Tom was morosely stirring half a pint of sugar into his coffee, no doubt figuring the sugar blast would quadruple the jolt from the Diner’s caffeine.  Freddie Fairlane, one table over with the other Flatheads, the vintage car guyz, watched for awhile then moseyed over to sit at Tom’s table.  “You seem a little down in the mouth, amigo,” he said.  “Lose your best friend?” .... Read more

To serve my country day by day
At any humble post I may;
To honor and respect her Flag,
To live the traits of which I brag;
To be American in deed
As well as in my printed creed.

To stand for truth and honest toil,
To till my little patch of soil
And keep in mind the debt I owe
To them who died that I might know
My country, prosperous and free,
And passed this heritage to me.

I must always in trouble’s hour
Be guided by the men in power;
For God and country I must live,
My best for God and country give;
No act of mine that men may scan
Must shame the name American.

To do my best and play my part,
American in mind and heart;
To serve the flag and bravely stand
To guard the glory of my land;
To be American in deed,
God grant me strength to keep this creed.

Edgar Albert Guest (1881 – 1959) was a British-born American poet who became known as the People's Poet. His family moved from England to Detroit, Michigan when he was ten years old and he lived there the rest of his life. He worked for the Detroit Free Press for 64 years. He published more than twenty volumes of poetry and was thought to have written over 12,000 poems. His poems often had an inspirational and optimistic view of everyday life. Of his poems he said, "I take simple everyday things that happen to me and I figure it happens to a lot of other people and I make simple rhymes out of them. "His popularity led NBC to produce a weekly 15-minute radio program, “Guest in Your Home,” which ran from 1931 to 1942.
The Globe editorialized his passing by quoting Philip Coldren, the late editorial page editor who wrote that the key to Guest’s greatness was “that among the thousands of Guest poems, ‘there has not been a single one that has promoted wickedness or meanness or anything else but kindness and gentleness and peace and hope" 

On July 4, 1776, a new nation was brought into the world, as the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence to announce the colonies' separation from the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Congress had voted in favor of independence from Great Britain on July 2 but did not actually complete the process of revising the Declaration of Independence which was originally drafted by Thomas Jefferson in consultation with fellow committee members John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and William Livingston and submitted to Congress on June 28th 1776.

Most of us red blooded freedom loving Americans hate to take a vacation, not because we are fun-averse, but because when we come back to the Job, we have to work doubly hard to catch up with all the unfinished bizness we left behind.  I should know, having just returned from a three week road trip cross country to find all the backlog waiting open jawed. Read more 

Cat lovers do all sorts of crazy things for their cats. They talk to them, dress them up in costumes, install 7-foot-tall cat towers in the living room, even put them in a backpack and take them for a hike. Can you believe the things people will do for their furry companions.
I would never do anything so ridiculous as these with our three cats. No, instead, I do something much more mature. I make up silly songs and serenade them, like any normal adult. They must enjoy my songs because they never seem to complain. Read more

Some years ago I had a new neighbor and her husband buy the old schoolhouse next to the fire station up the road. Cute place, nicely restored by a glass artist friend who wanted to move to Portland to seek fame and fortune in the big city. Not that we’re the official Welcome Wagon of the South End, but we invited our newcomers over for dinner, got to know them over the following year and were surprised when we saw the For Sale sign on the front yard and their furniture gone. They had had grand plans for establishing a Tea Shop for her and a furniture shop for him on the island.

Okay, people come and go on the turbulent South End, for various reasons ranging from lack of health care in their proximity to the long and dreary winters. The grass is definitely greener here but folks get tired of mowing it. I get that. But what I didn’t get was these new found friends picking up and leaving without a fare thee well or a wave goodbye. Kind of makes a guy like me wonder if my judgement of folks is a waffle or two shy of breakfast.

Jump forward a couple of years and we’re on Orcas Island, wandering the tourist town of Eastsound when we pass by a little tea shop called, interestingly enough, Schoohouse Tea, a little too coincidental for my place in the cosmos, so naturally I want to go inside and see who’s behind the register. And yeah, it’s our old neighbor, more than a little embarrassed to be ‘discovered’ but after a few hems and haws and muted apologies over their fast escape velocity from the South End, she tells us the island just wasn’t spiritual enough for her tastes. Orcas, well, they’re basically refugees from the 60’s and she felt a kinship there she never got from us back on Camano, the island without a soul.

All righty, I guess the South End wasn’t her cuppa tea. We said good to see ya, good luck with the shop and your life, we got to catch the ferry back to perdition. Now the story might have ended here … except … a year later who should roll back into our little hellhole, the one without spirituality, but m’lady from the Age of Aquarius, building a house half a mile south of us. And better yet, she’d become a real estate broker!

I don’t pretend to be a guru of South End spirituality but c’mon, selling off our Paradise parcel by parcel, helping to clog our neighborhood with new traffic, cutting down the forest for McMansions, earning a living this way, trust me, that is not on the roadmap to Nirvana. And if we lacked soul before, I doubt selling used cars or real estate is going to bring us any closer to Shangri-La-La land. Money talks, they tell me, but not as loud here on the South End. That, I think, might be the key to our spirituality, what little we still have.

Visit the Skeeter Daddle Site

When you start a new business, it’s important to branch out and integrate with your local community. Your friends and neighbors are not only potential customers but also collaborators and brand ambassadors. Here are some tips for forming a successful new business and connections.

Establishment

Before you head out and begin to shake hands, it’s important to get the fundamentals of your business right. If you’ve recently moved to the area, it’s important to ensure that all of your paperwork is in order - this means setting up your business structure, bank account, registering for taxes, securing web domains, applying for licenses & permits, calculating financial projections and, of course,
writing a solid business plan. Some of these are regional-specific (for example, business structure) meaning you’ll need to observe state regulations during proceedings.

A business plan is crucial for attracting investment in your business and for its long-term ambitions. You can use this document to structure, run and grow your business - detailing the company, its mission, competitors, structure, products, and financial requirements. There are plenty of resources online to help you nail down this important step.

Networking

Once you’re legal, the next step is to get the word out. It might fall outside of your comfort zone but going out and networking in person is still an important part of establishing yourself in the local community. A simple introduction goes a long way but it helps to go a step further. By giving a hand at community events, for example, you can contribute to a cause whilst developing a report with
potential business prospects. Or, by sharing your services, you’ll be getting the word out about your business and lending help to those who need it.

Almost as important as your physical presence is your digital one. Take the time to reach out and connect with those in your local community via social media on Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedin. You may find it helps to join some of the local groups and just engage in conversations/introduce yourself (although it helps not to make discussions so business-centric).

Marketing

Even with the word out, promoting your business takes precedence if you want to establish yourself in the minds of your local community. Marketing can help with this and encompasses everything from designing a standout logo to paying for advertisement. Often, it’s a good idea to start small with placements in local newspapers, free samples in other shops, sponsoring local events, or even hiring out nearby billboards. The key here is to get yourself as thoroughly involved as possible.

If you have the budget, you may also decide it makes sense to pay for online pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns or with Google placements. Digital marketing is one of the most cost-efficient ways to promote your business and it can help you to expand your reach across the whole community and beyond. Especially in sparsely populated areas of the country, it can be difficult to get eyes on your product but with smartphones and social media, you can tactically place your brand in a digital space where it’s bound to be seen.

In business, having the locals on your side is an advantage that is difficult to measure. If anything goes wrong or if you need a helping hand, you can be sure that your neighbors have your back. Just make sure that whatever goodwill you receive is reciprocated.

Author: Linda Chase of AbleHire.org. Able Hire's Mission is "Helping people with disabilities build rewarding, successful careers."

Kudos 365  is the place to post about your local Community events and activities or to share your photography, art, or other expertise.

Image by Pexels

This year marks the 23rd year that artists on Camano Island and Stanwood have invited the public into their studios and galleries to share their creativity and love of art and community. The studio tour has become the biggest tourist event on the Island, attributed to a growing artist community with nearly 100 members of the Camano Arts Association. Download the brochure 

"While there is still time to solve the climate crisis, time to choose BOTH a prosperous and sustainable future, and time to restore nature and build a healthy planet for our children and their children, time is short."

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated  on April 22 since 1970, to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EarthDay.org

I’m not a violent man. But everyone has their breaking point. And I’ve reached mine. If you’re a homeowner, there are three certainties in life: your property taxes will go up, the roof will need to be replaced SOON, and with the first blossoms of Spring, moles will arrive in your yard.....Read more

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