Migration — Scrambling

Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Spent all day yesterday burning brain cells trying to come up with a title for the talk at Grambling. After reading through some notes and playing around with names, paging through the thesaurus, I decided to take it outside. So I walked, and walked and walked, 3.5 miles in all. I live at the top of a long ridge, so no matter which way I go it’s down hill. The choice is a really steep decline for two blocks and then a bit of flat and an incline or a gradual drop of just under a mile, which of course means a climb back of the same distance. Going south involves a very slight incline, followed by another gradual drop-off. I chose gradual, first north and then south, so I could concentrate on talk titles.
Here is some of what I saw en route:

  • A couple of Obama signs still live, but they’ve mostly been replaced by signs for contractors who are winterizing houses up and down the road. Oil price hikes have sure been a benefit for people in the roofing and siding business. Only a couple of for sale signs and those are fairly new. I hope the people get their price. There are a bunch of signs near the bottom of the steep hill, all on new construction. The houses were probably built on spec.
  • My neighbor who put up a big smiley face sign the day after the election has now painted the smile on the copper beech in his front yard because someone stole his sign. That tree is the only one in the neighborhood with most of its leaves still in tact. Usually it’s early December when the late bloomers finish shedding, but this year everyone’s pretty much done.

 

  • The gorgeous black stallion that used to graze in a paddock down the road has been replaced by a smaller, less attractive creature that was in need of a good currying and a little white pony with the fattest belly I’ve ever seen on a horse. It looked like it was pregnant, only I’m pretty sure it was a he. Plus he was so busy munching grass that he didn’t even bother to look up when I spoke.

 

  • They paved the race track and put up – mini-mansions. There used to be a horse track across from the paddock where the horses were grazing. Now it’s a drainage ditch, complete with cattails and 100-year storm drains to divert the water from the houses under construction on the opposite side of the track. One is almost done, another is framed, and a third is just a big hole in the ground. I’m pretty sure the chairman of the local wetlands agency said the developer planned eleven houses. Those folks will be able to watch their neighbors’ TVs with no problem at all while they rattle around in the 10-plus rooms with cathedral ceilings and bay windows. Who wants to heat or clean all that?

 

  • A man who was struggling by during the summer, barely able to pick up one leg because of partial paralysis, is now walking much faster. And yesterday he had ditched the cane. Good for him!

Back to speech titles and with a quick revisit to Excel.

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