Autumn Days

Autumn Days

The windows of my apartment look out over the Courtyard. There is only one real problem of living in this retirement community — there just aren’t any birds to look at in our Courtyard. But this morning when I looked out my bedroom window I was stunned to see so many colors in the trees. I suppose having that beautiful color take the place of birds isn’t too bad. Maybe that is just a sign of aging…shifting from one exciting view to another. Anyway it is stunningly gorgeous for a day or two to have four different colors so close. There seems to be no reason to rush to New England to view...

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Birding and Priscilla

Birding and Priscilla

Priscilla and I arrange to meet in Phoenix. She skips a meeting and suggests we go birding in the Tuscon region. “Sure,” I say, not very interested. or knowledgeable about birds. We stay someplace where desert birds abound. Priscilla loans me binoculars and advises me to look at the eyes and wings. At our first sighting, Priscilla turns to me. “What do you see over there?” I look and search the tree where she points. Hesitating, I say “…a little gray bird.” “Look at the eyes. Do you see the ring around them?” she says. Torn between honesty and friendship, I say “Oh, yeah. Now I see,” “You don’t see it all, do you?” she asks. “No, but this is fun,” I say. She gives me this resigned look and we continue to look for birds. I am amazed at her patience with a bird...

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Discovering the Amazing Black Hoof Park

Discovering the Amazing Black Hoof Park

An afternoon appointment in Lawrence means a time to do some exploring on the way there. Black Hoof Park has been mentioned as an interesting spot. Exploring on the internet, I discover where this park is. My internet hunt leads me to the west end of Lenexa…perfect for a stop on my way to Lawrence. Off I go… Google Map directs me to a south-west street down through Lenexa which takes me to 95th street. The 160 acre Black Hoof Park on the west end of Lenexa includes diverse wildlife, trails, a picnic shelter, and playground. Lake Lenexa holds the center of my sight as I pull into the parking lot. After I choose an area as far from the playground as possible, I park, hop out and head down toward the lake. A paved trail next to grass still wet from the...

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Sitting on the Deck

Sitting on the Deck

To sit on Ben and Tina’s deck is magic at any hour of the day. Such a wide expanse of grass, trees, shrubs and flowers. And across the wire fence looms the woods. Birds of all kinds pop in and out of the yard from the woods with seven feeders of various kinds calling them in. The Baltimore oriole — male and female — early in the week swished from one feeder to another. But they have taken their beautiful orange and black off to the woods. Other birds flitting in to first one feeder and then another are numerous. Downy, red bellied, and hairy woodpeckers come and go. The pileated woodpecker appears once or twice a day. Chickadees and white-bellied nuthatch pop in and out. A couple of blue jays come and go. The cat bird with his smooth grey body,...

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Eighty-five Years of Adventure

Eighty-five Years of Adventure

As an author, I experience that one of the hardest moments of working on a book is deciding the title. Maybe that comes easily for some folks, but I always struggle with that task. Several years before his death, Rodney Wilson began work on his life story. Many bits of paper were filed away in the bottom right-hand drawer of his monster-size desk in his office. His grandson-Jeffrey interviewed him about his Navy service in 2006. We had this taped conversation transcribed and filed away. Then in 2008, a gentleman from the Veterans History Project came to our house and talked with him about his Navy experiences. Several months later we received the typed transcription. What a prize. I found articles about his work, speeches he made here and there, letters from...

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Expect the Unexpected

Expect the Unexpected

Isn’t it strange how the most unexpected happens when we least expect it?  My TV remote recently demanded four new AA batteries. Finding only one AA in my battery drawer, I call my friend Peggy down the hall. Yes, she has batteries and will give them to me. This reminds me of my younger days when I’d walk across the street and ask Karnie for a cup of sugar. I should have expected an invitation for tea, but I didn’t. Peggy is known for offering a cup of tea and I notice two cups and saucers  already on the kitchen counter. Peggy has a whole kitchen drawer dedicated to tea bags. Choosing your flavor of the moment is a real task. As we sit in her living room in front of a set of windows we suddenly become conscious of movement behind us. I...

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