Note: In Pod Sixteen, Grammy reads two silly poems that are among her favorites, and Eli interviews his Uncle CJ; CJ talks about his canoe and camping in the woods with Auntie Molly, and what inspires him about being outdoors. The activity is to take a walk, look for wildlife, and observe nature! Click here to start at the beginning of the Poem Pod series.
Grammy: Hi everyone, Eli and I are here, bringing you Poem Pods—fun poems for fun people. We are both kind of sweating—and still smiling—under our masks.
Eli: I’m sick of smiling, Grammy.
Grammy: You gotta smile, Eli.
Eli: Not really. We could complain.
Grammy: There’s no point in that really. Where does complaining get you?
Eli: Feels good.
Grammy: But only for a minute. It’s easier to just smile. You have a choice, and when you’re older, complaining makes wrinkles. Practice smiling, and you won’t have any frown lines when you’re my age. Don’t comment on my frown lines!
Eli: You complain about those.
Grammy: I actually do complain about those. Hmph. Well, Eli, I have been inspired again.
Eli: To do what?
Grammy: All these poems we’ve been reading in our Poem Pod podcast… I want to publish them in my first children’s book. I’ve chosen about 20 of my favorites, and they’ll be in a book with Darrian’s illustrations. He does such a good job!
Eli: I like that idea, Grammy. That’s a good idea.
Grammy: Thanks. It’s a good inspiration. Here are two poems that will be in the book, Eli. The first one is called:
Ode to the Binky
My kids loved their binkies.
They sucked on them all day.
The binkies made them happy,
And they kept the blues away.
It was very sad indeed,
When each binky had to go.
My kids, they cried,
An awful lot.
That’s what it’s like to grow.
Grammy: Eli, do you remember if you had a binky?
Eli: I do, and then I dropped it in the toilet, and I’m just going to leave it at that.
Grammy: That’s probably a good idea. But just tell me you didn’t pick it out of the toilet and use it, right?
Eli: Yeah. I didn’t do that.
Grammy: Excellent, that’s good. I knew you used to have a binky, partly because I remember but also because mom and I and dad told stories about you, and we have some binky stories—probably the toilet one among them. Does Phoibe have a binky?
Eli: She does actually.
Grammy: I’ve seen her sucking her binky on the Phoibe TV, and she’s so little that the binky looks like it’s the size of a grapefruit, but really it’s not. It’s actually smaller than a regular binky. Phoibe weighs over four pounds now. One of these days, mommy and daddy will be able to bring her home! Are you ready for Phoibe to come home?
Eli: Yeah, I guess.
Grammy: I can’t wait to meet her, but you will always be my little buddy! You’re also my Poem Pod Boy—the superhero of inspiration!
Eli: Oh please!
Grammy: I like it. It has a ring to it. Poem Pod Boy! You can zoom in with a cape and inspire people.
Eli: I don’t do capes.
Grammy: You don’t do capes, alright. Well then, I’ll read my second poem. It’s called:
My kids loved to grocery shop.
Why, do you suppose?
When they were little toddlers,
Round the house, they’d go.
Filling up their plastic cart,
Up on their twinkle toes.
Grammy: Eli, do you have twinkle toes?
Eli: I refuse to dignify that question with an answer.
Grammy: Fair. Well, kids out there, today we’re going to invite Molly’s boyfriend onto our Poem Pod show. Remember, Molly is my daughter, and Eli’s Auntie Molly, and she’s a teacher, and we talked to her in Poem Pod Four. Molly and CJ live in Vermont, and CJ has a canoe. Eli, you can ask CJ all about their canoe and camping trips!
CJ: Hello! Is this Janice and Eli?
Both of us: It is! Is this CJ?
CJ: It is. Hi guys!
Grammy: Hi CJ. We miss you!
CJ: Oh my. I miss you guys too. I can’t wait to see you again.
Eli: Thanks for letting me interview you, CJ. It’s summer, and we think the kids would like to hear about your adventures on the water. What does your canoe look like?
CJ: My canoe is big and long. It’s purple. Some people call the color “eggplant,” which I prefer. And the inside of it is made of wood—these cool black and brown wood ribs that go all along the inside.
Grammy: There’s a photo of you with the post today of you holding a fish in your canoe. It’s beautiful. So is the fish.
CJ: Thank you so much.
Eli: Where have you and Auntie been going in the canoe?
CJ: We’ve been all over Vermont. We’ve been up to the Marshfield Reservoir. We went down to Monkton Pond, rivers, lakes; there’s pretty much nowhere we won’t go in that thing! Anywhere that’s wet, you’ll find us in the canoe.
Grammy: You guys are brave.
Eli: Have you camped out overnight too?
CJ: We have. One of Auntie Molly and my favorite times is canoe camping. We load the canoe up. We set off the boat launch, and we find a nice spot to camp out for the night. We paddle out. We set up camp for the night. We make dinner, and the next day we canoe all day too.
Eli: Was that scary?
CJ: It has its moment when you’re out there alone in the woods, and it’s just you and one other person. For example, we were camping at the Marshfield Reservoir a couple of weekends ago, and we heard what we thought were wolves, and it ended up it might have been a coyote-wolf hybrid, but they seemed a little too close to our campsite, so we went straight into the tent at nine o’clock.
CJ: Just like that. Exactly.
Eli: Have you seen any other interesting animals besides the wolf hybrid thingy?
CJ: Absolutely. You name it, we’ve seen it. We’ve seen all kinds of birds, a bald eagle, great blue herons, lots of geese. We even saw a deer yesterday in the woods. We’ve seen beavers, all kinds of lizards and frogs. It’s never a dull time when you’re out there on the water.
Grammy: I love that.
Eli: Does being outdoors, or near the water, make you feel any certain way? Like happy, or inspired?
CJ: Yeah. Eli, you nailed it. I think that the joy that I get from being outside is second to none. That’s where I feel most free. And inspired is really perfect for the way I feel when we’re tromping around through the woods or we’re paddling down a river or in a nice pond. Very serene.
Eli: What do you do with that inspiration?
CJ: Well, myself, I channel it mostly into fishing. I love to fish, whether it’s from shore, from a canoe, on a lake, a pond, a river, and the other thing I do with that inspiration is I do research. I make sure I know where I’m going. I look for certain signs on maps that I know will be a good place to camp or good places to stop. I spend a lot of my days trying to figure out just where to go next.
Eli: Are you planning your next trip?
CJ: We are! Yah, Molly and I are always planning our next trip. We were hoping to go this weekend, and sadly, we’re supposed to get a big thunderstorm. So, we’re probably looking at next weekend, and we’re trying to make sure we follow the rules of the parks and the forests. We are looking to go back out next weekend.
Grammy: Do you know which park you might go to?
CJ: That is a fantastic question. I actually started a project where I started putting together all my favorite bodies of water to camp, so I’d have to look at that list, but I imagine that we’ll either head to the Waterbury Reservoir or we’ll head up to the Marshfield Reservoir, also known as Molly’s Pond.
Grammy: We want to come!!
CJ: I’m sure that soon, you’ll be able to head up, and we’ll be able to rent another boat, and we can go together, and it will be great.
Grammy: Alright. I’ll be patient.
Eli: Well, CJ, thanks for all your time today. It’s great that you and Auntie are getting outdoors and having fun. That’s one of the great things about summer vacation!
CJ: One of the best things about Vermont. And thank you for giving me a call and letting me answer some questions for you guys. I’m really excited to hear what you have in store for the next few episodes.
Grammy: Thank you. We’ll say goodbye, CJ. Have a great night, and give Molly a kiss for us!
CJ: You guys, too. I absolutely will give her a kiss, and I hope you guys have a wonderful night.
Grammy: Take care! Eli, talking to CJ gave me an idea for today’s activity. I’m thinking that we should suggest that kids go for a walk outside and spend some time outdoors.
Eli: Yeah, kids, I’ve been walking on the bike path in Easthampton with my mom and dad most days, and it’s fun. Sometimes, we also walk in the woods. You could take a walk outside, even if it’s in your yard or apartment complex. Or you can venture into the woods.
Grammy: Take a notebook with you and notice and write down the things you see. Are there interesting things on the ground—like pinecones, or feathers, or newts? Do you know what a newt is, Eli?
Eli: I do know what a newt is. It’s kind of like a salamander.
Grammy: Have you seen the orange ones that are around here?
Grammy: They’re very cool. So, kids, when you’re outside, be an observer. Notice if you’re seeing any animals—like chipmunks, squirrels, birds, or bunnies. What are the animals doing? And what does it all smell like? Right now, Eli and I are out on my gazebo, and there’s a bird nest right near us, and there are three baby birds. What can we see, Eli?
Eli: We can see one of the baby bird’s little heads sticking out of the nest.
Grammy: What’s its beak doing?
Eli: It’s open. It wants food.
Grammy: Yeah, because the mother bird is waiting for us to leave. So, be looking for things like that. We wouldn’t have noticed, but we looked up, and there it was. See if this inspires you, like CJ said, to go fishing or to do another outdoor activity—like a bike ride. Or maybe it will inspire you to go for another walk. Have you seen anything interesting on your walks, Eli?
Eli: Nothing interesting. Just the usual, like birds, chipmunks, squirrels, occasionally dogs—and dog poop.
Grammy: Come to think of it, I feel like taking a walk right now. It’s a beautiful summer day! What do you think?
Eli: That’s a good idea, Grammy. Kids, we hope you do walk! If you do, please share your stories or photos from your outing with Grammy and I on Grammy’s blog or Facebook page. We’ll respond!
Eli and Grammy: And that is the end of our sixteenth Poem Pod. Take your mask in the woods, just in case!
Eli: And wash your mask, if you haven’t in a while!