Thursday, October 26, 2006


The Ozarks has its share of trees that do themselves proud when it comes time to dress up for the Fall color show. The drive to the dentist the other morning was quite a visual treat. I can only imagine though what it must be like in some areas of New England where there are large tracts of sugar maple that turn such spectacular colors. There are sugar maples here. People have planted them in their yards and the seeds have spread and they are now growing wild. We discovered, much to our delight, a small forest of sugar maples have sprouted up right where our driveway meets the frontage road. Why they couldn’t have sprouted close to the house – say in our yard – is a bit of a disappointment, but nonetheless, we got a visual treat for a week or so as we walked out to get the mail.

Seeing the tree reminds me of the best birthday present our son ever got me. About 10 years ago or so, he arranged for a friend who owned a plane to take us for a 30 minute plane ride over the countryside. The yellows, browns, golds and red of the various trees in the forest were laid out like a beautiful patchwork quilt. It was so beautiful. It was such an incredibly thoughtful, caring, and generous thing for him to do. It's a very good memory of him to hold on to.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

Yesterday began fairly early with a phone call from my beloved dad singing “Happy Birthday,” which is a tradition. And Himself had managed to set up a display of Hershey’s kisses in the form of a heart around his birthday card on the table, without me seeing him do it (concentrating too hard on a surgical pathology paper – I’ve been thrown off the deep end of the pool on this one). And there were several sets of dangly earrings to go with it. And then a delightful dinner last night with friends, during which we definitely fell off of the diet wagon and consumed close to 1,000 calories more than we were supposed to. When we arrived back home, the answering machine light was flashing and upon pressing the button, out wafts the voice of my younger brother singing “Happy Birthday” and then right on the heels of that came my sister, also singing “Happy Birthday,” and finally, my long-time friend Mary from Oregon also wishing me best returns on the day (she didn’t sing though). It doesn’t get much better than this. Unless perhaps, the little girl is 3 years old, and gets to go to Aunty’s house, and receives the best present of all: a fishing pole so she can go fishing with her dad (and somewhere in this blog there is a picture of me fishing with a parental unit).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ta da dump, ta da dump, ta da dump, dump, dump

We tend to lament what the university has done to the old downtown section of West Plains. Instead of locating the satellite campus on the outskirts of town where it could grow unimpeded, they stuck right down in the older section of town, amongst the old Victorian houses. So as the campus has spread, the old homes have come down -- along with the all the trees that were so beautiful in the fall . It's a shame, but on the other hand, if it weren't for the college we woulldn't have a civic center and a performing arts program and we would not have gotten to hear the orchestra from St Olaf College last night. What a treat for us to get a bit of culture and listen to a top-notch orchestra perform some wonderful music. And with the senior discout, it only cost $5 for the both of us. Amazing. There was a sentimental reason to hear them as well. The youngest son of a family I have known for quite a long time, and with whom I had a fairly close relationship, attends the college and plays the cello with the orchestra. When I first met them, he was just a little kid. My, how time files. They are moving away to Nebraska soon and our face-to-face friendship will be over. At any rate, the first selection performed by orchestra last night was the William Tell Overture, an extremely well-known bit of music. How many times have the “storm,” “call to the dairy cows” and the “calvary charge” been heard in popular culture apart from the music hall. Lots. Warner Bros cartoons, Walt Disney cartoons, commercials, and of course, the Lone Ranger. I can’t imagine that any of the students sitting on the stage last night have ever seen the Lone Ranger, which was off the air as first run episodes long before any of them were born. At any rate, as I sat there listening to this wonderfully performed music, I could feel the stress and strain of a long day at work slowly lifting, and when the “ta da dump” section started, I wanted to shout with joy “Hi-yo Silver, away! (Who was that masked man?).