Years down the road

I was reminded on Facebook of how many years had passed since this blog wrapped up. It had been a crazy, great adventure for so many people around the world.


Delilah and Clawdeen Reunited- A Letter of Love

Dear Friends From Around the World,

Delilah Joy

I am overwhelmed with love and kindness as I write this letter to the most amazing people I know. Delilah is completely overjoyed to have her best friend back in Brooklyn. The diva is hoping to visit many of the places Clawdeen has been to one day. She wanted me to write this letter to thank all of you for being a part of this magical journey.


Clawdeen has been sleeping in Delilah’s bed since her return home. Delilah loves brushing her wolfy mane and changing her clothes. The diva often holds Clawdeen as we read all of your extraordinary blogs. It seems like Clawdeen and Delilah were never separated. It has brought me so much joy to see Delilah and Clawdeen together.


I was happy that Delilah took her very own photo of Clawdeen sitting on our comfy couch.

Delilah had to take Clawdeen to our favorite place in Brooklyn, Coney Island.

Delilah Buddy

We had an amazing play date on the boardwalk with Delilah’s friend Ben.


Clawdeen had a chance to sunbathe on a glorious day in March. We even went to an old-fashioned candy store and had hot dogs at Nathan’s.


Delilah and Clawdeen had a fun adventure at the New Jersey Children’s Museum. Clawdeen had a chance to ride in an ambulance, examine x-rays…


… get her eyes checked, play the piano and play some drums. It was a great day of family fun.

Eye Doctor

We hope that you have enjoyed the reunion of Clawdeen and Delilah. The diva wants to thank all of you with big hugs and purple kisses. She wants to thank all of you for the amazing stories and photos. You have all helped to make Delilah’s dreams come true. The diva will always remember turning seven with Clawdeen and with her friends from around the world.

Sending lots of love from Brooklyn, New York,

Jennifer and Delilah Smoloff


Puttering about in Portugal

Clawdeen arrived at Oeiras on a beautiful sunny day!


I took her a picture with the Cock of Barcelos, a symbol of Portugal, and I told her about the legend…

It tells the story of a dead rooster’s miraculous intervention in proving the innocence of a man who had been falsely accused and sentenced to death. The story is associated with the 17th-century calvary that is part of the collection of the Archeological Museum located in Paço dos Condes a gothic-style palace in Barcelos a city in the Braga District of northwest Portugal.

In the 17th century, silver had been stolen from a landowner in Barcelos and the inhabitants of that city were looking for the criminal. A man from neighboring Galicia turned up and was arrested despite his pleas of innocence. The Galician swore that he was merely passing through Barcelos on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela to complete a promise.

Nevertheless the authorities condemned him to hang. The man asked to be taken to the judge who had condemned him. At the magistrate’s house, where he was holding a banquet with some friends, the Galician affirmed his innocence. He pointed to a roasted cock on top of the banquet table and exclaimed “It is as certain that I am innocent as it is certain that this rooster will crow when they hang me.” The judge pushed aside his plate because he decided to not eat the rooster. But the judge still ignored the Galician’s appeal.

However while the pilgrim was being hanged the roasted rooster stood up on the table and crowed as the Galician predicted. Understanding his error the judge ran to the gallows only to discover that the Galician had been saved from hanging thanks to a poorly made knot in the rope. The man was immediately freed and sent off in peace.

Some years later the Galician returned to Barcelos to sculpt the Calvary (or Crucifix) to the Lord of the Rooster (Portuguese “Cruzeiro do Senhor do Galo“) in praise to the Virgin Mary and to Saint James. The monument is located in the Archeological Museum of Barcelos.

Rocks Lighthouse

As the sun was shining, Clawdeen and I went for a walk by the sea. Clawdeen enjoyed sitting on the rocks watching the Bugio Lighthouse…


… which sits in the middle of the sea where the River Tagus flows out.

Lurdes and Clawdeen

We took a photograph together looking at the sea the fishing boats and some surfers.

Clawdeen wanted to wet her feet, but she thought that the water would be to cold (Really, I couldn’t take off her boots!).


Then we went to the marina to watch the boats and found the sculpture of the diving whale.


Clawdeen liked it a lot and wanted to take a photograph!


Sitting on a bench she saw the beautiful Tower Beach with more surfers and the Fortress of São Julião da Barra to complete the landscape.


The Fortress of São Julião da Barra was built in 16th century as reinforcement to the defense of Lisbon and its port. Clawdeen was delighted to see a cat that appeared there!

Chocolate Cake

To finish the walk we went to drink a coffee and eat a slice of chocolate cake with chocolate sauce. I have a sweet tooth and I think Clawdeen did, too!

Rita with Portrait

My 5-year-old niece Ritacame to meet ClawdeenandIasked hertodrawaportrait ofher!


What to you think about it, Delilah?

Group Shot

Then we took a picture together and a Rita asked if Clawdeen could stay with her! I explained that Clawdeen had to go home to her own best friend.


I took Clawdeen to my balcony to show her the strawberries and the cherry tomatoes! I think she liked our vegetable garden!


Later, I took Clawdeen to visit the Garden at the Palace of the Marquis of Pombal!

The Marquis of Pombal was Prime Minister to King José I and the one who commanded the reconstruction of Lisbon after the earthquake in 1755.

Dog Neptune Poets Tile

We took a big walk in this garden, admiring the trees, the flowers, the creek, the statues, and the Poets Cascade with the poets Camões, Tasso, Homero and Virgilio.


We laughed at the ducks flying over us!


Finally we went to eat a nice Oeiras Queijada made ​​with chestnuts.

Clawdeen, your visit was much appreciated!

Thank you!

Lurdes Gordo

Sleepover in St. Peters

Hey there, Delilah!



We had a visit from Clawdeen here in St. Peters, Missouri while she was making her way back to you. Her big brother Clawd heard about her trip and left her a message to give him a call when she started to get close to the area. He has been staying with my son Liam for a while, so he thought he would take the opportunity to spend some time with one of his many, many sisters. Image

While they were visiting, Liam, Clawd and Clawdeen decided to have an old fashioned pajama party. They stayed up late watching movies with snacks and soda, and talking until wee hours of the morning.



Unfortunately her stay with us was brief. Clawdeen needed to catch a bus the next day to her next stop along the way. I took her with me to work, but before getting started in the office, we have to have our morning coffee.



Then we started sorting the morning mail, which Clawdeen helped sort and staple when I needed it.


I dropped her off at the bus station and saw her off on her next adventure. We were so glad to have her for the short time. We will be following her progress from here out until she arrives home with you.

Erin, Liam and Clawd 🙂


Notes in Nashville

HI Delilah, I’m Melissa! Clawdeen arrived at my house near Nashville, Tennessee on her way home to you.


She was kind of late getting in, so she settled in to admire my cross-stitch and meet the pet rats.


This is Ane saying, “Hello.”


The next morning we had donuts. Clawdeen wanted the one that looked like a flower.

Then we went to see Ancient Greece in Nashville, Tennessee!


The duck pond was being cleaned up so we couldn’t see the ducks, but we did have fun inside. We saw how the Parthenon came to be built in Nashville for an Exposition in 1897, more than a hundred years ago! It is now an art museum.


Clawdeen liked looking at the fans and there was a purse you could customize with your name. She thought that would be a good idea for when she starts her fashion business.


After touring an art gallery where we weren’t allowed to take photos, we went up to see Athena.


She wanted to be held like the goddess Nike in Athena’s hands.


After this, we went walking around and saw the herb garden at the Arts Center…


… a big train, which marks the spot that connected St. Louis, Nashville and Chattanooga…


… and a big airplane.


After our walk, Clawdeen was famished! Luckily, I knew of a great New York deli called Noshville that reminded Clawdeen of home.


She’ll be coming home soon!


I needed to run by the library after lunch so we looked at the big stack of books and the art gallery inside. All the artwork is made out of books.


Clawdeen really liked this flock of birds coming out of the book and wanted to sit a while to look at it.


Later on we went to downtown Nashville and took Clawdeen to see the Hard Rock Café.


Guess what! We ran into Elvis! Clawdeen was so excited!


While walking around, we saw this spiral thing. It’s a sculpture called Ghost Ballet. Not sure why it’s called that, but it was fun looking… and Clawdeen wanted our picture by it.

Then we went home so she could rest up for her next flight! See you soon, Delilah!

By Melissa Cook

A Great Time in Glenville

Hey There Delilah…


Did you ever see something move out of the corner of your eye and then look quickly to see what it is? This happened to me recently. I was walking through my house when I found Clawdeen sitting on my mantel watching me! She had stopped by for a quick visit on her way home to you.

Just like you, I live in New York State in the town of Glenville, midway between the capital city of Albany and the city of Saratoga Springs, which is home to the oldest thoroughbred horse racing track in the U.S. In the summertime everything around here is “horse” related. People come from all over the world to watch the championship horse races. I wanted to take Clawdeen to the race track, but in the wintertime everything is snow-covered. So instead we decided to play in the snow! We have near-record snow accumulation for this winter season. It’s great if you participate in snow sports, but if you don’t, you just can’t wait for spring to arrive.

We decided to start having fun by playing in the snow. Fortunately, my sons (now in their 20s) had played with G.I. Joe (a “doll” for boys – actually is considered to be the origin of the term “action figure”) and we still had their clothes and accessories. I quickly helped Clawdeen put on a sweatshirt, sweatpants, and warm boots, and a hat I made especially for her.


She was eager to jump in the snow.

I told her we were going on a road trip! I love road trips, hiking, and the Adirondacks! The Adirondack Mountains are in Upstate New York, so-called to differentiate northern, central, and western New York State from New York City and Long Island. The former consists of mountains, lakes and farms, while the latter has the hustle and bustle of city life and traffic and happens to be where you live, Delilah!

We traveled by car for nearly two hours to a trail leading to a fire observation tower. A fire tower is a structure that was built many years ago, some going back to the early 1900s, so forest rangers could spot a forest fire and report it. Early reporting was necessary so they could be put out before losing too many trees, homes, barns and lives to the fire. The towers were built on the top of mountains for the best views. With the improvement of telephone communications, the fire towers were no longer needed. Many have been reinforced and restored to keep the history available for younger generations. They also utilize the towers for modern cellular communication technology. But they also have fantastic views of the surrounding areas when you climb them.


My husband, Clawdeen and I began hiking the trail of Belfry Fire Tower, located near Lake Placid, NY, where they hosted the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics.


The weather was very sunny and cold; a beautiful day to hike!


Every chance we got, we stopped and soaked up as much sun as possible to stay warm.


Then we saw the tower.


From the top of the tower, called the “cab,”we could see Vermont! It was extremely windy and very cold up in the cab so we couldn’t stay for long. She absolutely loved the view. It was gorgeous!


As we started down the tower, Clawdeen noticed the changing colors in the sky because the sun was beginning to set. She was watching the colors get brighter and brighter, then climbed a small tree to get a better view.


This is what she saw. Wow! We were all getting chilled so we headed down the trail and back to the car.


When we arrived home, we had a bite to eat. Clawdeen asked for some raw vegetables. I am so glad she did because eating vegetables is one of the best ways to remain healthy. I love them too. After sitting around and having a bite to eat, we all realized just how much the cold, windy weather and the hiking drained us of our energy. We decided to make an early night of it. We all slept like babies.


In the morning the weather looked sunny again and a bit warmer than yesterday with no wind. First we stopped at the park to see if we could play at the playground. The snow was not cleared from around the playground so we had to wear our snowshoes to get there without falling through the high levels of snow. Once at the playground, we removed the snowshoes and Clawdeen started climbing on the wooden beams. She said it reminded her of the park where she played with you, Delilah. She was so brave!


There was a very big green curvy tube slide and she went down it…all by herself! She was all smiles when she popped out at the bottom.


Then she ran over to the tire swing and jumped up on it. Do you have a tire swing at your playground, Delilah?


Clawdeen found these hoops for the bigger kids to hang from to go from hoop to hoop to get across to the other side. She didn’t have enough strength to climb across that way. So she jumped up on one and pretended it took her to the top of a small hill, like a chairlift at a ski mountain.


She jumped in a sled and slid all the way down the hill. She had so much fun. Have you and Jackson been sledding this year?

It was nearing the time for her to leave so we needed to get home. I was packing a sandwich, and some vegetables and fruit for her when I heard her laughing.


I went to see what she was doing. She was sliding down the banister! I hated to stop her fun but I had to explain that sliding down the banister can be dangerous if she were to fall off. She hadn’t realized that and was glad she didn’t get hurt.


She then saw the hula hoops we had. She grabbed them and said, “Watch this!” She started with one around her neck, then put one on each arm and she was rocking all three at the same time. She is so talented!



Before she left, we were looking at some pictures on the computer and she happened to see you, Delilah. She reached out to touch you but then realized it was just a photo of you —that you weren’t actually there in front of her. She was sad then suddenly very happy, because she knew she was almost home. She couldn’t wait to see you, Jackson, Mom, Dad, and the puppy dogs.

Delilah, you have a very special friend in Clawdeen. One thing I always told my sons when they were growing up was “just be nice” to your friends and everyone else you meet. If everybody was nice to one another, then everybody would be happy. I hope you and Jackson continue to be nice to your friends and have a very happy life with your very special family. Your Mom and Dad are so lucky to have you for their smart beautiful daughter and Jackson for their very handsome son.

Love and kisses from Glenville, NY (Upstate New York) – Sandy Hutchinson


Cavorting in Canberra

Hey There, Delilah!


Well, what a pleasant surprise for me to catch up with Clawdeen in our nation’s lovely capital, Canberra. Look! She even got dressed up for it!

It was a little overcast, and Clawdeen arrived in the afternoon, so we didn’t have much time left in the day to do a lot. We decided we would go to Parliament House, which is also known as The Hill, or Capital Hill. The Hill is kind of like your Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. It is where our government sits and makes lots of important decisions for our country. Have you been to the Capitol Building yet, Delilah?


We entered in to Parliament House through a big marble lobby. Clawdeen wanted a picture of her on the stairs, and there was a perfect little groove for her to sit in on the bannister. We then walked into the Grand Hall! Clawdeen thought it was Grand indeed and love the giant artwork that reminded her of some of the bushland she had seen on her travels. I told her it was a gigantic tapestry that someone had taken the time to make by hand. She was very impressed, and told me she’d love to touch it. I told her it was very precious and we aren’t allowed to touch. But I took her upstairs where there was a sample so she could feel what it would be like to touch it.


Next we went to have a look at the Senate (known as the Red Room, or the Lower House), and House of Representatives (known as the Green Room, or the Upper House).


We had seen a sign that told us all about the Prime Minister and Clawdeen was excited to point out where he stands while in the big room to say why he wants something to become a law.


We then walked around a bit more, and Clawdeen was thrilled to see some beautiful aboriginal artwork. What sort of art do you like, Delilah? We saw a really big painting in another room, and Clawdeen thought the colours were magical. Looking through the portrait gallery, Clawdeen liked the pretty lady in the gold dress and crown. I told her that was our Queen when she was younger. “She’s beautiful,” she told me. She also took a fancy to this pretty grandfather clock.


We went out onto a terrace and Clawdeen wanted to get her picture taken with the Queen. I told her it’s not the real one and she laughed and said, “I know that, silly!”


We went up to the roof to look out over the city. The first thing Clawdeen saw was the giant flag pole that stretched from one side of the roof to the other. “Wow!” she said. Looking out from the roof we could see all the way over the roof of Old Parliament house, and along the ANZAC Parade to the War Memorial. Looking to our left we could see the “Avenue of the Flags”, the museum, and the huge university buildings. Up on the big hill is Black Mountain Tower, where all the TV and radio signals are sent from. While we were taking photos we had a curious visitor… one of my favourite birds, the magpie.


We went down to Old Parliament House, and Clawdeen saw a vintage car. “Oh it’s so cool,” she said. Clawdeen then saw this chair with the Aboriginal Flag and just HAD to get her picture on it, even if it was a little bit dirty.


We then wandered through the rose garden, and Clawdeen liked a few roses that she said were “almost as pretty as my best friend Delilah!” I noticed that it looked like she had a small tear, and she told me, “I miss my best friend!” I reminded her it wouldn’t be long now til she was home again to be with you, Delilah.


We then drove back home to my house, which is about 145km (90 miles) from Canberra. On the way we saw a kangaroo, and Clawdeen got so excited to see one in the wild. I explained we have to drive very carefully at some times of the day in case they are on the road, so that we keep them safe. We also saw a couple of sites that Clawdeen called “Amazeballs!” (I think she got that from Trudi, hahaha). There was a mailbox that looks like a parcel, and a Christmas Barn. “What’s a Christmas Barn?” asked Clawdeen. I told her it’s a giant shed filled from floor to ceiling just with Christmas decorations, but it was closed at the moment, since it was only open from June til December.


When we got back to my house, Clawdeen was excited to run into Grumpy Cat and Moo. She just had to have her photo taken with Grumpy, and Moo got in on the action too.


Clawdeen then met my dog Lilly. She loved that Lilly was a white boxer as she hadn’t seen many white ones. Lilly was a bit hesitant at first, but soon warmed up to Clawdeen’s wolfy ways. Clawdeen even managed to get a kiss in. The cat showed little interest.


I turned around for a moment and when I turned back Clawdeen had managed to climb up on Lilly’s back. She said it reminded her of Bastian riding the Luck Dragon in The NeverEnding Story, a movie her dad had shown her once. Maybe your mum and dad remember that movie too, Delilah.


I had to go and get some herbs from the garden for dinner so Clawdeen told me she would come and help me pick them. All of a sudden a lady bug landed on Clawdeens dress and she squealed with delight. “It’s so pretty!” We let him go safely on the plants.


Clawdeen saw my Sunflower, and remember she had seen another big sunflower previously on her trip. She climbed up like last time, but it kept bobbing in the wind… She said it was like being in a rodeo. There were some pretty purple flowers and she wanted to get her picture next to them as she knows how much you love purple, Delilah. Then she spotted a pumpkin leaf I had trimmed off the plant, and picked it up. “This would make a perfect umbrella if it rained,” she laughed.


Once inside I showed her the carrots I had pulled from the garden. “Oh no! Keep the dirty ones away!” she giggled. But she was happy to have a look once I cleaned them off. Just before bed we looked through the photos from the day, and Clawdeen loved that I made one of her photos my background picture on my computer.


The next day we took a drive into town as I needed to go to the shops. I took her for a drive up to the lookout, which is called Nanny Goat Hill.


Clawdeen liked the nanny goat statue and wanted to sit up on its neck. It was very windy though, and I had to hold on to help her stay up. From the lookout you can see in every direction! In one direction (East) it was an hour out to the sea, in another direction (South) it was an hour to the snowfields, and in yet another direction (North West) it was an hour to the city (Canberra). “Wow”, she said. “You’re so close to everything.” “We sure are,” I laughed. It was quite windy, and Clawdeens hair kept blowing in her face and she was struggling to hold it back. We couldn’t stop laughing, but we headed back to the car and went down town.

We only had a short time left together after that, and Clawdeen gave me a big hug and told me how much she liked seeing where I live, and how much she is enjoying her travels. She also said rather wistfully how much she can’t wait to get home to you, Delilah. I wished her safe journey and she was on her way to her next destination.

It was such a joy having her here. You have a very special friend there, Delilah.

Sending lots of love from Canberra (and Cooma)

Jenny McKnight