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Opinions

Oxymoron gone wrong

Food For Thought

I don’t quite understand the logic that causes people to “do their part” for conservation by using recycled paper in their correspondence, and then wasting paper to advertise that fact. A recent letter I received pointed this out in a ridiculous and bewildering manner. It reminds me of the charities that waste the money I send them by spending some of it on letters begging me to send more. If I’d been able to send more and had chosen to, I’d have done it in the first place, don’t you think?

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Chicken wishing

Walkin'

A couple of surprises came out of the old hen house recently.
The coop isn’t old at all, but it’s been a few seasons since the girls were spring chickens. Nevertheless, they shouldn’t be over the hill, egg-laying wise. Typically, a hen produces from five to seven years. We have six chickens, average age three-and-a-half, so we should still be making omelets and deviled eggs to our heart’s content.
Wrong.
Creation tapered off this spring and then stopped all together with the beginning of summer. It was a bit of a mystery since production typically goes up in the summer months.

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Nature’s way

It’s been a few weeks since I witnessed the episode I’m about to describe, but I’ve been more or less haunted by it ever since. The window over my desk, where I spend a lot of time writing and daydreaming, looks out at a row of walnut trees along our lane. There are two constants in the scene, for the most part. One is there are birds visiting the lane to peck at the gravel for the grit that is necessary for their gizzards to function.

A day in the life of a small town

Walkin'

Ran into Bob Jedlicka in Solon the other day.
Bob served as the city superintendent during the 1980s and ‘90s while I lived there, ran the newspaper and sat on the city council. “
A barrel-chested man, his knees began giving out on him years ago. As a result, he doesn’t so much walk as rock like a washing machine with an uneven load. His large chest also serves as an echo chamber. A man of few words, the ones he does speak echo long and deep before erupting from his mouth.

Don’t blame it on Stephen King

Food For Thought

Clowns have always been frightening to little kids. The recent epidemic of scary clowns doesn’t surprise me, for I remember the clowns of my childhood as alarming. To my young eyes, they were noisy, unpredictable, invasive and extremely odd in appearance. We went to the circus at least once every year, sometimes twice if more than one troop of performers came to town during a summer.

Stinking and exploding

Walkin'

Talk about your emotional swings.
In just 10 days, I went from the elation of the Cubs winning the World Series to the deep depression of the election of Donald Trump.
This week’s column was going to be about my earliest days of fandom for the loveable losers. I even started writing it before Tuesday:
Dave (Buzz) Buzello and I were as a thick as thieves in our preteens.
He lived a half-dozen houses down the street. Our mutual life’s goal was to discover a secret formula that would either: A.) Stink to high heaven or B.) Explode.

Do-not-call

Food For Thought

Now that the election is over with, we can relax a little every time the telephone rings and hope the call is from someone we actually know and wish to talk to. Enough with the surveys and polls and political pitches. Nearly every one of those calls started out with a recorded message, and after a lifetime of feeling guilty about being rude, I’ve been able to hang up on them without apology. I guess I got the most satisfaction from hanging up, several times, on Donald Trump.

Heaven and hell

Walkin'

Blame it all on the Cubs.

Why are floods getting worse?

Food For Thought

It appears that flooding is getting worse in spite of our best efforts to prevent or control it. While we make remarkable progress in other fields, it seems we are losing ground when it comes to dealing with our swollen streams and rivers. And “losing ground” is an apt expression when we see our precious black Iowa farmland running away down our rivers at such an alarming rate. This is closely related to the problem of a decline in the quality of our drinking water.

Poisons

Walkin'

We went on our annual fall bicycle ride on the Kewash Nature Trail recently.
It was a gorgeous fall day. Sun out, temperature up and leaves in all their glory. On our half dozen or so rolls up and down the trail, we encountered a bunch of beautiful flora and fauna. On one early summer ride the periwinkles bloomed in all their blue and violet glory. On another, a huge buck with a splendid rack stood in waist high corn and watched us as we watched him.

Junior high

Food For Thought

As I look back, I find it odd our summers on the acreage were so isolated compared to life in our former neighborhood. Even though there were classmates within shouting distance, we seemed to cut off contact once school was out for the year. Summer vacation put us in a different world we seemed to accept as normal, even though nobody indicated in any way the rules had changed.

Chicken ship

There’s been trouble in the old hen house. Someone complained to the ACLU (American Chicken Liberties Union) about the Buddhist prayer flags draped in a corner.
Like the much older and more renowned American Civil Liberties Union (also ACLU), both organizations are nonpartisan, non-profit. Both work through litigation, lobbying and community empowerment to achieve their mission: “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every chicken in this country by the Constitution and the laws of the United States.” Of course in the “civil” version, people are defended.