When the salt and crud of winter make our car so dirty we can't tell what color it is, it's time for a car wash. So, I took the car to the scrub center, made sure the doors were shut, windows were rolled up tight and drove in. There I was, doors closed, windows rolled up, all sealed in the dirty car with no radio signal, no magazine and a blank mind. I was sentenced to seven minutes of solitary confinement. But I was reluctant to just write off those seven minutes as a total waste of time. So, I tried to imagine how those seven minutes could be put to good use.
I got a card from an old-timer during a frigid spell a week or two ago. How frigid was it? My car registered that it was minus 28 degrees outside. This card was an old black and white photo of a kid about 5 years old dressed in a 1948 cold weather uniform of overshoes and wool coat, standing there in the middle of the winter with his tongue stuck to a flagpole.
It was the day before New Year's at our house and time for an energy inventory. We didn't get very far. A check of Eartha's cell phone showed "5 percent charged." Whoa. We went no further. What a scary prospect — starting a new year with a phone that could suddenly go silent at any moment. Without notice.
By tradition, at the stroke of midnight, when the old year becomes the New Year, the band strikes up Auld Lang Syne and everybody sings and toasts, "Happy New Year." Auld Lang Syne is a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788. The words of the title translate to "old long since" and the message of the song is that old times, old friends and love should not be forgotten. The words "we'll take a cup o' kindness yet" suggest a drink shared to symbolize friendship, good health, good will and "the remembrance of noble deeds." Great sentiments.
Another year almost gone. The ink just dried on my 2016-2017 review and predictions and here we are — another year older. Deep thought has gone into this report (the older I get, the deeper my thoughts) so pay careful attention. First, to review and comment on some of the events of 2017.
"Merry Christmas!" I shouted to a woman on the street But she didn't hear me Her misty eyes stared halfway round the globe Where her son was lost in Afghanistan And never found his way home. "Merry Christmas!" I cried to an old gent in the alley But he didn't hear me He was dragging a cardboard box to another address Moving his house to a friendlier neighborhood Wondering where he belonged. "Merry Christmas!" I heralded to the working man But he didn't hear me His hope was still at the locked gate of a factory
You've just moved to a strange new address that isn't anything like that familiar home you just left and you're trying to establish a comfortable feeling for the new digs. What can you do? You can't bring your old neighbors along, and everything looks different. There's no comfort in looking at four blank walls. What could be worse? What could be more like a prison cell than looking at four blank walls? Actually, a prison cell would be three blank walls and one wall of bars.
I'm sure that there is a cave somewhere, from the earliest days of man upon earth, where it is chiseled on the wall MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. Since there were few people on the earth at that time, it was easy to mind your own business — there was no other business. As to looking into my neighbor's business, the sign on the cave wall is still good advice. In other words, don't poke your nose into your neighbor's affairs. Respect his privacy.
We've been in our present home about two months now and we're getting better acquainted every day. This morning I got better acquainted with our crawl space. To get there, you walk down a half flight of stairs, then you get on your hands and knees and crawl forward. From the floor to the floor joists down there, you have three feet of space for creeping. Where there are ducts, the space is reduced by 8 inches. For much of the space, you have to crawl backwards to get out. It's probably not a comfortable place to visit if you have claustrophobia.
Wednesday, Nov. 1, was cold and windy as I drove along the lake's edge. Then just ahead of me, flying low, was a bald eagle. You can't miss the adult bald eagle. They are mainly brown with distinctive white heads (not bald) and white tails; they're huge birds. There's something about a bald eagle that makes you sit up and pay attention. I'm not superstitious (knock on wood) but I'm aware of the vague concept that sighting a bald eagle is a sign of good fortune to follow. After all, Native Americans considered them spiritual messengers between gods and humans.