C and K spelling rule

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C vs K

Both C and K make the/k/ sound. When you hear a word that starts with the /k/ sound, how do you know if it is spelled with a C or a K? Good spellers would never spell cat as kat or kill as cill, but why not? There is a rule at play here but most of us don’t know it.

The spelling rule is pretty simple:

  • C goes with the vowels a, o, u (cat, cot, cut)
  • K goes with the vowels e, i (keg, kit)


Game 1

Learners with spelling challenges might best learn the C K rule by discovering the rule themselves. Since this activates other parts of the brain, it is more readily remembered than simply telling students the rule.

Start by making 15 cards, 3 each with CA words, KE words, KI words, CO words and CU words. Large paint sample chips or colored index cards work well for this. For younger children, the words need to be simple like cat, can, cap, Ken, keg, kept, kick, kit, kiss, cop, cot, cog, cup, cut, cuff. Also needed are five cards in a different color with the five vowels.

The five vowels are laid out in a row and the 15 word-cards are mixed up and handed to the student. Ask the student: “When a word starts with the sound /k/, how do you know if it is spelled with C or K? After the student looks puzzled for a moment, say “Let’s try something.” 

First, ask the student to repeat the five vowel sounds.  Then have the student read the first word and put it under the appropriate vowel, starting a column. Keep going. Pretty soon the student is going to say something like C goes with the vowels a, o, u and K goes with e and i.

Make encouraging noises and say something like, “That’s a great prediction. Let’s see if it still is true by the end.” When you finish say, “Yes, you just discovered a spelling rule. Let’s write it down.”

Have them write it, or write it for them, in their own words.

Point out it is easier to remember K because it only goes with two vowels. Bring out some more ke and ki words and help them make phrases they might remember.

Sample:  Ken will kick Kitty with his Keds.

              Kim kept her kitty by her keg.

or           Can the cat cut the cap with her claws

Game 2

At the next lesson reinforce these learning points by asking your learner(s)for recall. If necessary, read back the spelling rule they wrote and ask them to explain it to you. Say as little as possible, to let them pull out as much as they can remember. Ask if they remember the rule they put together. Then play a game.

The game would be played on a 9 square or a 16 square tic-tac-toe board covered with a page protector for multiple use. Each square will have a C or K word missing the initial letter (like this: ____an) Ask your learner to fill in the blank with a C or a K and say the word. If it is wrong, erase and try again. The object is to get 3 or 4 in a row, across, down or at an angle.

You might do this the first time with a 9 square and do a 16 square a month later as a review.  After that, a very simple review would entail five words with the first letter missing and have students fill in the blanks. Do this review once a month with different words until there have been no mistakes for three months in a row.

These spelling lessons will be continued in future posts.

Rosalie Novara

Punny Jokes For Boys

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They say that enjoying puns is a sign of intelligence. I certainly think so. That goes for other kinds of jokes as well. Over the years I’ve collected a number of cute and clever stories. After sorting through my collection of personal favorites heard over the grapevine and over the internet I offer you the following puns, gags and stories as a rewarding way to, at the very least, get your boy reading. You might want to pick out the ones you think appropriate to your child’s interest and reading level. This is a good way to teach that playing with words can be fun.

Q: What’s brown and sticky?

A: A stick

I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger.Then it hit me.

Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

The roundest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference.

The butcher backed up into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.

To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.

Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.

We’ll never run out of math teachers because they always multiply.

The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.

A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.

A bicycle can’t stand alone; it is two tired.

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I’ll show you A-flat miner.

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.

He broke into song because he couldn’t find the key.

A boiled egg is hard to beat.

He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

A plateau is a high form of flattery.

When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.

If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine .

When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she’d dye.

Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.

Acupuncture: a jab well done.

I thought I saw an eye – doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian 
She was only a whiskey-maker , but he loved her still.  

A rubber – band pistol was confiscated from an algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption. 

 A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for  littering. 
 Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie. 

A chicken on one side of the road calling to a chicken on the other side: “How do I get to the other side?”

Reply: “You’re already on the other side.”


How about the HS graduation in where the principal announces that all the students in the 12th grade have graduated except Richard. The classmates start to chant: “Give Richard another chance.” The principal agrees and asks Richard, “How much is 9+4?” Richard concentrates, counts his fingers. Takes off his socks to count his toes and finally says, “13”. The classmates chant, “Give Richard another chance.”

How I learned to mind my own business I was walking past the mental hospital the other day, and all the patients were shouting, “13….13….13.” The fence was too high to see over, but I saw a knot hole in the planks, so I looked through to see what was going on…somebody poked me in the eye with a stick! Then they all started shouting “14….14….14.”

 An Italian grandmother is giving directions to her grown grandson who is coming to visit, “You come to the front door of the apartment building. There is a big panel with buttons by the door. With your elbow you push number 3. I will buzz you in. Come inside, the elevator is on the right. Get in, and with your elbow, push 3. When you get off, go to the door with number 301. Then, with your elbow, hit my doorbell.

”Grandma, that sounds easy,” the grandson says, “but, why am I hitting all these buttons with my elbow?”

“What, you come to see your gramma empty handed?”


A woman goes into a sporting goods store to buy a rod and reel for her grandson`s birthday. She doesn`t know which one to get so she just grabs one and goes over to the counter. The sales clerk is wearing dark sunglasses.

The lady says, “Excuse me, sir. Can you tell me anything about this rod and reel?”

He says, “Ma`am, I`m completely blind; but if you`ll drop it on the counter, I can tell you everything from the sound it makes.”

She doesn`t believe him but drops it on the counter anyway. He says, “That`s a six-foot graphite rod with a Zebco 404 reel and 10-LB Test line. It`s a good all around combination; and it`s on sale this week for only $20.00.”

She says, “It`s amazing that you can tell all that just by the sound of it dropping on the counter. I`ll take it!” As she opens her purse, her credit card drops on the floor. “Oh, that sounds like a Master Card,” he says.

She bends down to pick it up and accidentally breaks wind. At first she is really embarrassed, but then realizes there is no way the blind clerk could tell it was she, who tooted. Being blind, he wouldn`t know that she was the only person around.

The man rings up the sale and says, “That`ll be $34.50 please.” The woman is totally confused by this and asks, “Didn`t you tell me the rod and reel were on sale for $20.00? How did you get $34.50?”

He replies, “Yes, Ma`am. The rod and reel is $20.00, but the Duck Call is $11.00 and the Catfish Bait is $3.50.”


A man stops in to see his family doctor.

Dr: What seems to be the problem, Harold?

Harold: I’ve been thinking I’m a moth, lately.

Dr: That’s not something I can help you with. You should see a psychiatrist.

Harold: Actually, I was on my way to see one when I saw the light in your office.


A chicken walked into the children’s section of the library, went up to the librarian and said, “Book, book, book” (said in chicken ‘bawk’ sounds). So librarian gave her a book.

Then the chicken  went out the door and returned with the book a few minutes later. She dropped the book in front of the librarian and said, “Book, book, book.” So, the librarian gave her another book. A few minutes later the chicken returned with the book and asked for another, “Book, book. Book.” This time, after giving the chicken another book, the librarian decided to follow her outside to see what was going on.

She followed the chicken to a little pond behind the library where the chicken laid the book on a rock. A frog came out of the pond, looked at the book and said, “Read it. Read it.” (Frog croak sound)

Wise Guy Answers

It was mealtime during a flight on Hooters Airline.”Would you like dinner?” the flight attendant asked John. “What are my choices?” John asked.  “Yes or no,” she replied.

A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store but she couldn’t find one big enough for her family. She asked a stock boy, “Do these turkeys get any bigger?”  The stock boy replied, “No ma’am, they’re dead.”

The cop got out of his car and the kid who was stopped for speeding rolled down his window.  “I’ve been waiting for you all day,” the cop said. The kid replied, “Yeah, well I got here as fast as I could.” When the cop finally stopped laughing, he sent the kid on his way without a ticket.

A truck driver was driving along on the freeway. A sign comes up that reads, “Low Bridge Ahead.” Before he knows it, the bridge is right ahead of him and he gets stuck under the bridge. Cars are backed up for miles. Finally, a police car comes up. The cop gets out of his car and walks to the truck driver, puts his hands on his hips and says, “Got stuck, huh?” The truck driver says, “No, I was delivering this bridge and ran out of gas.”

 The famous Olympic skier Picabo Street (pronounced Peek-A-Boo) is not just an athlete….she is now a nurse currently working at the Intensive Care Unit of a large metropolitan hospital. She is not permitted to answer the hospital telephones. It caused too much confusion when she would answer the phone and say, “Picabo, ICU.”

1.Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn’t much, but the reception was excellent.

2. A jumper cable walks into a bar. The bartender says, “I’ll serve you, but don’t start anything.”

3. A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says: “A beer please, and one for the road.”

4. Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other: “Does this taste funny to you?”

5. An invisible man marries an invisible woman. The kids were nothing to look at either.

6. I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn’t find any.

7. I went to a seafood disco last week…and pulled a mussel.

8. What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.

9. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says “Dam!”.

10. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.

11. A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named “Ahmal.” The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him “Juan.” Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds,”They’re twins! If you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Ahmal.”


My first job was working in an orange juice factory, but I got canned. I couldn’t concentrate.

Then I worked in the woods as a lumberjack, but I just couldn’t hack it, so they gave me the ax.

After that I tried to be a tailor, but I just wasn’t suited for it mainly because it was a so-so job.

Next I tried working in a muffler factory but that was too exhausting.

Then I tried to be a chef,  figured it would add a little spice to my life, but I just didn’t have the thyme.

My best job was being a musician, but eventually I found I wasn’t noteworthy.

I studied a long time to become a doctor, but I didn’t have any patience.

Next was a job in a shoe factory; I tried but I just didn’t fit in.

I became a professional fisherman, but discovered that I couldn’t live on my net income.

I managed to get a good job working for a pool maintenance company, but the work was just too draining.

So then I got a job in a workout center, but they said I wasn’t fit for the job.

After many years of trying to find steady work, I finally got a job as a historian until I realized there was no future in it.

My last job was working at coffee house, but I had to quit because it was always the same old grind.

Two boll weevils grew up in South Carolina. One went to Hollywood and became a famous actor. The other stayed behind in the cotton fields and never amounted to much. The second one, naturally, became known as the lesser of two weevils.

A three legged dog walks into a saloon in the Old West. He slides up to the bar and announces: “I’m looking for the man who shot my paw.”

 Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? He wanted to transcend dental medication.

 These friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist cross town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to “persuade” them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he’d be back if they didn’t close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that: Hugh, and only Hugh, can prevent florist friars.

 With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person which almost went unnoticed last week. Larry La Prise, the man who wrote “The Hokey Pokey”, died peacefully at age 93. The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in. And then the trouble started.

Your Student’s eBooks

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Writers write to be read. Your young writer is no exception. If you’re looking for additional motivation and recognition beyond hanging a poem or story on the refrigerator or stapling printouts for proud grandparents, you might want to consider ePublishing. It’s free and relatively simple to make your student’s works available online. There is some formatting required and a self-designed cover might take some work but the content can be any length and is easily edited and augmented. The eBook can be priced for sale or offered free of charge. Friends, family and even the eWorld at large, can then download the book to their computers for printout or to their handheld readers. I would suggest using Smashwords since they offer access to multiple eReaders (Sony, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, Kobo etc.) If you’re not familiar with the site, check them out at www.smashwords.com.

Learning From a Well-Trained Horse

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Learning From a Well-Trained Horse

 In these exercises the student is asked to vizualize a situation and then write what might happen next. I include a sample from one of my novels that speaks to the same situation. For reluctant writers, it’s possible to read my sample first and ask the student to continue the adventure or to come up with an alternative outcome. In any case, the point is to get imagination juices flowing and to jump start storytelling skills even if they’re verbal rather than written.

 The scene:

Imagine if someone lets you ride a very fast cow pony that won’t respond to your signals to turn or stop. What would you do if you couldn’t jump off? After the ride would you go again? What would you do differently?

 Here’s what Nick found out about the retired cow pony, Trace, in Saving For Trace

 Nick located the stall marked TRACE and appraised the sleepy roan. His bucket head hung low, eyes almost closed in a half doze, tail swishing at flies. Retired cowpony, eh? If he was retired, he hadn’t retired any too soon. Trace was not an imposing example of prime horseflesh.

Still, Nick had a job to do. So he brushed, bridled and saddled the horse. Leading him out to the pasture, Nick noticed a dramatic change in the gelding. Trace held his head high, ears forward, nostrils arched. He was high stepping, parade prancing. What a transformation.

Nick swung into the saddle. But before he was properly seated, Trace bolted across the field at a full gallop. Nick snapped the reins back. Nothing. He searched for the stirrups with his toes, yanked again, then again. “Whoa!, Whoa!” he shouted. Nothing. He was straddling a run-away rocket that could veer at any second and leave him floating in space.

Nick talked to himself. “Stay with him. Keep a balanced seat. He won’t hurt himself. You just have to be ready for anything—like that single strand electric fence coming up fast. As soon as he sees it—”

Trace planted all four feet in a hard check, then cut to the left. Nick stayed with him as the cowpony whipped through a gate and swung behind the barn through a nightmare of plows, combines and tractors. He never slackened his pace as he dodged and juked like a superstar running back until he stopped at the back fence, breathing hard, in the end zone.

Nick jumped down, grabbed Trace by the bridle and walked him back through the barnyard obstacle course. Nick’s legs were still trembling when he reached the main corral where he discovered Corky leaning on the gate, smiling broadly.

“I was in the way of telling you that you should make him walk for a good ten minutes before you let him run. But I forgot.” She chuckled.

“I could have got hurt,” Nick spit out.

“No, luv, I knew you could stay on him,” she assured, arm across his shoulder, almost hugging him. “I would never put you in the way of getting hurt. Your mother would never forgive me—lucky woman that she is to have a lad like you.”

Nick tensed, surprised and slightly embarrassed.

Corky withdrew her arm and began again. “You did a good job of sticking with him. The secret to riding Trace is to let him know you’re in charge—ten minutes of making him walk when he wants to run. That’s the ticket. And then you let him teach you a few things.” She laughed. “Maybe you learned that you can’t judge a horse in his stall.”

Nick stared at the woman. Was she putting him on? Should he try again?

She raised her bushy red eyebrows and nodded. “Someone needs to ride him, poor beast. The owner never comes around. Just sends his check every three months.”

Nick walked over to Trace and rubbed his nose. Remembering Mack’s advice when he had first mounted Prince, Nick lowered his voice so it sounded forceful and soothing at the same time. He hoped his voice didn’t shake the way his legs were shaking. “All right, big boy. Let’s try this again from the beginning.” He didn’t want to rush or act nervous. He turned the stirrup toward himself, hiked his boot into place and rotated until he hung over the saddle. Then he sat down hard. At Trace’s first move, Nick popped the reins.


Trace stopped. Started again. Snap.

“Whoa. We don’t go till I say so.”

After three or four tries, the cowpony walked. Not a trot. A walk. It took close to fifteen minutes before Trace knew Nick was the one calling the signals.

After establishing control, Nick’s fun began. He discovered that Trace responded to weight shifts: if he sat forward quickly, the horse would go;  if he leaned back, he would slow down. Amazing.

Nick accidentally bumped Trace’s shoulder with his right foot. The horse turned right. Nick touched him with his left foot. Left turn. Right foot. Right turn. Nick felt like he was playing a computer game for the first time, exploring the controls, discovering what they were programmed to do.

What else does he know that I have yet to find out? Nick wondered. He carefully eased the roan into a gallop. Under control this time, Nick kept the reins high on his neck. Pulled right. Trace leaned into a right turn without losing a step. He tried left. Same results. Passing Corky on the rail, Nick raised a thumb in the air, calling out, “He’s awesome!”

The horsewoman nodded in confirmation, then shouted, “Rein him low, why don’t you? Try that.”

So Nick lined him up at a diagonal across the field and lurched forward. Trace was in a full gallop. Right now. What a horse. Nick lowered the reins to the front of the saddle horn and drew them to the right. Trace planted all four feet in a bulldozer check and came out digging in a gallop. Nick was slammed back into the saddle –like driving a sports car through a fast, steep curve.

“Yes!” Nick shouted. “C’mon, baby, let’s see you hang a left.” Same thing. What moves. Cut. Turn in a flash. Stop. Accelerate. Beautiful. Nick began to wonder who was in charge of whom.

“Would you ever bring in those horses from the back pasture?” Corky asked.

His eyes followed her fingers pointing to six horses grazing over in the next field. Nick and Trace set out at a rolling canter. Nice smooth gait. As they approached, the horses scattered. Before Nick had a chance to tell him where to go, Trace chased two of the fastest horses. “Yeah,” Nick said, “that’s right. That’s just what I was about to suggest.”

While Nick was still figuring the best cut-off angle, Trace faked right, went left and had them cornered. “Look,” Nick said to Trace, surrendering control, “why don’t you take care of this? I’ll just concentrate on staying in the saddle.” The rest of the ride was a clinic in quarter horse moves: fake, cut, burst of speed, stop, check, turn. Nick was humbled.


A girl goalie in Italy

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In these exercises the student is asked to vizualize a situation and then write what might happen next. I include a sample from one of my novels that speaks to the same situation. For reluctant writers, it’s possible to read my sample first and ask the student to continue the adventure or to come up with an alternative outcome. In any case, the point is to get imagination juices flowing and to jump start storytelling skills even if they’re verbal rather than written.

 The scene: An American girl is visiting a part of Italy called Cinque Terrae with her aunt and an Italian girlfriend. They hike along a beautiful row of cities built into the steep cliffs that hang over the Ligurian Sea. The cliffs are so steep that there’s no flat, open space that’s large enough to play soccer except in the village square in front of the church. The girl, who plays goalie back in the States, notices that some boys need another player to even up the teams. She wants to play. Her friend says, no. Italian boys aren’t used to playing sports with girls and they won’t like it. She plays anyway and…  tell what you think happens next.

Here’s how I wrote this scene in Ragazzo Quest. Did your version go something like this?

Nine guys were playing soccer on the only flat surface for miles around—the cobblestone piazza in front of the church. Anne Marie stopped in front of the ball-eating tree to watch the game.

A blocked kick sent the ball skittering toward her. Now she knew how a ball got in the tree. Without thinking, she dropped into a classic one knee position to smother the shot with her body.

Eighteen eyes stared at her. Nine mouths hung open as if one of their grandmothers had made a save.

Yeah, guys, Anne Marie thought. I’ve got a couple of moves. She stood and chipped the ball back to the oldest guy who looked like the captain of the short-sided team.

Grazie,” he said, checking her clothes. Then, deciding she was American, he added, “I am Mario. Thanks you very much.” Then he nodded to a slender boy, about ten years-old, wearing a torn tank top and pointed toward the goal. The little guy shook his head, stamped his foot. Anne Marie couldn’t hear the discussion but it was obvious that he didn’t want to play goalie. He stormed away for a few steps, paused then marched over to Anne Marie. Dragging his forearm across a sweaty cheek, he locked eyes with Anne Marie for a moment. Then he pointed from her to the empty goal, two backpacks set ten feet apart. Portiere? Holding up first one hand then the other, fingers spread, he added, “Cinque contro cinque.” He wants me to play goalie and even the sides five-to-five, Anne Marie realized. Then she smiled, he also wants to get out of goal. Smart kid.

Come ti chiami?” Anne Marie asked.

Nico,” the boy called over his shoulder as he ran back to his team. The young men gathered in a tight circle. Hands waved in a flurry of gestures. They all stopped talking at the same time, turned, gaped at Anne Marie.

Anne Marie stared right back. From what she had seen this was just a neighborhood pick-up game. It might be fun to play for a few minutes, she considered. It would give Aunt Josie a chance to rest. But I’m not that good and what if I screw up and look stupid? These guys will think American girls can’t play.

Betta touched Anne Marie’s arm, “You no play football. Girls, here, no play. InItaly, only boys…football. Boys don’t know girls playing.”

Maybe she’s right. Maybe I ought to pass on this one, Anne Marie deliberated. Then she noticed two guys in the back snickering and smirking at her. One of them, heavy set and older looking than the other flapped his wrists mocking a goalie catch. Anne Marie’s jaw tightened. She felt her fists clench. They thought she was a joke. That a girl couldn’t possibly play even-up with them. She marched onto the cobblestone pitch.

“Anna, no…” Betta called.

Anne Marie waved a dismissive hand behind her back. She had something to prove.

Mario introduced Anne Marie to the remaining two teammates. The guys bowed awkwardly. Smiled. Nico grinned broadly—out of goal at last.

Anne Marie bounced up and down a few times. “Betta,” she called. “Ask them to take a few shots to warm me up.”

The first player glanced at his buddies and rolled an easy shot toward Anne Marie. She snatched up the ball and kicked it back at him twice as hard as he had kicked it. The next guy shot a nice rising, slicing ball. Anne Marie snagged it. Mario lined up for his kick and booted a screamer to Anne Marie’s left. She scooted over, clamped two hands on it and dropped to one knee. The boys looked at each other—not bad.

“Looks like I passed the test,” Anne Marie muttered.

She made several routine saves over the next five minutes. It was fun watching the guys showing off their best moves, trying to impress her. A couple of them were pretty good, especially Nico. No wonder he hadn’t wanted to be stuck in goal. He was a great defender and a natural striker on offense….

Her meandering thoughts were interrupted by a one-on-one rush. Somehow the heavy-set player had got past Nico and Mario and was barreling down on Anne Marie like a semi on a downhill run. Up to then she had faced straight, hard shots but not a breakaway. She automatically ran out to cut down the angle. Closing on the player, she saw him smirking again. Contempt. He wanted to blast it through her. Have something to brag about to his buddies for days to come—he had put down an uppity Americana. No way, Anne Marie resolved. She kept coming. The heavy-set player flashed a look of surprise just before she slid in front of him to knock the ball away. The big fellow stumbled and fell, landing with a ground-shaking thump and a loud whoosh as air rushed from his lungs.

The guys crowded around watching him open and shut his mouth trying to breathe. Frightened that their friend was dying, one player ran for a priest. Another whipped out a cell phone and yelled “Pronto soccorso!” calling for an ambulance.

Anne Marie elbowed into the crowd surrounding their fallen comrade.

“Sorry, but I wasn’t trying to hurt him. It was just a clean tackle.”

No one listened or understood.

“It’s no big deal,” Anne Marie continued. “He just got the wind knocked out of him. He’ll be all right in a second,” she said. ”Here, let me show you,” she said, reaching to grab the downed player’s belt to lift his diaphragm. Mario stuck his arm out to stop her. The other players glared at her, then turned back to their teammate as he finally began making sobbing sounds, sucking-in ragged gulps of air. Nico edged over to her, tugged her arm gently, leading her away. He glanced back at his friends, then to her and made a brushing gesture — get out of here.

“Okay. Okay. Va bene,” Anna Maria mumbled as she slid away, joined Betta and Aunt Josie and scurried out of the piazza.

“I told you, no,” Betta reminded. “They not know…to play with women. Now, this man is umiliato…”

“Embarrassed.” Aunt Josie translated.

“They all laugh to him for long time.”

“Well, he wanted to do that to me,” Anne Marie explained, “Besides, it was a clean tackle. And I got hurt too,” she added, as she bent to pour bottled water over a skinned knee. “It’s all part of the game, right?”

“Honey, sometimes there are games within games,” Aunt Josie remarked.



The walk between the five towns

Italian boys playing soccer in a steep sided town

New Zealand seal of approval

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These people stopped at a seaside park in New Zealand, looked over the edge and saw a seal sleeping. What do you think he said to the father who woke him up and then to the daughter?