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Wiser’s Wramblings-Gone to the Birds in “Bits and Pieces”

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By Chuck Wiser, “I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels

Making another fresh new start with a new computer and hopefully my internet/WIFI connectivity problem resolved. Already having had problems with Spectrum internet, my old HP Laptop just wasn’t doing the job. Purchased several years ago I got the more compact model, apparently also in functionality, so as to make portability a little more convenient. Even when sitting nearly on top of the WIFI Modem and Router, upload and download speed and/or efficiency was abysmal. Trying to connect to the internet was frustrating, often resulting in lack of success, or at least patience, as the connection attempt would terminate having “timed out”.

The “Bits and Pieces” heading is a lead in to the first topic of today’s wramblings. Given the Bonnies failure to advance in the NIT finals I have no major topic to cover. They lost to a superior, in this case, foe, Xavier 84-77, at a Bonnie fan dominated Madison Square Garden. They made a valiant effort but just couldn’t overcome the talent of the opponent and too many untimely misplays.

Several years ago, my wife, tiring of a former past time wiling away her spare time reading, began her hobby of assembling puzzles. Rather than disassemble them upon completion she applied a Mod Podge glue/coating, and then had me frame them as wall hangings. I developed some skill at cutting and assembling frames, she had an interesting hobby, and our walls are now adorned with the artwork of such famous artists as Thomas Kincaid, among others. The puzzle choices fit into several categories featuring Animals, Seasons, and Scene Settings such as landscapes, towns cities etc. along with some specialties. Picasso artwork is not included. Among the animal variety are: Deer, Fox, all Varieties of birds including our favorites: Cardinals, Orioles, Hummingbirds and Owls. Among our favorite puzzles in the bird category are especially pictures including varied groups of the birds. Many of the puzzle/pictures are displayed “seasonally” changing them out as the seasons, or the holidays, progress through the year. The interest in the puzzles has an ebb and flow, often replaced with reading. Currently, back in the puzzle mode, I am running behind in framing the puzzles. To be honest, I’m not sure where we are going to come up with the wall space for the 20 recently assembled and “podged” puzzles, not yet framed. The source of many of the puzzles is a company named Bits and Pieces. Other sources have been Walmart and Amazon. One frustration, experienced early on, although not experienced in this last flurry of puzzles, has been upon completing a puzzle only to find that there is or are, missing pieces.

I haven’t heard any reportable humorous scanner calls lately, at least that I can mention, but the continued upswing in “domestic confrontations” is alarming and heartbreaking. I suspect that the lingering effects of the many still somewhat house bound individuals, due to the pandemic, is contributing to this level of incidents resulting in “emergency dispatch” reporting. It is especially disturbing when you personally know the parties involved, or when it is yet again another of many repeated location calls.

Photo by S. McQueen

 There seems to be a noticeable increase in the sightings, or at least photo reporting, of a relatively rare animal phenomenon called “Leucism”. Leucism is the term used to describe an “abnormal condition of reduced pigmentation affecting various animals such as birds, mammals and reptiles that is marked by overall pale color or patches…” (Merriam-Webster).  Leucism is only a partial loss of pigmentation. Leucistic (or Leucitic) animals can be all white or patchy. This can affect most animals. An example of this partial coloration is nicely shown in this robin, sighted and photographed locally on North Brooklyn Avenue, in Wellsville near the Genesee River, by Sandy McQueen.

These are often improperly identified as Albino (Albinism). Albino animals are even more rare than Leucistic. Albinism is caused when an animal inherits a muted gene that interferes with its body to develop melanin which determines skin pigment. These animals characteristically have pink eyes, poor eyesight, and often develop blindness. The white or spotted deer many of us have seen locally are leucitic but due to their typical “spottiness” they are called “piebald”.

Area photographer Dan Jordan (Jordan Photography) previously mentioned in a column featuring the resurgence of American Bald Eagles population, has also been very active following and photographing Snowy Owls and a leucistic Red Tailed Hawk, in addition to his regular diet of the American Bald Eagles. I plan on featuring Dan’s work and his personal story in a soon to be released sequel to this brief mention. Stay tuned.

Recent shopping experiences are spin offs of modern technology and a combination of online, or download and in-store participation. Our online shopping blossomed during the pandemic and our reluctance to venture out and mingle. We do about half of our local grocery shopping at Tops in Wellsville. With apologies to the more local options, the selection and prices are a primary reason. Tops has recently adopted an “E-Coupon” approach to offering discounts for selected items. It has taken me a little while to get the hang of exactly how to handle the working of this, but I’m getting better at it thanks to the patience of store managers and assistant managers walking me through the process. With these “new-fangled” telephony things I’m not a fast learner, but a “half fast” learner. If you read that too fast, it’s not my fault and I was not using inappropriate language.

The process involves downloading a link to the items “E-Coupon” and adding it to your Tops account on your “Smart Device”. When you scan your bonus card and then check out with your purchase, the coupon automatically is applied. Note: You have to have “saved” the coupon.

Lately I have received several online “Clearance Sale” notifications from JCPenney. These sales have been ridiculously low priced and have not coerced me into buying unintended things, but rather, things that I have a need for but would not have purchased were it not for the sale. If the items are “in store” (in Olean) they can be ordered online and picked up with no shipping cost. If not “in store” they can be purchased and shipped to your home or to the store at a much-reduced shipping cost. A recent example: A pair of men’s sleepwear/lounging pants normally retailing for $27 were sold at $3.54 (plus $3.85 ship to store). I was going through Olean anyway so it’s not like the cost of travel was an “extra” that I had to factor into the cost. Just today I made two additional purchases even better in cost reduction scale.

I seem to have been experiencing an abundance of dreams lately, featuring both the welcomed, and some not so welcomed, topics. I often wonder what prompts or precipitates these dreams. Some are fairly easy to figure out. If you go to a place, discuss that place, or talk about a person or friend, it is reasonable that you may dream about that or them within a few days. On the other hand, you may also experience the opposite, or more mysterious side of that, of which I refer to as borderline paranormal. For example: Completely “out of the blue” one night, you have a dream about a person that you have not seen in years. Suddenly, you run into that person on the street or in a store the very next day. Cue in Twilight Zone music. I have had that happen to me twice within the past couple of years.

I have had two family related dreams within the past year. One left me with sadness but an overall feeling of relief, and peacefulness. I often regret not having down to earth, heart to heart, conversations with my mother who I often mention as being my only parent. Given her working schedule and my naivety as to its importance and later regrets, we never really talked. I now wish we had and that I had asked her the many questions that I now have about her, and her life and the hardships endured. The other dream left me feeling grateful and I guess somewhat “forgiving” of my thoughts about my maternal grandfather. After all, he was the only one I had. Within the circle of the grandchildren, we considered him, and called him a tyrant, behind his back. He could be gruff, and unfriendly on many occasions. In a recent dream, I was discussing that with him, as he had opened the door to that by apologizing for the way he had treated us grandchildren. Just before I awoke, he reached out to me, took me in his arms, gave me a hug, and told me that he had always loved us grandchildren but never knew how to express that, to us. I awoke with tears in my eyes.    

Grandparent Hugs

I woke this morn tears in my eyes, for in a dream I said goodbye.

Though sad it seemed, love apparent, goodbye was shared with my grandparents.

Mem’ry of them is from the past, though dimmed by years in me they last.

Their lives were spent working a farm, to me that added to the charm.

The garden skill is from Grandma, the tractor scare shared with Grandpa.

I wasn’t quite the oldest “Grand”, yet but a lad helped farm the land.

I don’t recall hugs that we shared, but from those days I knew they cared.

My dream though short did warmly end, by feeling love while held by them.

I now am on the other side, with “Grand’s” for whom I have such pride.

Both near and far across the land, I’ve cherished hugs that are so grand.               

Rest in Peace My Grandparents,

Live in Peace my Grandchildren

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