Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
Click on Mark Twain to jump to Troutbirders book review blog

Friday, February 28, 2020

Bow and Arrow

As a youthful hunter I took up the bow. And came close to setting the worlds record for missing close up shots of deer. After a few unsuccessful years, I gave it up and stuck with my hunting dogs, upland game , geese and duck hunting.  What goes around comes around they say. And so it has come to pass that as a historian and former bow hunter I return  to the bow and arrow.
At Agincourt, English Archers wiped out the cream of French knighthood with their longbow arrows. At the Pope and Young museum in Chatfield, Minnesota, I saw the history of American archery displayed very vividly. And in Email hoaxes I’ve  noted that a picture of a huge  dead mountain lion had been claimed to prove that the animal had been killed by a bow hunter in at least fifteen states. The message being on the unreliability of such so called  email “proofs.”   It is with some trepidation that I now share with you an email message on the subject of the battle of Agincourt and it impact on us over 600 years later!

"I never knew this before, and now that I know it, I feel compelled to send it on to my more intelligent friends in the hope that they, too, will feel edified. Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers. Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore they would be incapable of fighting in the future. This famous English longbow was made of the native English Yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as 'plucking the yew' (or 'pluck yew'). Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French, saying, See, we can still pluck yew! Since 'pluck yew' is rather difficult to say, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodentals fricative F', and thus the words often used in conjunction with the one-finger-salute! It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the longbow that the symbolic gesture is known as 'giving the bird’.

Of course, another version of this story is that Winston Churchill, a world renowned historian, knew well that it took two fingers to draw the English longbow. Thus he used a more accurate symbol. The one that came to stand for victory….

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Saying goodbye or just visiting

Following the lead of my blogging friend Carole Carpenter whose posts on her husband Jim were following his journey through the various stages of Alzheimer's/dementia. She also told how she  dealt with each step along the way.  This was an enormous help to myself and many others in the blogging world. If you have or God forbid might someday in the future need some insight into this subject this post is for you.
  There are many different of causes of dementia and memory loss , Alzheimer's  diseaseis just one of them of them.   It comes in various degrees and stages. Everyone is different they say. My mom had Alzheimer's where she repeated things endlessly  and finally got very quiet and faded away in front of our eyes. It took Barb 10 years from her diagnosis of M. C. I.(Mild cognitive impairment) to severe memory loss,  wandering, frustration, anger violence . Along the way were many calls to 911 police help ambulance rides and many stays to Mayo Clinic's St. Mary'sGenerose psychiatric facility and "secure lock ups.  A memory care  nursing home and then hospice were the final steps.
     People react differently to the prospect of meeting and greeting someone in the final stages of dementia. How can you talk to such a person? They probably wouldn't even know you. So what's the point? Well they might not or they might and it wouldn't even be obvious was my experience. Smile a lot. Speak normally. Take your time. Don't patronize. If you get a smile or a nod you are having a conversation you'll feel better for it and so will the person you're visiting.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Troutbirder Meets An Angel

A lone eagle flew over our house yesterday. It’s not uncommon anymore as they have expanded their range inland from the Mississippi in recent decades. Each sighting though reminds me of a friend.
Her name is Angel.
She was injured badly and taken care of at the Raptor Center in the Twin Now she lives at the National Eagle Center along the Mississippi in Wabasha Minn. Four other eagles also live there. Volunteer friends come and take Angel for outings along the river in City Park.There she gets to go splashing in the shallow water along the rivers edge. She loves it
Because of the severity of her injury Angel can't fly anymore. Sometimes, though, her wild cousins land in the trees in the park to visit her. Everyone gets excited when this happens. There are many more eagles now along the river corridor. Being territorial, as river niches are filling, some are moving to nest far inland.Hundreds gather here, in winter, near a chicken farm, when fish are less available. They get the leftovers.
Thousands of people get to see Angel at the Eagle Center. She is a great ambassador for her kind.We were lucky enough to meet her, "up close and personal" during her and our outing in the park. It was one of the best picnics we ever had. Then we had to go home. So did she. What a magnificent creature!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Washington & Jefferson Go Fishing

Reading voraciously has been a lifelong habit for me.  For enjoyment, knowledge, and sometimes retreat from the cares of life and the world.  Thus appalled by the news of the slaughter of innocents in Connecticut on Friday, I fled to Jon Meacham’s wonderful new biography Thomas Jefferson The Art of Power. I was as far as Chapter 23 Page240.  Thus –

“There was a late snow in New York in the last week of April 1790. Not long afterward President Washington became so ill that he was thought to be dying. By early June, however, the president was well enough to take Jefferson along on a fishing trip off Sandy Hook. Jefferson, ever practical and optimistic, hoped any seasickness would ”carry off the remains of my headache.” 

Guns don’t kill people. People kill people using guns. I wonder if these two founding fathers and the others who added the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution could see these type of  killings in modern America,  would they say “this is what we had in mind when guaranteeing citizens right to keep and bear arms?”  Loading a black powder musket would likely not allow someone to kill dozens of children in minutes much less seconds…..   It’s time to move on into the 21st century and deal with the problems we face now.  Are you listening N.R.A? Republican Senators? Probably not.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Death In Connecticut

Eight years ago now. Has anything changed?
I copied the following from Paul Carriers blog An Agony In Eight Fits 12/15/2012

The New York Times editorial: Death in Connecticut
Each slaughter of innocents seems to get more appalling. A high school. A college campus. A movie theater. People meeting their congresswoman. A shopping mall in Oregon, just this Tuesday. On Friday, an elementary school classroom.

People will want to know about the killer in Newtown, Conn. His background and his supposed motives. Did he show signs of violence? But what actually matters are the children. What are their names? What did they dream of becoming? Did they enjoy finger painting? Or tee ball?

All that is now torn away. There is no crime greater than violence against children, no sorrow greater than that of a parent who has lost a child, especially in this horrible way. Our hearts are broken for those parents who found out their children — little more than babies, really — were wounded or killed, and for those who agonized for hours before taking their traumatized children home.
President Obama said he had talked to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut and promised him the full resources of the federal government to investigate the killer and give succor to his victims. We have no doubt Mr. Obama will help in any way he can, for now, but what about addressing the problem of guns gone completely out of control, a problem that comes up each time a shooter opens fire on a roomful of people but then disappears again?
The assault weapons ban enacted under President Clinton was deficient and has expired. Mr. Obama talked about the need for “common sense” gun control after the movie theater slaughter in Aurora, Colo., and he hinted during the campaign that he might support a new assault weapons ban, presumably if someone else introduced it.
Republicans will never do that, because they are mired in an ideology that opposes any gun control. After each tragedy, including this one, some people litter the Internet with grotesque suggestions that it would be better if everyone (kindergarten teachers?) were armed. Far too many Democrats also live in fear of the gun lobby and will not support an assault weapons ban, or a ban on high-capacity bullet clips, or any one of a half-dozen other sensible ideas.
Mr. Obama said Friday that “we have been through this too many times” and that “we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”
 When will that day come? It did not come after the 1999 Columbine shooting, or the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, or the murders in Aurora last summer.
The more that we hear about gun control and nothing happens, the less we can believe it will ever come. Certainly, it will not unless Mr. Obama and Congressional leaders show the courage to make it happen.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

A very good Valentines day in dementia land

I had received an invitation to a luncheon with music at Cottagewood memory care in Rochester where my wife Barb was a resident. Perhaps with music my special Valentine and I be able to dance. When I got there, Barb had a new friend to go along with us. Her name was Nancy. Nancy Nancy and Barb apparently  held hands, on a regular basis.  Barb  regularly reassured her when  Nancy cries that everything was going to be all right. She had also promised to be the matron of honor for a somewhat confused lady who believed she was going to be married at the end of the week although she later changed her mind when she announced she didn't have a boyfriend yet. Several other residents and another couple  sat together for Valentines lunch at a big table after I cleared with the authorities that this was okay and seemed no danger to anyone. I also consulted with the pianist who was providing the music and asked if she could play some slow music after lunch, preferably waltzes, so Barb and I could dance. All I could think of was the Tennessee waltz. She then volunteered that she had many other waltzes in her repertoire. In the meantime, she was playing golden oldies from the 50s. . At other tables everybody seemed to be having a good time. I encouraged our group to guess the songs  from the 50s and so we played name that tune  and also the the name of singer. It turned out people  with dementia beat  those without soundly in that game. Some bad jokes on my part, more fun and  then we heard the Tennessee waltz and maybe it was Patti Page. Barb and I lead the way onto the dance floor. Alone at first and then several other "mixed"married couples(caretaker and resident) joined us. Finally, Barb and I danced around the corner into the kitchen area where a bunch of people in wheelchairs were being watched by a number of the aides. In a somewhat loud voice I told them that they were missing a party next door and though I couldn't guarantee any free beer they were welcome to join us. Some of the aides began rounding up people from other areas in wheelchairs and brought them to join  the dance party.  Here they held hands with those in wheelchairs and they "danced" also. Towards the end as some of the smiling laughing people began to sit down from exhaustion, one of the big shots showed up with the camera and took pictures of the  crowd. Later, I asked for copies and told them with their permission I might advertise their wonderful institution by putting those pictures on my blog. Unfortunately, because this facility is part of a giant corporation and they have lawyers, there are some "privacy"issues involved in that . So eventually, I had hoped to get an edited picture of me and my beloved dancing through the night at our best Valentines day ever. Of course it didn't happen but on this upcoming February 14 Valentine's Day the memory for me will be as strong as ever Ray