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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Life Since High School

My 45th high school reunion is coming up, and although I'm uncertain about attending I've been thinking about what to say in the questionnaire which I will complete since I've enjoyed reading what my classmates have submitted on line. So, here is what I plan to say about my life since graduation:

My wife, Pam Winters, another '65 graduate, and I have been together since 1976. We have two children who are both grown up and out of college, and we are close with them. In the summer of 2009 I retired from working for a government contractor, and looking back on my work years I would say the most satisfying part was mentoring the career development of subordinate managers many of whom stayed in touch after either they or I moved on.

Pam retired from the government a few years ago, and we are both avid readers who spend a lot of time discussing books, often while walking in the wooded park near our home. We also enjoy going to restaurants, movies, and musical events with our many friends. Each season I attend a few University of Maryland football and basketball games with a buddy I met while a student there and some younger guys. I also spend a lot of time outdoors, fly fishing, kayaking and other such things and belong to a number of these organizations.

Good and bad things happen to each of us in life, but on the whole I consider myself a lucky man, at least so far. Looking at the list of our classmates who have died is a reminder of how tenuous life is. Rock star Warren Zevon was also born in 1947, and before he died a few years ago he advised people to enjoy every sandwich. As I grow older, I try to remember to do that.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Outdoors Report

The 1 1/2 feet of snow which fell a week ago has largely melted over the past two days. It was sunny and in the 40's today, and I took advantage of the break in the weather to clear off the ornamental grasses some residual snow that was weighing down some of the stalks. I then walked to the park and counted what I estimated as about 130 Canada Geese on the pond which is a couple of acres in area, I believe. About one third of the pond was still frozen, but the geese were concentrated in the open water. Walked back over just before sunset with Pam, and we noted that the geese had left the water with their numbers split between the two nearby ball fields.

While we walked, a small doe crossed the path about twenty yards ahead of us. A few seconds later a buck crossed at the same place heading in the same direction. Then another buck followed. Unlike the doe who had proceeded to the water's edge, the two bucks stopped in a field near the small patch of woods between the path and the pond. They eyed us suspiciously as Pam moved closer to photograph them, and I urged her to back off which she reluctantly did. Although the two bucks appeared at first to be in pursuit of the doe, they did not join her near the pond and soon took off running away from the pond and us. We believe the rutting season is over, and they may have been after the doe without sex in mind. Or maybe we ruined their amorous mood. I had never seen two bucks together and thought initially that we might see them fight over the doe. Just as well they didn't because it was a neat enough sight as it was.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Pipe smoking

I took up pipe smoking for the first time in over 20 years. Had about 6-8 pipes from before, some given to me from my father, others that I bought, and one given to me as a gift from Will Dean, a family friend. To these I have added a number of others inherited following my father's death three years ago. They are almost all briar pipes, and each is handsome to me in its own way. I enjoy the entire process of cleaning them, polishing them by rubbing them against the side of my nose because my father taught me that the oil of human skin is good for the briar wood, and then putting them back in the rack where I can display and admire them.

I'm still experimenting with tobaccos to determine my favorite. I also inherited my father's copper humidor which I liked the looks of even as a young boy.