This a picture of my father and his grandmother. It was taken in the spring of nineteen forty three.

He had just completed boot camp, and somehow made his way from Sandiego California to Arthur Indiana for a brief visit.

They had no way of knowing, that they would not see each other again for over three years.

He was about to be sent to Guadacanal, Guam, Saipan, Peileiu, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and eventually Japan.

He would be chosen for the First Marine Raider Battalion. They were Special Forces trained to do things, I will write about another time. I bring this up, because this week is his birthday. He was born at midnight February nineteenth. Because of this he always said his birthday was February nineteenth and twentieth. Even his obits couldn’t get it straight, so he pulled it off all his life and even afterwards.

My daughter’s birthday is tomorrow the seventeenth. She almost held out long enough. They never got to meet. She was conceived within days of his death. In our family we always say they passed each other on the way up and down.

That would be just like my dad. ” Once a Marine always a Marine”. He would have made sure someone took his place on the Battlefield of life to fill that void.

Where did he learn to be that way?

A lot of the credit goes to that little woman standing next to him. She raised him for much of his early childhood.

She was born in 1868, but I knew her. I was thirteen when she died. I miss her.

Happy Birthday Dad! I miss you.

Happy Birthday Daughter. I miss you too.


The Robins Return

The Robins Return

There is a phenomenon, that the women in my wife’s family noticed over twenty years ago. It all has to do with my wife’s mother’s birthday and the return of the Robins.

They way we remember it, is one year on her birthday they noticed hundreds of Robins had descended upon everything. There were Robins in trees and bushes and in the driveway and on the roof and even on vehicles.

What was going on?

They watched from the windows, which is where you watch things in the winter, when you are trying to stay warm in the house.

Being highly trained bird watchers one and all, they noticed the Robins were feeding on the plentiful berries on the Holly trees.


These berries are poisonous to humans. I learned this from a friend long ago who thought it would be a good idea to make wine from them.

The Robins shook branches and cleared the ground and generally did a Biblical Locust thing for no more than two hours, and then they were gone and so were the Holly berries.

The next year the same thing happened within a day or two of the same date, which was easy to remember because of the birthday. This we have witnessed each year for over twenty years.

How do they know? Who decides? I’m pretty sure they don’t have Facebook or electronic social media. They do seem to have a flashmob culture kind of thing going on there.

Well, today was Return of the Robin day. Maybe it should be a holiday.

I declare it thus. All you have to do is pour a cup of coffee, lay your newspaper out before you pretending you are about to comprehend more than a fraction you are about to read, and watch Nature do her magic just for you.