The Snowy Christmas

The Snowy Christmas

The Christmas of the big snow! Who can forget it? Presents and turkey took a back seat that year of 1967. We board the Santa Fe’s Texas Chief in Chicago and wake the next morning in Kansas. A world in dazzling white greets us. As we leave the train we exclaim, “Where is Grandaddy? He always meets us.” We find a phone in the station. Grandaddy’s car stuck in the snow meant several hours of waiting at the Osage Hotel. A taxi takes us into town and we mostly squirm and look at our watches. Grandaddy’s neighbor finally manages to plow his driveway and we are rescued from boredom. The translucent landscape beckons as we drive the three miles east of town to the grandparent’s hilly pastureland. The kids Ben, thirteen (now sixty-three), Tim, eleven (now sixty-one) and...

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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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