Sidney Poitier left us last week, after my deadline for submitting my weekly wanderings. The myriad of TV accolades almost uniformly left out one of the most memorable of his scenes – at least to a certain young man then only two years out of high school.
Cabin Fever is that mid-winter ailment that forces one, eventually, to either leave the house or kill everyone too slow to escape. In some ways, I feel as though the ailment arrived shortly after Christmas a year ago and never really left.
In the past three years, maybe four, I haven’t burned a tank of snowthrower gas. One of those years I never even took the thing out.
“You should feel lucky then, haha,” my nephew wrote in a chat.
Nope. He is young enough to think clearing snow is a chore. I used to love clearing our driveway late at night, just me and the machine’s headlight and a stream of snow.
The thing I remember most about Christmas was Dad waking us kids up as he stood outside us kids’ bedroom windows, shouting at Santa.
“Wait! Stop! DON’T GO! My kids want to meet you.”
For the past two years, the Watershed Alliance of Adams County, together with the county Conservation District, has arranged and participated in planting thousands of trees – trees to trap stormwater runoff (or at least slow it down), to provide shade to keep our streams cool enough for fish and other critters to live, filter dust from the air and trap and store carbon within their skeletons.
The sky was black, as though a blanket hung over the window, through which random specks of light shone like fairies posed onstage with flashlights before the notes of the opening accompaniment. It was the first night in a while that wasn’t roofed in with thick clouds.
Three huge spotlights marked a triangle against the otherwise black surface.Continue reading Dinner and a show
An event this week moved me to repeat a column I wrote in August 2001. Most of it, anyway. Here, slightly edited for length and modernization, …
OK. If a kid shot one of my grandkids, I’d get testy and hard to get along with. If another kid merely picked on one of my grandkids, school administration would be wondering whether I had a cot in the principal’s office.
Ask my kids. Their schools were used to seeing Dad in the corridors, chatting with teachers and administrators.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have you ever pulled yourself hand-over-hand hundreds of feet to the top of a California Redwood and tied your hammock among gardens of plants and critters that had never walked the ground from whence you came?
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.”
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.
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.