Homes for Retired Animals ?


After show, housing animals is circus

Finding sites hard with U.S. awash in ex-performers

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s elephants are already retired, living on the company’s conservation center in Florida. (Orlando Sentinel)

By Karin Brulliard  The Washington Post (Chicago Tribune 1.27.17

When Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey folds its circus tents in May, about 400 people will be out of a job.

So will dozens of animals.

The show’s famous elephants are already retired, now living out their days on the company’s conservation center in Florida.

Some acts, like the dogs and the lions, are owned by their handlers and will remain with them.

But the kangaroos, horses, camels, tigers and others belong to Feld Entertainment, the producer of Ringling, which has said it will find them suitable homes.

Stephen Payne, a spokesman, said those locations have not yet been chosen, but that wherever the creatures land will “have to meet our high animal care standards.”

Their options include zoos and private owners, but former circus animals often end up at the animal sanctuaries that dot the nation, which vary widely in quality. Those might not have much trouble taking in horses or kangaroos, but tigers, bears and other large carnivores are another matter.

Failed roadside zoos and refuges, abandoned exotic pets and crackdowns on circuses have created a swelling menagerie of wild animals that need homes with lots of land, lots of food and proper enclosures.

Payne said Feld owns about 18 tigers, which will likely join a steady stream of big cats in search of shelter.

“We will do anything we can do to help them place their tigers, I’ll say that right now,” said Ed Stewart, the president of the California-based Performing Animal Welfare Society, or PAWS, a longtime Ringling adversary that this month took in eight tigers from a failed sanctuary in Colorado.

“But it’s not going to be easy, because all legitimate sanctuaries are full of tigers right now.”

The demand for wild animal accommodation is rising out of trends that animal welfare activists and sanctuary owners welcome, such as an increasing public distaste for entertainment and research involving animals and bans against circuses in U.S. cities and several Latin American countries.

But they say it is also a sign of the shocking ease with which Americans can acquire exotic animals, as well as the big money involved in breeding bear cubs and other creatures that sell for thousands of dollars.

Tigers are the emblems of this crisis of homeless wild animals, though bears are also “ridiculously hard to place,” said Kellie Heckman, executive director of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, which has accredited 132 U.S. sanctuaries, only 11 of which accommodate big cats.

Ordinary people adopt cubs as pets, and some zoos and refuges let visitors take photos with them, a practice animal welfare advocates condemn.

But cute cubs grow into aggressive adolescents within a matter of months, and those used for entertainment often don’t perform for many years.

U.S. officials and conservation groups estimate 5,000 to 10,000 tigers live in the United States, far more than in the wild. Until recently, dozens of them resided at Serenity Springs, an unaccredited Colorado sanctuary that bred big cats, offered photos with cubs and had been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for animal welfare violations.

Last fall, it was sold to a respected sanctuary in Arkansas, which has since been finding new homes for 110 animals, mostly cats.

“The sanctuary community cannot continue to be the dumping ground for all of those that make a profit off animals — whether that is using them for cub photos, circus acts or any commercial purpose. There just isn’t enough capacity,” Heckman said. “Building more sanctuary enclosures is not the answer. We need to regulate who can have exotic animals and for what purposes.”

Laws vary by animal and by state.

Some states have bans or require permits, while five do not restrict keeping dangerous wild animals. Last year, the federal government finalized two regulations aimed at increasing oversight of the American tiger population.

Advocates say they are hopeful the Ringling closure might generate momentum for two federal bills, which the company opposed, to ban private ownership and breeding of big cats as well as the use of wild animals in circuses and traveling shows.

Representatives of accredited sanctuaries say they’re eager to help find homes for the Ringling animals. Susan Bass, the spokeswoman for Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, said its founder had offered assistance in an email to chief executive Kenneth Feld. The sanctuary would be able to add some of the tigers to its population of 80 cats big and small, Bass said.

Among the Big Cat Rescue animals are five tigers from Serenity Springs, as well as Hoover, a recently arrived tiger that had spent his life traveling Peru in a circus wagon. That country banned performing exotic animals in 2011.

Feeding and caring for each tiger costs the sanctuary about $10,000 a year, Bass said.

“As far as we know, (Hoover had) never been able to roll around on the grass or have access to a body of water to play in,” Bass said. The tiger, who today lives on an acre of land with lakefront access, seemed startled when he first dipped his paw in the lake, but “he swims day and night now.”

Such initial bewilderment is common to circus animals, many of which have never had room to roam, said Pat Craig, executive director of the Wild Animal Sanctuary, a 720-acre Colorado spread that is home to 450 large carnivores. It recently took in two tigers from Mexico, part of an influx created after exotic animals in circuses were outlawed there. After Bolivia passed a similar ban, the sanctuary had received 25 lions.

One of the Mexico tigers, Craig said, is nearly paralyzed, probably because of an injury. For years it had been housed in a crate.

“It’s a huge load for our medical team to work on her, to get her back into shape,” he said.

But that tiger is lucky: Although the sanctuary takes in more than 100 animals each year, resource limitations force him to turn down 50 percent of the animals he’s asked to take.

Still, Craig emphasized that he could find space for Ringling animals.

Stewart, the California sanctuary director, echoed that. His main 2,300-acre facility houses a former Ringling elephant, one of three retired circus elephants on the property. Another used to ride a tricycle during the Hawthorn Corp.’s circuses.

Other animals under PAWS care, which include lynxes and monkeys, have complicated back stories, having been passed from owner to owner, he said.

“There’s no line between, ‘This is a pet animal, a roadside zoo animal, a circus animal,’ ” Stewart said. “They could be any one of those categories in their lifetime. They’re just a commodity.”

 

Building Walls

 

About 100,000 years ago, the glacier dropped an enormous number of stones  it had been grinding and carrying a very long time on New England. Most stones were buried but rose to the surface with thawing and freezing.  After white settlers cut down all the trees for farming, there was more freezing and thawing,  pushing more stones up to litter the farm fields.  They had to be removed and were used  for building fences/walls, marking off property, enclosing pastures and barnyards, and for building houses.  The walls had to be rebuilt, mended, from time to time.  RJN

Image result for photo new england wall

Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

Robert Frost

 

Image result for fieldstone house photo

 

 

Good Things to Do With Your Body

Donating body for research

People’s reasons and science’s uses are many

Students from Texas State University’s Forensic Anthropology Center search for the remains of a missing person. ( Texas State University)
Image 1 of 4

By Kay Manning  Chicago Tribune 10.26.16

Patricia Kelly had to watch her husband, William, descend into dementia, but he never wavered from a desire to give his body to science, and what followed his donation inspired her — and now their daughter — to not only pledge to do the same but to become fierce advocates of the idea.

When William Kelly died in 2011 and Patricia Kelly in 2015, they became part of an unusual program at the Indiana University Northwest in Gary, which teaches anatomy while encouraging communication with donor families through letters, visits and a memorial service.

Her mom cherished the letters she received from International Human Cadaver Prosection Program students, said daughter Susan Ellingsen, of Munster, Ind., “taking a big magnifying glass (she was legally blind) and reading them over and over. They were very personal and told us all they discovered about my dad.”

“My mother made a video to let students know why she donated her body and what hope she had for them to be the best they could be and to always take their patients’ lives and families seriously,” she said.

Ernest Talarico, who runs the prosection program, said he was troubled in medical school when all he knew about a cadaver was a number and maybe a cause of death. Fellow students disrespectfully named bodies, he said.

“The tradition in anatomy lab is to focus on the science, not to get too attached,” Talarico said. “What we do is a new paradigm. And research shows it makes better doctors.”

Many bodies donated for research have poignant back stories. William Kelly had a number of ailments and wanted science to more fully explore them.

Judy Clemens, of Hebron, Ind., had a progressive form of multiple sclerosis that so frustrated her that she took her life, but not before asking that her body be studied to better understand the disease.

Other donors are educators, scientists and members of law enforcement who know the importance of hands-on learning to solve crimes, find missing people or bodies, and bring closure to aggrieved families. They even designate that their corpses be used for such studies as how fast vultures decimate a body, or how cold or hot weather affects decomposition. Still others specify that their remains be used to train cadaver dogs.

Some bodies are donated by families seeking to save money since many programs pay for transportation and stage a memorial service for the deceased or return the cremated remains.

A future purpose for donated bodies involves recomposition, the turning of human bodies into nutrient-rich compost. A prototype for what the project director sees as an environmentally friendly alternative to burial and cremation is expected to be built in Seattle in the spring and will accept bodies for a pilot program to fully test the process.

“There’s scientific value to donating your body, but there’s a huge educational value,” said Cheryl Johnston, director of an outdoor facility at Western Carolina University, where eight bodies are in various stages of decomposition. The training they afford “is benefiting people by applying things in the real world.”

Daniel Wescott runs the largest so-called body farm in the country at Texas State University, where researchers and cameras document the rate of decay of 70 bodies above and below ground, bodies clothed, unclothed and wrapped in tarps, bodies protected by wire cages and bodies left vulnerable to scavengers. When reduced to skeletons, the bones become part of a permanent research collection.

The Forensic Anthropology Center simulates conditions under which bodies or people may be found if they are victims of crime, or are missing after wandering off or a natural disaster, such as a flood. A decomposed body produces soil that’s darker in color and vegetation that reflects light differently, allowing a drone to pinpoint a location to be searched. That saves time and money, Wescott said, and then experts can determine how long a body might have been there, leading to quicker identification and finding or eliminating suspects in criminal cases.

“It’s all for justice, not just for law enforcement, but to keep somebody from going to jail if innocent,” he said.

Decomposition research and technology have better prepared Texas to handle the border-crossing deaths of immigrants, Wescott said. Bodies are buried without names, leaving loved ones uncertain as to the refugees’ fate. The facility is trying to identify some 80 corpses, but “the very, very slow process” has led to only 10 names so far, he said.

Donated bodies also help train dogs that can detect human remains. Lisa Briggs, a professor of criminology at Western Carolina University, started training her golden retriever Laila at 7 1/2 weeks, and the 2-year-old has found three bodies and several people alive.

Briggs said she feels fortunate to have whole bodies with which to teach Laila because using synthetic versions of decomposed remains or even a single body part such as teeth or a placenta, as some trainers have to do, is inadequate.

“Drug dogs are trained on one scent — maybe marijuana — but with humans, there are so many variables, such as what they had on, whether it was cold or hot, medicines they were taking, if they drowned,” Briggs said. “No one can understand how important it is” for dogs to be exposed to all those factors.

She said she remembers an instance in which Laila was looking for two people presumed by police to be dead. The dog found the bodies in water by smelling the gases bubbling to the surface, Briggs said, adding she can be asked to help on up to 20 cases a year.

She’s seen the pain families go through when a loved one is missing. “I can only imagine what it’s like not knowing,” she said.

Brittany Winn said she knew her adopted “nana,” Clemens, was donating her body to Indiana University Northwest in hopes that something could be learned about multiple sclerosis. But Winn was unprepared for Clemens’ suicide in 2011 and the quick disappearance of her body.

“We didn’t know where her remains were. It was heart-wrenching for us,” Winn said.

Months later, a Manila envelope arrived from Talarico’s program, and his students’ first contacts with the family “had us in tears,” said Winn, who has gone on to participate in the program for four years as a student and team leader and is working as a medical scribe for a Fort Wayne, Ind., endocrinologist. She wants prosectors to understand the donor and those closest to him or her.

“It’s not just a cadaver but a person who meant the world to my family,” Winn said. “Words from the prosectors are the beginning of closure. And seeing that they get everything they can from the program makes me feel better. What they learned will be with them for life.”

She has registered as a donor, she said, but donations also can be arranged after death. Requirements vary, but programs generally will not take the bodies of severe accident victims, those with infectious diseases or bodies that have been autopsied, embalmed or had organs removed. Some have weight limitations; some will take cremated remains and body parts, such as amputated limbs.

Katrina Spade, founder and executive director of the Seattle-based Urban Death Project, started searching as an architecture student for a new way to look at death, out of concern that the existing options of burial and cremation are expensive, harmful to the environment and often shortchange traditional rituals surrounding a death. She realized the method used to compost dead livestock could be adapted for humans.

“All of nature is based on dead material being turned into new life,” Spade said. “It’s a renewal, but we’ve destroyed it through cremation or by pumping bodies full of chemicals and burying them in concrete boxes. It couldn’t be farther from what nature wants to do.”

She envisions nonprofit recomposition facilities being built in urban areas where land is scarce and there are unused structures such as churches or warehouses. Bodies could be carried by family members in a quiet candlelit ceremony or to the accompaniment of a brass band, she said, and then covered in wood chips to begin the transformation into soil.

“It’s a really beautiful way to treat bodies after death,” Spade said.

Kay Manning is a freelancer.

Kindness of Strangers

Image result for quotation kindness of strangers

Recerntly at O”Hare airport,  a young man helped me climb several steps into the van going to the parking lot and 10 minutes later helped me off.  I’m glad I had a chance to tell him that, since I’ve had trouble walking, I’ve become surer of how good people are.

Carrying my cane, I’ve had people give me their seats on the EL  (finally realized it was wrong to refuse ), stand back so I could enter an elevator, and other such courtesies.  I’ve dropped my cane several times, and someone was there immediately to pick it up for me.

A few months ago, we were at a small reception at the Adler Planetarium when I stumbled and fell.  Two men were on me immediately, one looking strangely into my eyes.  He must have felt my discomfort with that, said  “I’m a physician.”  I found I was in the middle of a semi-circle of about 30 people–first entertainment of the evening.

The guys helped me get into a chair, then made sure I got into the lecture room safely.

I think it is  wonderful that people want to help, but a helper must do only what the needful person wants.  Injured or handicapped people still need their autonomy.  

There’s a story about a young man who walked toward a busy intersecton and saw a frail old woman standing at the curb.  He swooped her up and carried her across the street, evading a bus.  On the other side, he put her down and said, ” Is there anything else I can do for you?”  She said, “Yes, take me back to the place where I was waiting for the bus”.

Disabled people expect reasonable consideration.  I worked briefly at a food store when I was in high school.  One day I saw a one-legged man start through the front door on crutches. A woman in a hurry pushed past him, jostling him aside.  Some minutes later, as she was bending over the potato bin,  the man struck her   butt with a crutch.  She neither exclaimed nor complained.

I enjoy remembering a scene from a movie  in which an old man carrying a bag of popcorn across a street toward a park is frightened by a young man in a convertible who honks at him and nearly runs him over.  The old man turns onto a sidewalk, sharing his popcorn with a flock of pigeons.  The young man parks farther down the street.  When the old man reaches the convertible, he dumps his popcorn in the front and back seats of the car.  I hope everyone knows what the young man will find when he returns.

 

 

Wedding Emergency

An Act Of Kindness, From One Immigrant To Another

Ibrahim Halil Dudu is a master tailor. He’s also a Syrian refugee living in Ontario, and when the bride next door’s zipper broke, he came to the rescue.                     Lindsay Coulter/Lindsay Coulter Photography

Jo Du was being helped into her gorgeous white wedding dress this week when a tooth on the zipper broke. It was Sunday in Guelph, Ontario, and no tailor shop was open.

Jo Du didn’t want to walk down the aisle to marry Earl Lee with pins in the back of her dress. But no one in the wedding party knew how to make the repair.

An enterprising bridesmaid knocked on a neighbor’s door to ask David Hobson if he might have a pair of pliers they could borrow. Mr. Hobson took in the situation — the bridesmaid, the lacy white dress, and a request for pliers — and said, “I’ve got better than tools. I’ve got a master tailor.”

David Hobson had a family of Syrian refugees from Aleppo living in his home for a few days: a mother, father, and 3 children. A local businessman, Jim Estill, has helped 50 Syrian families enter Canada and settle in the Guelph area — people from one of the most hellish landscapes on earth, brought to live in one of the safest, tidiest, and most serene towns in Canada.

The father of the Syrian family is Ibrahim Halil Dudu. He was indeed a master tailor in Aleppo for 28 years, and as soon as he saw the dress, Ibrahim Dudu got out his sewing kit and set to work.

“He literally sewed her wedding dress back onto her,” Lindsay Coulter, the wedding photographer, told CTV News. “Everyone was so grateful. They said thank you a million times.”

As it turns out, both the Du and Lee families are immigrants to Canada, too.

“Many of the bridesmaids were from China and were bowing to say thanks,” said Lindsay Coulter, who posted photos and wrote on her Facebook page, “Every weekend I take photos of people on the happiest days of their lives, and today one man who has seen some of the worst things our world has to offer came to the rescue.”

“I was so excited and so happy,” Ibrahim Halil Dudu said through a translator. “I like to help Canadian people from my heart.”

Earl Lee called the master tailor’s masterly repair, an “incredible act of kindness” from a “complete stranger who had only stepped foot in this country days ago.”

The master tailor and his family, the wedding party and theirs: immigrants and families of immigrants, who came to Guelph from opposite ends of the world, and made new homes, and look after each other.

NCAA reacts to NC’s LGBT law

NCAA PULLS 7 POSTSEASON EVENTS OUT OF NCAA  PULLS 7 EVENTS OUT OF NORTH CAROLINA DUE TO LGBT LAW

  sources  Associated Press and Fox Sports Sep 12, 2016
The NCAA has pulled seven championship events from North Carolina, including opening-weekend men’s basketball tournament games, for the coming year due to a state law that some say can lead to discrimination against LGBT people.

In a news release Monday, the NCAA says the decision by its board of governors came ”because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.”

”This decision is consistent with the NCAA’s long-standing core values of inclusion, student-athlete well-being and creating a culture of fairness,” said Georgia Tech President G.P. ”Bud” Peterson, the chair of the board of governors.
The law – known as HB2 – requires transgender people to use restrooms at schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. It also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from local and statewide antidiscrimination protections.

HB2 was signed into law by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this year. A spokesman with McCrory’s office couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Monday evening.

The only championship events that can be hosted in North Carolina this academic year are ones determined when a team earns the right to play on their own campus.

The NCAA said it will relocate the men’s basketball first- and second-round games that were scheduled for March 17 and 19 in Greensboro. The NCAA will also relocate:

– the Division I women’s soccer championship scheduled for Dec. 2 and 4 in Cary, just outside the capital city of Raleigh;

– the Division III men’s and women’s soccer championships set for Dec. 2 and 3 in Greensboro;

– the Division I women’s golf regional championships set for May 8-10 in Greenville;

– the Division III men’s and women’s tennis championships set for May 22-27 in Cary;

– the Division I women’s lacrosse championship set for May 26 and 28 in Cary;

– and the Division II baseball championship from May 27 to June 3 in Cary.

North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham and North Carolina State AD Debbie Yow both issued statements Monday evening saying they were disappointed at the loss of the events.

”We certainly hope there will be resolution in the very near future,” Yow said.

The campaign spokesman for Democrat Roy Cooper, the state’s attorney general and McCrory’s re-election opponent in November, said the law needs to be repealed.

”It seems that almost every day, we learn of a new consequence of HB2,” spokesman Ford Porter said. ”… We need to repeal this law and get our state back on track.”

The NCAA’s move leaves the Atlantic Coast Conference football championship game in Charlotte as the marquee college sporting event in the state this year as the men’s basketball tournament starts a two-year stay in Brooklyn, New York.

However, that event also could be in jeopardy. In May, the ACC announced that member schools discussed the law during their annual spring meetings and said it could impact whether the state hosts league championship events.

In April, the NCAA announced it was adopting an anti-discrimination measure that would affect the way the governing body evaluates bids to host sporting events and required sites to ”demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination.”

In a statement Monday night, NCAA President Mark Emmert said the governing body will delay announcements on future championship sites until early next year. That comes as it reviews responses to questionnaires required of prospective site hosts on how they would comply with the NCAA’s anti-discrimination measure.

In announcing its decision Monday, the NCAA stated current North Carolina laws ”make it challenging to guarantee that host communities can help deliver” on that requirement.

The NCAA also took special note of four ways North Carolina’s law differs from other states. The NCAA pointed out that five states – Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington – and several cities prohibit travel by public employees and representatives of public institutions to the state of North Carolina. Those representatives prohibited to travel could include athletes, coaches and athletic administrators.

Monday’s action by the NCAA is the latest public and business backlash that has arisen since the law was enacted. The NBA moved its 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans instead of hosting it in Charlotte as originally scheduled because of the law. Duke lost a men’s basketball game from its schedule when Albany backed out due to that state’s travel ban, while the Vermont women’s basketball team has canceled a December trip to play North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Entertainers like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Ringo Starr have canceled plans to play in North Carolina. And PayPal reversed plans to open a 400-employee operation center in Charlotte.

Blog Business

Thanks to John, we know how busy the blog has been.

Busiest months this year have been:                                                                 January–87 visits        April–87 visits      June–107 visits

REPLIES from blog visitors are always interesting, and I appreciate them.

WE NEED  posts from anyone and everyone.  Got a funny, strange, or personally important story?  Please write it up, send it to me.  I’ll edit and post it, and everyone will enjoy it.

RJN

Family Business !

 

Image result for water tower chicago photosLoyola’s Lewis Towers is the smaller dark building behind the Water Tower.

 

While I was attending Loyola U. in Chicago, our dad let me work in his office in the Chicago Loop with flexible hours and a fair wage.

 

The Burnham Center in Chicago. Photo by Steven W. Sabourin

 

I enjoyed the mile walk from Chicago and Michigan Avenues to the office at 111 W. Washington St.  Time passed easily with various clerical tasks.  And I liked working alone on Saturday mornings.

Image result for photo old typewriter

 

The two others in the office were secretary Mrs. O’Brien and bookkeeper Mr. Keeley,  Mrs, O’Brien was nice, and good at her job.  All the furniture and equipment in the office was old*, including her typewriter.  *  To shift for a capital letter, one would press the shift key with the little finger, raising the type basket with the little finger.  That wasn’t easy– Mrs, O’Brien  used her thumbs and struck hard.

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Jim Keeley had the one good machine :  A Friden mechanical calculator,  To multiply, it added all the numbers, very fast; to divide it made all the required subtractions:  clickety, clickety, clickety . . .   We had a room full of them at Loyola.  I never caught on to the operation.

Mr. Keeley had been paymaster on some big construction jobs, was a pianist with two grand pianos in his Oak Park apartment.  He hated winter and dreamed of living in California.

Dad could be unpleasant  when something went wrong.**  One time he gave me a handwritten order and said, “Call this in to the pit in Indiana and mail; a confirmation.  Substantial order: 200 railroad cars of #2 sand and 1 car of limestone dust. Seemed like a promotion to me and I made the call.  A little later, Dad called me in to his office, said, “So and so in Indiana just called to tell me that his  boy had ordered his entire year’s production of limestone dust!  Yup, I had switched the numbers.  Dad chewed me out pretty well.

I made my worst mistake once when I was addressing envelopes for invoices prepared by Jim Keeley, sealing and stamping them.  One invoice carried a special price for a special customer in a special situation, supposed to be a secret.  Yup, I mailed it to a different customer who was not getting  special price.  He of course chewed out Dad who in turn laid some very stern language on me.

* Until Dad had his office modernized.

** A long time before Keeley and me, Dad had a bookkeeper who cooked the books to avoid reporting bad monthly news, fearing Dad’s reaction.  Must have been crushing for Dad to find out he had been enjoying a fantasy, maybe adjusting family expenditures accordiingly.  Thereafter, he hired a CPA to close the books each month.

It was fun to walk in the city with Dad.  Sometimes he took me to a hotel for lunch.

Nearby the office, in the Knickerbocker Hotel dining room, I  saw something doubly strange–a black man was eating in the dining room.  He was blind.  Dad said he was a lawyer.

After his army service, my older brother Jim  went to work for Dad.  I know it wasn’t easy.  Dad resisted change, so new ideas like selling the plastic  pipe, now common, were not welcome. Dad tried to run the business from his hospital bed, and it was all on Jim after Dad died.

RJN

 

Ordinary Heroes

 

“Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.  Talmud (large collection of  basic Jewish tradition interpreting the Torah.)

___________________________________________________________________

Lelania Chapman didn’t know her own strength.  The Canadian mom and breast cancer patient was hiking with her nine-year-old son at a waterfall outside Vancouver when she heard screams for help.  Chapman, 43, walked toward the falls and saw 4 teenage boys trapped on a ledge down below.  The boys were cold; their cheeks were purple, said Chapman, who has been receiving radiation treatments for cancer since last November.

Unable to get a cell phone signal to call 911, she found a rope, tied herself to a tree, and hoisted each boy up the rock-face.  No matter what, she said, you’re a lot stronger than you think.

_______________________________

Jason Barnes was struggling flood waters from inundating his toy store in Ellicott City, Maryland when he saw a woman trapped in a car floating down Main Street.  Barnes, 36,  tried to battle his way through the thigh-high water to the car but was knocked off his feet and swept some 30 feet down the street.

Regaining his feet, the store-owner rushed back, made a human chain with bystanders, and pulled the trapped woman to safety.  Barnes denied he was a hero, saying,  You do what you need to do.

_______________________________

Image result for yusra mardini photos

Yusra Mardini was crossing the Mediterranean Sea on a flimsy dinghy with 19 other Syrian refugees last August when the boat’s motor suddenly stopped.

The teenager dove into the water and helped pull the dinghy for over 3 hours to the Greek Island of Lesbos, saving all on board.

Mardini eventually reached Germany and now is set for another momentous swim, this time at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics as part of a team of 10 refugee athletes, the first of its kind to compete in the Olympics.  The team has great friendship, she says.

source:  The Week  8,12.16   Very readable news magazine.  These stories are from the weekly feature of good news, It Wasn’t All Bad.

 

A Most Interesting Man

 

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National Public Radio All Things Considered  source

David Bald Eagle, Lakota Chief, Musician, Cowboy And Actor, Dies At 97

Chief David Beautiful Bald Eagle during the opening of the Days of '76 Museum in Deadwood, S.D. Bald Eagle died on Friday at the age of 97.

Chief David Beautiful Bald Eagle during the opening of the Days of ’76 Museum in Deadwood, S.D. Bald Eagle died on Friday at the age of 97.  Tom Griffith/Rapid City Journal via AP

In the U.K., the headlines note the passing of a “Dances With Wolvesactor.”

But appearing in an Oscar-award-winning film was one of the least interesting things David William Beautiful Bald Eagle ever did.

Bald Eagle died last Friday at 97. In his long, extraordinary life, he was a champion dancer — both ballroom and Lakota styles — a touring musician, a rodeo cowboy, a tribal chief, an actor, a stunt double, a war hero.

He danced with Marilyn Monroe. He drove race cars. He parachuted into enemy gunfire at Normandy. He played professional baseball. He was a leader not just of his tribe, but of the United Native Nations. He was an advocate for Native people.

And he was a bridge between the past and present — a man who, in his childhood, heard stories from survivors of the Battle of Little Bighorn.

Bald Eagle — whose full Lakota name translates to Wounded in Winter Beautiful Bald Eagle, the BBC reports — was born in 1919. At the time, he couldn’t be a U.S. citizen. He was 5 when America finally extended citizenship to indigenous people.

He lived with his grandfather White Feather as a child, the Rapid City Journal has written. His other grandfather was Chief White Bull, a relative of Sitting Bull and one of the leaders in the Battle of Little Bighorn. Both would tell young David their war stories, and exhort him to remember them.

Bald Eagle only spoke Lakota until he was 12, when he started school. He spent his teenage years learning English, playing sports — everything from pole vault to baseball — and competing in the rodeo.

He saw the West before barbed-wire fences and roads arrived, says his son, Kili Bald Eagle. “He used to tell me about how he could ride across the state and he’d never have to open a gate,” Kili says.

As a young man Bald Eagle enlisted in the horse cavalry. A few years later it was mechanized: The Army swapped his horse for a motorcycle, and made him a messenger.

He was discharged on Dec. 7, 1941. After he’d signed his papers, he heard the news about Pearl Harbor. At his commander’s request he reenlisted, joining as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne.

Sgt. Bald Eagle’s first combat jump was during the invasion of Anzio, Italy. He was part of a regiment that fought so fiercely a captured German soldier called them “Devils in Baggy Pants.”

Then he parachuted into Normandy, suffering severe injuries when he was accidentally dropped directly over German troops, an easy target for gunfire.

“We were just like clay pigeons, coming down. Most of my outfit was wiped out,” he told the Rapid City Journal in 2001.

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“The first medics to reach him left him for dead,” the paper wrote. “But some British commandos came along and found he still had a pulse.”

Bald Eagle survived. He started a musical career, as a drummer for Cliff Keyes’ Big Band, the BBC reports.

While he was in the Army, he’d met and fallen in love with an English dance teacher named Penny Rathburn. After he returned from the war, they were married.

As a couple, they were competitive ballroom dancerschampion ballroom dancers, in fact, dancing in St. Paul and Chicago.

Penny was pregnant with their first child when she died in a car crash. Bald Eagle was devastated.

“I became pretty much suicidal from then on,” he once said in an interview. “Why her, not me?”

So he took up dangerous pursuits.

He started race car driving, tried skydiving, returned to the rodeo circuit, took up bareback bull riding, became a stunt double in the movies.

But when chasing death, he came across success. His work as a stunt double “made his name,” according to Richard Bullock, who has written an obituary of Bald Eagle.

Shooting Westerns required “people who can actually ride horses,” as Sonny Skyhawk puts it. Skyhawk is a member of the Sicangu Lakota Nation who has been a film actor for nearly four decades.

So Bald Eagle, a talented rider, went on to appear in dozens of Hollywood films — which is how he met, and danced with, Marilyn Monroe.

The Westerns he was in represented Native people as less than human, Skyhawk says: “We were always being shot down or killed. With one bullet five or more Indians would fall.”

But Bald Eagle always tried to teach people about Native American history and life, whatever was happening around him, Skyhawk says.

“He excelled at being an educator, and did whatever it took, whatever his own power and talents, to bring that to the forefront,” Skyhawk says.

Dave Bald Eagle, at 95, playing the role of Dan in Neither Wolf Nor Dog.

Dave Bald Eagle, at 95, playing the role of Dan in Neither Wolf Nor Dog.  Courtesy of Steven Lewis Simpson

At one point in his life, he played semi-pro baseball in Minnesota, as a catcher. He was also a Lakota dancer — a champion in that, too.

And he toured with Casey Tibbs’ Wild West Show as a rodeo performer, under the name “Chips Warner,” because crowds didn’t like Indian names.

It was with Tibbs in Europe, at the World’s Fair in Brussels in 1958, that he met the second love of his life: Josee Kesteman, a young Belgian actress.

“When she came into my life, my life changed again,” Bald Eagle told theRapid City Journal. “She was the one who kept me alive.”

Their courtship spanned years and thousands of miles. And as described ina profile of one of the couple’s sons, it featured a movie-worthy parting line:

“Before he left Belgium … David told Josee that he had a cave in South Dakota waiting for her if she ever wanted to come live with him.

“All Josee could think about was that cave in South Dakota … she decided to leave Brussels behind in 1972.”

The cave comment was a joke, Bald Eagle later explained, but Josee seemed totally game for the plan. The two married the next year, and instead of a cave, they lived on a horse ranch on the Cheyenne River Reservation.

They raised a large family together, one that grew even larger when they adopted many children. Several of their children have served in the military, including two who served in the 82nd Airborne, like their father.

At times 20 to 30 people would be living at the ranch at a time, says Bald Eagle’s son, Kili Bald Eagle.

“We had teepees that were always set up in the back yard and we grew our own, so we had food always available,” he says. “If you came to the Bald Eagle Ranch you were going to earn your keep, but you were always welcome.”

After settling down, Bald Eagle became the chief of the Miniconjou Lakota. Then he became First Chief of the United Native Nations, an organization representing a number of tribes.

Chief Bald Eagle had extraordinary exploits and adventures, but Skyhawk says his greatest attribute was something quieter: his “silent compassion.”

“He loved children, he loved teaching, he loved educating people — he loved it all. He loved life to its extreme,” Skyhawk says. “No matter who you were, child, man, woman, he made you feel special. And that is a huge, huge mark on the telling of who you are as a human being, and he exemplified that.”

Bald Eagle continuously advocated for indigenous people and worked to preserve Lakota stories.

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“I know we can’t go back there, back to where we were,” he told the Rapid City Journal in 2003. But we can tell the young ones how it was and they can remember, and they can bring it back. They can return.”

He was always adventurous.

“He rode his last bucking horse when he was 72 years old, on a dare,” Kili Bald Eagle says. “That’s my dad.”

He kept acting, too. There was that appearance in Dances with Wolves, after all. For decades, The Associated Press writes, Bald Eagle was the face of the Lakota in tourism ads for South Dakota.

And at the age of 95, he had his first lead role, after all those years as a stunt double: He starred in the independent film Neither Wolf Nor Dog.

He threw his heart into the role, director Steven Lewis Simpson said. At a key point in the plot, he improvised — speaking off the cuff about the massacre at Wounded Knee and how it affected his people.

“At that point he’s not acting — he is just literally a great Lakota elder sharing with us the historical trauma of his people,” Simpson says.

“He was an extraordinary human being,” Simpson says, pointing to Bald Eagle’s mischievous humor and his fearlessness. “His biography is filled with things that would have killed lesser men.”

He says Bald Eagle would reminisce about his days with Casey Tibbs and his time on the rodeo circuit, but that he was most proud of his family with Josee. They’d host huge family gatherings at their ranch, Simpson says.

How huge? Kili Bald Eagle estimates one Bald Eagle family reunion hosted 5,000 people. Two bands came to play.

Even in his late 90s, David Beautiful Bald Eagle was every bit the active head of the family.

“The funny thing is that normally when a 97-year-old passes you go, ‘Well, they had an incredible long life.’ You kind of think it’s the end of it,” Simpson said. “And yet in a strange way with Dave … You just didn’t feel there was an end to him.”

Skyhawk, too, says it’s hard to believe that Bald Eagle is gone — and nearly impossible to find the words to describe him.

“He was a short man in stature but he was immeasurable in what he has done for his fellow man and for his native people,” Skyhawk says.

“If I had to describe, him I’d say tatanka, which is the Lakota word for buffalo. And the male buffalo in the course of a storm, a blizzard, will stand there and face it head-on. He won’t lie down and he won’t hide behind anything. That’s what this man did: he faced everything with integrity and everything that he had in his own heart.

“And it would have taken a big heart.”