We had a sort of surreal thing happen with wildlife here at Damphewmore Acres this past week. First off, the barn swallows who raised several broods in nests under the eave by our kitchen sink window and under our deck, appeared to have left the premises about 10 days ago. Hadn’t seen hide nor feather of any barn swallow in that time.
Next, one warm, sunny day last week, we noticed that a huge new hatch of some flying insect wuz emerging from the ornamental grasses growing in Nevah’s landscape garden just outside the kitchen window. There were hordes of these insects flying around.
I mentioned to Nevah that the barn swallows had left too soon. They were missing out on an insect smorgasbord. Then, strange thing, within five minutes of my statement, a flock of at least 20 barn swallows descended on the scene and filled the air darting around and doing aerial acrobatics catching the flying insects. And, they were joined in the aerial feast by a large number of dragonflies. The barn swallows never touched a flying dragonfly and the dragon flies seem oblivious to the barn swallows.
The gluttony by both birds and dragonflies lasted perhaps an hour and then, when the insect hatch was decimated, they both departed and haven’t been seen since. Nor has the insect hatch resumed.
All I can say about the incident is that Mother Nature works in mysterious ways sometimes.
Overheard at a rural coffee/gossip get-together.
Retirement aged farmer: “My wife has days when she wants us to ‘talk about things.’ Not long ago, we were discussing aspects of our future, like our wills and revocable trusts, so when it was my turn, I asked her, ‘Honey, what will you do if I die before you do?’
‘After some thought, she said that she’d probably look for a house-sharing situation with three other single or widowed women who might be a little younger than herself, since she is so active for her age.
‘Then she asked me, ‘What will you do if I die first?’
‘I replied, ‘Probably the same thing.’
‘She hasn’t spoken to me since.”
Statistics are wonderful things. They can prove about any point you want to make on either side of a discussion on any subject.
Now, it’s no secret that I support the second amendment to the Constitutional. All my friends, and critics, too, for that matter, know it.
That’s why I got a chuckle from this email sent to me by a faithful Missouri reader: (A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000. (B) Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year are 120,000. (C) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171 (Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.)
Now think about this: (A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000. (Yes, that’s 80 million.) (B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500. (C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .0000188. (Statistics courtesy of FBI)
So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners. Remember, “Guns don’t kill people, doctors do.”
My long-lost, newly-found cousin from Tucson, Ariz., keeps in email touch with me. Here’s a recent example about a Canadian bagpiper:
“Time is like a river. You cannot touch the water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life. As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the Nova Scotia back country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn’t stop for directions.
“I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. So, I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.
“The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man. And as I played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished, I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head was hung low, my heart was full.
“As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, ‘I never seen anything like that before, and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.’ Apparently, I’m still lost… it’s a man thing.”
I want to end this column on a optimistic, realistic note. So, ponder this:
You’re sitting in your favorite watering hole with a mug or glass half full of your favorite ice cold beverage. You are a pessimist if you think your vessel is half empty. You are an optimist if you think your vessel is half full. But, you are a realist if you know you need a refill. Have a good ‘un.