Friday, May 17, 2019

Psychology, Recovery and Mental Health - select readings

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Music Playlist - Spring 2019

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Some serious concerns about driver distracting behaviors on our work bus

Skills of Central Pennsylvania, Benner Pike, State College
Centre County Transportation, Milesburg, Pennsylvania
To whom it may concern,
I have pressing concerns about unwholesome habits being demonstrated by some Skills workers on our Centre County Transportation work commuter bus. These have become so out of hand that they frequently distract our dedicated bus drivers.

As a Skills Program worker over the past year, I’m grateful for the training I’m paid for, as well as the supplementary bus rides between my residence and work. This has made a big difference and improvement in my life.

And I like to think I can carry these precious skills onward and upward to other aspects of my life. I believe positive attitudes and outlooks can overlap, influence and rub off onto fellow colleagues; therefore it strikes me as disheartening when I experience negative ones as manifested in the following scenario which repeats itself so much that it’s become predictable:
First, the bus driver travels over a bump and somebody sitting in the back shouts over our whole group that he’s going to kill, strangle, beat, or otherwise disfigure the driver if they don’t slow down more. Then, others chime in angrily, saying it can’t be helped and that they will then kill or maim the complainer someway. Everything heats up more, as riders commence shooting personal insults to each other from several angles. Often this unhealthy banter gets recharged over the next bump and continues boisterously for the full bus ride or at least until involved passengers depart. Not only that, but there are other standard protocols of politeness that some Skills workers disregard daily, such as leaving the aisle seat open and properly securing their safety belts, even after the driver asks for this.

On the bright day I learned of my bus riding approval I received a memo which included the guideline: “Passengers must conduct themselves in an orderly and polite manner when riding in county vehicles.”  Presumably, the other riders and / or guardians received the same memo.
I feel that if I say nothing about this unacceptable societal failure, then it follows I’m giving my sanction that it’s okay. The last straw occurred recently at lunch one day when a Skills staff manager made a similar comment in jest about killing someone. This was in response to a minor question from a co-worker when Ms. ____ __ answered “I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you!”  An old worn out joke for sure, but not one that everyone at Skills comprehends. Half-shocked to hear this myself, I sensed the surprise and confusion coming from the young woman who asked the question, and then soon left (to cry?) And certainly a grievous trigger point for others who have lost loved ones to violence. Indeed, our widespread TSA agents arrest and interrogate glib travelers for lesser offhand ‘jokes.’ about violent acts.

If integrating Skills workers into the community is still part of Skills mission, as I’m told it is, then I would like to point out another pertinent observation: In my vast experience of finding respectable employment over the past forty-five years the majority of the better jobs I’ve discovered came through personal contact or via word of mouth. Many workers I’ve met have experienced this same serendipity. Even now, it’s likely that someone on the bus or even the driver is or knows of homeowners or businesses looking for decent help with various chores, e.g.: gardening, grass cutting, dog-walking, gutter cleaning, cooking, leaf raking, trash- recycle sorting, garage sweeping, knitting, vacuuming, sewing, fruit-picking, stable cleaning, fetching tools, folding tarps, painting, snow-shoveling, furniture rearranging,  brush removal, etc. The odd job list is long...

But if potential job hirers that we encounter experience a constant sea of Skills disharmony, seeing perpetually rude and disorderly behaviors, this impression immediately dissuades those prospective employers and that bad imprint gets shared with others.

I have faith in my work colleagues that several of them will see the light right away when this is explained by someone with the proper timing and authority. Other good news is that at least one bus driver has already vowed to keep the bus atmosphere ship-shape, and starting by requiring window seat placement for those first on, when additional riders are expected.

Posting a sign on the bus could help remind riders that bus privileges come along with the responsibility of respecting other commuters.

At Skills we have occasional days off when no work is scheduled, and here we help with volunteer projects instead. Why not consider a few hours of one of those days for training or a refresher course about courteousness, even if it’s just done in small groups? Tacking on a small challenge for Skills workers to use to their imaginations to say something complimentary about each other would be a nice start.

I’m impressed by the safety standards our Commonwealth of Pennsylvania uses in other important niches now, such as automatically cancelling registrations when drivers insurances lapse, and implementing brief back road closures for migrating turtle egg-layers. Bus services themselves may have already set aside funds for safety programs which dissuade driver distraction, and if so, may offer to go in half when approached with an idea for a brief annual refresher meeting or class to remind riders of their respectful responsibilities. Such a gesture could go a long way in helping mend these inappropriate and outlandish driver-distracting behavioral patterns.
Thank you,
c.c. Centre County Transportation
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, safety division.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Cavalcade of Heroes

Monday, January 28, 2008

Emil Sitka - The Fourth Stooge

"Hold hands, you lovebirds"
From Wikipedia:
Emil Sitka's first Three Stooges film—and Curly Howard's last
Half-Wits Holiday dealt with the idea of two professors betting on the outcome of turning the Three Stooges into gentlemen—with predictable results. Emil Sitka played Sappington, the upper-crust butler, who was an excellent foil for the Three Stooges—and the target of several pies as well.
In the 1947 Three Stooges short Brideless Groom, Shemp Howard must be married before 6:00 p.m. in order to inherit $500,000.00. After striking out, Shemp finally finds a girl willing to marry him, and they rush off to a justice of the peace, played by Emil Sitka. As Sitka starts the ceremony, telling the couple to "hold hands, you lovebirds", the other girls that turned down Shemp's proposal burst in, having heard of the inheritance. A free-for-all then ensues, with poor Sitka being struck again and again, attempting to start the ceremony, each time more disheveled and his "hold hands, you lovebirds" a little weaker. Because of the widespread distribution of this short (it is one of four Three Stooges shorts that slipped into public domain), this scene is the one that Sitka has become best known for. Notably, a clip of this short is featured in Pulp Fiction, for which Sitka's name even appears in the credits as "Hold Hands You Lovebirds".
Later years:
Emil Sitka continued with the acting career, more out of love for acting than the need for money, appearing in films as late as 1992. He was in demand at various Three Stooges conventions, and had numerous requests from Three Stooges fans to appear at their wedding to say "Hold hands, you lovebirds!" Emil Sitka died on January 16, 1998 in Camarillo, California, USA, from complications from a stroke. He is survived by four daughters and two sons. One of his sons, Saxon, has created the official Emil Sitka website in his honor —- Saxon carries on his father's legacy by appearing at Stooge conventions as often as possible. On his father's gravestone, the engraving "Hold hands, you lovebirds!" appears.
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"There are men, wrote Aristotle, so godlike, so exceptional, that they naturally, by right of their extraordinary gifts, transcend all moral judgment or constitutional control: 'There is no law which embraces men of that calibre: they are themselves law.'" (Hughes-Hallett, Lucy. Heroes. Alfred A. Knopf, 2004.)



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Sunday, April 28, 2019

A most improbable bullseye

I was presenting a project in eighth grade science ecology class when a most improbable event occurred:

As I turned from the chalkboard where I had drawn some doodlebug Volkswagens and was preparing to explain a safety issue, one middle school colleague from the back row tossed his sharp paper airplane toward me, which I did not notice until it landed bullseye, sticking and staying bent in the double bridge and drooping between my eyeglass lenses and in so hard that I had to remove them to yank it out, which when I did revealed a pink dot mark right between the eyes.

The full class erupted in laughter as such a surprising impossible shot, which transcended the teacher even trying to apprehend the back row winning clown, as he and I both joined in the loud cacophonous laughter.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns

 From Wikipedia

From Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns (1995), a report published by the Board of Scientific Affairs of the American Psychological Association:
Individuals differ from one another in their ability to understand complex ideas, to adapt effectively to the environment, to learn from experience, to engage in various forms of reasoning, to overcome obstacles by taking thought. Although these individual differences can be substantial, they are never entirely consistent: a given person's intellectual performance will vary on different occasions, in different domains, as judged by different criteria. Concepts of "intelligence" are attempts to clarify and organize this complex set of phenomena. Although considerable clarity has been achieved in some areas, no such conceptualization has yet answered all the important questions, and none commands universal assent. Indeed, when two dozen prominent theorists were recently asked to define intelligence, they gave two dozen, somewhat different, definitions.[8]
Besides those definitions, psychology and learning researchers also have suggested definitions of intelligence such as:
Researcher Quotation
Alfred Binet Judgment, otherwise called "good sense", "practical sense", "initiative", the faculty of adapting one's self to circumstances ... auto-critique.[9]
David Wechsler The aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with his environment.[10]
Lloyd Humphreys "...the resultant of the process of acquiring, storing in memory, retrieving, combining, comparing, and using in new contexts information and conceptual skills".[11]
Howard Gardner To my mind, a human intellectual competence must entail a set of skills of problem solving — enabling the individual to resolve genuine problems or difficulties that he or she encounters and, when appropriate, to create an effective product — and must also entail the potential for finding or creating problems — and thereby laying the groundwork for the acquisition of new knowledge.[12]
Linda Gottfredson The ability to deal with cognitive complexity.[13]
Robert Sternberg & William Salter Goal-directed adaptive behavior.[14]
Reuven Feuerstein The theory of Structural Cognitive Modifiability describes intelligence as "the unique propensity of human beings to change or modify the structure of their cognitive functioning to adapt to the changing demands of a life situation".[15]
Shane Legg & Marcus Hutter A synthesis of 70+ definitions from psychology, philosophy, and AI researchers: "Intelligence measures an agent's ability to achieve goals in a wide range of environments",[5] which has been mathematically formalized.[16]
Alexander Wissner-Gross F = T ∇ S[17] "Intelligence is a force, F, that acts so as to maximize future freedom of action. It acts to maximize future freedom of action, or keep options open, with some strength T, with the diversity of possible accessible futures, S, up to some future time horizon, τ. In short, intelligence doesn't like to get trapped".

Monday, April 15, 2019

I stumbled into a pal in France recently... Jim Banholzer
Je suis tombé sur un copain récemment, qui a souligné que certains bébés essaieraient de vous dire qu'ils n'aiment tout simplement pas les Trois Stooges. Ces filles pensent que les seules fois où ces tasses mettent "les dames" sur un piédestal, c’est quand elles ont accidentellement relâché des souris dans une pièce. Je dis, "Ne fais pas attention à ce boiteux qui t'appelle bébé, idiot, tu n'as pas encore assez regardé les épisodes." Appelez-moi un malheureux, mais j'ai vu à plusieurs reprises des filles prétendant être anti-Stooge, améliorer leur vision de la vie avec un bon endoctrinement de la part de Drs. Howard et bien.

Mon amie Laura, une aficionado des Stooges récemment convertie. Elle avait catégoriquement affirmé qu'il n'y avait rien de sympathique à propos de ces ignorants. Puis un jour un épisode de cheval de swayback est venu à la télévision. Être une cavalière pour la vie, cela a attiré son attention. Les trois meilleurs jockeys étaient tous accrochés au même cheval pour leur vie bien garnie - galopant sauvagement dans des cercles à mouvements rapides, autour d’une arène des années 1920. Un craquement sourd émanant des lèvres de Laura se mit à éclater de rire, provoquant une conversion stupéfiante de son attitude envers les Stooges.

J'ai rencontré une autre fille en ville qui travaille dans un magasin vendant de la musique et des DVD. Elle est une greffe récente du sud de la France et a à peine entendu parler de Stooges high-jinx. Qu'est-ce qui a jamais incité les Français à filtrer les Stooges d'Amérique? Ils adorent Jerry Lewis, mais ne savent pas pour Moe? Se faisant passer pour un professeur de bonheur, je montrais quelques astuces astucieuses avec mes poings, en expliquant comment ils se frappaient jusqu'à atteindre une épiphanie "poirfect". Après avoir ajouté quelques nyuck-nyucks, elle aussi montra un léger amusement. Déterminée à ne pas faire partie de ces poussins "ne m'appelez pas poussin", j'ai senti un rayon d'espoir pour la TVHD en vue de son plaisir futur d'être assaillie par des Curley tourbillonnantes hilarantes.
Des volumes ont été écrits sur le pouvoir de guérison convaincant de la comédie. Les personnes en deuil qui ont perdu un être cher - certaines personnes qui ne rient plus depuis un an ou plus sont parfois doucement ramenées dans un monde plus supportable avec l'aide de la bonne essence de térébenthine de Staphe. Si plus de spectacles de cette nature sont illuminés par les théâtres du monde, peut-être que les parties adverses pourraient poser leurs bras fatigués, se détendre les doigts et partager quelques gloussements robustes. Nous pourrions même apprendre que glisser des tartes à la crème non ordonnées sur le visage de chacun ne fait que créer un désordre horrible à éponger.
Les dessinateurs et les humoristes jonglent parfois avec les clés de puissants véhicules de paix sans même s'en rendre compte. Tout comme les phares d’illumination uniques que poètes, artistes et athlètes rivalisent vaillamment, ce sera un parcours chaotique et chaotique qui dévalera les frontières robotiques avant que des lunkheads étouffés puissent égaler la véritable force de résistance des Stooges originaux. Si les Stooges pouvaient revenir, à quel point riraient-ils des générateurs de plaisanteries aléatoires d'aujourd'hui? Auraient-ils gaffaw avec moi pour être assez stupide de penser qu'ils riraient de mes singeries?
Récemment, les frères Farrelly (de la renommée Dumb & Dumber) et 20th Century Fox ont tenu des négociations positives, permettant à un nouveau film sur Three Stooges de faire un pas de plus vers une réalité saisissante. Une partie de leur scénario a été peaufinée il y a quelques étés ici dans l'atmosphère d'écriture sérieuse de Sun Valley, notamment des répétitions d'une opération sur une religieuse utilisant une brosse à dents électrique et un aspirateur dans l'une des chambres du pavillon. Une scène de chatouilles avec les côtes se développe avec la découverte d'un triangle dans la nonne semi-consciente. Cela s'ensuit lors d'une bagarre sur la table d'examen pour séparer le plus gros morceau de chance.
Ce n'est pas la première connexion à Idaho dans l'histoire de Stooges. Leur dernier film était "Kooks 'Tour", tourné dans le désert du Montana et de l’Idaho en 1970.
Les magasins locaux de l’Idaho qui louent ou vendent des CD et des DVD peuvent vous commander des serviettes chaudes remplies d’épisodes Stooges. J'espère que cette chronique a rassemblé les potentiels convertis pour faire basculer le sens du cheval chez le bébé français. Quand elle reviendra dans la France affamée de Stooge, elle pourra commencer à encourager son monde à s’arrêter, à regarder et à écouter la profondeur des paroles et des actes simples et bien pensés de ces trois sages. Peut-être même que les magistrats faisant autorité qui supervisent Médecins sans frontières vont commencer à recommander: "Prenez deux DVD Stooge et appelez-moi demain matin."
Dédié à Mattie 'Dudeges' Mckenzie - le meilleur imitateur Curley de l'Idaho.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Albinos & Addicts, no April fools

As I waited for the bus, a neighbor strolled by and we sparked up a spring conversation:
It’s nice to hear the birds, isn’t it?
 I want to see that yellow cardinal whose been spotted in Pennsylvania.
Wonder who spied him on April Fools?
Yeah, what happens with suspending disbelief then?
We saw a white robin in this neighborhood three years back.
I spied a pair of albino squirrels cracking pine nuts in Great Falls.
They’re really not that uncommon, in a way.
Yeah, there’s supposed to be one for every ten thousand.
How long does it take to see 10,000 maniac squirrels though?
About the same can be said for the manic opioid epidemic.
True, it gets darn near one out of every thousand, real bad each season.
But everyone seems to know someone affected.
Yeah, that doesn’t sound right, must be more serious


Albino’s & addicts, no April Fools

As I waited for the bus, a neighbor strolled by and she sparked up a spring conversation:
It’s nice to hear the birds, isn’t it?

 I want to see that yellow cardinal whose been spotted in Pennsylvania.

Wonder who spied him, April Fools?

Yeah, what happens with suspending first disbelief then?

We saw a white robin in this neighborhood three years back.

I spied a pair of albino squirrels cracking pine nuts in Great Falls.

They’re really not that uncommon, in a way.

Yeah, there’s supposed to be one for every ten thousand.

How long does it take to see 10,000 maniac squirrels though?

About the same can be said for the manic opioid epidemic.

True, darn near turns outs one per thousand, real bad each season.

But everyone seems to know someone affected.

Yeah, that doesn’t sound right; must be more serious.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

My friend needs to use his blind spot

I’m grateful that my marginally disabled friend occasionally gives me needed car rides, but I feel I would appreciate him even more if it didn’t bother me so much when I watch him repeat specific parking patterns in the reserved handicapped spots.

When he first tried to obtain a permit for these, his physician wouldn’t sign for a placard and advised him that walking more would help immensely. He doctor shopped to secure one, not telling the other physicians what the first advised. Perhaps my friend exaggerated his difficulty, trying to gain quick empathy, because I see this too when he aims to park in reserved spots, with regular ones equally available mere steps away. 

It’s as if he wants to identity with being disabled. I sometimes ask him, what about if someone with a more challenging disability direly needs the spot he’s just snagged? Someone blind who’s experienced a horrific crash or a quadriplegic needing wide berth, (which those spots provide) for maneuvering wheelchairs? But my friend simply insists for him, that it’s “first come, first serve.” 

When I see his approach, it reminds me of the nine UCLA football players who counterfeited disability placards in 1999. This was a sad case of able-bodied men, who trained lifting weights and running miles, getting caught being parking cheats! My friend makes the argument that he needs the closest spot in the event of an icy pathway. Well, maybe so, but oddly those spots often are also the iciest, since they’re the closest ones to the building shade! 

I would hope for on snow days my friend would don proper shoes or use lightweight cleats. And call on me to guide him to the door. If my friend would consider more mindful consideration toward those with less ambulatory capabilities, it would be a nice turn of a walk for him to take.

Perhaps a specific woman reading this will look at it and say, “I would never want to behave like Him.” Not realizing that is actually her to whom I refer, but changed her gender for just this reason.

Springtime predictions from the animal world

2009 version

Plenty of Idaho criers have warned about  about the wolves being dangerous, but it’s still more perilous to cross the human highway than it is to waltz out one of our yodeling canyons.

With this menace in mind, I consulted with my oracle: John Cougar Mellowcat, who kindly channeled for us, some other spring-fever animal predictions:

Besides the wolf this year, its predicted rattlers will be more docile. Good time, to gather some snapping worms for dynamic fishing. 

Badger’s are lonelier and will need more human-applied scruffs behind their fuzzy ears.
Local cubby-bears will rise up with great desire for thick elderberry mead, so please baste your grease buckets and leave them warmly wafting under West Ketchum birdfeeders. 

Albino deer appreciate late season snows and hope Baldy stays open through Memorial Day.
Increasing numbers of aged cougars will descend from the Elkhorn hills to infiltrate nearly-innocents at the dew-daw room. 

Butterflies will continue to flaunt their illegal ignoring of voter district lines.

While Mormon crickets will continue their selfless mission of filling in Highway 20’s potholes, positively chirping beetles will munch over Galena pass, making the area more avalanche-prone, which will lead to a receptive public outcry for a safety-beacon cell tower on the hill.

Wise hoot owls will continue being mostly serious, and make gains towards unraveling unsolved mysteries. 

Local dogs will continue worming their way into local hearts, while an ahead-of-the-curve ISU scientist will uncover compelling canine evidence that they sometimes laugh at us silly cats.

2019 version
Plentiful Idaho criers warn of dangerous wolves, but ‘tis more perilous to cross  human highway, than to waltz out slow Yodeling Canyon.

With this menace in mind I consult an oracle: John Cougar Mellowcat, who ferverishly channels some other spring animal predictions:

Besides the wolf this year, he predicts rattlers will become docile. This prime snapping worm gathering time will bring gains to dynamic fishing.

Badger’s become more lonesome, requiring human hand scruffs behind fuzz ears.

Local cubs rise up with desire for thick elderberry mead, so baste grease buckets, leaving them wafting beneath Ketchum birdfeeders.

Albino deer appreciate late season snows, with high hopes for Baldy to remain operable through Memorial Day.

Increasingly aged cougars descend from Elkhorn hills to infiltrate near-innocents at the Peter Duchin room.

Butterflies continue flaunting their illicit ignorance of voter district lines.

Mormon crickets will continue with their selfless mission for filling in Highway 20 potholes.

Positively hungry chirp beetles munch over Galena pass, creating avalanche proneness, which leads to receptive public outcries for increased safety-beacon cells.

Hoot owls continue being wisely serious, making great gains toward unraveling mysteries.

Local dogs will worm their way into local hearts, while an ahead-of-the-curve ISU scientist unearths compelling canine evidence, they sometimes laugh with us silly cats.


Sunday, April 07, 2019

A pre-geocache day outdoor park adventure

A Treasured Troop 140 Memory

Sharks tempt ox? What the what?
Easter Egg Hunt / Expert Level

A friend who lives in the Rocky Mountain West said she’s become obsessed Forest Fenn’s adventuresome treasure hunt. She’s finding thrills in her chase of rich gold and Idaho gems and said that even if she doesn’t find one red cent, it’s still enough to for her to sharpen her skills and senses from this high excitement.

I know a little about what she means, because at age 6 our troop leaders of Arlington’s Pack 140, went to great lengths to set up an elaborate scavenger hunt in Lubber Run Park. The precision and effort they put into this wholesome hunt held my euphoric fascination so well that I still smile fondly, thinking about it today. And this likely came from our fathers’ various military backgrounds, considering the nearby Pentagon.

Back in the pre-geocache days, the dad’s structured the scavenger hunt with its search lists so that one tiny clue, perhaps scribbled on a small note, would lead us traipsing to the next hint. There we’d unearth obscure cub scout badge references, with ponderous directions leading us to another hidden spot. This would be a finger-sized Archie comic strip, wrapped around bubble gum and poked as a puzzle inside a pebble rock cairn, along with a couple of Mercury Dimes.

Hiking beyond that small mind-bender, one lad tentatively opened a miniature jack-in-the-box he had unearthed, which sprung a clue that fluttered like a butterfly to sip the creek. Fortunately that clue was scribbled in pencil, so water wouldn’t smear the cub-level hieroglyphics. These odd parchment spheres were written backwards and upside-down. Deciphering that prank clue led us downstream to a glistening brass tube barely sticking out from under a waterfall.

 Jiggling open the shiny tube let loose a protractor with a compass, plus a simple map, directing us 40 medium paces to the Amphitheater. There under the 3rd row from the sun, tucked among three Buffalo Nickels, were sticks they jammed to form an arrow pointing to a cedar. Arriving at this grove we found a bowl spilling over with acorns and next to a major turtle crossing.

Shuffling the acorns we found the next clue at the bottom, which made us follow the crossing. We quickly followed these turtle tracks and by then our energy was starting to run thin. Our excitement rose up again, when we spied a grey cardboard box labeled, “SHARKS TEMPT OX!” This was the most puzzling head-scratcher yet, and no-one figured it out. Years later one day meditating behind an Idaho waterfall the phrase "Flew astral" came suddenly into my head and felt oddly important. After mulling this over, it struck that "Flew astral" and "Waterfalls" are reflective anagrams for each other! 

Like a bolt from the blue, I cracked our tempted ox clue, and with that hint you may find treasure too:

I disremember what we found in that final spot, but more valuable than whatever it might have been, is my indelible memory of that playful time spent outdoors with the Lubber Run Cub Scouts so wildly alive.

Some readers responded with few observations of their own from those magical days of sweet innocence, when dad confided in us that he personally knew Santa Claus:

Betty Felder When I played in Arlington forest and Lubber Run Park back in the 40's the treasures I found were not planted by a scout leader. I found fiddle headed ferns and little islands of moss growing next to the roots of a big old oak tree. Minnows in the stream (water was clear back then). Wild azaleas all through the woods, and dogwood trees. It was a magic place for me. Good times.

Jim Banholzer I used to find turtles quite frequently in some of those gentle natural areas you describe. One year the Lubber Run camp was holding festive turtle races for one of its summer events. The officials held their contest near the amphitheater, with little rascals chaulk-scribblings written on the pavement to indicate the small turtle racetrack. I took my box turtle named "Sammy Speedy" against the others and placed 3rd.

I had forgotten about this for years, until one summer Saturday I was outside doing chores. Inside were my girlfriend and mom getting acquainted and their discussion led naturally led childhood memories. Mom remarked that one was recalling little rapscallion me lugging a huge watermelon, while dripping juice and seeds along, up the steep path home. And smiling sunbeams, because an out-sized watermelon was the prize for Sammy Speedys' victory 3rd.

And while we headed home to Columbus Street, I tugged bits from the watermelon to share with my vigorous turtle, while I cradled him shelled under my nurturing forearm, with both of us nibbling at pieces as I skipped and sang joyfully home, up the Lubber Run woodland trail.

Ellie Eshelman Fall is my favorite time of year and Lubber Run is beautiful in the fall. At the very end of autumn the sun casts long shadows over the park at sunset, and the surrounding houses and trees are silhouetted black against the last rays of pink and azure in the western twilight.

I was in the park one brisk day in late autumn when there was a chill over the woods and a heavy frost
along the creek. Just down from the parking lot hill, a frosty carpet where now* the amphitheater rests,
I saw a squirrel bounce down the hill like a child's ball and jump into the leaves by the creek. He
disappeared by the creek bed and reappeared on top of the petrified logs by the footbridge. He didn't
see me right away. He sniffed the air, turned and trotted across the footbridge and made his way to a
large metal mesh trash bin near the fire circle.
While he was busy scraping around inside the bin, I crossed the footbridge. He must have heard me approach, because when his head popped up, he fixed me with his shiny black eyes for an instant and took off, tail flying, toward the nearest tree.
 *(The Amphitheatre had not been built yet. The Park roadway was gravel and not asphalt.)


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