Sunday, March 01, 2015

White Dove

Last Sunday morning Jilda and I were listening to music as we sipped coffee on the couch. The birds outside our window needed an aviary traffic controller. The redbirds and sparrows came in early to feed at the feeders. Soon afterwards, the jays and thrushes had their turn. Before turning the area over to the doves. It's a pretty amazing show.

But as we watched the doves feed on the split logs and corn off the ground, we noticed one that was unlike any we have ever seen before.

We have seen white doves at weddings, and funerals, but I've never seen one in the wild. While this one was not totally white, it was fairly close.

I think it was a harbinger telling us to go get bread and milk because the snow is on its way.

Have you ever seen a white dove in the wild?

Saturday, February 28, 2015


I watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty again tonight. I've seen it before, but I find it to be such a poignant movie.

Ben Stiller has starred in several movies, but his performance in this one is remarkable.

I've mentioned the film to several people who thought it was OK, but nothing special. And it's hard to explain why it resonates with me.

One scene is when he steps to the window at his job and receives his severance package. He worked for the magazine for 16 years when they let him go. You can almost feel the emotion as he slides his badge to the person passing out the checks.

I vividly remember the day back March of in 2010 when I went through a voluntary/involuntary (it's a long story) separation.

My circumstances were different, but I remember the last time I walked out of the building where I worked 27 years. My mind was racing as I turned in my badge and stepped out into the blinding sun of a spring morning.

There were geese lined up across the roof of the building. I could hear them honking as they watched me walk across the parking lot. I'd never seen them perched on the building before.  The scene seemed almost surreal.

I haven't thought of that moment in several years, but as I watched Walter Mitty it felt as real as if it had happened this morning.

The movie ends well and watching Stiller's character grow throughout the film is one reason I love it. My favorite movies are the ones that make me feel, and take me places I've never been. This one does that.

I'll leave you with one more snow picture that I took last Thursday. I hope you all have a remarkable weekend.

Friday, February 27, 2015


The sun came out early and full today. By the time I left at 8:30 a.m. the melt was ticking off the front porch. I had to be mindful not to dislodge a sheet of snow clinging precariously to the metal roof. It was one door slam away from being a really cool YouTube video for an unsuspecting visitor.

At the end of our road, is a church with a cemetery reaching from its steps almost to the road where I drive each day. I sat at the stop sign and fished my new sunglasses from the console and slid them on my face.

I sat for a moment longer looking at the cemetery with lingering snow and I thought to myself: is there a colder place than a cemetery in the snow? I can't imagine one.

Normally I'm off on Friday's, but the roads were closed yesterday so I stayed at home and played in the snow.

Once at my office, I started work on one of my projects. It didn't seem like I'd been there long when the lady who works down the hall stuck her head in the door and told me I was the last one in the building and to turn out the lights when I left. 

She must have seen the confusion on my face, so she told me that the school was only open a half day on Fridays. 

That was news to me, but I found a stopping point, packed up and headed out.

Once home, Jilda was getting ready to go to work, so I took Caillou for a long walk. The wind was still cold, but the landscape was still stunning.

On meditation rock, I stood for a long while listening to the water from the melting snow, rush down the tiny creek in the hollow that runs close to the house.

Caillou heard something off in the distance that I couldn't hear, but he stood for a long while until he was satisfied that it wasn't worth chasing.

That was the extent of my Friday. How was yours?

Thursday, February 26, 2015


We felt a little smug this morning. The lights blinked a time or two last night, but the power remained on.

The coffee pot had just beeped, signaling that it was ready for sipping when I heard the tell-tale BOOM. The power shut off immediately and all I could hear was the whisper of our ceiling fan twisting every-slowly to a stop. 

A few seconds later, I heard the UPS on my computer chirping. I know I have about three minutes to shut my computer down gracefully before it cuts the battery backup power to the computer. I hustled into the computer room and shut it down before it died.

The power was off a few hours before the roads cleared enough for repair trucks to make it through.

Stepping down to the chicken pen, the ground and trees looked like a Christmas card. I snapped a couple photos with my phone before heading into the pen.

The chickens were sleeping in and went wild when I came in to fill the feeders. 

Just after lunch, the power came back on and not long afterwards, the sun came out. The light reflecting off the snow was blinding.  

My great nephew Jordan came over to help me shovel the snow off the steps and sidewalk. A deer bounded through the yard while we shoveled. A few minutes later, a bird dog  I never saw before bounded up the yard, apparently in pursuit.

If the roads are passable, I'll head into work for a while tomorrow. The last few snow days were a nice littly vacation.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Snow day

I kept thinking we'd dodge the frosty bullet this year but didn't happen. Sleet began ticking off the
deck around 1 p.m. and within minutes, snowflakes as big as silver dollars began falling. 

I snapped this picture after about 15 minutes. It's now 7 p.m. and it's still falling outside.

Our niece Samantha and her son Jordan came over to play for a while. 

Out in the garden, Jordan built a fort and we had snow battles. 

We also rolled up a couple snowmen.

After about an hour, his teeth were chattering, but he didn't want to go back inside, but his mom persisted.

I will still be on the ground in the morning, but the forecast calls for temps in the low 40 so it will probably begin to melt by mid-morning.

I just received an automated message that school has been cancelled tomorrow so it will be a snow day.

The lights are flickering, so I'm hoping we keep power. Y'all stay warm.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snow pie

I drank the last of the milk when I raided the fridge after midnight last night. A glass of milk and a few gingersnaps set me right. When I mentioned to Jilda this morning that I drank the last of the milk, she smiled and I wasn't sure why.

It hit me this evening when I stopped by Walmart to pick up a fresh carton. They are predicting snow here tomorrow. We make fun of people who storm Walmart to pick up milk and bread at the first hint of snow.  Sure enough, when I went in, the dairy aisle looked as if locusts had descended on the area and picked it clean.

Leaning close to the cooler window, I stood on my tiptoes to get a better view of the cooler. Deep in the back, I saw one carton out of arm's reach on the top shelf. I called one of the stockmen over.  He stood on the edge of the cooler and pulled it out for me. I could have gotten it myself, but I didn't want to be on News at 11 - Walmart customer breaks a hip crawling into a cooler for the last carton of milk.

Dropping the milk in my buggy I made a Beeline for the register, avoiding the bread aisle on the journey. Fortunately,  I didn't see any friends or acquaintances.

Jilda and I will both be off tomorrow so hopefully we won't have to deal with getting out in the white stuff.

I'd be willing to bet our great nephew Jordan will come over and serve up some snow pies.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Taking off the training wheels

My wife, Jilda, wrote a poignant blog post about training wheels this week. Her blog, entitled “Transformation Information,” is about embracing life changes.
The inspiration for her entry was when our great nephew Jordan learned to ride a bicycle without training wheels. The sheer joy on his face with those first few feet of freedom made my heart soar along with his. I experienced that sensation in my life many times when I outgrew my training wheels.
I guess you could say my dad was like “training wheels,” as I learned to drive. He’d slide over close to me when I slipped behind the wheel and speak as calmly as a monk as he gave me the basic instructions.
“Not too heavy on the gas,” “Be mindful of the chickens, they’re not smart,” and “Keep it between the RC signs,” were some of the instructions I remember him giving.
The first time I drove alone, my heart soared like the proverbial eagle.
I felt a similar sense of triumph this past week when my first group of students received training certificates.
They came through the BACK TO WORK 50+ at Bevill State Community College last month. Six of them received scholarships to attend Computer Office Familiarization training. This training puts them closer to finding a job.
I coached these students over the past few months, and some of them seemed almost defeated. They had been unsuccessful in their job search.
Requirements for most jobs include a basic understanding of computers. Applicants without those skills never get an interview.
On the last day of classes, I stopped by to join in the celebration. We all lined up to pose for a picture. Everyone had a reason to smile. In a sense, these folks took off their training wheels and learned something life-changing. As we stood there, my spirit soared along with theirs.
It takes courage to remove the training wheels. “What if I stumble? What if I fail?”
Fear can be immobilizing. It seems like such a long time ago, but I remember being fearful to start back to college.
What if I’m too old?
What if I’m not smart enough?
What if I fail? These questions kept me up at night as I struggled with the decision about going back to school.
Looking back, it almost seems comical. School wasn’t a breeze, but when times got tough, I buckled down and did the work.
In May of 1997, I graduated with a master’s degree. Marching across the stage to receive my diploma with my mom and other family members looking on was a highpoint in my life. My heart soared.
This much I know for sure: training wheels are a great place to begin. You find your balance and get comfortable without the fear of falling.
The only way you’ll ever experience the bliss that comes with that first ride alone is to lose the training wheels. I can promise you, your heart will soar.

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