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Across The Lake

Going through an old scrapbook, My Favorite Reader came across a clipping from 1992 and remarked about how long I'd been writing a column. The clipping itself was by then almost forty years old when a reader sent it along asking if the man pictured as the writer "By any chance could this be you?" It was indeed and at the time I was writing about radio and TV for the Dakota Farmer magazine. The particular column was telling how in August of 1955, live television would come to Bismarck.

Everything until then had been on film. This meant sports events, political conventions or news of the day was never "live." It was all delayed until film arrived from the network. The arrival of live coverage, carried on long distance telephone lines at that time, was almost prehistoric compared to the satellite service which puts what's happening in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world, right on the screen in front of us even while it's taking place. I look back now at what I had written about broadcasting in 1955 and realize how I didn't dare even guess at the changes that have taken place since then.

Here's a suggestion for the German Club. Next time your class at Blackduck High plans a trip to Germany, make In the Garden of the Beast required reading. You'll find it hard to believe the German people so were so innocent, so naïve, so gullible as described by Erik Larsen in this biography of William Dodd. Dodd was our ambassador to Germany in the 1930s. My Favorite Reader read the book and I'm taking her advice and reading it, too. After you wonder about the Germans, you'll wonder about us, too.

Do crows mourn? A cacophony of cawing caught my attention earlier this week and when it kept up for 10 minutes or more, I walked down to the road to see what had occasioned the noise. Dozens of crows filled the branches of trees and only took off when I got close. On the road below a dead crow lay near the shoulder of the blacktop. I had to wonder.

A few days earlier I witnessed a fight. Literally. A black squirrel and a blue jay were going at it in an evergreen next to our deck. The jay would fly at the squirrel and the squirrel would jump at the jay, trying to grab it and leaping from branch to branch in an effort to reach it, The jay meanwhile kept up its attack, also without success. The fight went on several minutes, high and higher into the tree. Near the top, the jay flew away and the squirrel retreated to the ground. It was all too fast for a decent picture, but what I really would have liked was to have captured the sound. An angry squirrel makes a strange, loud bark.

Black squirrels may not be common, but they're definitely not rare in Marysville, KS. Our daughter in nearby McPherson sent along a suggestion to Google the city. The town of 3,294 calls itself the Black Squirrel City. Since 1972 Marysville has had an ordinance protecting the animals and has a $25 fine for bothering one. They've been around since the 1920s when a youngster opened the cage where a traveling carnival kept some in a sideshow display. Or so the story goes.

Thoughts while drying the dishes... Our grandson, Nathan, is just back from Australia and that might not deserve mention except that he was there to open his show at an art gallery in Melbourne. That might not warrant mention, either, except that CNN has chosen his show as one of 12 exhibitions world-wide "they'd like to see during the next 12 months." It's certainly one we'd like to see, too.