I do believe Winter is on the wane.

One month from today is Spring (even though I thought it was always the 21st when I was a young ‘un, or so it seemed). In a four-season state, normally by the third week of February, we are so Winter weary, that we rejoice when the sun peeks out from behind the ever-present gloomy skies, or, by chance we hear a songbird warbling in a tree as we pass by. Every little glimpse of Springtime now will fill my heart with joy.

On Monday I saw and heard my first Robin – what a welcome sight and sound that was.

Before long, the marshy area around Council Point Park will be filled with the call of the Red-Winged Blackbird as it trills to its mate.

Only then do I feel like Spring is just around the corner.

Long-range Winter predictions were a bit scary.

Our Winter has been wacky, but not just here in Southeast Michigan. Way back in October, it was more than ghosts and goblins scaring us, as several learned meteorologists, including the local folks, the National Weather Service – even those prognosticators from The Old Farmer’s Almanac, all gave a long-range forecast for an extra snowy and cold Winter. I believed them as they sagely predicted this doomsday and even added that it would likely rival or surpass Winter 2018-2019 for snowfall and brutal temps. “Ugh” I thought and remembered during one chilly week in late August, the Park and ‘hood squirrels began burying their peanuts and not eating them on the spot. At that time, I muttered to myself “do they know something we don’t?”

Folklore tells us that the wide black bands on the Woolly Bear caterpillar I saw back on October 17th would indicate a bad Winter was in store.

When a dusting of snow on November 7th adorned porch pumpkins …

… then a record-setting 8.5-inch (22 cm) snowfall on Veteran’s Day occurred …

… I sure wished I could be like a bird or butterfly and head to warmer climes ‘til April.

Our Fall was cold, not even chilly – the trees turned color, not as vibrant as usual, yet the cold snap messed them up and my ornamental Maple has yet to drop its leaves. My neighbor’s Magnolia bush has buds and I’ve already seen crocuses, daffs, and snowdrops beginning to push their bright green heads through the still-frozen soil in homeowners’ gardens, likely due to several days when we climbed to 50 F (10 C) or above.

Winter vocabulary.

There have been countless predictions for a three-to-six-inch snowfall, resulting in an “oops” with just a dusting of snow or some icy precip. In fact, we’ve had many mornings where freezing rain has messed up my a.m. walk. When our snowfall is off the mark, the weathermen have some clever ways to explain away the deficiency. I have to laugh as they report “the snowfall was not ambitious enough” or, my favorite “this storm was a low achiever.” It sounds like a teacher’s renderings on a bad student’s report card. Also heard was “the complexion will change later today” – so now Ol’ Man Winter has become a she, or is this Mother Nature being referred to? I’m a wee bit puzzled and perplexed, but happy the Groundhog knew the scoop better than all the rest of ‘em.

With the advent of Spring, and sunrise earlier every day, I am excited about the happenings that await me in the ‘hood and Council Point Park in the upcoming months.

The joy of new life, whether it is the green leaves as they unfurl, or the baby robins’ beaks wide open for Mama Robin to drop a grub or worm bit into them, is a sight for Winter-weary souls.

And then, just like that (snapping fingers), those babies are ready to fledge.

Watching fuzzy yellow and gray goslings with their parents is a sight I never tire of.

But, in my usual mad sprint out the door every morning to my favorite go-to spot, with coat tails flying and woolen hat askew, I cannot help but think about a fellow walker named Mike Chiola.

Who is/was Mike Chiola?

There are many types of walkers, with a myriad of personalities, that frequent the perimeter path at Council Point Park. Some are eager to just get their steps done and are plugged into music while they walk. Some stare at the ground, not willing to engage in eye contact or small talk. Because the entire Park encompasses only about two miles, it is a small enough venue that most people take the time to get to know all the other walkers, even if it is just their first names. Since I’ve walked at this Park since 2013, I know almost everyone by their name and a little bit about them as well. But, I want to add that I generally walk by myself. This is not because I’m antisocial, but anyone who is there to bulk up their steps and get exercise, is not necessarily interested in stopping with me along the way while I photograph a Blue Jay swooping to the ground, or I bend down to feed Parker who sometimes gazes at me like a lovesick cow until I give him a few peanuts.

Then there are those walkers who are there to enjoy nature AND exercise.

Now that would be the category I fit in, as did Mike Chiola.

Mike Chiola walked at Council Point Park for many years. He was a former football coach at Lincoln Park High School and also functioned as a substitute teacher. I’d walk alongside Mike from time to time and our conversations ran the gamut from the good ol’ days of the 70s and 80s, to current events, sometimes politics. But, most of our conversations revolved around nature because there is lots to see there … if only you look up, down and around.

Most of the other walkers called him “Coach” but I always called him Mike. He had a few names for me too, including “The Peanut Lady” or “The Camera Lady” and occasionally he’d even call me by my name. 🙂

Mike was pretty protective of this Park. He took an early retirement after suffering a heart attack. For rehab, he began walking at Council Point Park. He walked the entire circuit (a Figure Eight loop, consisting of two miles, with each loop being approximately one mile). Every day, rain or shine, even all Winter, the first complete trip around the entire Park he picked up trash. Mike’s pet peeve was trash that Park attendees threw anywhere but the garbage cans, so Mike picked up empty water bottles, fast food and granola bar wrappers, or plastic store bags which littered the Park. When he was done, the second two miles were his to enjoy. He loved the natural setting of this Park and boy did he love the squirrels. (More on that later.)

Drop down and give me 25 (pushups)!

Mike, for all his good qualities, never lost his coach demeanor and I was often on the receiving end of a few well-meaning wisecracks through the years. In retrospect, I’ve come to realize that Mike was right about some things, and now, as I reflect back on my interactions with him, I recall one of my mom’s favorite sayings. She would recite this old proverb when I finally understood something she’d preached about in the past and I had failed to see her point right away: “we grow too soon old and too late smart.”

Many times I’d arrive at the Park breathless, staying too late at the computer to finish up just one more reply to a comment here on WordPress, then hightailing it out the door to the Park. If I passed Mike on the perimeter path, he’d quip “too bad you were so late getting here because I saw a ___________ this morning.”

Mike never said a “heron” but instead he’d say “that big bird you like to take pictures of” …

… or, he was apt to add that I’d missed those “red birds you like that sit in the trees” – well, those would be cardinals.

Mike knew the names of those birds – that was just his way. So, why did I feel like he was chastising me for my tardy behavior – furthermore, why did I care what he thought of my punctuality (or lack thereof)?

I distinctly remember this one conversation.

Mike: “Where were you this morning? The goslings were all together by the twisted tree and you could have gotten a nice picture, but they’re gone now, so too bad you weren’t around earlier.”

I thought about my retort, while smarting a little from that accusation. Plus, sheepishly I was remembering how I used to be out the door to catch the bus for work so timely that one could set their watch to my schedule – sigh, what happened to that young woman?

And, despite the fact that I was late, I did see those goslings at the twisted tree anyway!

Inwardly, I began to take the gruff demeanor with a grain of salt, feeling it was MY prerogative to set MY own schedule. Furthermore, I hated being chastised, my tardiness exposed for anyone within earshot. But, I politely just let the comments roll off my back. This time I had to explain why I always seemed to be running late these days – I was not just going to let it go.

Linda: “Mike, I was running late as I was responding to some comments on my blog.”

Mike: “A blog – what’s that?”

Linda: “Well, where do I start?” [at which time I explained as succinctly as I could what a blog was.]

Mike [after a long pause spent pondering what a blog was]: “I don’t know anything about computers, I’m not computer literate and I don’t want to be. I have a flip phone and I like it that way.”

Linda: “I have a flip phone too and I admit sometimes it is easier to be on the outside of social media as it does hog a lot of your time, but I bet you’d enjoy interacting with people.”

Mike: “I do all the interacting I want right here and down at Dingell Park.”

Such were our conversations from time to time and I jollied along to the equivalent of getting my hand slapped for missing the heron, cardinals or the goslings.

Sometimes, if I was running late, Mike would alert the other walkers to seek me out … like one time when he said “tell The Camera Lady to get over to the Creek to see the mist rising off the water – she’ll want to take a picture for that blog she has.” The message was shared and received – no missed mist opportunity for me. Thanks Mike – I got that shot.

My mind is a blank every day when I get to the Park. I absorb what is around me, do some thinking and sometimes a blog post is begun in my head, from a photo I’ve taken or something I’ve seen. I had to admit to myself that Mike was right – why was I lingering at home when I could be here? The purpose all along was to walk, then I began taking pictures … but somehow the reason for my being here was becoming an afterthought. I mused on that a bit, but no way would I tell Mike he was right! I had my pride after all. (Note to self: Linda – linger later in the day at WordPress … the comments will still be there.)

Every year, once Spring arrived, Mike would finish walking at Council Point Park, then head to Dingell Park down at the Detroit River to chat with the fishermen there. He’d scope out the nature doin’s at that venue, then give me a daily report. My blog is full of references to Mike when he told me he’d seen a Mama Mute Swan with its cygnets riding on her back, or when, just like clockwork, the Mama Mallard built a nest in the planter’s box near the boardwalk and sat on the eggs to incubate them. People would stop at the nearby restaurant and bring Mama Duck goodies so she didn’t need to leave the nest unattended. Mike would give her goodies as well. I’d go down on a weekend to scope out Mike’s “finds” for my own interest, or picture-taking for my blog – yep, I’d be toting goodies too and I got pictures of Mama Duck semi-hidden and incubating those eggs.

I never did see the cygnets going for a ride though – this year I know I will, even if I must go to Dingell Park every weekend to scope ’em out.

I wanted to reblog a particular post centering around squirrels, but I could not since this current post has pictures and is lengthy. So, if you click here you will be able to read the post in its entirety. That blog post mentions a conversation between Mike and me, not quite two years ago, where we, along with a dozen squirrels, (give or take a few), congregated at the fork where the two paths meet – it was a beautiful Spring day.

These are the featured photos from that post of Mike feeding the squirrels. On that day, once again, he challenged me … this time not for my tardiness, but why I would not tender peanuts to the squirrels like he did, hand feeding them, instead of just laying peanuts on the ground?

And here’s how that conversation played out:

Mike: “Look Linda – here is how it is done, put the peanut between your fingers and hold it out. It’s easy – watch me.”

Linda: “Mike, I need my fingers for work.”

Mike: “The squirrels aren’t going to bite your fingers off – give them some credit.”

Linda: “They might not have had breakfast or I ticked them off one time; you never know.”

Flash forward almost two years.

So, on and on it goes, and, like anyone who suddenly passes away, after that initial gut punch, you struggle to remember the good stuff. Gee, I could have eulogized Mike – I’d have regaled the mourners with his wit and touch of sarcasm, or maybe his grumpy old guy demeanor, even though he was just 70 years old at the time of his death. But, I would have concluded by saying he was a good man and a friend to all at Council Point Park (the peanut pals included).

Mike had some serious health issues the end of last year. His growing absence at the Park was evident, as was his gaunt and haggard look on the few occasions when he did show up and shuffled along the pathway, head bent, a dark gray hoodie covering his head and hanging off his slumping diminutive form. It was evident to all of us, he’d lost weight and was not speaking clearly. He stayed to himself, mumbling in monosyllables to our greetings of “how ya doin’ Mike?” We walkers compared notes saying “Mike/Coach is just not himself – did he say what was wrong?”

Collectively we worried about our friend.

And then he didn’t return anymore.

We learned through Ray, a fellow walker who went to the same barbershop as Mike, that our friend had a stroke, then oral cancer caused his tongue and part of his jaw bone to be removed. He landed in a nearby nursing home to recuperate as he lived by himself. I sent a ‘thinking of you’ card with a note, signed simply “Linda, a/k/a The Peanut Lady and The Camera Lady” – I knew he’d know who I was.

Mike eventually lapsed into a coma and passed away on February 7th. Al, one of the regular walkers, went to his funeral and advised us a memorial tree will be planted in Mike’s memory this June. I went on the obituary notice tribute wall and posted these pictures of Mike feeding the squirrels, unfortunately not the clearest shots in the world as they were taken on the fly. I wrote a message to say how Mike loved this Park and he’ll be missed.

Rest in peace Mike. I was a slow learner sometimes, but I now “get it” … so up and at ’em going forward. I’m gonna get my butt movin’ every morning and down to the Park timely and you aren’t even there to chide me about it. I’ll miss our talks … and walks.

[Photo of Mike Chiola courtesy of R.C. Aleks Funeral Home; included are some of my favorite shots from Council Point Park the past few years.]

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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69 Responses to I do believe Winter is on the wane.

  1. Sandra J says:

    That is beautiful Linda, we all need a Mike in our lives to remind us about everything that was important to him. To walk away from the routine and to get out and enjoy life while you can. It can change so quickly. I have never been to a park where I recognize the same people over and over. But I love to say good morning to the passers by and give a smile. The best gift we can give to others I think. I appreciate it when they do the same. Spring is so close, and looking at your first photos reminds me of the things we do forget about during the winter months. The Red Winged black bird is my most favorite spring bird. When I hear their call, I am reminded of summers past. And yesterday the Cardinal that has been absent was singing outside my window. The best sound ever. No matter what the weather, getting out and walking like Mike and you is what I enjoy most.

    Liked by 4 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes, we do need a Mike in our lives Sandra. He would not enjoy the Park for himself until he walked around and picked up every piece of trash first. And he noticed everything and that is why he was always pointing out things to me. He walked very early in the Summertime because of his heart condition. He wanted to get done with his walk and visit his friends at the River (where I went for the eagles) before it got really hot and humid out, as he knew it was not good for him to get overheated. So that is why he always scoped everything before I arrived – I used to be an early bird to the Park before blogging, but I was not as punctual as I once was.

      It was fun to pull together all the photos from last Spring to remember how much I have to look forward to. I almost included the turtles – I’ve never mentioned them to you, but we have lots of painted turtles and snapping turtles and they sit on the logs and sun themselves all Summer, but this was primarily a post about Spring and Mike, so I left them out. The turtles won’t be out for a long time as they are buried beneath the silt in the Creek right now. We’ve had Robins in the Winter before, not this Winter though – they learned last year with our Polar Vortex that it was bitter cold and took off down South.

      I like the Red-Winged Blackbirds too and they often come to ground level to swipe peanuts from the pathway. They are like the Blue Jays and Cardinals – they will do it with the squirrels sitting right there. I have some pictures of them swiping nuts which you will see as you read through the blog. But they are bullies too – they tried to steal the Robin’s eggs when the Mama Robin was off the nest, or tried to get to the hatchlings when she flew away for food. I watched them pecking on the Canada Geese with their goslings for no reason – it was like the Red-Winged Blackbird just went a little crazy. And that voice … it seems like Spring when I hear their trilling. In this Park, the people are friendly as it is fairly small. At Elizabeth Park, I won’t know people, but everyone you pass, whether on a bike or walking, always says “hello” or passes the time of day with you.

      We are smart to stop and smell the roses and instill a little nature in our day whenever we get a chance to.

      Like

      • Sandra J says:

        I hardly ever see turtles. I am sure there around, just do not know where. I have never seen the red wing black bird except out in the country around here. I went out walking right away this morning. It was cold, no one else out at all.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        They are peaceful, sunning on the log and a few years ago, in June of 2018 I believe, there was a huge snapping turtle and it was digging a hole in the ground with her flippers, hard ground and tearing the ground up, mud flying and she wanted to bury eggs … they build them maybe 20-25 feet from the water. We watched all Summer for the eggs to hatch but it must have happened in the middle of the night – they escaped through a tiny hole in the dirt. It was quite cold here too – I was the only one at the Park this morning.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sandra J says:

        They are such fascinating creatures. And camouflaged so well. We must have been the only ones to brave the cold. I like that though. It doesn’t scare all the wildlife away with less people.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes they are Sandra, and if you get too close to the log or the cement ledge where they sun themselves, they will flop into the water, one by one, until they are all submerged. A few times I saw them on the pathway and got some pictures of them. I am looking forward to it being that hot again for the turtles to come out. June probably. It was very cold this morning, a real feel of 13 and winds 15 mph. There are two guys that walk there every day and they’ve not been there all week, but I think they are coaches or something as they are always talking about “games” or “scores” whenever I pass them. Guessing the schools are closed for President’s Day weekend as neither are there and likely on vacation for Winter Break. The Creek was entirely covered in ice – looked very barren.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sandra J says:

        Up at the cabin we have the frogs that are called Peepers, I had never heard of them until I got up there. That is the best sound, especially when you open the windows at night and fall asleep to their singing. I put that sound on my phone so I can hear it any time. It reminds me of home.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I have heard of the Peepers but never seen them. I have a former co-worker/friend who lives in Milford and gets tree frogs all the time. They sit in her flower pots on her porch or cling to the siding – she posts pictures of these tiny green frogs – they are cute.

        Like

      • Sandra J says:

        I had one of those, they are so cool looking how they stick to anuthing.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. J P says:

    A beautiful tribute to Mike – thank you for sharing him with the rest of us.

    Liked by 3 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you JP. I think the full impact of the loss of Mike will hit not only me, but the rest of the walkers when they return in the Spring. There are many walkers who use treadmills or mall walk, and some are in Florida for the Winter – he was a good friend to all and I wanted to write this tribute as you often realize the impact of someone or something after they/it is no longer there.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ruthsoaper says:

    Oh Linda, thanks for the encouraging forecast I sure hope you are correct. I am sooo ready for spring. I haven’t seen any of the signs yet but will have to keep a closer eye out. I’ll be sure to look for daffodils later. 🙂
    What a lovely memorial to your friend he sounds like a great guy and someone you were blessed to know.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      I am glad I made your day Ruth. However, that said … yes, I saw the tiny tips of crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils because I always watch two homeowners who have them come up every year and I’ve taken photos of those early bloomers before. On M-Live the weatherman said we could “stick a fork” in Winter as the Polar Vortex would not materialize and we’d just have this short cold snap you/I have now. Today, on Click on Detroit Ben Bailey said “measurable snow” next week. Did you hear that too from Brandon and Paul? I am bummed about that – I am ready too.

      Thanks Ruth – I am glad you liked this memorial to Mike. He was a great guy and everyone in the Park knew him and liked him. I will miss Mike pointing out critters in the Park – he did that all the time and also keeping me apprised of what was going on down at the River. I am glad they are planting a tree in the Park in his memory so we’ll be able to think of him when we walk past it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. susieshy45 says:

    Linda
    You need to send this to “Chicken Soup for the soul” to be published- a sad story but glad Mike left a mark on all of you walkers- I guess that is the purpose of life, to leave an impression on someone else so his/her legacy can be carried forward. What a life lesson, Mike gave us.
    Take time to smell the roses and appreciate the things that matter.
    I am so grateful you are there in my life to remind me of the good things in life, Linda.
    Susie

    Liked by 3 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Dear Susie – Thank you for saying this and I am glad to have you in my life as well. I had to share this story, as poignant as it was, because I wanted to show that strangers can come together over shared experiences, no matter how they may disagree, or be disgruntled, but immersing yourself in nature can bring people together. Several of the walkers at this Park do not walk there in the Winter, opting instead for treadmills, or walking at malls. A few go to Florida. They will be surprised to find out Mike is no longer with us as he was a fixture in the Park. I have not thought of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books in many years. My mom and I bought several of them when they first came out – they had so many categories through the years, and I think we had animal ones (dogs if I am not mistaken). I know their books were sad but inspirational.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful tribute. Mike sounds like a special person.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Kate – he was special. His loss will be felt more keenly once all the regular walkers return to the perimeter path in better weather. They are at the mall or on their treadmills, or a few go to Florida and stay away from the Park in the cold weather.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. AJ says:

    I’m hoping for Spring, but we really haven’t even had winter, except for cold weather.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Well AJ, last week one of the meteorologists said “you can stick a fork in Winter” and he followed that statement up today by saying … lots of sunshine for four days and temps in the 40s on the weekend, so we have an early Spring!! Today, another station said we’d have measurable snow next week – whom do you believe? You had a little snow and all the rain, but you will see flowers and leaves on the trees long before we will. After a long Winter, even the dandelions are nice to see as they add color to the landscape. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • AJ says:

        Oh I can’t even imagine having that long and strong of a winter! I don’t know how you do it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I wonder more and more every year how I did it when I was younger, waiting on the bus and it was always late on snowy days – one night I did not get home until 10:00 p.m. and we got out of work early for the bad snowstorm. We are having more and more bouts of torrential rain and a lot of flooding – they say we’ll get that this Spring as well (we’ve had torrential rains causing lakeshore flooding in parks that was so bad, the grass far from the water is spongy and the trails are muddy). I am ready for Spring, despite the mild Winter.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Joni says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your fellow walker and nature-lover! And a very important lesson about priorities! I enjoy blogging but find I spend so much time here trying to keep up with all the writing and reading and comments, that’s it’s easy to get distracted in the mornings instead of getting up and moving, especially important now that the nice weather is coming. I loved the way you inserted the pictures in the narrative too – a reminder that spring is on the way!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Joni – I am glad you enjoyed reading it. The expression that comes to mind is from a fellow Joni: “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” I have thought a lot about him since I saw the obituary notice in the Facebook Neighborhood Forum, then spoke to the few hardy souls who, like me, walk all Winter. I remembered how annoyed I got sometimes, but reflecting on what he said, I realize he was right and like you said, it is easy to get caught up and distracted by blogging or any social media. Now the sun gets up early, we can be out the door early. I hate scrambling out the door, scrambling around to be here on time for work as it takes away from the peace and enjoyment of the morning. I thought I’d break up the text by including some of my favorite Spring photos from the Park, then I decided I had pictures that could go along with my conversations with Mike. P.S. – I thought Spring was on the way – now I heard we may get measurable snow next week again! Hopefully they are wrong, or it does not last!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Joni Mitchell! It’s supposed to be 45 on the weekend and sunny, but mixed precip Monday and light snow Wed but 39 so it’s not likely to stick around long….I think spring is on the way. Even though it was cold today it was sunny and with no wind it felt warmer.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes – had to share that with you Joni! I was the only one walking at the Park today – it was quite chilly and windy. I thought we had good weather going forward, but one station says we may have measurable snow next week … I hope they are wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Remember I live in the banana belt!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Eliza says:

    This made me want to cry. I’m glad you had him in your life…
    💕💕💕

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      I would have the same feeling if I read the post by someone else Ellie. It pulls at your heartstrings; I wanted to make it poignant. I also wanted to stress how important it is to enjoy the small things in life, like nature … especially nature. Our devices, our blogs, our social media accounts can wait … sometimes we have to live for the moment. You step away from all social media for Shabbat one day every week – we are all here when you return. Here was someone enjoying the simple things in life, and wham … look what happened to him. It could be any of us and that is scary. Carpe Diem … seize the day!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Laurie says:

    Linda, we now have robins here year-round. With the mild winter here, I see them all the time. That did not use to be the case. All of your spring-like photos give me Spring Fever.

    What a wonderful tribute to your friend Mike. I know you will miss him at the park. I am so sorry for your loss. You could have done a good job eulogizing him. This post is a fitting send-off to”The Coach”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      I saw some robins here last Winter Laurie and I had a photo of one on a snowy branch – he looked very cold. I have no idea what the robins are eating here in Michigan as I can’t say I’ve ever seen a robin at a bird feeder unless it is someone feeding them meal worms like people do for bluebirds. I was happy to see this robin singing away the other day. I decided since Spring is one month from today, it was time to pull out Springy pictures. Yes, I’m all gung ho for Spring now too after seeing them. Glad you liked the tribute to Mike and I could have eulogized him and people would smile at his sometimes disgruntled personality. I would have said I’m just as quirky sometimes, believe me. On the tribute page for his obituary, I saw many students wrote nice memories of him. But I was thinking as I wrote the post, that maybe the tardiness “issue” he had with me was borne of his years of teaching – of course tardiness would be important. Mama raised me not to pick fights and be polite, so I tried not to cringe when he said “why don’t you get here on time anymore?” 🙂

      Like

  10. Ally Bean says:

    A lovely tribute to your walking friend. Good of you to remember him here. I hope you give Parker a few extra peanuts in Mike’s honor.

    Also I adore the phrase: “this storm was a low achiever.” What a ridiculously great way to pass the blame for mis-predicting the weather. 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Ally. I wanted to do something to remember him and he will be sorely missed by everyone once Spring arrives and all the walkers are back. Mike was a fixture there for many years and knew everyone.

      I had to mention the new norm for describing a dusting of snow, after EVERY station had predicted a storm which they advised us to ensure our snowblowers were in working order. As people often remark about the weather folks, there are no other jobs where you can make that many mistakes and stay employed! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  11. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………………..thank you that was a beautiful tribute to Alex………………….and sad too…………………..

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Ann Marie – yes, it was sad and you met this gentleman the last time we walked together at Council Point Park. He was picking up trash and I told you he did that every day and you told him it was something nice he was doing.

      Like

  12. Aw, Linda – what a beautiful tribute! Your post is full of valuable lessons and delightful photos to remind us all that life is precious. And that life goes on – our legacy manifests in the lives of others in interesting ways. You’re right too – blog comments will be there when you get back! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Shelley – he was a character at times, but a gentle soul. Only a handful of walkers are aware of it since many folks walk at malls or on their treadmills in the Winter. Yes, I have to resort to doing comments and Reader at night … I could do it in Winter in the a.m. as the sun was up later so I had more time, but now the sun is up earlier I’ll get out earlier. All the picture-taking cuts down on my steps as well – so that’s another reason. I need to go back to basics like I did in the beginning.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope this weekend has provided you with lots of walking time. We put in 10 miles – it felt awesome!! I’m sure you’ll find your balance once again!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        It was gorgeous wasn’t it Shelley? I put in 10 miles this weekend too … 5 1/2 yesterday and 4 1/2 today (I’d have done more today but I wanted to deal with my taxes so came home at noon to finish them up.) I hope this Spring-y weather is here to stay; I heard some murmurings about snow later in the week – hope they are wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes it was!!!!! I blew off my tax papers to enjoy the sunshine instead. I’ll have to get them done before the end of the week.
        I hope the snow predictions are wrong. But since you’ve seen Robins already – 3 snows on their tails means Spring is here! We haven’t seen any around here yet, but the birds are starting to sing in the morning when the sun comes up, that’s a good sign!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Outside is better than tax stuff any day – that’s for sure. Now the Red-Winged Blackbirds are now at Council Point Park, so I was happy to see them as well. I thought “now we can proceed with Spring” – then the predictions for this week’s snowfall – ugh.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it is. I need to pay attention when I’m outside to see the birds that have come back. It’s going to be cooler this week, so maybe they’ll be in hiding for a bit more. Ugh for snow!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes, I’m thinking the robins are sorry they came back early. This year no robins stayed – didn’t see them in the ‘hood, nor the parks … maybe it will fizzle out like the last time. Hoping so.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh Linda how sad! What a beautiful tribute to what sounds like a wonderful man!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Michael says:

    Beautiful tribute x

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Michael – I feel badly for him, but a lot of it is I have heard of so many people the last six months with serious health issues … a few classmates and a neighbor, all my age, had fatal heart attacks – it made me think more about getting out and seizing the day and stepping away from the computer more, I’ll tell you that.

      Like

  15. You gave Mike a voice and that voice said “always enjoy the moment…….. even If you can hear the clock ticking”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Wayne – yes I did and I hope I conveyed Mike’s message to me to seize the day to all who read this post. I’ve mentioned him often throughout my blog as he was always quick to tell me “the scoop” – I thought of you with regard to hand-feeding the squirrels as you suggested wearing heavy gloves to do it … here he was holding the peanut between his fingers – no fears. I don’t think they would hurt me – Parker climbed up my leg to reach the peanut bag hanging off my fanny pack once as I wasn’t paying attention to him, so he thought he’d take matters into his own hands (paws). I thought they might be a little too exuberant and take off a piece of finger. He taught me something … I will spend more time at the Park and out the door like I did in the very beginning. Mike was right and he was one of the good guys.

      Like

  16. We really need more Mikes in the world. I’m sorry you lost your friend but I appreciate that you shared him with us. Spring is definitely springing here. Flowering trees are bursting forth and the temps are warming up to the point that I’ve uncovered my deck furniture. My fingers are crossed that “my” beautiful yellow orioles will begin to show up soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Janis – he was someone that everyone enjoyed in their own way … a man for all seasons so to speak. I’m glad you enjoyed reading the tribute – it niggled at me about his illness and demise and I had to share his story and some of our funny interactions. We had a gorgeous weekend, 50s (after a cold start on Saturday) and now we have a 4-8 inch snowstorm coming later this week … how crazy is that. The other storms have mostly fizzled out, so hope this one does too.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Prior... says:

    Oh Linda – the tribute to Mike was fantastic
    RIP
    💚💚💚💚

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Yvette – his presence is already missed at the Park, but will be more so come Spring. The local paper had a nice article about him today in their online news. They mentioned him walking and picking up trash at the Park, so the reporter must have read my post (my blog is carried on the “Heritage Newspaper” blog roll) or they saw my comment on his obituary tribute page where I wrote about his diligence and posted those two pictures.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Oh that is great that they wrote about him and your blog is nice to have linked to their roll… the ways we contribute can be so nice and your local photos must be appreciated even more by some in the area – and you know we also like them from elsewhere in the US

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Thanks Yvette and I contribute to the local newspaper’s blog roll, but also used to contribute to the local Patch.com for many years. I posted my blogs, but in their format and the pictures had to be gallery style. It was not so bad when I just did one or two pictures, but when I had as many as 20 pictures, I had to re-format and change the text. It was time consuming, but I kept doing it, but no matter how I resized the photos, invariably their posting format would cut the tops off my photos, so I had to stop. I guess I should have just put on paragraph and said “go to my blogsite” but thought that might be rude, so I didn’t. I had one person comment on one of the posts in abut six years.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Yeah – having the tops of the photos cut off must have been frustrating –
        And that does sound time consuming

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, I guess I should have done one paragraph and directed them to the link to my blog post but I had kind of had it at that point as gallery style does not always work with a narrative if you can’t see the picture right away, but have to arrow through a slideshow of photos. It was fine when I only had one picture per post.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. What s beautiful post Linda, written with such respect for such a wonderful sounding man. He sounds like he made such an impact on your life and the lives of many others. ❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Zena – he was a very nice man and I know his absence from the Park will be felt even more once the rest of the walkers return. Some are in warmer climates for the Winter, mall walking or using a treadmill in their basement. When the full contingent of walkers return, Mike will really be missed by all. I will think of him as I seek our ducklings and cygnets and watch the goslings toddling around. ❤❤

      Like

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