For the Birds

 

The critically acclaimed movie Birdman (or The Unexpected Value of Ignorance) starring Michael Keaton (a good actor) won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Here is the totality of my opinion, in short, this 2014 movie stunk. Even its long subtitle stunk.

It really stunk, as pigeon poop can stink from those city birds who value their own ignorance of the whole thing they are doing perhaps on your head while you walk under an overpass and – okay, let’s leave it at that; the movie stunk!

Birdman takes its place alongside another movie that gained huge critical raves, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring which was released in 2004. This South Korean movie was supposed to be a profound look at a young monk being shepherded by an old monk during all the seasons.

Saying it is “slow-moving” makes this movie seem to be going fast. It is slower than slow, although (if I recall correctly) we do get to see a bird flying overhead during the movie’s interminable length. That bird was damn exciting.

So how is it that film critics can glorify movies that should never have made it out of their canisters to be put into projectors to frazzle normal folks such as me and my wife, the Beautiful AP? This is one of the great mysteries of my life, along with the origin of the universe.

Seriously, am I so behind in my intellectual capacity that I can’t wonder in absolute wonder at a supposedly fantastically wonderful movie that actually drags you through a year of dullness, using endless hours of screen time on seasons that don’t look as good as the seasons look right outside the theater where I saw the movie?

Or how about a movie that is so dull that the death of the lead character is aggressively prayed for by this member of the film’s audience? Please Lord, please God, please, kill Birdman. Kill him, please. Do that for those of us who are suffering through this horror. Even buttered popcorn can’t make this movie stomach-able.

I used to be a book reviewer for a newspaper in my early years of writing but I found it hard to nail a book as being awful. Books are one usually poor writer trying his or her damn best to create something good. If that book failed? I would just put that book down and read a different one to review. I don’t have that problem with bad movies. I’m not quite sure why. If a movie stinks I’ll tell you it stinks.

Frank’s website is www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available at smile.Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, kindle, e-books and at bookstores.

State Birds: Wild, Weird and Wonderful

 

They come in all sizes, shapes and colors. Some are plain; some are spectacular. They are state birds. But underneath it all is cut-throat competition among some states.

Alaska named the Willow Ptarmigan as its state bird.. Why is obvious because this bird can survive deadly winters and even has feathers on its legs. You might say it is the legging bird. It has bright colors and is a favorite of hunters in the British Isles; one of the reasons Alaska would have fought in the Revolution if it were a colony then.

Arizona has a dotted bird, the Cactus Wren, as its herald but it sounds awful when its calls hit the airwaves. Quite a lot of Arizona is stark and so is this bird. Hard to tell males apart from females; but it’s so hot in Arizona that I don’t think the birds have the energy to care.

California has a rather dull bird. I guess Californians didn’t want the dull birds to feel bad because they aren’t as beautiful as the beautiful birds so they picked the subdued California Quail. That’s progressivism for you. This bird looks as if it can survive earthquakes, mudslides, forest fires, homelessness and high taxes. It is a true Californian.

Delaware has a domesticated multi-plumaged bird, the Blue Hen Chicken, and is easy to find in order to eat after you’ve marveled at its colors. Barnyards are great habitats for it. Don’t kill it with a gun as you’ll then be eating pellets.

Georgia named the Brown Thrasher, a so-so-looking bird, as its peach. Don’t quite know why but then again we’re talking about Georgia which is rarely on our minds.

Hawaii is our most recently recognized state and a paradise to visit; but its bird does not match the state’s beauty. The creature is somewhat yuckaii. Meet the Nene or Hawaiian Goose.

Idaho has the Mountain Bluebird  and recently the falcon as its birds. The Bluebird is a stunning blue. Of course, like all songbirds it fastly flitters so you must have that “songbird patience” to get a good viewing. But make it quick because falcons eat Bluebirds.

Perhaps the prettiest thing you’ll see in Mississippi is its state bird the Wood Duck. Its other bird is the Mockingbird. That bird it shares with Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee.

Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio are at war as they all picked the Cardinal as their state bird. I see many Cardinals at my feeders (I live in New York); and they are beauties. However, I do not see any Kentuckians.

Louisiana picked the Brown Pelican. When Louisiana floods these birds feel happily at home.

Montana and Nebraska have a thing for the  Western Meadowlark, a yellow bird that doesn’t seem strong enough to hang out in these cowboy states.

Frank’s website is www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available at smile.Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, kindle, e-books and at bookstores.

 

Franklin versus Franklin

 

This information may be apocryphal but so what? Apocryphal stories can be fascinating. A biblical apocryphal story titled “The Wisdom of Solomon” has the author (the smartest man of all time!) caution men not to marry more than one wife, as the anger and conflicts caused by those backbiting women couldn’t be contained.

Ben Franklin and his illegitimate son William Franklin were close for a while, but when the Revolutionary War was brewing William was a “loyalist” to the British, while Ben supported the Revolution. That didn’t enhance their relationship.

William and Ben also disputed which language should be used by Americans; it was a tossup between German and English.  The Germans dominated the northern populace throughout the early days and they were the first of the hated immigrants.  Ben wanted people to speak only English while William leaned towards German. That didn’t enhance their relationship either.

But their big blowout came about because of a bird or, rather, two birds—the bald eagle and the wild turkey. There was a big debate flaring in the colonies as to which bird should be their emblem and later on, the emblem of United States.

William championed the bald eagle because he and his supporters thought the bird was regal and a true monarch of the air. Ben advocated the wild turkey because it was combative and didn’t take any guff from other birds or people. It also tasted a lot better than the bald eagle. Perhaps Ben liked the wild turkey because it was quite promiscuous, enjoying the intimate company of as many lady turkeys as it could.

To this day Americans love turkey, consuming over 750 million pounds of it, according to the University of Illinois Extension.

William’s predilection for the regality of the bald eagle probably came from his love of the British crown and royalty in general. Although not as promiscuous as his father, William did sire his own illegitimate son much like Ben and King Solomon.

Although a close look at the bald eagle will reveal that although it does nail fish and small varmints, it will also chow down on carrion. So it isn’t as regal as William at first thought. Still, unlike the turkey, the bald eagle does not make a habit of attacking people. It’s generally a loner, while the wild turkey prefers gang colors.

Father/son relationships can be fraught with difficulties, as many of you know; just look at Luke Skywalker and his dear old dad, Darth Vader. That relationship cost Luke an arm, although I actually prefer the leg (of a turkey that is).

Visit Frank’s web site at www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available at smile.amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, as e-books and at bookstores.

 

Birds and Bugs

I love birds. I hate bugs.

Now there are people who love bugs. They study bugs; they touch them, hold them, they even talk lovingly to them. These people are called entomologists or maniacs. The bugs I hate the most are mosquitoes—those flying derringers of disease who deposit death by way of itchy lumps on one’s skin.

I am a man beloved by mosquitoes. They attack me ceaselessly when I am outdoors or, if one or more have the brazenness to swoop into my house, they have an unquenchable lust to suck every last drop of my blood leaving me a formerly scratching, now lifeless husk on my bed or floor.

Let me give you an example: My wife, the Beautiful AP, and I recently took a leisurely bird walk at our favorite nature preserve at Jamaica Bay. I slathered myself in diethyltoluamide—Deet as it is known in the trade—in the hopes that my tiny but vicious enemies would leave me alone. That stuff is supposed to work, right?

Wrong!

When I got home I had the traditional bites on my exposed skin but these monstrous creatures had even penetrated my clothing, thereby making the rest of my body look as if I were turning into the lizard man.

On that walk in that bucolic environment, I wanted to see beautiful song birds and those awesome raptors dominating the sky, but instead I succumbed to a flying, buzzing, biting bug. We left the walk early and I commenced moaning about my lot in life. I am (I must admit) a good moaner.

Why are mosquitoes attracted to me? It could be my sweet blood or blood type (type 0 is one of their delights) but it can also be the type of bacteria I have on my skin. Yes, these little brutes are attracted to a certain type of bacteria that about 20 percent of us have. I must have it in abundance.

Mankind almost extinguished some of the most wonderful birds on our planet; the eagles, ospreys, and peregrine falcons, among other raptors, trying to eradicate disease-carrying mosquitoes by using DDT, which certainly did kill those little bugs that cause a host of diseases including Zika, West Nile, Malaria, Dengue and the new one Eastern Equine Encephalitis, also known as EEE or Triple E.

Killing the mosquitoes back when was great (in my humble opinion) but discovering that our raptors were laying eggs with shells that were so brittle they broke apart before the offspring could get a claw-hold on life was not so great. DDT was great at killing bugs but awful for raptors.

What am I to do now? I’m buying mosquito-repellant clothing because I’m itching to never have them bite me again.

Visit Frank’s web site at www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available at smile.amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, as e-books and at bookstores.

 

I Beat My Bird Bad!

 

What I wanted to do more than just about anything was beat my older bird, Augustus, and today I did it! I wanted to beat him bad, yes, real bad, for the years of his disdainful disobedience to me. Today would be the day.

Let me back up a little. I have two parrots, Augustus, a monk parrot, who is an old bird of about 22 – 24 (his life expectancy is about 25) and Mister Squeaky who is about seven or eight.

Mister Squeaky is a dynamo. More interesting is that Squeaky is a sexual maniac. I know I am about to lack decorum right after the word “but” but this parrot tries to screw everything. He screws the inside bars of his cage—top, bottom and four sides. He screws them when he is on the outside of them too, which is just about all day.

When he screws he makes all sorts of sounds. I assume they are pleasure sounds.

He screws the toys in his cage; the soft ones and the hard ones. He screws the handles of his cage which are used to transport him to wherever we need to transport him. Since Squeaky and Augustus’s cages are right next to each other, Squeaky goes into Augustus’s cage and screws everything he can find in there. Then he eats Augustus’s food, the same exact food Squeaky has in his own cage.

Oh, don’t feel sad for Augustus because he goes into Mister Squeaky’s cage and eats Squeaky’s food. Except Augustus doesn’t screw around. If a monk parrot can be a monk then Augustus is a true monk—celibate as a strict churchman.

Squeaky wants to be Augustus, who is the alpha bird in the house.

Mister Squeaky is my bird. He obeys my commands. If I tell him, even from across the room, “Go in your cage,” bingo! Squeaky goes into his cage. At 4 pm every day Augustus squawks that he wants to “go sleep.” That time is his bedtime.

So I call across my office, “Okay, guys, in your cage!” Squeaky zips in but Augustus sits atop his cage with his head tilted and his face telling me, “I don’t have to listen to you, bub.” At this point I bring Mister Squeaky’s cage into the dining room where he will stay the evening until he retires at 8 o’clock to have sex through most of his “sleep” time. Squeaky is with my wife and me as we have our usual evenings—meaning my wife, the Beautiful AP, tells me what I should do and I do it. “Lower the set! Stop watching TV and read a book instead.” That is, of course, marriage. Her demand is my command.

Squeaky does not obey my wife’s commands. He is also strong-willed, unlike Mr. Marshmallow, who is me.

Augustus, on the other hand, is my wife’s bird and he obeys her with true affection. They kiss and snuggle. Disgusting!

When I get back into my office Augustus is still on top of his cage, squawking that he wants to go to sleep. When he was young he could actually say, “Go sleep!” But words are not his thing anymore.

When he sees me, he deliberately moves to the back of the top of his cage where it is hard for me to reach him.

Since Augustus has aged he isn’t as dexterous anymore. He finds it hard to move down the bars of his cage and go inside, so I have to help him.

But every day, every damn day, I have to try to reach him across the top of his cage. He enjoys not making it easy for me to reach him.

“Augustus,” I say each and every damn day. “Don’t you want to go to sleep?”

Then I maneuver myself through the labyrinth of my wife’s desk, her chair, her music stand, and her treadmill to get to the back of the cage and that’s when Augustus scoots over to the front of his cage to force me to make the trip in reverse.

We do this several times every damn day, until Augustus relents and lets me pick him up and put him in his cage for a good night’s sleep. The last I see of him when I cover his cage with blankets is his head tilted and that superior smirk upon his face. Yes, a smirk. Parrot owners will tell you that even though a parrot’s face can’t change, you know exactly what it is thinking.

But today I had had it. I was not going to hustle through the obstacle course to get him. He would either come to me or sit outside his cage all night long.

I stood several feet from his cage and just looked at him, my face smirking as best as I could get it to smirk. “You’ll stay out here all night,” I said. “I am never going to chase around your cage again.”

From the living room I could hear Mister Squeaky screwing something. At least one of us was having fun, I thought. Or maybe two, if you count Augustus reveling in being his usual annoying self.

Augustus looked me. I looked at Augustus. Augustus tilted his head. I tilted my head. He squawked. I made some kind of sound back at him.

We looked at each other and then—yes! yes! yes! —Augustus walked to the side of the cage where I stood. I easily picked him up, placed him inside, and covered him for the night.

I won! I won! Yes, I did it! I beat my bird badly. In doing so, I once again established that man—that I! —was the master of the earth, not some recalcitrant parrot.

Flushed with triumph, I decided my next conquest would be my wife. Such a feat requires both strategic and tactical planning, as it is she who has won every encounter for the last 32 years. A man might be the master of the earth, but his wife, damn it! is the master of the universe.

Book Frank Scoblete to speak for your organization.

 

 

 

The Birds Are Coming to Get YOU!

 

“The Birds” is not a novel. Rather it is a short story by Daphne du Maurier that appears in her book The Apple Tree. I’m guessing that you probably know about those birds from Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds.

The short story and the movie are quite different but that doesn’t matter. Both have our flighted friends, now turned enemies, attacking us with horrific designs such as —to put it mildly—wiping us out. Yes, “The Birds” and The Birds both feature fierce, feathered, beaking, clawing killers of planet Earth’s dominant creatures, meaning us, meaning you and me.

Not a nice thought is it? Those often spectacularly-beautiful creatures ripping us to shreds don’t fit into our concept that birds are peaceful, non-aggressive beings out to make the world a more beautiful and loving place. We don’t think of them as “fierce, feathered, beaking, clawing killers,” do we?

Du Maurier’s “The Birds” focuses on a farmer in England in post World War II whose native birds decide to take matters under their own wings and begin the extermination process. It appears that the birds have gone crazy throughout England but no person seems able to communicate with anyone else. The birds have cut our communication channels.

In Hitchcock’s The Birds the small town of Bodega Bay in California gets a visit from the beautiful Tippi Hedren and then from a massive influx of really nasty avian whose purpose is to not only slaughter Tippi, but also to make an unsanitary mess of the town.

Oh, well, this is all fiction, right? Not so fast: I was attacked by a blue jay in Chicago and by one in my backyard in New York. I’m hoping it’s not the same exact bird, because flying from Chicago to New York to dive-bomb my head seems like a very long trip for one bird to achieve basically nothing. Neither blue jay drew blood; both just scared me. I will admit I’m easily scared and blue jays are notoriously tough.

But seriously, birds don’t attack people except for the occasional blue jay protecting its nest, right? Again, not so fast: Just go to the Internet and write in “mass bird attacks” or “birds killing humans” or find out what’s going on in Houston, Texas. Our feathered friends seem to have more aspects to them than we think or wish or pray. Sometimes we are indeed their prey.

But look on the bright side; we eat more turkeys on Thanksgiving than turkeys have eaten us and we actually have chicken farms that allow millions of us such delight in eating those feathered morsels every day.

The birds have not yet evened the score. Maybe though, maybe though, they just need a little more time.

Visit Frank’s web site at www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available from smile.amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, e-books and at bookstores.

 

 

 

 

Bookcase: Mrs. Moreau’s Warbler

 

The Book: Mrs. Moreau’s Warbler: How Birds Get Their Names by Stephen Moss

My 13-year-old grandson has a book review due in two weeks based on a book he read this summer – or, rather, was supposed to read. I asked him how the book was coming along. He told me that he didn’t actually read it; he’d write the review based on the cover.

Based on the cover? “Yeah, Grandpa Scobe, I’ve been getting A’s writing about the covers for all my book reviews.” Such are kids; such is American public education; such is genius – my grandson!

Why read the book? Just pen some stuff based on what you read on the cover—I never thought of such a thing. Here I am—for decades—writing book reviews on books I’ve read thoroughly. I’m writing between 500 and 1,000 words about entire books, trying to figure out what to say to capture in such short word length what often these books are about. How silly of me.

I am now letting a little child lead me in my review of Mrs. Moreau’s Warbler: How Birds Get Their Names by Stephen Moss.

The cover asks us, “What’s in a name?” Basically everything. Birds have some of the most lyrical, most ridiculous, most awe-inspiring names. Take the “wheatear” which has nothing to do with ears of wheat in any of wheat’s incarnations. The name means—if you are easily offended then skip to the next paragraph—white-arse (white-ass). Yep! Such a distinctive name in our age of racial consciousness.

How’s this? The Dartford warbler; once named, was never seen in Dartford again. So what’s in that name? Evidently no loyalty.

On bird walks with the South Shore Audubon Society I’ve asked some of our astute bird observers how did thus and such a bird get its name? Sometimes they know; sometimes they don’t. What’s in a name many people will ask; well, I think a lot. Sometimes everything. You are, perhaps, what we call you.

Birds have been named after positive things (sunbird), or negative things (go-away-birds). Some have very long names (Ruwenzori double-collard sunbird); some have very short names (ou).

States in the United States have birds named after them (Mississippi kite and Hawaiian akepa), while some are named after man-made objects (ovenbird and riflebirds).

Natural elements, metals, gems and precious stones have their share of birds named after them; as do mythological figures such as Lucifer. Indeed, birds have even been named after other animals and insects (frogmouths and antbirds). Royalty has its share of bird names too (emperor penguin). For all I know, you have a bird named after you.

Final disclosure: I am not my grandson. I didn’t review just the cover; I read the whole book. It is fascinating and takes us on a journey into the past and into the world where you saw a bird and could assign it a name. Fun reading!

Visit Frank’s web site at www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, e-books and at bookstores.

 

 

 

Not Adorable

They tried to pull the wool, or rather, the feathers over our eyes. But I discovered the truth and it is not pretty. I must share this truth with you.

You may have heard of this: There has been a tale of the on-again, off-again relationship of two red-tailed hawks that live in Tompkins Square Park in New York City. This pair, Christo, the male, and Dora, the female, have had a lot of press and most of it makes Christo out to be the Harvey Weinstein of hawks because it seems he has betrayed his love for Dora.

Now, Dora and Christo had 10 little hawks together and it has generally been thought that mated hawks mate for life—or thereabouts.

Well, the “thereabouts” seems more accurate, as “til death do us part” is not quite working out in this case.

You see Dora had a wing injury that required the services of skilled rehab people and when she was all well and good, they returned her to the park. This was in 2017. However, when she got back lo-and-behold Nora, another hawk, had entered the picture, taking poor Dora’s place.

About a year ago still another randy hawk named Amelia came in for a loving, landing in Christo’s lap (so to speak). Amelia was courted by the gamey Christo and then she also mated with him—and oh-my-heavens, they actually did the deed in Dora’s nest! Yes, now Christo had three females, Nora, Amelia and his old flame Dora.

Such contentment could not last. Hawks are not Mormons, delighting as they once did in polygamy. Dora decided to assert herself, taking back the reigns of lead wife, and she fought an epic air battle with Amelia high over Tompkins Square Park.

And she lost. She was no match for Amelia in battle or in bed (so to speak).

Dora had some serious wounds and had to be removed to Tackapausha Museum and Preserve in Seaford, New York, where she now spends her days eating rats and perhaps thinking of that rat she once loved.

Now the bones of this story certainly make Dora seem like the injured party in a love quadrangle, finagled by two other females and one horny male. But no story is really simple, is it?

According to Sara Dorn’s article “It’s a Coop D-Etat!” in the New York Post on Sunday, May 5, 2019, Dora was no wall flower, suffering from abuse by her mate and his new females. Instead she was a “queen,” a totally demanding mate who had Christo jumping (or, rather, flying) through hoops.

Cathy Horvath of Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation was quoted as saying that Dora was “not a friendly bird. She was the worst patient ever.”

Nature photographer Laura Goggin said that Dora indeed had a sharp personality and Christo “waited on her” claw and claw. It seems Amelia is far less abrasive on Christo than Dora. As far as those who watch Christo and his two current loves, Nora and Amelia, he seems like a far happier hawk.

The not adorable Dora has enough rats to keep her contented and out of Christo’s life. So you see, some stories have a happy ending.

Frank Scoblete’s books are available on Amazon.com, from Barnes and Noble, Kindle, e-books and at bookstores. His web site is www.frankscoblete.com.

The Delightful Horror of Family Birding

The Bookcase by Frank Scoblete

The Delightful Horror of Family Birding by Eli J. Knapp

Americans are not big buyers of books loaded with short stories, essays or multiple poems presented to us by somewhat obscure poets. Actually in America just about all poets, except for the ones taught in high school and college classes, are obscure.

I can’t speak for Europeans, who are constantly speaking about themselves, but the American literary market shuns big books loaded with short pieces. Magazines, the sacred shrines of the short piece, are dying now but short stories and books of essays have already dug their graves.

Even in the world of nature writing and, yes, even within our particular focus with birds, we tend to like our feed-grain to be of one type per book. Give us a tale that hangs together from beginning to end and we are satisfied if the tale can hold our interest. Yes, some birders will buy encyclopedic books about birds but those books must contain pictures for the reader to stay interested. Give me a full book about owls (thank you very much), but not one about various readers’ appreciation of what they are individually experiencing with those owls.

Now this predilection for longer pieces has pushed to the side those books that contain enlightening, entertaining, and important information that can delight us if we only give such works a chance to tickle our fancy.

One such book, composed of wonderful essays, (don’t you dare stop reading this article because I used the word “essays”) is by Eli J. Knapp and is titled The Delightful Horror of Family Birding. Knapp is a college professor and a bird lover since his youth when he encountered his first birds. More important, this man is a father opening the world of nature and of birds to his soon-to-be-savvy children.

Now, most books that feature children can be vacuous since most kids are dull, at least in my opinion, and their great discoveries are rather pedantic. Today our children would rather watch a sunset on their phones than in the actual sky. Not so with Knapp’s children. His kids are looking at the world because they are in the world.

Knapp’s essays often speak powerfully about the beauty inherent in birds and, of course, in the natural world and his kids happily pick up on that. It is fascinating to watch a parent lead his children to an appreciation of the rich world around them.

The book is funny; the essays hang together with crisp, sharp language and imagery. I think you will find the “horror” of family birding to be anything but horrible. Give it a try.

Visit Frank’s web site at www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available on Amazon.com, kindle, Barnes and Noble, e-books and in bookstores.

You Can’t Go Home Again

I was walking alone in the Norman J. Levy Park & Preserve, which is a great adaptation of what was once a huge garbage dump. There are trails, great views, constant uphill walking—schlogging for me—as other folks are happily jogging. Families come here for fresh air, sunshine, and time away from electronic devices.

Although Levy Park & Preserve isn’t ranked among the best birding spots in Nassau County, one can see raptors, songbirds and water fowl…which is why we were there with the birding club.

I was separated from the members of the South Shore Audubon Society. This was our Sunday walk. I don’t know what happened to the group of at least 30 people. The party splintered and then vanished like magic. I had been walking with my wife, the Beautiful AP, and our friend Linda (a great Yankee fan!).

I turned onto a solitary path, a trail leading back to the parking lot. My walk was about two miles by this point and I was seeing some beautiful birds. I was checking out this tiny blue bird, light-bluish grey underbelly, dark blue stripes on his wings, which were blue as well. His beak….

Arrrrrrggggggggh! came the kid’s high-pitched scream. I want to go back! I want to go back! I want to go back! I want to go back to the parking lot! Arrrrrrggggggggh! Arrrrrrggggggggh! Arrrrrrggggggggh!

The blue bird (meaning the bird of blue; my chance to identify it was cut short) flew into the thickets and I lost sight of it. Other songbirds made a hasty retreat.

Arrrrrrggggggggh! Arrrrrrggggggggh! I want to go back! I want to go back! Arrrrrrggggggggh!

Songbirds are skittish and they had all fled the scene, the loud scene made by this little…brat.

Arrrrrrggggggggh! Arrrrrrggggggggh! I want to go back! I want to go back! Arrrrrrggggggggh!

To this point it had been a leisurely walk with singing songbirds and even a raptor or two.

I want to go back! I want to go back! Arrrrrrggggggggh!

The damn kid. That damn, stinking kid.

I know I should state here that I really, really like children. The problem is, I don’t. I like my two grandkids and my niece’s the three little kids, but that is about it. Except for my own kids and those five above, the rest I just find irritating. Three-year-olds (give or take some months) are obnoxious and insistent, as was this kid repetitively howling that he wanted to go back to the parking lot.

I want to go back! I want to go back!

There were steep hills in this park and no fences to stop a kid from going over the edge, where a fall of 30 or more feet would silence him if his put-upon daddy just gave him a little nudge…just like that. A tiny, almost imperceptible, nudge. The quietude and the songbirds would return. “No officer, I didn’t see anything. The kid probably pitched over the edge on his own. This park should really have fences to prevent lovable little children from falling to their silence…I mean, deaths.”

Arrrrrrggggggggh! Arrrrrrggggggggh! I want to go back! I want to go back to the parking lot! Arrrrrrggggggggh!

Just before you get to the parking lot on this path, you pass a pen with all manner of goats. The apathetic goats looked at the screamer, unconcerned and unaffected. However, had they been released from their pen, would they have gored the little tyke? One could only fantasize.

And then the parking lot appeared. But The Stinking Kid Didn’t Shut Up. He howled a new refrain: I want to go home! I want to go home! I want to go home!

I wanted to share one of life’s truths, brilliantly captured by Thomas Wolfe; but such an insight would have been lost on a screaming mini-monster and his frazzled dad.

You can’t go home again.

Frank’s books are available on Amazon.com, kindle, Barnes and Noble, e-books, and at bookstores.