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Opinions

So it’s happening again

Walkin'

I always thought I’d write volumes when retired and had time to devote to putting fingers to keyboard, but the reality is, well, I don’t know. It keeps getting harder and more challenging for me to come up with a topic that seems new and fresh for this space. And when I do come up with an idea, the old gray cells just don’t have the same capacity to turn an idea into a story that has a common thread.
So to hell with the thread, here’s some things going on in my life of late.

Just what, exactly does that mean?

Food For Thought

I seem to watch more television these days than I once did. I suppose it’s because I’m not as busy– physically, at least, though my mind continues to flit around like orioles in the orchard and has me believing I’m busy even if I’m not. I used to hear television more than see it. I’d catch the news while I was cooking supper but it was mostly audio– the video consisted of mere glimpses, and continuity was spotty since the remote was always in someone else’s hands. Today, I get control of that little black box and am allowed to sit and watch every minute of a program.

Learning more about racoons

Like the displaced persons who have fled from war, floods, forest fires, earthquakes and other natural disasters, animals whose homes and food sources were devastated first seek food and shelter. Often they occupy temporary “refugee camps” and are usually driven out in short order by the established residents of the area.

On the road

Walkin'

It’s been a busy few weeks for us– we visited Sabra’s parents in Denver, my parents in Chicago and our daughter in Indianapolis.
Some notes from the road:

Coexisting with Mother Nature

Food For Thought

For the past 46 years, I’ve been trying extra hard to live peacefully with Mother Nature and all her children. Like the old woman in the shoe, it seems she sometimes has too many children and doesn’t know what to do with them. Recently, I’ve begun to suspect she commandeered me to be babysitter, whether I’m willing or not.

Gustatory ramblings

Food For Thought

How many times have you promised yourself you were going to do something “someday” or sooner? I’m afraid I’m not very good at keeping promises to myself– I am pretty conscientious about promises to other people but nobody knows if I renege on the ones to me– except me. These are promises based on a guilty conscience, I suppose. Those things I KNOW I should do but tend to admit only to myself. The sort of things you’d want to change about yourself but don’t tell anyone else about because you’re not sure you’ll live up to them.

Annual bike ride

Walkin'

This year’s annual summer bicycle ride will be into Dubuque and back on June 17 to 18.
We’ll leave from our house in Iowa City about 8 a.m.
We’ll ride the Heritage Trail. It’s a 26-mile multi-use recreational trail comprised of compacted crushed limestone that follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way connecting the Mississippi River town of Dubuque on the west end and to Dyersville on the east.

A happy childhood

Food For Thought

One of my sisters married a Navy man and lived in California for the first several years of their marriage. Life in Redondo Beach was dramatically different from the life she’d known in Knoxville, where we grew up. For instance, if she wasn’t up early enough in the morning to collect the bottles of milk delivered to her front porch, she couldn’t count on it being there later. Her children couldn’t leave toys in the yard while they ate lunch and expect to find them there afterward. In fact, her children couldn’t play outdoors at all unless she was with them.

Captive of heritage

Walkin'

“Samples!” I said out loud, to no one in particular, as I rolled my cart through the grocery store.
Getting excited and going for a free sample is something I always do, and it’s one of those times I always think of Dad.
The old man could never pass up something offered at no charge, sometimes to the point of being weird. As a kid, for example, I remember purposely parking the car on the far side of the Woodfield Mall so we would walk through Marshall Fields on our way to Sears.

Stopping along the way

Food For Thought

It wasn’t until I had my own car and my own schedule I learned the pleasures of taking the scenic drive and enjoying the journey, not just dwelling on getting to the destination.

Gardens past

Walkin'

A snake resided in Grandma Sickler’s garden.
We’d visit her at the farm at least twice a year. Even though Wittenberg was only a five-hour drive it was a world apart from our life in the suburbs of Chicago. There was a real barn complete with a hayloft, an outhouse, farm animals, live trout in the watering tank (Grandpa put them there) and cousins galore more than willing to show their “city slicker” relatives the ropes of the rural life.
Grandma said she liked the snake because it kept out rodents and birds. She also noted that if you didn’t mess with it, it wouldn’t mess with you.

Let’s everybody run for something: The North Liberty election

There’s a dynamic in American politics today that everybody needs to run for something. In 96 of 99 Iowa counties that probably helps, but in the People’s Republic there’s a line around the block for any and all vacancies, hints of vacancies, or rumors.
So when North Liberty found itself with not one but two vacant offices, 10 total candidates showed up: seven newcomers, two current office holders and a blast from the past. The result? A mayor with less than a majority and a council member winning with just 29 percent of the vote.