The Neighborhood Furry Friends “Our Gang Comedies,” Staring: Sally, Simba, ol’Sam and Spanky…for starters…

In real life, Sally, is my pal Claire Hall’s furry loved one. She collaborates with me to write this first of a four part series. The characters and plot are taken from the neighborhood adventures and antics of “Our Gang” comedies from the 1940s when boomers were kids… You know, like so many of us ol’folks…

First, “Our Gang Comedies” from a special time long ago…

“Pete the Pup (original, 1924 – June 1930; second Pete, September 9, 1929 – January 28, 1946) was a character in Hal Roach’s Our Gang comedies (later known as The Little Rascals) during the 1930s, otherwise known as “Pete, the dog with the ring around his eye”, or simply “Petey”. The second Pete was an American Staffordshire Terrier named Lucenay’s Peter.[1] He was well known for having a circled eye which was added by Hollywood make-up artist Max Factor[2] and credited as an oddity in Ripley’s Believe It or Not. The original Pete (sired by “Tudor’s Black Jack”) was a UKC registered American Pit Bull Terrier named “Pal, the Wonder Dog”,[3][4][5][6] and had a natural ring almost completely around his right eye; dye was used to finish it off.”

Inspired by the treasures and gifts from “Our Gang Comedies, post WWII…

“Petey” from Little Rascals


“Sam” The Old Dog of Wisdom

Sally is the voice of reason and love

English Bull Terriers have a distinctive look with their long noses and lots of personality. They are also famous—both the Target Dog and Spuds McKenzie are Bull Terriers, and maybe, the “Rascals,” I imagine…

I always wanted one of my own, but never thought it would happen. Then I saw a Facebook post that someone was rehoming one. The one cautionary note was that she’s deaf.

We drove to meet her, and it was love at first sight. Once her former family was assurred we would offer her a good home, we all drove away happily together.

My family named her Sally. After a fun game with names that spoke to our hearts, and a vote, she’s my Sally…

It’s clear she hasn’t lived an easy life up to now. It appears she was attacked my the other dogs in her former household and she bears the scars.

I also discovered emotional traumas. She was shy and a little scared. That’s changing every day. She’s more confident, open and loving every day.

Her external scars are healing (it looks like she was attacked a few times by other dogs at her former home) and her emotional scars are healing too.

There are three other furry loved ones in our household. She loves being part of a pack that plays with each other and loves each other.

Sally, Sam, Simba, and Spanky, live together in harmony, mostly. We’ll get to that later…

In the last few weeks a lot of traumas have caught up with me. With good care team and lots of love, is helping to heal. I help to heal Sally too…

How could you not fall in love with this sweet face? I sure did. Claire Elizabeth Hall, Newport, Oregon

(A big shout out and hug to Claire Hall, for inspiring me to write this series of uplifting and healing stories! Thank you, buddy!)

Now, back to the “Rascals” the neighborhood furry friends gang…

The “Rascals,” we call them in the neighborhood. Our Gang Comedies,” remember them?

“Spanky” is trouble, indeed…

You can count on Spanky serving up a prank or two each day in the neighborhood. He’ll chase chickens to play, or steal the neighbors shoes on a good day…

“Simba” cuddles and sooths the soul…

Simba awakes first early each morning. He goes around to his brood one by one and nudges them gently, with his wet nose and a soft purr. They all know in fairly quick succession, It’s time to rise to the occasion. “It’s time for breakfast, for me first, then you,” Simba says with a soft purr..

“Sam” is the wise ol’ dude with a slight grin…

Sam is often up before even Simba. He’s having is first treat, hidden away the night before under the couch. Sam wants to get the news first on CNN before Spanky and Sally show. Sam is a wise ol’ dude who gets it right most of the time, but not all the time…

Sally” the voice of reason…

See where Sally fits in? She goes around before breakfast to greet and hug her brothers, while the breakfast is on the grill…

This is the first of a four part series featuring the 21st century “Our Neighborhood Gang,” as furry loved ones in Little Whale Cove, Oregon…

Next up? Spanky, will take us on a wild ride, unleased by accident, in the rain forest down to the Cove. I’m already excited about writing this tale of mostly kindness and love, with a few bumps on the trail down to the sea…

Steve and Judy Sparks
Children and Families in Life After Trauma
A moment with, Steve Sparks, at the end of Depoe Bay…

For more stories like this, including a contributing furry loved one story from my pal, Claire Hall, download my new ebook to your smartphone or tablet. Be sure to get Kindle app! Thank you!

Rattlesnakes Make Great Friends On The Trail…

Jason Evans on his spiritual journey…
Jason Evans, back home among the rest of us…

I’m so delighted to introduce my friend and soul brother, Jason Evans. A man who lives his life from his heart and soul. He is daring, loves nature and wildlife. This is sacred to Jason. He lives with God and Rattlesnakes too. He loves, with empathy and kindness in his heart. We are kindred spirits, Jason and me… Steve Sparks


Rattlesnakes didn’t scare me. I hiked past dozens. Found them respectful in their warning rattle, regal as they surrendered the trail.

Except for one juvenile, basking in the sun, laid out like an arrow. He didn’t warn me. Yet I stopped short, eventually clacking my poles. Still he didn’t so much as shudder.

I reached out a pole and gently nudged him. Pliable like a bean bag. After a little pole pounding and stomping from a safe distance, and absolutely no recognition, I reached again with a pole to nudge him; wondering finally if he was dead.

Snapping, in an instant he twisted and struck – fangs tinking and dripping against the pole. He glared at me in a snakey sort of way and slithered off; I thought a little haughtily.

Later some old-timers told me the juveniles are most dangerous, because they are more likely than their judicious elders, to “blow their wad,” every time they strike.

It was a little disconcerting, cowboy camping in the desert one night, when I heard, nearby, a jackrabbit scream while ripped apart by coyotes. It wasn’t quick.

A swarm of angry bees was like a spun oblong tornado 4 feet tall, that I heard from a ways off hovering 30 feet above the chaparral, and equidistant to me. Looking back and forth on the steep and rugged trail, I realized if I was blamed for disturbing them, I had nowhere to go.

Dawn wolves howling on a nearby peak south of Crater Lake were awesome.

The cougar I saw in Southern California, at dusk, slunk up the side of the hill after I hissed at her. Super goosebumps though. I saw their tracks many times.

Bears were generally bounding off through the berries – myself made known – day or night, and so I rarely got a good look.

My only scary animal experience involved a herd of cattle.

I’ve worked with grass fed cattle on a small sustainable farm and think myself good with them.

In an open field I can move amidst the herd and walk out a particular cow if I want. I’ve been close enough to lend a good welcomed scratch from time to time. Cows don’t generally like to be petted.

I was hiking in middle California one night, near the timberline, above some steep grassy rangeland. The trail was overgrown; tall shrubs on both sides were thick and my headlamp didn’t illuminate but a few feet beyond the fringe.

I saw reflections in the eyes of a couple cows standing just off trail, chewing their cud. They spooked and started crashing – presumably blindly – through the brush.

Within moments another dozen cows, unseen, were to their feet and crashing too. They didn’t run away, but swarmed me in their confusion, sometimes checking each other in their mad scramble.

All of it I could hear, but all I saw were the flashing of their eyes and an occasional profile begin to form and then fade away. Several flashed across the trail before and behind.

There was nothing I could do but dim my headlamp and hike fast – sure I would be trampled any moment.

Eventually they were all behind me. I had run the gauntlet. I was shaking.

Most moving were the antics of spirited lizards, marmots with immense character and woodpeckers tapping trees in the near distance.

There was a mid-morning of memories that will stay with me longer than most. It was the Alpine Wilderness, in the Klamath National Forest of Northern California.

The Pacific Crest Trail cast along a wending, near horizontal path through a rough and steep scree slope.

I came around a bend, and saw grazing, at a rare tuft of verdant scruff, a young buck – a black-tail deer. His nascent antlers downy.

I said aloud “You’re beautiful,” surprised at the sound of my own voice, which I hadn’t heard in at least a day. Pausing in admiration I rested on my trekking poles, and considered our situation.

It was at least a quarter mile south to a spot where the deer or me might safely step off trail. And I knew, the chance the deer would follow me south to do so, was slim.

Certainly the deer wouldn’t brush shoulders with me while I passed. I had no idea what to expect from the trail ahead. And either of us breaking a leg to go around was my utmost concern.

So after a while I stepped forward and paused, and then again … and it seemed like Buck got the idea and he turned from me to meander up trail. I followed.

Neither of us rushed. For almost a mile we hiked together as such, he always 60 feet ahead, every now and then glancing back to be sure I hadn’t broken our agreement.

He bounded from the trail where we came over a saddle, but as I came up he still stood, facing me from a mossy clearing 20 feet away.

He leaned forward and tapped a front hoof and shook his head at me when I paused again, like he was hooking into a scrum.

I nodded, and continued my journey, leaving him to his. Jason Evans

What Do Your Kids Need to Know or Say About The “January 6th” Insurrection?

First, do you talk with your kids or at them? Do you preach to them about all the stuff you think you know?

Do you actually listen to them or just lecture? If you can’t answer these simple questions, then look in the mirror.

Sound simple? Well, it ain’t simple at all….

Here’s what I want to know sooner than later. At 74, who knows…

Do we still teach our kids in school political science, civics, war and peace, and lessons learned?

I remember my father talking about Germany mid 30s. I also remember reading and studying fascism at college 70s 80s…

All we knew about back then was the KKK. We knew also what they were up to after the Civil War. And that wasn’t America either…

Proud Boys sure sounds like the KKK model. Who wants that in America’s future?

I learned also about authoritarian governments, white supremist, non democratic countries around the globe. Who wants that kind of ugly stuff in America’s future?

We can go way back to midevil times and see the King/Queen thing to start with. Then, take a look at how much power the Catholic Church had back then…

Is this what America wants to be? Wow! How stupid are we?

Yeah, America has big problems like forever. But, we don’t need a “Putin” to solve them.

We know how this works. It’s wrong and it doesn’t work, period. Never has, never will…

I wonder about our kids and in their schooling. Is political science and history studies no longer required? What about war and peace?

Does anybody study lessons learned from our past?

Do kids learn liberal arts at all?

Most importantly, how did America become ignorant and stupid? Why did 74 million people buy the “Big Lies?”

This ain’t political conversation. It’s about education, awareness, and truth. Will truth and trust return?

I want to know before I leave this world and so do most from my boomer generation. What happened? What’s wrong with America? How do we fix it? My rant… I earned it!

Escape for a moment…