By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned to publisher/bottlewasher Andrew Harris that my Wrambling’s column had been a little difficult to write that week. His response to me was that I could be forgiven a weekly performance at any time. At bedtime last night I didn’t have any clear vision of what I wanted to, or was going to write, and considered taking a week off. Well, as per usual, when I awoke this morning and before arising, my mind was filled with topics and subjects to write about.
I first began writing my Wrambling’s columns in the summer of 2021, and I don’t recall or have a history of whether I have missed any Thursday’s, or once or twice a Friday, publication opportunity. I’m sure there must have been a gap there somewhere, but I don’t recall it and my “timeline history” looks like a spool of saved yarn, so is hard to unravel.
Today’s title reflects on one topic that I will update readers on, and that is the status of the migratory feathered friends that bless us with their presence, from the 1st week of May until late summer. The Fall departure migration isn’t quite as predictable as the Spring arrival. The Spring visits, at least for our “regulars,” is very predictable never varying by more than 3 or 4 days. Fall, however, drags on from late July into September, and even includes an occasional October holdover. The Orioles are usually the first to depart starting about the middle to end of July. A lull in feeder visits led us to think they had departed sometime last week. They haven’t. Most have, especially the adult males, but over the past few days there has been a steady stream of 3 or 4 juvenile fledglings very active at the feeders. I believe there is at least one adult female in their mix hanging back with them to show them “the way to Capistrano.”
I guess a small aviary history lesson would be appropriate here. From a chronological history sited in journeynorth.org, here is a brief timeline. In January and February, the Orioles are at their winter homes in Florida, Mexico and Central and South America. March sees some of the southernmost winter dwellers head North. Full northern migration starts in April with the Orioles proceeding up into the “central” states including Texas. By the first week in May the full migration has moved North into all the United States (lower 48). June is the month that most baby Orioles hatch. The adults are busy incubating the eggs and nurturing the pre-fledged juveniles. By July the babies have fledged, taken wing and eat, reaching adult status going through their ugly molting stages. By the end of July their southern migration has begun and typically by August the migration peaks and most have left Northern America. Some linger as mentioned previously but by November the Orioles have reached their southernmost winter dwellings. The Grosbeaks tend to follow that pattern, but their southern migration is usually a few weeks later than the Orioles.
We are often asked: “How do you attract or get the Orioles to visit your house and secondly how do you get them to stay?” Many say that an Oriole visited once and then never returned. My answer is always: “Knowing the Orioles tendencies helps. Start putting Orange halves and Grape Jelly dishes out before you see any Orioles during the first week of May. Just a couple of Oranges might do the trick and you don’t have to put out a feast to get them started. The birds are “hunters” in the beginning, going from place to place in search of their chosen culinary delights.”
Another, unanticipated carryover from last night falls into the realm of “subliminal power of suggestion” also mitigated by forgetfulness. Yesterday afternoon I mentioned to my wife that it was a pain having to put my contacts in and take my contacts out, any time I choose to wear them. Backing up to an introduction on the wearing of contacts, as I may have mentioned previously, my last year’s cataract surgery resulted in only partial full sight restoration. My frugality refused the $3600 added fee to correct both far and near vision. I chose to have my far vision corrected assuming I could wear reading glasses for that purpose. It didn’t take long to regret that decision as more than just reading requires “near vision” so I ended up purchasing contacts that allow the long-distance vision, while adding near vision capability. I don’t put my contacts in if I don’t anticipate needing to mix my distance and near sight viewing. For example: If I am going out and about, like to Walmart I will carry a pair of reading glasses so as to avoid the prolonged non-necessity of the contacts. Anyway…getting back to the story. I had put my contacts in yesterday when I was working on pool stuff and knew there was going to be mixed near and far sight needs. Fast forward to this morning and when I first got out of bed my vision seemed a little cloudy or hazy and I thought it was just sleep/waking normal eye reaction.
When I went to get my glasses prior to the writing of this, I pulled them out of their pocket pouch and my contact lens storage case fell out. “Ding – Ding” the bells told me…the only time that case is in my eyeglass pouch is when the contacts are in my eyes. It seems that I subliminally convinced myself that I could sleep with my contacts in. Turns out I did, and they are still in.
I’m a little disappointed that this “end of July weekend”, in this particular year, unlike past 10 year anniversaries, will leave me unsatisfied. The Friendship, NY Old Timers Homecoming, held annually, usually features 5- and 10-year class alumni. This year will be my 60th year anniversary and I have anxiously been awaiting word from class officers. and checking into plans for the event. Double disappointment as, lacking any previous input from our Class of ’63 officers, a couple of months ago I reached out to them regarding any plans for this year. I received absolutely nothing from them. I have spoken with a couple of other former classmates in the area, and they would have been interested in getting together, but even that response has been lukewarm at best. I guess it will be just another sit at home weekend. Saving grace is that there is a fund-raising golf tournament, the 4th Annual Jason Dunham Memorial Golf Tournament, scheduled for Saturday and I have a team entered in that. That will be more than sufficient, for my recreational needs.
The past few days I have been in “Pool Boy” in training. Our pool, covered over the winter, appeared to have taken a beating in the mild, but still winter, conditions. From the “sagging” look of the cover we had presumed that the pool had a leak and, at 20 years old, it likely had served its purpose. The filter/pump had outlived its usefulness and at around $800 plus the cost of a new cover, was too expensive to replace. Given that I alone was using it, and even then, just for a quick “in and out” dip too cool off, it wasn’t worth the cost to put it back online. I was ready to scrap or sell the pool. When I removed the cover preparing to drain it and dispose of it, I discovered that the water level was only a little less than 2 feet low. In previous discussions with my wife, I had the impression that she was in favor of getting rid of the pool. When I finally decided and told her said that I would sell it, she told me that perhaps the costs weren’t that prohibitive after all.
I called Jacques, at Jacques Pools in Coudersport where we had originally purchased our pool, and he stated that most pool owners had experienced the same problem of water loss. Given the mild winter, the pools had not completely frozen allowing the thinner than normal ice covering to lift, thus allowing the pool water to leak out.
I made the first of my many trips to Coudersport and bought a new Pump/Filter and began the installation process. Long story a little shorter, after 2 more trips to Jacques’, and 2-1/2 days monkeying and installing and dis-assembly and reinstalling, the pool is up and running and the water is clear as a bell and shimmers in the sunlight given the blue background coloring of the pool liner. The water temperature was up to 74 degrees as of 6 PM last night so I dove in for my first 2023 actual, official, swim in the pool recreationally. It certainly cooled me off.
I received a nice comment from a former student, industrial contact, and now friend, William Charles Ronolder, aka Bill/Chuck, yesterday. After his reading one of my poems posted on my Facebook page, he suggested that I put my poems in a book and include a short history of the background, inspiration, or motivation, for having written the poem. He offered to purchase such a publication. I told him that I had previously published my book but had only contracted with, and purchased from Citizen’s Publishing in Allegany a few books, and had only gotten enough to give to family and our extended Family of Three. I loved his idea of giving the history or inspiration for the poem and that I would figure out a way perhaps to make that happen. For the time being I will do it herein and start with the Class of ’63 poem updated this year but sadly, not to be read at the Friendship Old Timers dinner this year, despite our 60th anniversary.
The Class of ’63 poem was inspired by the reading of a similar poem at a previous Friendship, NY Old Timers Homecoming celebration many decades ago. Harold Reed, my former G. Larue Sears, insurance agent and father of Class of ’63 classmate Carol (Reed) Mohilewski read a poem of his writing, at least every year that I attended. I have updated, re-written, and read my poem every anniversary year since, but you, this year, are my only likely audience. I share with you now the Class of ’63.