Monday, May 23, 2011

The Visit

****** Long fascinated by the incredibly versatile sounds birds make, I often focus attentively on their measured tweets and twirts, and patiently share the gap in communication which the sender must endure until he receives a reponse. I enjoy these conversations which I'm certain contain vital information regarding tracking systems, weather conditions, head and tail wind velocities and other crucial flight data. They may even be discussing navigational routes for the next trip while job assignments are posted. My visitor this morning obviously pulled the over-night duty.

At around 3AM, a lone feathered friend perched outside my bedroom window which was open a few inches as usual. This character initiated a faint-sounding warble, and I listened in eager anticipation along with him for a group member's response. The song sketched was thin, an anemic sound I thought. Some severe and unexpected turbulence might have exerted extra pressure to his fuselage and delicate wing structure. Whatever the cause, he sounded pretty exhausted.

His visit evolved into one much longer than usual, and the intervals between his calls were lengthy, each "Yoo-hoo" producing nothing but dead air. He patiently maintained his position and then skillfully but weakly called once more.

I began to think of him as an elderly telegrapher, weary and frustrated, shaking himself to alert status, and gamely trying yet again to make a connection, not unlike the people who sit at computer monitors flinging blips and beep signals into outer space hoping to finally pick up a "Well, hello there! How the hell are you? What a nice surprise! Let's get together real soon!"

I hope my Signalman comes back tonight.

Monday, May 2, 2011

On The Death Of A Fanatic

With today's sensational news that Osama bin Laden has been killed, it's obvious that the draft labeled "Post Wedding Fatigue" should be forwarded to the dust bin.

I approve of the extremely prudent decision to bury his body at sea. Capture him, take him where? Parade him as some sort of trophy? Perhaps Mr. Bush would have enjoyed displaying the dead man's head on a pole on the White House lawn, but that gesture would be as knuckle-headed as standing in front of a large banner, emblazoned with the premature victory message "Mission Accomplished". However, we are now forced to be even more vigilant.

ObL fully prepared for his inevitable demise, and at this moment, his successor has no doubt gathered other fanatics prepared to implement a directive to strike one or more vulnerable targets anywhere in the Western world. Those people are just as angry now as we are jubilant. Perhaps even more so.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Royal Wedding

****** A little girl of my generation grew up hearing bedtime stories featuring a handsome prince or two, wicked step-mothers, poisoned apples and golden coaches, industrious dwarfs, humble cottages, palaces and happy endings. No wonder I was fully enchanted to discover a genuine royal family living just across the Atlantic Ocean in a country filled with moated castles and diamond tiaras, not to mention a glorious history.

Accordingly, on November 20, 1947, at age ten, I demanded to be awakened in the pre-dawn hours to huddle beside the radio and share the BBC commentary of the Royal Wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, Prince of Greece and Denmark. Here is some information about him which is easily found on-line:

Prior to the official engagement announcement, he renounced his Greek and Danish royal titles, converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism, and became a naturalised British subject, adopting the surname Mountbatten from his British maternal grandparents. After an official engagement of five months, as Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten he married Elizabeth on 20 November 1947. On his marriage, he was granted the style of His Royal Highness and the title of Duke of Edinburgh by his father-in-law. Philip left active service, having reached the rank of Commander, when Elizabeth became Queen in 1952. His wife made him a Prince of the United Kingdom in 1957.

Tomorrow morning, I'll witness every second of the pageantry for which royals are famous, preserving the moments on my antiquated VCR equipment. I didn't own the technology, nor was it actually available, to tape the Charles and Diana nuptials, but a friend who was in London at the time brought me a salt and pepper set bearing their likenesses. Not worth much then because of the over-abundance of such commemorative kitsch, but when one considers subsequent events, perhaps their value will increase over time.

I can just see the grandchildren at the Antiques Roadshow ... "Oh, we've had these in the family for over fifty years", and being told they might fetch $50 at a specialty auction.

Enough. I'm off to check my video tape supply. Buck: Pour me a wee gin and tonic please, there's a good chap.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Unchained Melody

It is a way cool moment when you step into the kitchen for that first cup of coffee and discover a banana inscribed with the words "I love you". There it was, nestled with other pieces of fruit in the bowl, and I can't say the sight of it brought tears to my eyes, but it did inspire me to plan one of his favorite dishes for dinner. "And, what would that be?", I hear you ask. Whole chicken roasted, with red potatoes, haricots verts, home-made cranberry sauce, with roasted stone fruit served over vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Incidentally, Buck and I will celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary in November, and we have run the rapids with only minor abrasions and contusions to show for the journey ... so far. Sturdy equipment (a healthy sense of humor) and proper safety gear (we talk about everything) have helped maintain our equilibrium. Sharing a loving and healthy family is good too. Now that's a lovely bunch of bananas.


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