April 16, 2014

Mostly sunny

Put a call out to the wise owl

It’s time to make room for the Christmas cookies and clear the last of the pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving turkey out of the old column fridge.

Who cooks for you?

One of the pleasant things about living in a drafty old house is that it’s like camping — all the time.

I was awakened by the call of a barred owl, which evidently was out looking for friendship in our little woods on a recent warm-for-November night. Even with the windows closed, his voice carried into the house as easily as if we were sleeping in a tent.

“Hoo, hoo, hoo-hoo!” he said. “Hoo, hoo, hoo-hoo!”

There’s nothing like the call of a raptor to get your attention — and remind you with a slight chill down the spine that under your large brain and flannel pajamas, you’re basically just a soft, furless mammal. I kept my head buried in my burrow — that is to say, pillow. So did all the mice and the rabbits in the neighborhood, I’ll bet.

Dan Bertsch, the chief naturalist of the Medina County Park District — with whom we have enjoyed many nighttime owl walks in the county parks — says the call of the barred owl sounds like: “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?”
should go outside some evening and do your best owl impersonation. They are active this time of year and it’s fun to call out and see if there’s one in the neighborhood that will answer.

You’re probably guaranteed at least one response. At our house, when we call, “Who cooks for you?” some smart aleck always answers: “Mom does!”

OK, that would be me.

Threat to freedom

A recent letter to the editor suggested there were two appropriate roles for the federal government: to protect national security and individual freedoms. As health care does not fall into either category, the letter argued, it should be left alone by Congress.

To others of us, it’s clear the cost of health care absolutely is an issue of personal freedom and security.

Every one of us in this country, except for the independently wealthy, is one health disaster away from losing many of the freedoms we hold dear. If you are an average working family, the health care cost of a bad accident or serious illness could take away your ability to own a home, change jobs, get future health care, and live a basic middleclass life.

Why? Because the cost of health care has far exceeded the normal rate of inflation. It is unaffordable to taxpayer-funded governments, to small businesses, and to a great many individuals.

We can see where market forces are driving us on this issue … to the edge of a cliff.

Unlike other products in the marketplace, like cars or video games, you can’t hope to bring health care prices down by not buying it. Well, you can, but you might die. Your choice. Is that what anti-reform agitators mean by “freedom?”

The promise of America is the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The cost of health care is a threat to all three.

Still thankful

Some final “thankful things” came in through the transom after my deadline for last week’s column. They are too wonderful not to share.

I’m thankful for living with less to live with more.
I’m thankful to my dad. Thanks for teaching me the difference between a Phillips and a flathead screwdriver, and how to use a power drill, tire pressure gauge, WD-40, caulk, wrench and hammer. And thanks for teaching me where to put the washer fluid and where to put the oil, and how to meticulously wash a car. And for making me laugh through each lesson.
I’m thankful to my mom. Thank you for hugging me every day, answering late at night, and knowing the precise amount of milk I like in my coffee. For teaching me how to cook and bake from scratch, sew, and fold a fitted sheet. For teaching me by example not only how to be a caring mom, but also daughter, and how to care for others, yet not forget to care for myself. And for loving my kids with every ounce of your being.

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(Note: In my Nov. 17 column, a reader gave thanks for those who are restoring “the little white house” at the corner of North Broadway and East Union Street in Medina. The following reply is from the home’s owners.)

We are thankful for all of the people who stop and say, “Looking good!” while driving by or take the time to stop and tell us a story about our house. We are thankful for our church family at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, who never once said we were crazy and have supported us in the good times and bad.

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I am thankful I have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom to my daughters. The are my greatest blessing and I treasure every day with them.

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I am thankful for:
The person or people who sent a card with gift certificates to local stores after my husband got laid off from his job;
My husband, who has returned to school at age 50-plus, and who continues to have a sense of purpose and a sense of humor, even without a job;
Learning how to plant garlic and hoping I’ll get a crop this summer; and
Volunteers at the local hospital, who brighten the day for both employees and people who are visiting in more ways than they can know.
Lafayette Township

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I am thankful:
For the warmth of the sun, wind breezes (not storms), raindrops;
For the good weather we are having. I wish I could store it for next April;
For food, clothing and a place to live;
For eyes to see the beauty of colored leaves, flowers and bushes, changes of seasons, my Bible, newspaper and watch TV;
For each breath I take, each step and each heartbeat.
To live in America, our freedom, and men and women who serve.
For a ride to church and back home. They are so kind.

Contact John Gladden at gladden@ohio.net.