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Opinions

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.

Life on the acreage

Food For Thought

Although we lived in town with neighbors all around, life on Washington Street was significantly different from the way it had been on First Street where I’d had many neighborhood playmates. There had been, besides Norma Jo and Charles, the Craig twins, Bobby and Beverly; Jackie Slatterback; Dwight and Dwayne Stone; Bert Reynolds; Gladys Fee and Les Stevens.

The big onion

Walkin'

Talked with Mom and Dad on the phone this morning.
The big news of the day was the Cubs. They don’t have cable so they couldn’t watch the series clincher against the Giants, but they did have a radio tuned in until about 10 p.m. That’s bedtime, they observe it pretty closely. It’s a rare evening that finds them staying up past or, even rarer, going to bed early.
We both agreed it’s actually better listening to it on the radio. The television announcers might be talking about what they had for lunch and completely miss describing the triple being played out on the field.

Responsibilities

Food For Thought

Rosemary had a younger sister named Marlene, a stepfather who was one of the town policemen, and a new baby half-brother named Darrel. Their house was across the street and down the hill from ours, past a vacant lot. I often walked with her, past my house, around her house to the back door where we entered into the kitchen. Rosemary would go to the living room, where her mother seemed to always be seated at her sewing machine, while I waited in the kitchen. For some reason, I always imagined her mother sewing for someone else, as Mrs.

Pearl’s still in our heart

Walkin'

Pearl continues to be a great patient as she rehabs from knee surgery.
At 9, she’s no puppy and her leash-free romps on the farm or at the park may be behind her. But she still loves her walks even if she is tethered.
Pre-injury, I loved to get her amped up before taking her out.
“Wanna walk?” I’d ask.
She’d spark and shoot about like static electricity. Then I’d repeat the question at each step of my routine to get ready. By the time my shoes got slipped on, glasses found, hat donned and sunscreen sprayed, the voltage of her excitement surged to storm level.

Saying goodbye

Food For Thought

Children, for the most part, are dedicated optimists. If things are going well, they assume they’ll stay that way, and if things are not so good, kids invariably believe they’ll soon get better. So when I was in second grade and approaching age 8, I was pretty sure I had my future well in hand. I loved school, had several nice girlfriends and my very best friend and soul mate Charles. My dad was home from the Air Force to stay and I never gave a thought to the possibility of anything unpleasant coming along to ruin my contentment.

Hens and drug overdosing

walkin'

Everyone keeps asking about Pearl but no one inquires about the chickens or me.
The old hens couldn’t have it any better.
The avian experience at our place starts with a snug hen house. The outside of the building is made of sturdy plywood grooved and stained to give it a paneled look. The chicken’s door or, as I call it, the “hentry” is neatly trimmed with strips of linen sprayed with gnat repellent dangled in precise intervals making a barrier for the pesky bugs.