Lorraine and I are planning to go on a 17-day cruise to Europe. All you geography fans can trace our ship entering and leaving the various ports. Our stay at these ports is not very long; we usually arrive early in the morning and leave in the late afternoon or early evening.
We meet the ship in Southampton, England and we are off. Two days later, we arrive in Seville (Cadiz) Spain. Seville is the home of Flamenco dancing, which Lorraine and I both love.
One morning last October I’m driving to the hawk watch at Fire Island, where migrating raptors are counted and recorded during the fall migration season. Just before starting over a bridge leading to Fire Island, two great egrets, which are large white birds, are rising into the air. Driving over a second bridge, a vast clouded sky hangs on the horizon like a curtain on a theatrical stage. What will be revealed when the clouds part? On Fire Island, going around the traffic circle, there are four deer feeding on the grass. The scene is bucolic.
At the two-tiered hawk watch platform, the sky is overcast with a pale salmon color. With a west wind at 5-7 mph, today promises to be slow. Someone calls out that there’s a “sharpie” or sharp-shinned hawk coming through. I get my binoculars on a fast flying bird that flaps, flaps, flaps, then glides and repeats this movement. It’s no sharpie. The bird shows yellow on its underwings. However it isn’t a hawk but rather a flicker, a woodpecker that migrating raptors sometimes take as prey. A lone, lazy flapping dark osprey flies over the bay, scanning the still-as-glass, dark blue water below for a fish. Hooked talons, large toes and rough areas on its feet allow the “fish-hawk” to firmly grip a fish after diving into the water. However, this one sees nothing and flies on.
I was a freshman at CCNY (City College of New York). I had just graduated from high school and was 16-and-a-half years old. Honestly, I was not very worldly and my education was vastly underwhelming in both social aspects and in the knowledge department. However, I had been accepted to this great learning academy and I was determined to do my best.
Lunchtime at CCNY turned out to be an experience I had to conquer. I took my brown bag lunch that my mother had prepared for me, with its obvious oil stain on the outside. I was about to enter the lunchroom at the college.
When we spoke over the phone, he had just gotten off the plane on the West Coast, presumably for one of his many speaking engagements. I tried to imagine myself in his position at that age, and found I couldn’t do it; even as a “good” student, at 17 years of age, I was still concerned with deciding who I wanted to be when I grew up. It would never have occurred to me, as it obviously did to Nikhil, that I didn’t have to reach a certain age before getting started on anything.
“They’re coming—they’re coming.”
The grandchildren are about to make their annual invasion of the old family homestead. Get everything that is breakable out of sight and definitely out of reach of the diminutive bandits. The favorite toys are brought up from the basement to distract and divert them.
(Editor’s note: The following is a response to Karen Gellender’s column, “The Opposite Of Voting.”)
I too have been finding it’s much easier this year to identify the candidates I don’t like than to pick one that I do like. So, I’m thinking about “third party” candidates, but worried that a vote for a third party is a vote thrown away. But here’s how I convinced myself that voting for a third party candidate is an okay thing to do: Unless you live in one of the “swing” states (like Michigan) that the polls say can go either way, then voting for a major party candidate, who isn’t the favorite in your state, is pretty much a thrown away vote anyhow. By voting instead for a suitable third party candidate, you at least convey the message to the major parties that the candidates they provided were not attractive to you.
I lived the first 27 years of my life in the Bronx. I am proud of my many years and experiences that I enjoyed in that much-maligned borough.
I attended Yankee Stadium for both football and baseball games. My public school, P.S. 50, my junior high school P.S. 98 (Herman Ridder) and James Monroe High School all provided happy and memorable experiences. I also went to the Bronx Zoo many, many times. It was always enlightening to learn about nature and the animals of our world. The steamy streets of asphalt and concrete did not convey much information in that area.
(Editor’s Note: The writer of this letter is Assistant Professor of Anesthesia at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.)
Listening to both parties’ conventions, one has to wonder whose plan is actually bad for seniors. The simple answer is the Republicans, but the more complete and thorough answer is the Democrats. Here is the truth about both plans.
The Republican plan (or the Ryan plan) would replace the current system with one in which seniors are given a voucher to buy private health insurance. However, as health care costs rise, the vouchers would not rise with them, creating a ‘gap’ that would have to be filled by the senior. Over time the gap could become so significant that many seniors wouldn’t be able to afford covering it.
When I was growing up, Golden Anniversaries—50 years of wedded bliss—were quite rare. Nowadays, they seem to come about almost every weekend. Is it because people are living longer, or because marriage is a better way to spend a lifetime? I am not sure.
Lorraine and I introduced Mel (my close friend) to Elaine (Lorraine’s college sorority sister) in 1961. Last week, we attended their 50th anniversary party in Annandale, Virginia. Tempus fugit.
When I look at birds I see more than just winged, feathered creatures. I sometimes catch a glimpse of their infinite beauty. It started in the early ’90s when I was looking at some terns on a cloudy Cape Cod beach. Later, perusing a bird identification chart, I began to marvel at the realization that small changes in the color of feathers on similar sized birds in the same bird family sometimes meant there were different species. And there were so many different kinds of birds! I was bedazzled.
One morning a few years ago, I was on a Florida peninsula near a tidal lagoon. There I spent 40 unforgettable minutes watching a reddish egret. The bird had once been hunted to near extinction in the U.S. by the early 20th century. It had almost been eternity’s bird. I was surrounded by bone-white sands, mangroves, some tall bare ash colored trees, a number of which were lying on the ground with their enormous root systems exposed. This landscape served as a theatrical set, enhancing the bird’s beauty.
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