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Mine Creek Revelations: Tattoo Voyage

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YES, I AM STILL HERE looking out my window on Main Street, and I am recalling a strong urge I had at this time of year many, many moons ago.

I got talked into getting a tattoo. I was a seaman apprentice (2 stripes) attending the U.S. Navy Fleet Sonar School in Key West, Fla.

Some of my ‘buddies’ talked me into going with them up the highway to Miami Beach on a fine Saturday. The object of our trip was to get a tattoo. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I was going to get a little bitty red devil artfully placed on a buttock. Others in our group had envisioned an anchor on a forearm. Or something else Navy related. We were all scared, and had to boost each other’s courage.

Someone had a car. We piled in and headed up US 1 through the Florida keys until the tall towers of Miami rose from the coral.

I know it sounds crazy now, but we arrived at Miami Beach on a Saturday afternoon and the only tattoo parlor in town was closed for the day.

Today I would guess that there are maybe 500 tattoo parlors in Miami-Miami Beach and outlying communities, but in those days there was one and it was closed.

Tattoos are a lot more common now, mostly due to those cooking shows where the chefs’ arms and necks are covered in skin art.

My skin is unblemished, except for liver spots.

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ANIMAL CRACKERS. On my patio a plump orange-headed lizard scuttles from shelter to shelter. I’ve been on the same patio since 1977 and have not seen a lizard like this.

AND MORE ANIMAL CRACKERS. I’ve been remiss in mentioning the return of the Mississippi kites to the rising warm air currents over my neighborhood. They’re there. The updrafts AND the kites.

And I have steadfastly resisted the urge to open and peer into the top of the patio bluebird box. Mom and dad bluebird arrive often with something clenched in their beaks, and I am assuming those are tasty morsels for some chicks. But, I’ve been firmly cautioned about interfering with the raising of those chicks (if, indeed, there are some there).

While I relish watching the bluebirds fly in and out — I think of it as a feathered Berlin Airlift — I dread the day the chicks jump out of the bird box. Too many times they frantically head straight for the pool. And bluebird chicks don’t swim.

This past weekend I fished a drowned baby rabbit out of the pool. Just a day earlier I had watched it hopping around munching on landscape plants. I was disappointed that it did not eat the abundant poison ivy.

So, here’s what I’ve fished out of my pool over the years: Moles, a rat, mice, lizards of many kinds, several species of birds, a turtle and one dead water snake that apparently had spent the winter on its back under some leaves in the bottom of the deep end.

But why mention Baby Bunny? Well, the way I got it out of the pool was with the long-handled dip net. I scooped up Poor Little Bunny and slung him/her over the patio fence and into my side yard.

In a minute I’ll go get my shovel and respectfully bury the little critter, I told myself.

It was actually about 5 minutes. I grabbed my trusty shovel and went into the side yard to find Poor Little Drowned Bunny.

But it was gone.

I walked over every square foot of that yard and Poor Little Drowned Bunny wasn’t anywhere.

That leaves me with two possibilities.

(1) Some passing hungry critter made off with a damp meal; or

(2) Poor Little Drowned Bunny wasn’t completely dead when he/she got scooped out of the pool. The dizzying flight over the patio fence and the sudden crash landing might’ve cleared it’s precious little rabbit lungs and jarred its heart back into action. The thusly rejuvenated aforesaid Poor Little Drowned Bunny could have hopped into the protection of the bushes; or

(3) Something else.          

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THE GOOD EARTH. My mistake, hopefully. The giant Chinese Fir located at the corner of Sunset and Seventh may not be dead after all, despite my earlier report. The ‘needles’ have not continued to turn brown and in fact there are about as many green as brown.

My family moved to this town in 1950 and that tree has always been in my memory. Anyone else have early memories of that tree? Even earlier?

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THINGS I LEARNED by opening another email: Facial recognition software can pick a person out of a crowd, but the vending machine at the car wash can’t recognize a dollar bill with a bent corner.

=—-= — =

WORD GAMES. Fast and Furious. They’re mad and they’re going somewhere fast.

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HE SAID: “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” Will Rogers, humorist

=—-= — =

SHE SAID: “I am unjust, but I can strive for justice. My life’s unkind, but I can vote for kindness. I, the unloving, say life should be lovely. I, that am blind, cry out against my blindness.” Vachel Lindsay, poet

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SWEET DREAMS, Baby

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