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My Life’s Birds: #71

February 27, 2008
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July 4, 1993 – Christian Co, Mo – In Lindenlure, where I grew up, my family was one of only a few who lived year round in the little unincorporated community by the river. The rest of the folks were typically from Springfield, and they’d spend their summers in houses that looked out over the small lake, closer to home, and likely cheaper than, similar summer homes further north around Lake of the Ozarks. Summers then, were a carefree time for my family, and as both my parents are public school teachers we’d spend most of our time those three months laying around the river, canoing up around the bends for hot dog hunts and playing volleyball on the grass court erected by Dr Cook and his wife, who owned the common area. It was a somewhat idyllic existence now that I look back on it, and kind of perfect for the budding naturalist that I was.

I bring all this up not only to place my childhood in context, to explain why I love the outdoors and birds particularly, but because every year on July 4th, Lindenlure would throw a big party that would last all day. There would be a huge potluck dinner and cookout. We’d play games, run races, make a human pyramid and hold a parade, with Dr Cook himself leading the way playing a sousaphone fitted with a garden hose mouthpiece. I kid you not, there are pictures. Then, in the evening, people would break out the fireworks and start going nuts on the basketball court. Imagine 10 year olds running around with lit punks lighting explosives as tall as they are while everyone else sits back in lawn chairs ooohing and ahhhing and you’re beginning to get the idea. Dangerous? Probably, but fun.

And in the midst of all this, in 1993, I saw my life Belted Kingfisher, but certainly not my first Belted Kingfisher. It was likely sometime in the late afternoon, when the races had been run and everyone retired to the old public dock to swim in the river. I’ve seen them in that very place practically every time I’ve been back. The bird probably scattered when the people came, rattling its displeasure and flying upstream towards the clay banks where they preferred to make their nests. It was undoubtedly peeved to be displaced but well received by everyone and nonetheless, appropriately attired for such a patriotic occasion. Perhaps we missed the boat with the Bald Eagle as national bird, the Belted Kingfisher would have been far more appropriate. Brash, cocky, and always clad in red, white, and blue.

BELKIN via wikipedia

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One Comment
  1. Greg permalink
    February 27, 2008 2:32 pm

    Great memories! Ah, summertime! Nice political comment to end it, too!

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