Wednesday, April 11, 2012
HAPPY BITS OF LIFE
The first of the Happy Bits is that Archie’s back! You know, Archie Grosbeak, our regular spring visitor.
He first showed up in April of ’07 and has been back yearly. He and Mrs. Grosbeak frequent the feeder, feasting on the striped sunflower seeds we put out for them, and after a month or so they are on their way again, junior Grosbeaks in tow, to wherever they spend the summer. The last two years they have arrived here in late March, and this year March came and went with nary a grosbeak, much to our dismay. But yesterday he showed up. He’s one of the few “pretty” birds in this area.
The complex where we live has lots of acreage and an abundance of trees, which you’d think would make it bird heaven. But we get only a piddling few varieties – a hawk now and then, lots of horrible crows, a resident phoebe, lots of little “lbj’s (little brown jobs), a hooded oriole couple, and on occasion a lone mourning dove. We have seen mockingbirds in the south part of the complex but none where we live; an occasional barn swallow frequents the fence that runs along a nearby drainage channel. I’m sure there are some we don’t see.
One year the complex hosted about 12 cattle egrets, who came each morning to find breakfast in the grassy areas and then after about two months flew off and have never been back. And beginning in mid-summer we acquire a black-headed night heron who patrols our lawn all night, looking like a big humph of nothing but shadow unless his dumpy form is highlighted by the headlights of a passing car. He doesn’t seem to be bothered by people walking their dogs, and he only flies off if provoked. His wing span is unbelieveably wide. I’ve tried my best to take a picture of him, but my camera equipment just won’t do it.
This year’s second Happy Bit is a pair of Canadian geese who have taken up temporary residence on the 5th green of our little 3-par golf course. It is such fun to see them there. Yesterday there was a group of old duffers on the fairway and these geese couldn’t have cared less. I’d suppose their permanent residence is a golf course in Canada.
Another Happy Bit is the publication of a book that I have been waiting to see. It’s called “Three Dobbins Generations at Frontiers” – and the authors have taken one Dobbins Family, that of James & Elizabeth Stephenson Dobbins of Virginia and South Carolina in the last half of the 18th century – and traced them, their seven children and the children’s children. It is as much a history of the westward movement of the American Frontier during that period as a genealogy of this particular family.
Why it is important to me – and what makes me exceptionally happy – is that my 3rd-great grandfather, Rev. Robert B. Dobbins, is the first of the seven Dobbins children and the third chapter in the book is devoted to him. This particular chapter was written by my friend and distant relative Carl Peterson, a retired college professor. I was asked to write the chapter, but since the rest of the book was going to be written by real scholars, I begged Carl to do the honors. I gave him all the research on RBD that I had found throughout the years. He graciously agreed, but he added a couple of years of additional on-site research, and because of his professional research and writing ability, our chapter truly shines in the book. He has developed a well-documented and fascinating story of a special time, place and person in the history of our country. Bringing the book to publication has been a long-awaited event and it couldn’t make me happier. These three men – Bob, Jim and Carl, all Dobbins cousins – have created a real masterpiece.
The last Happy Bit is for a Happy Baby. Little NaomiHope Maree Davis is our newest great-grandchild. Born last August, she lives in Florida with momma Stacey and daddy Jonathan. I brought out all my old cross-stitch needles and threads and have just finished this piece to hang above her bed. It’s at the cleaners today, will go to the framer tomorrow, and she’ll have it sometime next week.
What this picture doesn’t show is the rich deep purple of the letters. The light just sucked the color out of them. But Stacey picked out the colors and I do think the real thing is going make a very nice addition to the baby’s room. I signed it “Noni,” which is the name I picked for the great-grandchildren to call me.
I hadn’t done a lot of cross-stitch in the last couple of years, somehow getting tangled up in knitting caps of one sort or another. But doing this for NaomiHope reminded me that I am very happy sitting quietly on the couch, listening to my favorite music and doing stitch after stitch after stitch.
This closeup photos shows just how cute the little font is. Not everybody's name wears tennies!
So there you are: Four Happy Bits.