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It is not the end of days, but it’s close! I can hear them descending down the mountain. Yes Brood V is just around the corner! The emergence started May 7th in Southern Ohio, and more of the emergence was spotted…heard in West Virginia and here in Pennsylvania on May 11. Yesterday Denyce and I heard them High on the mountains. It won’t be long, perhaps a day or two before the army of Magicicada Cassini, Magicicada septendicim and Magiciada septendecula will emerge on our front lawn.

Every 17 years the brood of cicadas emerges from the ground. The conditions have to be perfect. The soil 8″ below the ground reaches a perfect 64 degrees Fahrenheit and then it takes a light warm rain to trigger the rising. This past weekend we had two days of just such a rain.     

They rise for one reason and one reason only. To Mate! They emerge from the ground and climb the trees where they sing their songs of passion. They sing loud, proud and strong! A group of males can sing their chorus at 100db’s. 

Both males and females can mate several times laying about 20 eggs per mating, averaging 600 eggs. The mating lasts about four weeks After six weeks the eggs hatch drop to the ground and dig down where they wait for another 17 years. 
If you are still wondering what all the fuss is about, we have 11.5 acres the average emergence is 1.5 million cicadas per acre. It is bound to be a very long, loud month.

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A Game Of Catch

I saw a YouTube video featuring dogs catching treats in slow motion. What makes it hysterical is most of the dogs could not catch. If you have a few minutes after you finish reading and commenting on this blog I recommend you head over to YouTube and type in the search bar “Dogs Catching Treats In Slow Motion’.

While watching television my wife threw a piece of popcorn to Quinn. Quinn is the most food driven dog I have ever come across. He watched it sail through the air and land on the ground he nosed it around, ate it and came looking for more with Clary on his heels. Denyce threw another piece which bounced off of Quinn’s nose. Clary’s response was the same. The popcorn would bounce off her head and hit the floor where she would scoop it up. Quinn to his credit started to “catch” on. A more pieces and he was bobbing his head and running around with his mouth open hoping this mana from heaven would fall into his mouth. Clary seemed to stick with the “bounce it off the face” method.

We suddenly heard an odd sucking noise which seemed to be coming from Clary. I tossed another piece of popcorn. It sailed threw the air bopped her on the nose and in the next second she opened her wet drooley mouth (which was indeed the source of the sucking sound) in an attempt to catch the popcorn which was already on the floor.

Persistence pays off. Most of the time their timing is so bad it brings us to fits of laughter, but now, weeks and several sessions later they sometimes manage to snag a little something out of the air especially if we aim at their mouths.

One Regret

The day was hot and overcast. I was sitting in the car outside the grocery store while my lovely wife Denyce ran in to grab a few items. Coming out of the grocery store I noticed a young man of about 18 yrs of age. What peeked my interest was his pants which were secured around his thighs. I was thankful he was wearing boxers. I could not look away it was like watching an accident about to happen. He gathered his four or five bags from the cart and started to walk to the parking lot he made it about 5 steps. I watched as he settled his bags around his feet and pulled up his pants with care, not all the way up just high enough to fit snuggly under his butt, he lifted his sunglasses off his nose, presumably to look for his car. Dropping his glasses back onto his nose he re-gathered his bags and started off in the direction he was looking. The young lad took about a dozen more steps. Stopped settled his bags around his feet and once again hitched up his pants, this time adjusting the belt making them tighter against his thighs. I guess it is okay for him to expose his crotch and butt but God forbid anyone sees his knees! As he gathered his bags and once again set out on his journey I am really regretting I didn’t honk my horn as he passed in front of the car.

I’ve been thinking about fire departments for awhile.  Here in the small towns of Pennsylvania most are local volunteer departments all sporting the name of ‘Alpha Fire’ something.  Watching television I noticed every station was also an ‘Alpha’ something which got me to thinking.  Is there a beta fire company?  Maybe the beta guys have to test all the new equipment and like everything these days the new stuff has bugs so it fails and the firefighters don’t last long.  Perhaps that is a secret that the fire administration people don’t want us to know about and that’s why we don’t hear about the beta fire company.  It’s only logical that if there is an alpha then there has to be a beta.  What about delta, is there a delta fire company?  Maybe if you have a small fire, say a toaster fire you can call 911 emergency and explain that you have a little fire so you don’t need the quickness and efficiency of alpha co.  Just send in the epsilon team.  There is no rush it’s just a toaster fire.  They can finish up their coffee, the scrabble game then if they are so inclined they can walk down the stairs, (I imagine only alpha and beta get fire poles) and mosey on over with the ole’ fashion truck and bucket brigade to deal with my toaster fire.  It’s all good.

In the 70’s there was Starsky and Hutch. In 1985 we had Bo and Luke Duke from the ‘Dukes of Hazard’.  In 1987 there was Brian and Richard.  What do all three have in common?  Quite a bit my friends, oh yes quite a bit.  First there were the cars.  Starsky and Hutch had the stripped tomato a fiery red Gran Torino with white stripes down the sides.   Bo and Luke had the ever popular General lee, a bright orange Dodge Charger.  Richard and Brian had the red Ford Tempo.  

 Bo, Hutch and Richard were taller than their counter parts and were all blond.  Luke, Starsky and Brian were all slightly shorter much better looking and all had dark hair.   Now all six are old grey and balding and have sensible cars,  well I imagine we all have sensible cars. 

 Starsky, Hutch, Bo and Luke Duke entered their cars by running full tilt, slide across the hood and graceful as gazelles slip into the front seats through side windows and put the pedal to the metal. Bo and Luke would be running from the law while Starsky and Hutch were the law.

 Brian and Richard?  Well we had a different experience.  Thirty years ago Rich calls me and informs me that we are building a deck for his parents house.  I said okay but thought it was a little odd because we have no experience in such things. It wasn’t like we had the internet where you can learn how to do everything.  There were only two DIY television shows.  One of which was Mary Bellows. I once saw Mary put up a hole in the wall trying to install a towel rack. She fixed the wall by putting a nail above the hole and hung the towel on the nail thereby using the towel to cover the hole.

When I arrived at Richards house he was already in the back yard figuring out where to dig the holes for the supports which would hold up the entire deck.  Richard is one of those go big or go home type of guys.  He wasn’t building a little rectangular deck.  He had his heart set on the mother of all decks with all kinds of fancy angles and steps.  As he was describing his vision to me I asked to see the plans.  He looked at me like I was some sort of alien.  He had no plans but we did have a lot of fun.  I’d be at the saw and Richard would call out the board length we would need, He would be standing with the measuring tape yelling, “Bri, we need one board four feet and a half and two little lines long”

When we first figured out what we needed Richards father ordered everything and had it delivered. Of course when you have no actual knowledge of what you are doing and have no plans to follow, you are pretty much assured what you buy is not going to be right.  As we were finishing up framing the deck we realized that we were going to be short some wood.  So we hoped into the ole’ Ford Tempo through the doors like civilized people and drove to the lumber yard and picked out a few prime 8 foot boards. We didn’t want them delivered because we wanted them now.  So there we stood in the parking lot of the lumber yard staring at the Ford Tempo, the eight foot boards tightly in our grasp and deep in out 17yr old hearts we knew that those boards were not going to fit inside the car.

After assessing the situation we decided our best course of action was to tie the boards to the roof.  The good people at the lumber yard gave us some rope and seeing as we didn’t have a roof rack they gave us cardboard to protect the roof.  Without truly understanding the predicament we were about to put ourselves in we started wrapping the rope around the boards and the roof.  When we were done the boards were not going anywhere. Unfortunately nor were the car doors as we wrapped the rope around the boards by going through the windows.  

The moral of the story?  Sliding into a car through the windows and landing smoothly into the seats may look easy when you watch stunt men do it on tv.  And in ones mind, one may look cool doing it, but judging from the fits of laughter from those around us, the reality is much different.

We purchased so…

Current Date Feb 25 2015:

Followers, if there are any of you left, will know it has been some time since I’ve posted anything on these, or any pages.  I think about writing constantly.  Even with a full life and many changes I struggle to find anything to write about.  And when I do think something is interesting to write about I can’t make it interesting in my head.  So today for the first time in forever I took a look at this blog.  I found the entry below that has been sitting as a draft for three years.  The biggest change since this post is that Sequoia our beautiful Husky has passed away and is greatly missed.  We do have a new dog now who may just make an appearance in this blog, provided I can figure out how to write again.  Until then, I hope you enjoy this trip back three years.  And yes I am checking the flux capacitors.

3 Years ago:

We purchased some new living room seating.  One of which is a massive two seat recliner. The seats recline at the touch of a button. I was worried about having to stand up if there should be a power failure.  Turns out the designer already though about such an event as there is a battery backup.  But what happens if you are cheap and don’t want to spend 8 dollars worth of batteries?  Besides we live in the woods in the middle of almost nowhere what are the chances of a power failure?

The other day I did learn how we would get our lazy butts out of the chair in case there should be a full power and battery outage event.   My wife was on her side of the recliner playing a video game on the computer, half asleep with three of the cats piled on top of her.  I’m on my side, playing a computer game on the ole’ Xbox, half asleep with two cats zoned out on my lap.   The dog is outside on her lunge line.  Suddenly peace is disturbed by dogs growling.  Pressing the button on the chair would take too much time.  I tossed the Xbox controller and just leaped off the end of the recliner which remained in its upright position, my wife was hot on my heels.

When I stepped outside Sequoia was nose to nose with a German shepherd and no, not a guy with a heavy accent herding sheep but the four legged dog.  I’ve got to give the shepherd credit, he stayed just out of reach of Sequoia they could touch noses but that was it.  The dog took one look at me and headed for home.

What is the moral of the story?  We don’t need no stinkin’ batteries. A shot of adrenalin will work miracles in just about any situation.

Memories Are A Fickle Beast.

I was sitting on my recliner watching TV wondering what my next post was going to be about when out of the blue I got a message from my old friend Richard. “Hey, you ever think about writing about your fathers train set in Hampstead?”

Suddenly I have an entire post written out in my head. But as I started to write I realized I had nothing. My memory of the train set is only a whisper, an image sitting at the very edge of my mind.

I emailed my father asking him what he remembers about the train set. He did not recall a train set in Hampstead, neither did my mother. They did however remember one in Cote St Luc that took up a quarter of basement. We moved out of that house in 1968, I was three. All of which makes sense. The train set Richard and I remember took up a large portion of the basement. And while Davey Crocket may have “kilt himself a bear when he was only three” I was not so advanced and rather than out killing bears I could have very well been trying to stand on my toes to look at a train set.

The problem is Richard, we met in elementary school there is no way he was ever at the house in Cote st Luc.

Any way one looks at it memory is a fickle beast.

The other day the song “Me and My Bobby McGee” was playing on the radio, the second Roger Miller got to the line ‘windshield wipers keepin time I held Bobby’s hand in mine…’ I was transported to my youth. Vivid images danced through my head of my father and one of his friends sitting in the country house, fire roaring in the fire place guitars in hands singing and playing that particular song. It is a Norman Rockwell moment forever etched in my brain.

The smell of gasoline conjures up memories of my fathers speed boat he had back in the day. I remember having to fill the two little red gas tanks that sat behind the back seats. And from these memories others spill forth. They are wonderful, the good the bad and the ugly.

I love photographs, I’ve got an ipod an ipad a camera many sd cards with loads of photograph’s on each one. We have boxes and albums after albums of photos. And I will keep them, add too them and eventually they will be passed along. But at the end of the day the memories that mean the most to me are not the ones in the photo’s. They are the ones forever etched in my brain regardless of how fuzzy or inaccurate they are.

I’ll forever remember my polar bear teddy bear, (I still have it) and how Teddy saved me from the dark nights and bad dreams. I’ll never Forget the t-shirt with Flipper the dolphin on it. Or how about my brother scaring the crap out of me with the large paper mache indian mask. Or the time the steering wheel wouldn’t turn the wheels on the bumper cars and I was stuck in a corner of the track. Or the theme from the six million dollar man running through my head when the orderly was wheeling me into surgery.

When all is done it is not the photograph, it is not the object. It’s the mind and the feelings that are evoked. I don’t think we can control preserve or dismiss them. They just are.

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