Saturday, December 17, 2016

Two Turkeys With One Stone

For those of you who are on my Christmas card/letter list:  you've already gotten this letter so you can click delete ......... UNLESS you want to see the photos I've added.  For those of you who are not on my Christmas card/letter list:  This year's Christmas letter was so much like a blog post I figured if I'd gone to all the work to write it, I might as well post it.

December, 2016

Autumn lasted so long this year I was beginning to wonder if we’d be eating Christmas dinner out on the deck but as it turned out, one day I was digging in the garden, bits of compost sticking to my sweaty skin, and two days later 12 inches of snow fell.  I fretted because we still had half a row of potatoes to dig up but Dean was fretting about his 30 or so wild turkey “children” because they weren’t eating.  Earlier in the day, as he had walked around the yard shaking his can of birdseed, they’d followed him like he was the Pied Piper of Turkeyland and watched as he spread the seed over an area he had lovingly cleared of snow so they wouldn’t have to punch their ugly little beady-eyed heads through the snow to find it.  But instead of eating the seed they just hopped around it, bobbing their heads up and down, squawking.  I suggested that maybe they just weren’t hungry but he assured me that they had to be hungry.  He hadn’t fed them the day before when it was snowing so they’re probably starving!! I thought they were just stupid.  After all, once they fly over the eight-foot high fence into our garden there’s almost always one bird too stupid to remember how to fly out.  When we see Mr. or Ms. Dim-Wit stuck in the garden, we open the gate and shoo it toward the opening, only to watch the pea-brain run right past that wide-open gate, poke its head through the fence, discover its body isn’t following, run further, shove its head through the fence, and on and on, until finally! the dingbat flies over the fence to freedom … or the next fenced in garden.    

Fortunately winter hadn’t arrived yet when we went to DC to visit Abby or I might have had to find a turkey-sitter who would send Dean daily updates of his gobblers.  She was there working on a three month temporary detail as Acting Deputy Chief of Staff for APHIS (Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service) and we thought, what a great opportunity for Abby to share her small one-bedroom apartment AND every minute of her free time with us for ten whole days!  While she was hard at work Dean and I went to museum after museum after museum and we only got yelled at by a museum guard one time each.  I was just glad there were only a few other tourists around each time it happened so it was only super embarrassing – not super duper embarrassing.  When we weren’t in a museum we were in an art gallery, and even though art galleries aren’t my thing and I didn’t “get” a lot of what I saw, or understand why some exhibits were even considered art, I tried really hard to appreciate it, and most especially tried not to yawn when Dean was looking my way. 

When we walked into this gallery the room was filled with objects made of antelope, deer and elk bone and my first reaction was, “seriously?”  I came all the way to DC just to see more animal stuff?  But it was all really pretty cool. 

Really?  This is art?  Do YOU “get” it?

We also learned how to ride the metro to where we really intended to go, and even got to experience the fear, racing heart and barely contained panic when, on one trip, the train door opened and a metro policeman bellowed “evacuate the station!  Evacuate the station!” 


Addendum to original letter ~~~~  We did actually do more than just go to museums and art galleries.  The first weekend we rented a tiny (and from the groans we heard in the back seat apparently shockless) car which we drove to Chincoteague Island so Abby could get her beach fix ....

.....and Assateague Island to see the wild horses.

The next weekend on Saturday we metro'd and uber'd to Mount Vernon and a street art festival and then on Sunday rented another tiny little rattle-trap car (which was upgraded to a Mercedes!) and we drove to Great Falls on the Potomac River....

..... and finished the day by pulling up in style to a winery.

And now ... back to my original Christmas letter.

Jorge was only able to visit Abby once while she was in DC because he’s been busy finishing up the final statistics, lab work, analysis, writing and everything else he needs to do in order to complete his PhD in the fall of 2017.  Who knows where they’ll live once he finishes and finds a job (if it’s DC we still have our metro cards!) but wherever it is, we’ll be brightening their lives with our visits.      

Leslie and Ryan will be going to DC themselves for a week in April because a few weeks ago Ryan was chosen as the Wyoming State Teacher of the Year!  They’ll be participating in all kinds of activities, one of which will be a black-tie dinner at the White House, but what they’re really excited about is that all five of them will get to go to Space Camp!  As exciting as that is, I think Leslie was even more ecstatic when, after a year and a half of taking classes, studying and writing papers at the same time she was teaching full time, she finished her Masters in Special Education. 

That means that I am now the only non-nerd in the family.   If I was a nerd, I would develop a spreadsheet of the composition, size, shape, texture and weight of every object Baxter has thrown up.  Or I would analyze the dog food that Angus had been eating to determine why it gave him seizures.  Or I would calculate degree days to determine the average date of arrival of Box Elder bugs so I’d be armed and ready for the annual massacre.  Or I’d write a program to model the average placement, circumference and sliminess of the turkey poop left in our yard so I’d know where to step.  But instead I think I’ll just accept my non-nerd status and go bake some Christmas cookies.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!


1 comment:

Art Elser said...

With all those stone buildings back in DC, did Dean try to lick each of them to see what they were made of? Speaking of nerds, I think Al has finally finished licking building. Did you see the huge flock of turkeys in the Capitol building? I think they must have met while you were back there, although many are too dumb to fly over the fences there too. I think they are a special breed, called congressional turkeys.

Sound like a nice trip, Cathy. Great Falls really is a great place to visit, isn't it. More water in one small stretch there than in all of Wyoming. And it flows just a bit faster than the North Platte. ;-)

Good to read a blog from you. Keep at it.