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Kids put hearts into Father's Day gift

The children at Great Beginning II Preschool and Day Care in Spring Hill use a lot of love and creativity in their peanut projects.

By ROBERT KING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 16, 2002

SPRING HILL -- Eric Martinez, who describes his age as "5 going on 6," was earnest about what his father means to him.

"I play with him. He plays catch with me. He watches movies with me. He helps set my choo-choo train up, and he gets new batteries for it when it needs it," Eric said last week of his father, Isgaldo. "That's why I love him. I love my dad."

Such sentiments weren't hard to draw from the kids at Great Beginning II Preschool and Day Care on Cortez Boulevard as they endeavored to create the perfect Father's Day gifts.

Using paintbrush and peanuts and glue, what they wound up with was a brown paper bag, filled with peanuts, presumably for dad to snack on as he watches TV today.

The motto written handsomely across the package was, "Dad, I'm nuts about you," except an actual peanut was glued to the spot where the word "nuts" belonged.

The occasion made it easy for the kids to think about what their dads really mean to them.

Jordan Brunetti, a chatty little red-haired lass, was at a loss about what her family might do in honor of her father, Ronald, today. But she suggested that he would be quite pleased with the bag of peanuts.

What came easier for Jordan was an explanation of what Dad is all about.

"He works at the fire station. When there's a fire, he sprays the water. And he drives the firetruck," Jordan said. "He plays toys with me and lets me play on the computer. He plays Barbies with me. And he makes Mommy and me pancakes all the time."

Julian Barry, a talkative boy unafraid to speak his mind, said he fully planned to help his soon-to-be stepdad, Gary Emerson, eat the peanuts in the snack bag he's offering as a present.

Julian, who already calls Emerson "Dad," noted that his dad plays hide and seek with him and that his favorite foods are hamburgers and french fries. But he wasn't sure what his dad does working as a paramedic. "I don't know because he hasn't told me what he does," he said.

He does know, however, how Dad feels about him when they're apart.

"He's really nice to me at home, but he misses me at work," Julian said.

He suspects the day will involve going out to eat. But, above all, Julian said he plans to tell Dad that he loves him.

K-lee Keeney, another red-haired beauty, said she plans to give her dad, Kenneth, a Father's Day card along with his bag of peanuts. She suggested, too, that it might be a good occasion to supply Dad with his favorite meal: chicken wings.

As to her dad's greatest attributes, K-lee paused for a moment and then said: "He's strong."

-- Robert King covers education in Hernando County and can be reached at 754-6127. Send e-mail to

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