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Wiser’s Wramblings-Back to Wramblings

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Nobody can wramble on like Wiser. From grosbeaks to golf to proper punctuation

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

Not having a main theme or focus for this week’s Wramblings, I guess it will be just that. Afterall, that is why, or how, this entire journey started in the first place.

As I’ve written previously, growing up I wanted to be a writer. To me, writing and proper English and vocabulary seemed to go hand in hand. I pride myself on my vocabulary (and proper English usage), but sometimes “overly – use” words that I’ve heard or read, often going by my intuition as to exactly what they mean, how spelt, or pronounced. Since I am also an insatiable reader, much of my vocabulary comes from having discovered new words through my reading. I recall an early vocabulary correction suggestion after having mis-pronounced a word I had learned from my readings. While visiting school nurse Lillian Norton in her office/clinic at Friendship Central School I used the word “infamous” in a sentence. She politely informed me that the pronunciation wasn’t in-famous, with a “long A sound,” but was rather pronounced with the “A” sound more like “uh” as in “in-fuh-mous.” The sound relationship distinction mentioned herein is my own. as she had only pronounced it properly.

That whole paragraph sidetrack was to set the stage for my disclosure of having learned a new word whilst reading our competitor Olean Times Herald’s paper this morning. My “old school”, newspaper in hand reading, from the age of 10, is hard to replace. The word situationship was included in a sentence and my first thoughts included thinking that its writing was in error, or, that it was a “made up word,” like I like to do. Having learned my lesson all those years ago in Mrs. Norton’s Friendship Central School nursing clinic, I looked the word up in my “Googlepedia” and it is indeed a real word. My guestimation of what it meant was close but a little off. The actual word meaning derived from questioning the obligation of commitment in a relationship is “a casual, undefined, commitment-free relationship.” The word was observed in a Dear Abby letter as you might have suspected.

Last week I mentioned that the migratory bird population, especially that of the Baltimore Orioles, seemed to have reversed back toward their wintering home. Well, it may have started but the fledglings left behind are certainly making up for the loss of the adults. I am beginning to suspect that the adults are still here, as evidenced by a few recent visits, but that the adults have changed their eating habits, or at least their dining place. The Rose Breasted Grosbeaks seemed to have been especially successful in their mating results this year as there is a plethora of offspring. Speaking of which, I just recalled an aviary adventure, witnessed the other day, that will remain in my mind and heart for the rest of my life.

As I sat in my chair reading the paper that day as well, I heard the now recognized chirping of a hungry Grosbeak juvenile. Looking toward the feeders mounted on the deck rail, I observed an adult male Grosbeak feeding a fledged juvenile.

At first the adult would pick up a seed, crack the shell, and then put the seed “meat” into the wide open, stretched neck and head, open beak. This repeated two or three times. Then, the adult male would mimic the seed retrieval process but when he turned to the juvenile, he wouldn’t put anything in the Juvi’s beak. The male repeated this a couple of times and then reached over, picked up a seed and put it into the juvenile’s beak un-opened. The juvenile promptly dropped the seed. The adult then picked up another seed, cracked it and placed it into the open beak of the Juvi. Once again, he retrieved an uncracked seed and gave it to the “Juvi.” The Juvi recognizing the difference dropped the uncracked seed again. Following the repeated process, a couple of times, then without even pretending to get a seed the adult would lean toward the Juvi as if he had a seed, then move his head over toward where the seeds were, as if showing the Juvi where to find the seeds. The Juvenile got tired of this game after about 15 minutes and flew off. The male ate a couple of seeds himself then left.

I have established a familiarity with a few of the Grosbeak fledglings, or vice-versa. As they land on, and feed at the feeders, I can open the door, quietly walk out on the deck, all the while talking to them. They look up at me but return to their eating process. I guess maybe I’m using aviary baby talk as I do it very quietly as if almost whispering. As I think about that statement, and the fact that I have dubbed Dan Jordan as the Eagle Whisperer, I can see perhaps where that term originated. To speak to a fledgling bird, or kitten, or puppy in a soft, soothing voice, much as you would your own newborns, is a kind of “whispering out loud.”

This past Spring, we had a roof installed covering the remaining 16 ft. square, uncovered section of our back deck. This puts the aforementioned feeders somewhat under a roof at the outside edge of the deck on the rail. As I write this, I glance out the window and witness a juvenile, and adult Grosbeak, and male and female Cardinals all sharing the adjoining feeders.

My “perch” here in our “Sun-Bird Room” is mere feet away from our scanner in the adjacent room just inside the door to the room, which formerly was added to the deck. Various recent scanner calls and personal observation seem to indicate a significant increase in unhoused, or “no established address” people. A typical scanner emergency dispatch call to law enforcement advises of: “a strange acting male, wearing a backpack, walking (or staggering) down the road going toward                       ‘pick-a-town-near-you to fill in the blank’ ” (**). Responding law enforcement respond back with any number of reports, including an occasional transport to a hospital, motel, or court. Many of these calls are describing activities in a local park. My observation is that there seems to be a measurable increase in the number of homeless or vagrant people. If you drive down any street, you can see them lingering on nearly any street corner or door stoop in any town. Nearly all these individuals carry or wear a backpack. It is no surprise that many stores or businesses have signs stating, “Backpacks not allowed in this establishment.”

 I guess it is then no surprise that right next to that sign you will notice another, advertising Help Wanted. Many of these emergency dispatch (911) calls include descriptions of; urinating in public; indecent exposure; partially unclothed or completely naked.

“Tongue in cheek,” perhaps they should be holding job fairs or employment interviews under the overpasses, and in the parks, of local municipalities.

In case you felt overly warm last month you are not alone. Scientific studies have revealed that July was the hottest month on record by .6 degrees Fahrenheit.

That large of an increase in, and of itself, is significant in that the annual increases or decreases are more typically in the range of .01 or .001 degrees, or “tenfold” higher or lower. The last hottest month record was set in 2019.

I will end with one last item, which comes in the category of “beating a dead horse.” While playing in the annual Belfast Lions Golf Tournament held at Allegheny Hills between Rushford and Cuba, a discussion which happens frequently involved lamenting the feeling shared by many, of a missed opportunity by Allegany County.

When the Six S golf course, a few miles North of the Belvidere interchange and rest stop where Rte. 19 and I86 intersect closed, many of us tried to convince Allegany County politicians and officials to purchase the golf course and convert it into a recreational destination consisting of not only golf but many other recreational amenities possible at that site. Ironically this whole opportunity presented itself at a time when the county was investigating or promoting increased recreational activities in the region.

I felt, and conveyed my thoughts to various county officials, that the Six S site was perfectly situated to be an ideal location. Being that close to I86 put it in proximity for access from not only Hornell to the East, Cuba and Olean to the West, Wellsville to the South and even to Rochester further North. Many of my golfing outings at the former golf course introduced me to a significant number of Rochester locale residents that had camp sites in the area. The golf course, while still viable, had 27 playable holes, and a significant number of springs and ponds. The newest set of 9 Holes expanded up onto and into a wooded area that could very well have been a very scenic “campground” site.

The outfit that finally purchased, opened, and eventually ran the business into the ground, pulled up stakes and the land has now become the site (and sight) of fields of solar panels. What could have been a Field of Dreams to multitudes of golfers and other recreational opportunities. Is now a field of solar panels.

(**) In mathematics you can “nest” operations within operations using pairs of parenthesis symbols like ((kkkk)yyyy)) (or using square or other forms of brackets). Quote marks in writing can also be nested to include a comment inside a comment. It isn’t as noticeable but I did that in the paragraph discussing my scanner and vagrants. The “hh ‘letters’ isn’t as obvious” as the mathematical parenthesis use. In that regard I guess it would read ((hh(letters) isn’t as obvious)).

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