It was another coolish morning with temps in the mid-50s when I left the house. I just love this weather! Once again, it felt and sounded like Fall. Dry maple seeds or “helicopters”, which have swirled and drifted beneath maple trees and scattered themselves along City sidewalks, made a crunching noise, not unlike crumpled Autumn leaves, under my feet as I walked. This morning I mixed business with pleasure and had a two-part journey … first to Memorial Park and then down to my usual haunt – Council Point Park.
The early morning radio broadcasts were filled with programming devoted to the D-Day monumental anniversary. There were many sound bites, including a speech by FDR about that fateful day, all in advance of the 70th D-Day ceremonies to be held later. I thus had D-Day on my mind as I left the house. I decided to walk over to Memorial Park as a sign of respect to those 4,500 Allied troops who lost their lives on June 6, 1944. After leaving the pavilion area, I was remembering all the films we used to watch in history classes in middle school and high school back in the day. One of the aids our teachers used through the years were sepia-toned films about significant historical events. The films were very comprehensive and alot more interesting than reading a textbook or flipping through the “Encyclopedia Britannica” to find one-dimensional pictures and pages of text only. Those films used to have a catch-phrase: “everything is the same except YOU are there”. I mused about how we learned history versus the resources available to today’s young scholars and how very lucky modern students are since they have the Internet at their disposal. They probably don’t realize it, but it sure beats a trip to the library, checking out the card catalogue, up and down the aisles, then pawing through dusty and musty old books to do research for what seemed like endless term papers.
As if on cue, as I was thinking of my formative years, I spied a group of young boys with huge packs tethered to their backs, walking along Ferris Street – they were moving along rather dejectedly, not uttering a word to one another, shoulders hunched and heads down. I said “good morning guys – when is the last day of school?” thinking that question posed and their anticipated upcoming school break would brighten their day. Indeed it did and the trio chimed in all at once: “three more days!” It goes without saying they were excited about the last day of school – nothing changes after all these years … the anticipation of Summer vacation and no school is ageless.
When I arrived at Council Point Park, just like yesterday, the sun was high in the sky and glinted off my eyeglasses, temporarily blinding me. I got onto the perimeter path and was on my first loop, when a beautiful Downy Woodpecker flew into a nearby tree and started pecking the trunk fast and furiously. I stopped and watched since I had a clear view of both him and his handiwork on that poor tree trunk. He was oblivious to me standing there as he was intent on drilling for grubs. I whipped out my camera and turned it this way and that, checking him out in the viewfinder, so I wouldn’t get home and find a photo wherein he is a mere speck. I snapped a couple of shots and put the camera back in my pocket and just then a gentleman walked by and asked if I saw the beautiful red bird as well. I had not and told him so. He asked about my photographing the woodpecker and I told him that I write a blog and recently dusted off my digital camera to take photos to accompany my daily blog posts. He told me he occasionally read the blog posts of a woman on the hyper local news site “Wyandotte Patch”. He said “she walks all over and never drives her car” and I said “that’s me!” Well, fancy that … it made my day to talk to a stranger who follows my blog. We exchanged names and chatted amicably about walking in the Park, bird watching, writing and a smattering of other subjects over two more perimeter path loops, then we parted to take on the day and finish the rest of our respective daily routines.
The recognition of my blog posts by Bob was great fun; in fact, I thought about it all the way home. But truly, the more important recognition on this 6th day of June 2014 is for the many troops who lost their lives on D-Day. Thousands of casualties, and to think about it, or see the devastation on the big screen in “Saving Private Ryan”, was just mind boggling. Sure, I could have used that Downy Woodpecker picture for today’s post, but ever-mindful of this important anniversary, I decided to use this sepia-toned image of the veterans memorial and cannon at Memorial Park. As the years speed past us, unfortunately, by the 80th year commemoration of D-Day, there may not be any more veterans left who were present at the beaches of Normandy and able to give a personal account, so we must collectively never forget the importance of this day.