Lawrence, Kansas has several parks and one of them is Holcom Park. It’s the nearest park to our house. We got acquainted with it shortly after taking up residence in Lawrence in 1983. It’s weird, when I see “1983” it doesn’t strike me as very long ago. Yet, it’s long enough for the kids to grow up and become older now than I was when we moved to Lawrence. Anyway, as the kids were growing up we went to Holcom often. Sometimes it would be a picnic, sometimes tennis, soccer, frisbees, kites. There were baseball games outside and occasional indoor activites in the recreation center.
This evening on the TV news it was reported that Lawrence police had made arrests in connection with the shooting of two Lawrence teenagers outside the recreation center at Holcom Park. That got me thinking about years past. If one of the kids would have said, “I’m going over to Holcom to play tennis” or, “I’m meeting some friends to play basketball at the Holcom rec center”, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. It certainly wouldn’t have occurred to me to say, “Okay, don’t forget to take your gun for self-defense!”
When we got back from Christmas in California the weather here in Kansas was essentially the same as there, temperature in the 50’s. It seemed like winter had bypassed us and sent us straight to spring. One morning last week when I went out for the morning paper the birds were singing merrily and it sounded, felt and even smelled like spring. Last night winter returned with snow and today we were blanketed in the stuff, although the temperature was a balmy 32. It wasn’t going to be warm enough to melt the stuff away, so I had to shovel the driveway. So I reckon we’re having winter, after all. TV news said we got 6 inches, but it was barely 2 inches on our driveway. I think the warmish temperature caused it to sort of melt and condense from 6″ to 2″, as it was very very heavy snow, almost slush.
The TV was on and although I wasn’t watching I heard somebody say January 21 is National Squirrel Day. What? Did I hear right? I looked up, but whatever the context was, it was gone. National Squirrel Day? Surely not. They’re rodents, basically rats with a bushy tail. Google-time! Lo and behold, it’s true; although, actually, it’s not just National Squirrel Day, it’s National Squirrel Appreciation Day. You can buy calendars and other squirrel memorabilia to show your appreciation. I suppose I’d admit the little critters impress me with their ability to run up and down tree trunks and jump from limb to limb and scurry along twigs that I can’t imagine would support their weight, slight as it may be. But I don’t much appreciate hearing them scurrying around on the roof of the house, leaving me wondering if they’ve found a way into the attic. And don’t get me started about how they scamper into the street and stop right in front of my car and then they start one way and suddenly reverse and stop again and then, well, it’s just amazing I haven’t killed a few. Yeah, okay, sometimes they’re kind of fun to watch, the way they’re at home in a tree the way otters are at home in a river; or the way cockroaches are at home under the kitchen sink. But, Squirrel Appreciation Day? Seriously?