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Good Tuesday morning to you!

I can read; I can write; I can smoke my daddy's pipe.

Those were the words to the simplest of songs that my Aunt Norma taught me to play on the piano when I was 5 years old.

I used to stay at my Uncle Red and Aunt Norma’s farmhouse in rural Kossuth County from time to time. On some of those cold winter days, Aunt Norma would entertain me with a variety of tasks. Between baking cookies, playing with Legos and watching “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood,” she would have me hop up next to her on the piano bench. I would watch in amazement as she played a number of songs so beautifully, most without any sheet music. She instructed me on how to play the piano respectfully and to not damage the keys, knowing full well how tempted I was to start crashing both hands down and make some noise.

With her amazing patience, she showed me to how to play a song with one finger, hitting 13 notes on a total of four keys. I thought I was Liberace. Once I mastered that little ditty, she taught me how to play “Chopsticks.” Kind of. Playing any instrument proved to not be my thing, but it wasn’t because of Aunt Norma’s efforts.

The fact that I can remember “I can read; I can write; I can smoke my daddy's pipe” 48 years later says something. And, yes, I can still play it, too. I was curious where those words came from, so I Googled it. I found a few somewhat-related references to a British saying and an inappropriate folk song. So I asked my friends, family and coworkers if they knew of the words to this piano tune. Crickets.

Turns out nobody knows what the heck I am talking about — except Aunt Norma, and I thank her for the memories.

How about you? Does “I can read; I can write; I can smoke my daddy's pipe” ring a bell? Shoot me a note and let me know.

Have a terrific Tuesday, and thanks for reading.

President and Publisher
Big Green Umbrella Media
515-953-4822, ext. 305


Your Clear Mortgage forecast from Jason Parkin

More of the same in your 7-day forecast with dry conditions and mild temperatures (given the time of year) ahead. It appears a White Christmas is not in the making this year, though we may see a few sprinkles on the 24th and 26th.

For help with preapprovals or refinancing, get in touch with Jason at parkin.mortgage

Things To Do

Tuesday, Dec. 21
Iowa State University men’s basketball vs. Chicago State
At: Hilton Coliseum, located at 1705 Center Drive, Ames
Info: Iowa State University plays in the Big 12 Conference. www.cyclones.com

Featured Home For Sale
Attention Realtors, post your listings here for $50. Contact pat@dmcityview.com for details.
4011 SE 1st Street
Des Moines, IA 50315

LOTS of house for the money. 4 Bedroom home in a charming neighborhood on the south side of Des Moines. Lots of room to spread out and grow. Great investment opportunity. Contact your agent for details! ....

Find Out More!

FROM KCCI: Iowa teachers are fed up with violent school fights

The Iowa Department of Education reports that 650 students were expelled or removed from school due to violent fights that caused injuries in the 2020-2021 school year. ...READ MORE FROM KCCI

FROM WHO-TV: ‘Shame on them!’: landowner pushes back at Branstad’s letter supporting carbon pipeline through Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa landowners and the state’s chapter of the Sierra Club are pushing back at a letter former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed on behalf of a company trying to put a carbon sequestration pipeline through 30 counties.  READ MORE FROM WHO-TV

FROM WOI-DT Local 5: Christmas 2021 Forecast | Are White Christmases becoming less common?

Temperatures could be between 20 and 35 degrees above average for Christmas Eve, with the prospects of a white Christmas looking bleak... ... READ MORE FROM WOI-DT Local 5

The Score

NHL shutting down from Wednesday through Saturday due to rise in COVID-19 cases among players. ...READ MORE FROM KCCI

CITYVIEW's Best Of Des Moines 2021

Nearly 14,000 votes were cast in the 2021 CITYVIEW Best Of Des Moines readers' poll.

Best Local Frame Shop
1. Tandem Brick Gallery
2. The Great Frame Up
3. Dot’s Gallery & Frame Shop


Read more

Christmas then and now
Residents reflect on changing holiday observances

By Rachel Harrington

When Shelly Hilgers was a child, her mother would receive many traced cut-out handprints from her and her sister, Kim. After some time, her mother grew tired of trying to keep up with all the tiny handprints, so she decided to try something new. She took a basic white tree skirt and began tracing the girls’ handprints on it with the year in the middle of each hand.

“She put my handprints on one side of the Christmas tree skirt, and she put Kim’s handprints on the other side of the tree skirt."

Over the years, Shelly’s mom used two tree skirts to capture their handprints as they grew. She would use the skirt under the Christmas tree, and moisture stains attest to their being regularly used.


Read more

Place your help wanted ad in the list below for FREE! Email to pat@dmcityview.com. And ask us about upgrading your FREE ad with a display ad in any of our publications.




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A riddle, photo, and story from Bob Skelley:
“What do you call a Christmas tree with Red Delicious ornaments?”

"Many, many years ago, after the holidays, the Kmart in Algona sold their leftover Christmas ornaments at rock-bottom prices. My Mom, who apparently was incapable of resisting a bargain, found a container of red apple ornaments for $1.50 so she bought it. The next week, she found two more containers further marked down to $1, so she bought those too. Please understand that there were 60 ornaments in each container — 3 times 60 equals 180 red apples, which she “thoughtfully” gave to me. So, for many years, I decorated my tree with white lights and almost 180 apples."

So, “What do you call a Christmas tree with Red Delicious ornaments?”

My Mom called it my “Pine-apple tree.”

Email to tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com to be included in an upcoming Daily Umbrella!
Digital Editions
Join more than 100,000 central Iowans who read CITYVIEW each month in print and online. Pick up a copy at nearly 700 locations across central Iowa, or receive the digital edition delivered to your email in-box. View this month’s digital edition here.
Birthdays and Notables!

Happy Birthday to these celebrities: Samuel L. Jackson, Jane Fonda, Kaitlyn Dever, Kiefer Sutherland, Steven Yeun, Mark Ingram Jr., Adam Schefter, Ray Romano, Julie Delpy, Jane Kaczmarek, Tom Payne, Andy Dick, Chris Evert, Phil Donahue, HaHa Clinton-Dix

SUBMIT: Send your birthday greetings and congratulatory notes to:tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com

Poll of the Week

What is atop your Christmas tree?

An angel
A star
A bow


How many times have you seen "National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”?

None - 10%
1 time - 11%
2-5 times - 20%
6-10 times - 11%
11 times or more - 48%

Morning Chuckle

Why did the frog go to the hospital?

FOR A HOP-ERATION! Thumbs up Gail Tomlinson and Rex Post. Lori Bluml offered, "Because he thought he was going to CROAK!" Shane Goodman volunteered "Because he was TOAD to," leading to a debate on which answer was funnier.


What do you get from a cow at the North Pole?

Have a guess? Email tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com 


If you would like to advertise in this daily newsletter, please contact Pat Checketts at pat@dmcityview.com, or call 515-953-4822 xt. 311.

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