Home Opinion Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Empty Promise

Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Empty Promise


YES, I AM STILL HERE looking out the window on Main Street, and I am almost afraid to mention the Comet SWAN again. It has that strange name in all capital letters because SWAN is an anacronym for the telescope which found it.

I’ve looked for it casually, without success. In the evening after sunset it is SUPPOSED to be low in the northwest sky.

In the morning before dawn it is SUPPOSED to be low in the northeast sky.

Of course, none of this matters because it will be overcast or raining every day while the comet is still SUPPOSED to be visible.

At its closest it will be only 53 million miles from Earth. Heck, my buggy has nearly that many miles, although I admit to having a hard time counting zeros when there are a bunch of them all in a row.

I am glad that I had a glimpse of the most famous of all comets, Haley’s Comet, back in 1986. Can it really have been 34 years since that visit? Is my math good?

I went out in my backyard, spread a quilt and lay down with a pair of fine binoculars. It took some patience but I finally found it.

One of my brothers showed it to his own daughter and told her it was important to remember the comet’s visit. He said she might be alive when it returned and she could tell her children and cousins that she saw it on its last visit.

Haley’s Comet will visit again in 2016 when I will be 118.

It is the oldest recorded comet. Different societies around the world have written records of it dating back to 240 BC. It visits every 75-76 years. Sometimes it’s spectacular; sometimes you have to lie down in the backyard with a pair of fine binoculars if you want to see it.

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OW, THAT HURTS!  In a discussion in our office about pain, someone suggested “Just think about a woman in labor who raked her shin across a trailer hitch.”

Can you imagine anything that would hurt worse? Or even just as bad? Just email me. You don’t have to have experienced this for yourself, just imagine it.

One thing : Biting the inside of my cheek the second time.

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STILL WONDERING. Since the advent of the coronavirus, is there much mouth-to-mouth resuscitation going on? Should you wear gloves when doing mouth-to-mouth? And what is the proper distance? Can you get, or give, a ‘hickey’ through a facemask?

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ANIMAL CRACKERS. This continues to be the craziest bird-watching summer ever. This past weekend I watched as a flock (maybe 24) of sparrow-sized birds flitted from bush to bush in my yard. Then they all went to a bare patch of ground (this was before it rained) and they all took a dust bath at the same time. Their bathing sent up clouds of dust.

Twice in the past week I’ve had crows at the peanut table on my patio where for many years I’ve put out in-shell raw peanuts for bluejays, cardinals, thrashers — any bird large enough to carry off a peanut.

The crows are so big that the wind generated by landing blows all of the peanuts off the small table. The crows then strut around eating all the peanuts off the sidewalk.

When they do this, they run off all of the other birds which I’ve cultivated for those years.

I’ve got my Red Ryder BB gun in reserve, but I’m hoping some of those brave mockingbirds will come along and send the crows away.

One other bird story. Mom and Dad bluebird have been making passes at the bluebird box again. I’m hopeful that they’ll have another brood.

Daughter Julie has been working from home during this virus quarantine, and has observed a summer tanager at the bird feeders in her Maumelle backyard. I haven’t had a tanager in several years, but I think I recognize their call on my morning stroll through the neighborhood.

The summer tanager is an all-red bird, and you can easily tell the difference between it and a cardinal. Different shades of red, and the tanager has no facemask. Its bill isn’t orange, either.

Our John Balch is my personal source of information on birds. He says that the crows might be like rabbits in that they come in waves. Lots of ‘em one year, and none the next.

I do not want the crows to run off the other birds.

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THINGS I LEARNED from opening (and believing) anonymous emails: “If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died because of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.”

If the horse is facedown in the mud it means that protesters have been there.

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WORD GAMES. Another set of twins: Cut and Dried. They’re pretty certain.

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HE SAID: “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.” Abraham Lincoln, 16th US President

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SHE SAID: “I’ve got a woman’s ability to stick to a job and get on with it when everyone else walks off and leaves it.” Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, United Kingdom

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