Extraordinary Stories

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Monday, December 31, 2012

The "What About Bob" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Eavesdropping on a phone conversation that my wife was having with my granddaughter Camille.  Camille is eight years old and in third grade.  Her sister, Courtney, has a hamster.  Her second one.  I knew that my grandkids would love pets, since their parents had pets when they were growing up in the 70s and 80s.  My three kids had guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, dogs, hamsters, gerbils, a ferret and a chinchilla.  When my wife was growing up she had just a few pets, but on the rather large size.  She had a horse ... oh yeah, she also had Buddy.  He was her long-haired chihuahua that didn't like me after I showed up one day and he had to play second fiddle!  For me, well I had pets when I was growing up in the 40s and 50s.  I had white mice, pigeons, white rats, fish, a couple of dogs and ...... get this, a couple of hundred guinea pigs.  I wrote a few times about my guinea pigs, but I just wanted to add this to show you that the members of LDubs family love pets.  My grandson has dogs, cats and goldfish in his home while my two granddaughters have, or had at one time or another, goldfish, cats, a dog, and a couple of hamsters.  Courtney's hamster, which she got a few months ago died about a week ago.  Not sure why but it may have been from fright, since her cat, Ruby, can stare you to death!  And she loved sitting next to the hamster's cage and staring!  As I was listening to my wife's conversation with Camille I kind of got the idea that their household had a new hamster already.  Courtney's old hamster's name was Coco and Camille was telling Carol that her dad had helped Courtney put Coco in a small box and wrap duct-tape around the box.  They were putting the box in the garage until the ground thaws and they can bury it with the other pets under their rear deck.  Carol was wiping a few tears away when she told Camille that Amah and Tampah (Carol and me) used to help her Camille's mom, our daughter, put her pets who had died in the winter in a metal film canister with tissues all around it and put it in the garage until the snow had all melted.  Boy do I remember those days.  Some years we might of had half a dozen film canisters in the garage by the first thaw.  By the time our kids were in high school it was almost impossible to plant flowers in our flower beds with out hitting something metal with the shovel.  Oh, the good old days.  I really miss them!!  Then Camille told Carol about the new hamster that Courtney just got.  Seems that Camille and Courtney's mommie's friend had a hamster and didn't want it anymore.  She asked my daughter if she would please take it.  Camille said that she didn't want it because it was already "half dead" which meant if was a year or two old and couldn't handle the stare of the cat.  Camille did like the fact that her friend, the owner of the hamster in question, could do one-handed cartwheels while holding the hamster in her other hand.  Well, Camille learned that it was now a "rescue" hamster and Courtney was going to have to like it.  It's name was Bob. Pretty cool name for a "half dead" hamster.  Hope Ruby the cat likes him.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of ordinary guy.   
Pet burial vault

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The "Here's Voting For No Doping" Story

Mike Piazza, one of my picks
It was an ordinary day.  Just "Googled" to find the ballot so I could vote for those players who should enter Baseball's "Hall of Fame."  Now, you know how much I love the game of baseball and I'm sure you realize that my vote means nothing when it comes to who actually gets into the "Hall of Fame," but I love to see how close I come to picking the players who will make it this year.  When I was in my childhood and even teen years, I knew very little about the players who were trying to make the "Hall of Fame," but everyone on this years ballot I am familiar with and have watched them play either on TV or in person.  There are 37 names on the ballot and I'm sure I will pick some of the players who will make it, but I'm troubled about quite a few of them.  Reason:  The age of STEROIDS.  I hate to say it, but steroids turned baseball into a glorified video game.  Through the use of pharmaceuticals, hitters gained unnatural bat speed, pitchers picked up velocity and some player's vision became so much better that it helped reduce their reaction time after the pitcher released the ball.  I'm afraid to say that in 20 or so years we will probably look back to this time as the "Steroid Era."  And then will Barry Bonds' 762 homers really look like the record.  To me Henry Aaron still is the all-time home run leader in professional baseball.  I just hope that someday all the records that have been broken by players such as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and the like will all be eclipsed by players who can pass a drug test.  I wonder how the sportswriters who will pick the players for the Hall of Fame will vote.  I just hope that the alleged greatest hitter, Barry Bonds, and pitcher, Roger Clemens, of the past 25 years doesn't make it into the hall.  Baseball means too much to me to allow the cheaters into it's Hall of Fame.  I hope the sports writers feel the same as they view Rule No. 5 in the guidelines mailed to the voting members of the BBWAA, which states:  "Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”  In this debate, the key words are integrity and sportsmanship.  Any player who used steroids or any other performance-enhancing drug on the list of banned substances was cheating.  Cheaters lack integrity and sportsmanship. Any player who lacks integrity and sportsmanship doesn’t deserve to be voted into the Hall of Fame, at least as long as Rule No. 5 is part of the process.  This year there are 13 “carryover” players on the 37-player ballot (players need to receive 5 percent of the votes to stay on the ballot).  I'm pulling for Alan Trammell (a player on my APBA team), Dale Murphy, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines (another player on my APBA Team) and Mike Piazza who was born in nearby Norristown, PA and grew up in Phoenixville, PA.  He was one fine catcher and sportsman.  Well, I have my ballot ready and will be watching when the results will be announced Wednesday, January 9, 2013, on the MLB Network and the web sites of the Hall of Fame and the BBWAA.  Here's hoping that the sportswriters feel as I do and leave the drug users out of the treasured Hall of Fame.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The "A Grandson's Tribute" Story

Tad and Steve in front of the tattoo studio in Lancaster
It was an ordinary day.  Sitting on a revolving chair with black latex gloves and a tattoo needle vibrating in my right hand while I put the finishing touch on my youngest son's latest tattoo.  Tad enjoys tattoos.  At first I thought he was nuts to spend all that money to cover his body with black and colored ink that as he ages will look considerably different than it does now.  But, I must admit that the artwork that he carries with him all the time is beautiful.  A few years ago I wrote a story about his tattoos and showed you quite a few of them.  Then, last year, I wrote another story about the tattoo he has of professional hockey goaltender Grant Fuhr who played for his favorite team, the Edmonton Oilers.  And again, another story about the tattoo that he now carries on his left arm that shows an image of his grandfather, who is his namesake, in his army uniform with bombs exploding, planes firing rounds, and a ship in the water.  Right under the tattoo are the birth and death dates of his grandfather.  Today he is getting a tattoo in honor of his grandmother, Dorothea Elizabeth Woods, also known as "Dot."  After he told me he wanted to get one as a tribute to mom I told him that when he had it done I would go along and take photos of it to show exactly what transpires during the tattoo process.  Well, today was the day.  I arrived at noon at the "Transcending Flesh Tattoo Studio" located on the corner of N. Water and W. Chestnut Streets in downtown Lancaster, PA.  The owner and head tattoo artist is a fellow by the name of Steve Lowry who was a student of mine when I taught graphic arts and photography at Manheim Township High School.  He was in the same graduating class as my oldest son so I knew him quite well.  He was an extremely talented artist in high school and after seeing some of his tattoo work over the past 20 years, I knew he was using his skills in his profession.  Steve has been doing tattoos for 21 years and opened his own studio at the current location in February of 1997.  He has 5 other artists working for him and they are busy as ever.  Seems all the recent shows on TV about the art of tattooing has led to an explosion in the field of tattooing.  I hadn't seen Steve since he graduated from high school, but had heard about him through Tad.  After a few greetings, Steve placed a call to his friend Eric who is a professional photographer and who I also had as a student in high school.  Thought he may want to come and visit with me, since I hadn't seen him for quite a few years.  Well, time to begin.  Steve opened a padded folding table for Tad to lay on, since he was having the tattoo placed on the rear of his left calf.  First has to shave all the hair from the area, then scrub the area thoroughly, then transfer the idea which Steve had drawn in script of the word "Dorothea" accompanied by flowers that were to represent African Violets, mom's favorite.  Just then Eric arrived and we all talked for a short time and he asked if I had any tattoos.  "Not yet!" I told him.  "We'll see.  Maybe someday."  After transferring the drawing onto his calf, Steve prepared the ink for the tattoo.  The ink is primarily a glycerin base with natural pigments such as plants, earth or animals used to add the coloring.  Much the same as printing ink used to be made.  The tattooing device is a knurled stainless piece of metal about an inch in diameter and four inches long with a hole running through it which holds a device that hold the tattoo needles.  The power supply, primarily a rheostat, is controlled with a foot pedal.  The needle is actually a grouping of anywhere from 3 to 9 extremely small needles that are soldered together so they can hold varying amounts of ink depending on the area to receive the ink.  Everything around Steve is covered with removable plastic coverings which are changed after every client.  Steve dons his black latex gloves, grabs the tattoo tool and begins tracing the lines in black.  Every so often he wipes the tattoo with clear glycerin, using a clean pad each time, to clean any color that may have run.  I was amazed to see that there was absolutely no blood whatsoever.  "Does that hurt?" I ask Tad.  "Kinda feels like constant bee stings that never stop or maybe like scratching a bad sunburn you might have."  Doesn't sound like fun to me!  Then he told me that it hurts the most to get your ribcage or the top of your foot tattooed.  After doing the black outline, Steve replaces the 5-needle tip with a 7-needle tip that he called a brush, since it will be like painting with color to finish the tattoo.  He has prepared at least half a dozen colors that he will use to blend and color the flowers.  Neat watching and photographing this artist at work.  Instead of a canvas or paper he is using human skin as his vehicle for his work.  I thought going in that I might be upset with the procedure, but I was amazed with what I saw.  The needles only go about a 1/32" below the skin, but enough to maintain the color, even when the skin constantly sheds itself.  It is deposited in the stratum corneum layer which is directly above the pigment layer.  That is why the color covers the color of the person's skin, but will not disappear with shedding of the skin's outside layer.  I eventually asked Steve if he was finished, and he replied, "All but the dot that Tad wants."  Seems the dot was just to be a dot of black ink to remind him and others that she was called "Dot" by my dad as well as others.  Then he said, "Switch places with me so you can add the dot of ink on Tad."  "Not me," I said.  Well, the two of them convinced me I could do it so I switched seats, put the black latex gloves on my hands, picked up the tattoo device, dipped it in the black ink and touched it to the spot on the tattoo where Tad had indicated he wanted the dot.  Just as easy as that!  Now it was finished.  Cleanup of the tattooed area, covering with a plastic sheet to prevent it from touching his pants, and then a total clean-up of the table and area where Steve had just worked.  Steve wanted to know when I was coming in to have mine done.  I'm sure he would do the work for me.  Time will tell.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS - naturally you'll have to check out all the photos I took of the procedure.

Tad holding the original design created by Steve.
After transferring to Tad's left calf.
Selection of some of inks available for coloring.
Colors selected for the tattoo.
Steve showing me the tattoo tool.  Needles fit into the tiny tip at the end.
Steve starts to add ink to the design.
The artist at work.
Adding the violet colors.
Addition of another color.
Final color is added.
Tad looks on as Steve and LDub change places.
And the "Dot" is added.
Final result with the "Dot".


Friday, December 28, 2012

The "Comment From The Past" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Checking some of the stats that are on my blog.  One tells me how many people read my story from yesterday, one tells me what country they live in, and other tells me how many hits I had this past month.  Then there is the link I can visit that shows the comments that people have written to me about a story they might have read.  I wrote a story December 8th, 2009 about a church camp that I used to attend in the summer as a kid.  Loved the place called Camp Rodgers which was located on Shelley Island in the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg, PA.  Well, December 21 of this year I received a comment from Anonymous about the story.  My guess is that Anon was checking "Google" and came across my story on Camp Rodgers.  He clicked on it and eventually sent me a comment.  Really neat to hear from a friend from my childhood.  Only problem is I don't know who he is. He pointed out himself in the photo of the group I had included with the story, but I never had names to put with the faces.  I will include his comments as well as the photo.  Someday I will stumble across the name of Anon and may be able to talk with him again about our time at Camp Rodgers.  His comment is:

It's a pleasure seeing this site and notes about Camp Rogders. I have so many wonderful memories of this experience. I was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church choir in York and attended Camp Rodgers every summer from '54 to '57.

Yes I do remember the camp when it was located on Shelley's Island. I recall it was run by St. James' and the 2 directors were 'Pop' and 'Mom' Thompson. The cook was 'Aunt' Clara Croft and, boy, could she cook. A real central Pennsylvania Dutch cook.

The experiences by LDub are pleasant memories. I can add a few of my own. The fishing, the daily rowing across to 'Sandy Beach', a small island about 50 yards from our dock, to swim. We really loved that monkey rope swing. Of course, someone always seemed to go underwater and bank rocks, which inflicted pain on your ears if you were swimming underwater yourself.

There were the afternoon softball games, the trips to the old barn for crafts and the weekly hikes to the mainland in Goldsboro. The older kids would hike 5 miles, the younger, 2 miles.

I am on several of these pictures, the one on the left holding the ping pong paddle and in the group picture, the one behind LDub's right shoulder.

Because half of us were from York and the other half from Lancaster, there were the constant 'discussions' which city was better.

Of course, since both cities had pro baseball teams in those days, the arguments usually centered around whether the York White Roses were better than the Lancaster Red Roses, or vice versa.

There were the tournaments with brackets to see who was the best at badminton, quoits, archery and other sports competitions. Ribbons were given to the winners.

I looked forward to camp every summer and was quite disappointed when the main house burned on the island. As LDub said, it was impossible to get fire trucks to an island in the middle of a river.

If you want to read the original story, click on The "Camp Rodgers" Story.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS - In the group photo I am the one standing in the middle of the photo without a Camp Rodgers shirt on.  I happened to be fishing when they handed the shirts out.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The "Kindle Fire Fiasco" Story

It was an ordinary day.  And, Christmas has drawn to a close for my 68th time.  Another great year of celebrating Christmas with the family.  Carol and I naturally exchange gifts with each other and my favorite this year was the fish-eye lens that she got me for my DSLR camera.  We also buy gifts for our children and their spouses as well as close friends, but what we enjoy the most is buying gifts for our three grandchildren.  We try to buy them one big gift as well as a few small ones.  This year we talked it over and decided to buy them Kindle Fire notepads as their main gift.  Right after Thanksgiving, Amazon.com had the Kindle Fire on sale for a great price, but you could only purchase one.  Carol and I talked it over and thought we would take advantage of the deal and tried to figure how we could beat the one only thing.  Well, I purchased one on my Apple computer at home with our home email address.  Then she bought one at work using our gmail address which we use when traveling.  OK, now what do we do for the third one?  Decided to call our daughter who lives in Maryland and have her purchase one using her account and address.  Big Mistake!  We should have had her use our home address as where we wanted it to be mailed to, as we did for the other two.  Well, our Kindles were delivered to our place within a few days and finally our daughter called and said her's had arrived.  I asked her to sent it immediately to our house so I could charge it and add our Wi-Fi to the menu so they would work as soon as the kids opened them.  She mailed it on the 6th of December from her work address in Maryland.  She managed to put in it the mail bin just a little too late for Thursday pick-up, but it was picked up on Friday December 7.  Gives us two weeks to get the Kindle Fire.  I stuck a check in the mail for her for the Kindle and the postage and thought everything was going great.  Then, in the middle of the week of the 16th, after I had wrapped all the gifts, I was checking everything and realized I only wrapped two Kindles.  Geeeez, now what do I do.  Called my daughter and she told me when she had mailed it.  Guess it will arrive soon, I hoped.  Nothing on the 20th, 21st or 22nd.  I now had only a few more days before someone was going to be disappointed if they didn't have a Kindle to open on Christmas at LDub's house.  What to do?  I hopped in the car and headed to Walmart to see if I could buy another one, figuring I could return the one coming in the mail when it eventually arrived.  Walmart doesn't sell them anymore.  Neither did Kmart!  I grabbed my cell and called my wife and told her to see if she could order another one at regular price today from Amazon.com and check to see if we could get it by Monday afternoon.  Then told her I was headed to Best Buy to see if they still sold the Kindle.  I was half-way there and my cell rang.  Carol told me she had just ordered another one at regular price and it was guaranteed to be delivered on Monday, for an additional $20 of course.  I felt relieved.  I decided to continue to Best Buy just in case and when I found that they had a few left, I bought another one, hopping that I would be able to email Amazon.com as soon as I returned home and cancel the order Carol had just placed.  Yep, I got my Kindle, arrived home and managed to have the Kindle canceled before they added the charge to   my account.  Then I got to thinking, maybe I will wait until Monday to open the one I had just purchased at Best Buy and see if the one my daughter had mailed on the 6th actually arrives.  That way I can return the one to Best Buy unopened.  Monday's mail was a washout so I opened the one from Best Buy and charged and prepared it for a gift.  Everything seemed to be OK until today when my one granddaughter told me that her Kindle wasn't holding a charge and could she return it for another one.  Luckily I don't have any hair or it might have been all over the floor.  Sure, I can return it.  I'm Tampah, after all.  Then she realized it was the charger unit I had loaned her that wasn't working and we were back in business again.  So now everyone is happy and I'm waiting for another one to arrive.  If I needed a tablet I might just keep it, but we bought an iPad last year and don't need it.  I won't even open it.  Just pull my account up on Amazon.com and push the return button.  Simple as that.  I will receive a pre-paid mailing label and all will be well.  Allegedly!!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
Grandkids Camille and Caden enjoying their new presents.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The "Secret Family Recipe Revealed!" Story

Carol's Banana-Split Dessert
It was an ordinary day.  Carol was getting items prepared for our Christmas dinner when we expect a total of 13 around our table to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  One of the items that she can get ready a few days ahead of time is the traditional family dessert.  It has become famous around our house and one of the first items that guests ask if we are having this year.  It's a secret recipe that she hasn't shared very often, but I managed to find it and sneak a few photos with my miniature pocket camera of her making it so that you too can be amazed at how good Carol's "Banana-Split" Dessert can be.  Don't tell her where you saw it, though.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Using a 9"x13" pan, sprinkle a layer of graham cracker crumbs on the bottom of pan. 

Slice enough bananas to cover the graham cracker crumbs.

Cut a 1 1/2 qt. container of vanilla ice cream into 1/2" slices.  The recipe actually calls for a half gallon container of ice cream, but since they don't make that size anymore, Carol has altered the recipe to the 1 1/2 qt. size.
Place the slices over the banana layer.

Chop slightly salted peanuts in a small blender.

Spread them over the layer of ice cream.  Place the pan in the freezer while you prepare the chocolate topping.

Make the chocolate sauce.  Add one stick of real salted butter and one cup of chocolate chips into a pan and melt over medium heat.  

Continue to stir as it is melting.

Stir in 2 cups of 10X powdered sugar.

Stir in one 12 oz. can of evaporated milk continuing to stir.

While stirring the mixture, allow it to come to a boil.  This will thicken the mixture.  This step will take at least 15 to 20 minutes before the mixture will boil.  Do not use more than medium temperature heat or the mixture may burn.  
Remove from heat and add one teaspoon of vanilla.    At this point you must wait until the mixture has cooled to room temperature or if you pour it on the ice cream, the ice cream will melt.  The mixture will not harden until placed back in the freezer so you don't have to worry about the chocolate mixture getting too hard.  

When cool, pour the mixture over the ice cream.

Now, the best part!  Lick the excess chocolate mixture off the spatula you used to cover the ice cream.  Place the tray of ingredients, with the chocolate topping on it, back in the freezer until the chocolate mixture has hardened.

After hard, cover the top with a layer (16 oz. container) of Cool Whip topping.

Sprinkle a light layer of graham cracker crumbs of top of Cool Whip.

You can decorate with colored sprinkles, according to the season.  Here Carol uses red and green sprinkles.  After your dinner, remove from the freezer, cut and serve.  Your guests will be delighted!!  Tell them LDub said so.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The "Merry Christmas" Story

Our Christmas Eve Palm
It was an ordinary day.  It was ordinary, and ...... then it snowed.  A true winter wonderland, just in time for Christmas.  Last evening it had just started when we entered our Christmas Eve Nativity service, but by the time the service was over, there was a covering of the white stuff.  Looked beautiful.  So, from our house to your house, A Merry Christmas.  Soon the family will arrive and we will be celebrating the birth of Jesus with the exchange of gifts and a Christmas dinner.  Carol helped me create a card for this somber season.  Hope you are well and enjoying the Holidays.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS - Click on the images to enlarge.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The "Victorian Era of Gingerbread" Story

Looking through the window from outside at night.
It was an ordinary day.  Just getting home from my second trip to the firm of Reese, Lower, Patrick and Scott (RLPS).  Their architectural offices are, at least for the next few days, right at the other end of my street.  Seems they have built a brand new building, that they naturally designed themselves, and will be relocated in it by the beginning of next year.  Now, the reason for so many trips to RLPS.  The story actually started last Tuesday.  I saw in their window one day a week ago that they had finished their annual Christmas display of gingerbread houses.  Always one of the highlights of my holiday season when I make a visit to see the display.  One of my former students, Jim M., is an architect with the firm and usually takes me through the offices to see the display.  Well, last Tuesday I called the office to see if I could make some arrangements with him for the viewing.  Happened not to be in the office, but I left a message for him.  I really wanted to visit the next day and take some photos and talk to him about the display which this year is titled "Jolly Olde London Towne."  No call on Tuesday afternoon, or Wednesday, so when Thursday rolled around and I found out that this was their final public viewing of the display, I asked my wife, Carol, if she wanted to go with me in the evening to see the display.  Times for viewing the display were 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.  I chose closer to the 7:00 PM time, figuring that most everyone from the neighborhood would be out of the place by then.  Boy, was I mistaken.  We arrived at 6:20 PM and were greeted with a slight drizzle in the air as well as a line that reached their parking lot.  Holy S*#t!  "I sure hope the line goes fast," I said to Carol.  Well, it didn't.  By a quarter to seven we had reached the front door.  The line went back and forth a few times in the lobby, then ran the entire length of the building to their meeting room and back through the lobby to the hall leading into the display area.  By 7:30 we were in the meeting room and my cell phone rang. I happened to be talking to someone behind me in line so I handed my cell to Carol.  After a short phone conversation she handed me the phone and said it was Jim M. telling me I could come in the next day after 2:00 PM and he would show me the display.  I looked at her and asked,"Do you want to leave and come back tomorrow?" Her reply - "We've been waiting over an hour already, we may as well just wait and see it now."  That 'now' turned out to be 8:15 PM when we actually saw the first of the gingerbread houses.  And ..... were they spectacular!  This is the 23rd year for the RLPS Christmas display and it seems that every year they outdo themselves.  This year 21 of the employees of the firm constructed houses while 11 more made accessories to go with the display.  I did mention that it is a gingerbread display, but not all houses are necessarily made with gingerbread.  A few were made with graham crackers, a few with chewing gum, and few with other types of candy and so on.  The display, which was about 12-15 feet square was started the day after Thanksgiving and was ready for judging on December 5th.  No daytime work hours were allowed so the employees had to come in evenings and weekends to finish the display.  On December 5th RLPS clients viewed the display and voted for their favorite building and favorite accessory.  They were allowed to vote for three of each and the winners, as well as some of my favorites, are displayed below.  Oh, I should tell you that I did try to take photos on Thursday evening with little success, since everyone was pointing and quite a few of my photos had fingers and arms in them as well as flashes going off at the exact instant I was pushing my shutter release.  I went back the next day and visited with Jim as well as took more photos of the display.  After seeing the results, I'm sure you will be as impressed as I was.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS - Jim reported to me that over 500 people visited the night before.

Daytime photo of building called "Smoke'N Nannies" which took 1st place 
My night photo showing "Smoke'N Nannies" on the left of photo.
2nd place went to "Pretzel's Pub.
Evening shot of "Pretzel's Pub."
3rd place went to "Norfolk Biffins Bakery" which was made from chewing gum and icing.
"Norfolk Biffins Bakery" shot in the evening.
Best Accessory was "Merry Poppins."
2nd place was titled "Bunny Invasion" showing all the bunny rabbits.
And, the 3rd place went to the small pond with boats titled "Ho Ho Ho Your Boat!"
Notice the entrance to the small park with the "RLPS" sign.
Notice the streets which are dark gray icing with the black beans pushed into it.