I wonder if Ellen and Reid think their dad has gone off the deep end on issues of nature and the environment. Could be. Hey, we’ve all got to commit to something.
May 13, 2013
Ellen/Reid: I’m up in my office, occasionally sneaking a peak out the window to watch the pair of bluebirds flit in and out of their nesting box to feed what must be at least a couple of young, hungry birds. People persistently want to open the box to take a look and we have to shoo them away. One of the old biddies who sticks
The nesting box is occupied by blue birds about this time of year. I may electrify the perimeter to keep prying hands from opening the door.
her nose in everything around here objected to those instructions, and Felicia set her straight that we paid for and put up the box. Serves the old gal right. Leave the birds alone, lady.
It’s cool here this morning and it feels good. We’ve had the sort of May you’d expect; relatively pleasant with nice temperatures. But that comfort is fleeting. Heat and humidity will have their way with us soon enough.
It was so great to see you guys for Emma’s birthday. Three generations under one roof. She is a little controller at this point and there’s a sense that she knows she runs the show – at least for now. That was a nice gesture, Reid, with the surprise shave. Liz must’ve liked that. It makes you look younger Continue reading
Maybe there’s something to the adage ‘one picture is worth a thousand words’.
The shot of Emma pretty much sums up the week that was (there was no letter written) when I was in St. Paul with Ellen and Reid for Emma’s first birthday; i.e. we were
Emma sneaks a peek as her uncle Reid goes beardless.
all together in the same place, Emma is plenty old enough to be inquisitive as she watched her uncle Reid shear off his three year beard for Liz, his girlfriend, and it was good to play that old family game of ‘catch up’.
But the letter that will be posted next week went in the mail this morning.
Okay, this is the last marathon photo you’ll see. I promise.
That’s because there are no more marathon photos. This shot was on the front of the sports page of the Des Moines Register in April 1982. You can see the photo editor’s crop marks. The race was the Drake Marathon, and
My last hurrah as a marathoner. Drake was a fun race because I got to run alongside my good friend Shane Dooley (a sure fire sub-2:20 guy if not for his crushing work schedule). We got beat like a bass drum but it was a good way to go out even if the 2:20 mark remained elusive – again. It was my last competitive race.
it was mercifully my last marathon since my ankles were rapidly losing their enthusiasm for running at any distance. That’s me, #628. My good buddy Shane Dooley is 664. The guy who won the race, Pat McGuire, is in the bandana to my left. Pat tossed in a 4:50 mile from 16 to 17 and that broke Shane and I like twigs. Shane was 4th in 2:24 and I hobbled home in 5th in 2:25.
April 22, 2013
Ellen/Reid: It was bizarre writing last week’s letter about the Boston Marathon, and no sooner were things in the mailbox than the news hit about the explosions. I don’t suppose that I would have started over if the letters hadn’t been sent. It’s just the way it works sometimes. Two women from Charlotte were there to watch their mother finish the race and were in the wrong place Continue reading
Last week’s letter was written several hours before the horrific twin bomb blasts in Boston. Ellen and Reid never really knew of my past in Boston; we didn’t talk about it much although they wore the marathon’s yellow unicorned logo tee shirt as kids. Having run past those very locations (my 1980 finish was something less than race pace) it’s just hard to imagine explosions happening at all.
April 15, 2013
Ellen/Reid: I was browsing Yahoo! about 20 minutes ago, and at noon Eastern they started the Boston Marathon. I haven’t thought about that race for a long, long time. It’s incredible that my last one was 33 years ago in 1980. Neither of you have likely heard this story, but if you have, grin and bear it. It was bright sun and in the mid-70s at race time in Hopkinton.
I loved the Boston Marathon. My first finish (2:39) put me inside the top 500 (I guess I’d have to look that up). I’ve not thought about this picture (taken on the down side of the hills at about 25 miles) in 20 years. That was more than a couple of pounds ago. I cannot recall anything from 1978 but remember quite clearly the real events that happened two years later in 1980.
I’d gone there with a few runner friends from Des Moines, including John Leonhardt, the Iron Man. The first inkling that this might not be my day was the feeling of water Continue reading
Some of my best and happiest days as a young man were spent tromping through brome and corn stubble for pheasant and quail. Not anymore. Those times have changed for me. I just have my doubts about guns, as Ellen and Reid learned last week.
April 8, 2013
Ellen/Reid: It’s depressing to read all this blather about the National Rifle Association. They are way outsized in their power. The citizenry needs to unite on it but our resolve is doubtful because those who might
To me, the NRA is outsized in its power. I don’t begrudge sport shooting and we have an army and National Guard as legitimate defenders. None of us need military grade weaponry.
advocate moderation aren’t capable of organizing like those on the fringes of both sides. Ellen, we can only hope they never realize the idiotic dream of guns in schools. What is our ratio of shooting deaths? It’s like 20 times that of the next developed nation or some number along those lines. Maybe we shouldn’t be considered a developed nation. That would help our numbers. I’m all for sport or bird hunting, but we are clearly over the edge. In my wildest imagination I can’t imagine the founding fathers accepting all this gun nuttiness and military-grade weapon kooks. I thought about getting a pistol a 5 or 6 years ago but backed away from it. I’m just not a gun man. That’s about all the zealousness and diatribe I can muster for one day.
It’s sunny and warming outside the window right now. It’s about frigging time. No doubt we’ll transition from winter to summer heat in the bat of an eyelash. But you can say it’s good for the lettuce on the front porch.
As long as black dirt is available, I’ll keep a garden on the front stoop. I will never give trying to grow a sandwich size red tomato.
Some of the pot space set aside for spinach is going to have to give way to basil. That’s just the way it is with good dirt at a premium. Some of the lettuce hasn’t sprouted so maybe the spinach crop will be replanted where the other seeds refused to, or couldn’t, push through. Before long, perhaps yet this week, Continue reading
April 1, 2013
Ellen/Reid: My friend Tom is under the surgeon’s knife this morning with triple bypass. The doctor makes it all seem so simple although he’s not the one lying on the table. But the doc says Tom will be as good as new so the Bridger excursion will be on next year. Reid, you should go with us.
I do have my tickets in hand for Emma’s birthday extravaganza. No thought has been given to lodging but I can take care of myself. I will get a rental car, too. I will take part of Friday to head down to Owatonna to play golf with Steve Allen and a couple of other friends who will meander up from Des Moines. Reid, consider this an appeal about what dates work for you for us
Reid (right) and his dad in ’10 after a visit to his ailing grandfather. Time to see the boy’s new digs in Chicago.
to visit you and Liz in Chicago.
I’m looking down upon the quiet little stream this morning from my third floor window and it’s sad to see a mess Continue reading
Someone asked recently if I sign the letters ‘Love, Dad.’ You bet, every single time, usually in blue ink. I’ll make such a notation on the blog from here on out.
March 25, 2013
Ellen/Reid: I suppose this is the time in life (mine, not yours) when we begin to fixate on health and all that getting older stuff. I posted a ‘Live for today’ item last week and now it’s really starting to sink in. Dave Hemminger emailed me this morning along those lines. Mort just sent me an email about ‘taking this
The rest of life may be speeding up but this make-believe turtle is going nowhere fast. He/she has been on our sidewalk for the better part of two weeks. Origin of the slow poke is unknown.
all for granted.’ More and more of the news exchanged between me and my friends will probably reflect this reality of getting along in age. Hell, I don’t care. It is what you make of it. Bring on the Heritage Softail and golf. Why not? Seems to be a running Continue reading
Health and other of life’s pitfalls shove their way into my consciousness. I’m thinking the idea of living for the here and now is not such a bad mantra, as Ellen and Reid found out in last week’s letter.
March 18, 2013
Ellen/Reid: There is distressing news this morning in that my friend and fellow hiker Tom Bohr had a significant heart attack yesterday while running. He had to be revived by a runner who by sheer good fortune was passing by, and at this point we really don’t know the extent of things other than that Tom is in the hospital. My friend and pastor John Cleghorn called last night but I didn’t see or hear the call come in which irritates me to no end. Tom would be the last person you would ever suspect to have a heart attack. He was fit and trim, seemed to eat right, and was of low-key and low stress temperament. Reid, you never met Tom, but Ellen, you saw him hike like a monster in
Cook Lake in the Bridger Wilderness, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming, U.S. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
the Bridger Wilderness a couple of years ago, and now this. Tom was a good friend of mine and he was tireless in his 20-30 hours of work each week at Caldwell Presbyterian. I’m just glad he’s alive right now. I talked briefly to John this morning and his encouragement is to keep Tom in our prayers. Tom and I were to head out to the Continue reading
I can’t count the times these letters have touched on or skirted environmental points over the years. It’s an important touch-point for me and one of the few hot button issues that I consistently push.
March 11, 2013
Ellen/Reid: The trees out back are beginning to bud, a sure sign that before long we will be completely shut off from view of the units 75-100 yards away. Felicia nosed around at some other single floor condos and she couldn’t find any that had the appeal of ours. The green belt is a nice backdrop, and I suspect that of all the units here, we have the best in that respect. What
The green belt is safe refuge from marauding feral cats for the birds that visit our window feeder. We have a room with a view – and it’s all green.
we don’t have is the warmest unit around. That’s what got us looking around at potentials. Heat rises, and it rises quickly up and out of the room where we want to stay warmest. The fireplace has been on almost non-stop and Felicia vegs in front of it most evenings while I stay Continue reading
Obviously, Ellen and Reid can go their way on all things with a clear conscience. They already do, and they don’t need their old man for that. Still, there’s nothing wrong with prodding them toward a little humanity in all things, unlike the dug-in stonewallers in Washington, D.C. Humanity starts at home.
March 4, 2013
Ellen/Reid: I’m not sure what to think about all this sequester stuff. It’s just deflating. When I was younger, in fact even not that many years ago, at least both sides could belly up to the compromise table and get something done. I think they had the benefit of the larger populace in mind. Now it all seems to be governed by party affiliation. Way too much posturing and PR. Personally, I think the Republicans are the worse for it. They are just so mean spirited – guns, health care, gutting public education, clinging to social issues that have no bearing on jobs or productivity, hammering down on immigrants who only want a better life, etc. I’m all for fiscal responsibility and the like, but holy smokes. Amazing they are based on the party of Lincoln, the author of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Page four of the Emancipation Proclamation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It’s even worse down here. The GOP in North Carolina is just a bunch of zealots. They swung into power and they are making the most of it. In only one example, the state’s legal authorities have said that a class of immigrants can drive and should be issued licenses, but in their wisdom, the creeps in Raleigh have decreed that the licenses for these new drivers will be pink and carry such wording as “No legal status.” Pretty soon they’ll push through fracking for what is, at best, a few years of natural gas but at great risk of polluting our ground water. They are just a bunch of redneck nuts. A gracious, caring Lord must be turning the other way as he watches this horde of goofs. We get what we deserve. And trust me, we are getting it but good. Continue reading