My daughter is praying that Mommy and Daddy win the sweepstakes or hit the big one in the lottery.
There is a reason for this, of course. It's undeniable that some people are luckier than others, or for some reason seem to have their prayers answered more frequently than most.
So, for example, I know who to blame for all this wonderful winter weather and the ache in my back from shoveling the driveway: my daughter.
Right before Christmas she walked around the house saying, "I wish we would have snow for Christmas."
You know what happened.
Then she had the gall to wish that we'd have lots of snow and that it wouldn't melt, so she could go sledding a lot.
You know what happened.
I guess I'm just one of those people who think that having a few million dollars to play with would be a fun change from our routine.
So now, her big wish, at least in my hearing, is that we will become rich.
I can't wait.
Shake the Winter Blues with a new program bearing that name from the Freedom Area Recreation Council.
Middle school children will have new options for spending their leisure hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings between Feb. 14 and March 28. These options include magic, etiquette, sketching, chess, grooming, history, storytelling, drama and crafts.
"We're targeting the children in Sykesville Middle School, because that's our middle school, but any middle school children are welcome to attend," said Pam Short, community coordinator for the council. "We think this is the right time to introduce this program, because the kids are in between sports and have the time to look into new things."
The program was made possible by Schools Community Center Program money received by the council. All classes will take place in the middle school.
"These funds are for new programs only, and for two years now, we really haven't gotten anything from this grant," Ms. Short said. "This year, we got quite a lot and we decided to spend it on this program, because we thought that we don't do a lot for middle school children other than sports and there's a whole lot more that they are able to do."
Ms. Short, who contacted more than 100 people to find the proper mix of classes for this age group, has created a lineup of instructors including published author Jay Graybill and master storyteller Jo Anne Hay.
"We've got a magician to teach magic tricks, a chess instructor, the drama group from Liberty High School to teach mime, improvisation and pantomime, and graduates of the Vo-Tech program to teach proper grooming techniques," Ms. Short said. "All of the instructors are very qualified and enthusiastic.
"Some people we contacted to work in this program were dubious about working with children this age, but the crew we have now was very excited about it and loved the idea. They're all working for very little money -- some are not charging us at all -- because they think this is a great thing for the community and they really look forward to doing this."
Because of the generosity of the instructors, the prices for these programs are minimal and, in some cases, are free.
"We wanted it to be affordable to these kids," Ms. Short said. "We're very committed to this program. If there's one child signed up, the class will run. We're hoping this will be very popular, and if it is, we'll continue to do things like this and perhaps broaden the range of activities which we provide.
"We think some of the parents will want to tag along for some of these classes. They'll be welcome, of course. They don't have to come. We've planned that parents will be able to drop their children off at the door and come back to pick them up when the program is finished without worrying about it."
Council members will be at the school each night. Each class will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with no variation, so children will be able to come and leave at the same time, and their parents will know exactly where they are and what they're doing for the entire period.
Ms. Short said Don Pyles, the school principal, "has been very cooperative in finding classroom space for us to do this. This is great, because some of the classes will be in the home economics and art rooms, and those are good places for learning proper table setting [in etiquette class] and decorating T-shirts [using fish to create avant-garde prints]."
Sykesville Middle School children who wish to participate must place a registration form, in an envelope with payment for the class, in a box labelled "Shake the Winter Blues!" in the school's office. Middle school students from other schools may call Ms. Short, 549-6296, for registration information.