Giving thanks

As I write this, I am dreaming of turkey and preparing to enjoy sleeping off visions of Thanksgivings Past flowing through my gobbler-doped cranium.

In my youth, Mom would have spent the week baking. The knotty-pine walls of the dining room echoing timed-released aromas of turkey and pies and fresh bread.

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Seasons of change

He found the old man under the grape arbor, silently rearranging vines that were not in obvious need of being rearranged. Clearly, something needed said. He was not certain what.

Finally, the old man spoke.

“You’re getting married soon,” he said. “You won’t be coming home on vacations anymore.”

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Trading future for profits

A few years ago we learned Exxon had been researching oil’s replacement at the same time the company was actively denying burning the stuff was bad for our planet. Exxon and other companies historically and currently spend tons of money convincing us to buy products they know are harmful to the continued well-being of humans and other earthly plants and critters.

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Politicians and other birds

Morning Glory flowers have segued into their final stage: seeds for next year. Each former flower has become a pod with five tiny black seeds perfectly fitted. Outside my window, a Cardinal, a woodpecker and a Mockingbird have been devouring the bright red dogwood berries. That avian affinity for seeds is how we got the marvelous Morning Glory wall on our front porch rail.

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Minimum wage hike unnecessary

Several years ago, a few of us sailors were sitting around sipping suds and complaining about the fate of those at the lowest end of the pay scale.

“Inflation is killing us,” one of the youngest lads commented.

“There’s no such thing as inflation,” replied Yancy, the chief petty officer who was my immediate supervisor.

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Between a rock and a …

My latest wandering find was last week along a creek I had to walk a bit to get to, leaving my gasoline-powered chariot just off the hard road, where ATVs, apparently driven by youthful, if not actually young, drivers, had churned the mudhole. When the place dried, the remaining ruts were too deep for the Outback’s clearance.

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Anticipation

Mary Lou, the flowering dogwood outside my window, is changing color – again. Her previously green leaves, shaped with the compound curves of Pringles chips with pointy ends, are turning bright rust-colored as she shuts down the conduits that for the past few months have transported nutrition from the earth on which she stands, to be processed in those then-green solar collectors into more branches and, now, a mass of red berries among the buds that will open next spring into a glorious bouquet of pink ad white four-petaled flowers.

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Plane, mountains and strangers

Being a tourist in distant countries has been an eye-opener.

I was stationed in Rota, Spain with the U.S. Navy. It was a six-month deployment with my Jacksonville, Florida-based patrol squadron, during which time we flew patrols to keep track of what the Russian navy was doing in and near the Mediterranean Sea.

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Vaccines and loaded trucks

Questioning authority has been a well-documented life-long pursuit of mine, so I do not fault folks for arguing with the way the government has handled this pandemic, or which government may have sourced it.

But we have bodies stacking up around the globe – more than 690,000 and piling in the U.S. alone. We know how to stop that.

We can argue the other points next, not first.

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Logically speaking, it’s illogical

Spock would have a fit. We humans have an amazing gift for ignoring logic.

Why, for instance, would we think putting salt on our winter roads is bad because it pollutes nearby water and wetlands, yet we’re willing to accept water laced with radioactive and chemically laced salts we would not allow on our dinner tables, declaring them “safe when used as directed.”

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The sky was falling

Vigorously. That is what we say when the clouds pour their liquid load on our house.

I have awakened the past few mornings to grayer skies lighting, dimly, my bedroom. I lay there torn between competing imperatives: I should stay in bed and read or go back to sleep, and I should be up already finding some constructive endeavor with which to occupy my attention.

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Context is everything

Submitted for your consideration: a new television offering.

“The Chair” is a dramedy – part drama, part comedy – on Netflix starring Sandra Oh as the first woman chair of the English Department at a small liberal arts college.

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Water pollution is like a virus

Wednesday, California became the first state to require all school staff to get vaccinated or agree to regular testing. President Biden has said maybe federal employees can avoid being vaccinated if they are willing to be tested regularly for Covid.

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He really wanted to know

Much of what follows was a column I wrote 20 years ago, almost to the week. My then-newly declared life partner and I had returned from a celebratory cruise around the Caribbean. We had visited the Yucatan Peninsula, Grand Cayman Island, and Jamaica, and spent a couple of days at sea, being waited on. Not a bad life – for a week.

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