Showing posts with label childhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label childhood. Show all posts

October 26, 2018

Nebraska Cattle and a Lemonade Stand

Along US 20 in the Nebraska Sandhills
"Pastoralists often have the same distinct qualities of personality regardless of the region of the world in which they live.  Specifically, men in a local group tend to be cooperative with each other and aggressive towards outsiders.  They usually can make important economic decisions quickly and act on them independently.  They have a profound emotional attachment to their animals."

Dennis O'Neill
(study materials for a cultural anthropology class)


Nebraska Sandhills from space, 2001 (Wikipedia).
I was flying from London to Denver, sitting ahead of two young English guys who had bought a ski-holiday package in Breckenridge. I think it was their first trip to the United States. The airplane was gradually descending over the South Dakota and Nebraska, when one of them spoke up: "What's that?"

I had a window seat, so I looked down.

There were the Nebraska Sandhills, looking like multiple loads dropped by a gigantic dump truck. Unlike hills formed by erosion, these are grass-covered sand dunes, formed by particles eroded and wind-carried from the Rocky Mountains when the last Ice Age ended.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) designated the Sandhills as an ecoregion, distinct from other grasslands of the Great Plains. According to their assessment, as much as 85% of the ecoregion is intact natural habitat, the highest level in the Great Plains. This is chiefly due to the lack of crop production: most of the Sandhills land has never been plowed. ("Sandhills (Nebraska).")

As we dropped lower, the two Brits, coming from a land of winding lanes, were equally amazed at Colorado State Highway 71, running ruler-straight for miles north of Brush and I-76.

Nebraska State Highway 2 gives the best east-west trip through the Sandhills, with US 83 the best north-south view.

For variety, this time I took US 20 west from Valentine, which brought up an old memory.

I was driving it the other way, having left southern Colorado early and hoping to make it Valentine in order to interview this staffer at the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge office near Valentine before he went home for the day.

Passing through the little town of Rushville, I saw two young children sitting by the curb with a lemonade stand (it was June) in front of a Victorian house.

Wanting to become a better writer-photographer, I saw them as a perfect subject for my personal stock photos files. But there was question of photo releases—could I get one? They were out in public, so I did not really need one, but some editors were fussy.

I kept going. Had to get to Valentine. But then I kicked myself (mentally) and kept kicking myself for the next forty miles;

Forget the perfect neo-Norman Rockwell photograph, what I should have done was stop and buy some lemonade!!

So I made a vow that I have more or less kept since then: when I see a lemonade stand, I stop and buy some, even if it is crappy lemonade made from a powdered mix.

At that time in Rushville, Lenore Skenazy had not yet popularized the term "Free-Range Kids," but buying lemonade is sort of reinforcing Free-Range behavior.

February 26, 2017

A Kid, a Dog (?), and the World's Greatest Cave Art

What he or she saw: lions and prey at Chauvet
Sometime, say 26,000 years ago or more, a kid and a canid (wolf? dog? wolf-dog?) went exploring  underground.
The human prints are of a barefooted child aged eight to ten years old and standing about 4.5 feet (1.4 meters) tall. The child was walking, not running, although at one point it appears that he or she slipped a little in the soft clay. Researchers know that the child carried a torch because there is evidence of him/her stopping at one point to clean the torch, leaving behind a stain of charcoal.

It is amazing to think of a Paleolithic kid exploring this ancient cave, examining the paintings and bear skulls that were placed reverently at the back of the cave. Even more amazing is that accompanying (not stalking) the child’s footprints are the paw prints of a wolf (or possibly a large dog). This timeless image of a child and dog shatters the notion that dogs were only domesticated 15,000 years ago. More importantly, the new time period radically alters the answer to how dogs became man’s best friend.
OTHER NEWS: 

There are more prairie dog towns in Colorado than we thought. But I am still sorry that my sister did not ever follow up on her plan to clandestinely reintroduce them in South Park, from where, she said, they had all been poisoned in the mid-20th century.

• Hunting writer Dave Petersen of Durango interviewed in High Country News.
When I interviewed Western writer David Petersen for a magazine article several years ago, I really only had one question to ask him: Could hunting be morally defended in the 21st century?

At a time when few people seem concerned about that question — either they’re already convinced that hunting is barbaric, or just the opposite, that it’s a right that ought to be exercised with as few restrictions and as easily as possible — Petersen has spent much of his life examining what it means to kill in order to eat.
More about his hunting-ethics documentary here.

New study revises tree-ring dating of archaeological sites.
Currently, archaeologists have to rely on relatively sparse evidence for dating the history of Western civilisation before 763 BCE, with Chinese history also only widely agreed from 841 BCE. For example, they depend on ancient records of rare astronomical phenomena, such as the solar eclipse during the ninth year of Ashur Dan III of Assyria, to determine the age of historical events. In the absence of such records, standard radiocarbon measurements provide the best estimates, but these are still often only accurate to within 200 to 300 calendar years. If the radiocarbon spikes in the tree-ring data were also found in archaeological items attributable to specific historical periods, the information could be used to anchor exactly when events occurred, says the paper.

January 08, 2017

Using Outdoor Electronic Technology the Right Way

In the current issue (Jan.-Feb. 2017) of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation magazine, Bugle, P. J. DelHomme talks about using electronic technology (smarphones, Google Earth, GPS gear, etc.) to draw kids into outdoor experiences.
If you have an area in mind to hunt, see if your kid would be willing to scout it for you via Google Earth. Turn it into a biology lesson. Elk need food, water, shelter, and space—lots of space. Have them pick out likely elk spots away from roads, mark them on the map, and then find a way in. You might just spark enough interest so they'll want to go with you to see if it pays off.
He also suggests geocaching, among other things, as a way to let the screen-obsessed do stuff outdoors. All good.

At the same time, however, you would want to educate those kids about "Death by GPS," the title of a recent article at Ars Technica.
What happened to the Chretiens is so common in some places that it has a name. The park rangers at Death Valley National Park in California call it “death by GPS.” It describes what happens when your GPS fails you, not by being wrong, exactly, but often by being too right. It does such a good job of computing the most direct route from Point A to Point B that it takes you down roads which barely exist, or were used at one time and abandoned, or are not suitable for your car, or which require all kinds of local knowledge that would make you aware that making that turn is bad news.
And J. R. Sullivan wonders at Outside, "Our Reliance on Technology Makes the Backcountry More Dangerous."
“One of the worst trends we’ve seen in the past 20 years is the proliferation of cell phones and technology in the backcountry,” says Tim Smith, a registered Master Maine Guide and the founder of the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School, which instructs students in brush living, guide skills, and long-term winter survival. “It gives people a false sense of security. It's the idea of, Who cares how bad of a jam I get myself into? Because if there’s cell coverage I’ll call and someone will come get me. But if you had no outside line, no way of contacting other people, you’re way less likely to take risks.”
And a neurologist suggests that using GPS instead of building mental maps affects the structure of the physical brain:
An integral component of brain organization is that it changes with experience. So yes, our modern lifestyle alters our brains. The important question, however, is not whether technology changes the brain, but whether our technology driven life damages our brain.
And did you remember to charge your phone? 

January 16, 2016

Andre Norton Messed with my Mind

Reconstruction of a man checking the roof
on his house framed with mammoth bones.
(The Mammoth Site, Hot Springs, S.D.)


Recent Web-surfing (Do people still say that?) led me this fascinating article on Gizmodo: "A Mysterious Mammoth Carcass Could Change Human History."

The problem was that I read as far as this line — "A rounded hole through the interior jugal" —and immediately I think, "A bullet hole! Time travelers!" (And as a second thought, "What caliber for mammoth?")

Whose fault is that? Andre Norton's — pen name of Mary Alice Norton (1912–2005), who published in days when female SF writers pretty much had publish under male names for a nearly all-male readership.

Specifically I am thinking of her novel The Time Traders (1958). Wikipedia summarizes the beginning of The Time Traders
At the end of the Twentieth Century petty crook Ross Murdock is given the choice of facing a new medical procedure called Rehabilitation or volunteering to join a secret government project.

Hoping for a chance to escape, Ross volunteers to join Operation Retrograde and is taken by Major John Kelgarries to a base built under the ice near the North Pole. Teamed with archaeologist Gordon Ashe, he is trained to mimic a trader of the Beaker culture of Bronze-Age Europe.
(The Time Traders and one of its sequels, Key Out of Time, are available as free e-book downloads from Project Gutenberg.)

When I read it, after finding it in my tiny branch county library in Lakewood, Colo., I was maybe 11. It was not a good time— my parents had separated — Dad had moved out —and my mother was seeing some counselor whose office was in the same strip mall, so she would park me at the library. Then he moved back in — I was so glad —and then he moved out again. So maybe that was actually a good time for time travelers and for thinking about that evocative phrase, "the Beaker People."

Meanwhile, about that mammoth.
This 45,000 year-old mammoth’s life ended violently at the hands of hunters. That wouldn’t be surprising—it’s well known that Pleistocene humans were expert mammoth killers—but for the location. It was excavated from a permafrost embankment at Yenisei bay, a remote spot in central Siberia where a massive river empties into the Arctic Ocean.

That makes this brutalized mammoth the oldest evidence for human expansion into the high Arctic by a wide margin. Its discovery, published today in Science, might push back the timeline for when humans entered the northernmost reaches of the world—including the first entries into North America.
Reading about it is still a form of time travel, but I want to go to the Bronze Age via a secret base in the Arctic, damnit.

December 28, 2015

Massive 2015 Year-End Link Dump! Something for Everyone!

Chef Jess Noy. See squirrel item.
I too often save a link to blog about it but them am too busy to do so. So here they are! All free!

Aspens in western Oregon could be "refugees" from Ice Age floods.

An article on Outdoor Wire wondered if the movie Wild would give a boost to backpacking or if The Hunger Games would increase the sale of archery gear. Well, did they?

• Not sure how this turned out: a Jewish kind-of-guru and a land-use battle in the Huerfano Valley of southern Colorado.

• What is the best survival knife? I would say that it's the knife you have with you. But, gear heads, read this article.

• When I was in the 6th grade at Kullerstrand Elementary School in Wheat Ridge, Colo., my teacher, Miss Carter, became engaged to the son of a carnation-raising family. She took us on a class trip through the commercial greenhouses — there used to be operations like that all over the area. Then, boom! no more. All the cut flowers came from Colombia, thanks to the War on Drugs ("We will pay them to grow roses instead of coca.") Now, "Colorado farmers, florists seek renaissance for local flower scene."

• Cañon City commercial herb and flower grower Tammy Hartung blogs on "Protecting Wildlife in the Garden & Farm Landscape."

• BoingBoing offers "The Best Adventure Stories for Kids from 1965." Is having adventures retro-cool? Elidar was actually one of Alan Garner's weaker books, I thought.

• Counting roadkill is depressing: "Our Highways' Toll on Wildlife." A game warden in Fremont County, Colo., once told me that he figured a deer or elk was killed every night of the year by a motor vehicle. No doubt some of those drivers think that hunting is cruel.

The English discover that squirrels are tasty. Also, redheads rule.

The Salton Sea was an accident, but birds love it. I finally saw it this past March.

• It's cold this week. Are you at risk for "the frozen five"?

The "locavore movement" boosts deer hunting, in case you did not know.

• What southern Colorado needs is a good "guntry club." But I expect that northern Colorado will get (or has gotten) one sooner, since that is where the money is. Still, I can fantasize.

• Are you feeding the birds this winter? Some thoughts on where to put your feeders. And keep them clean.  And if you want birds, you have to tolerate some insects.

• What happens when a professional wedding photographer goes elk hunting.

Don't make these dumb moves when you go to a gun shop.

• I have heard some of these: "Female Hunters Share Tales of Sexism."

How to shoot down a drone. Hint: they are more like pigeons than geese.

• It kind of amazes me that Bishop's Castle is the must-see tourist attraction in the Wet Mountains. But almost everyone who rents our cabin goes there.

• When I worked at the Cañon City Daily Record, part of my job was visiting the local humane society and photographing the adoptable pet of the week. I learned some these things by trial and error, but I wish that I had had this article to read.

December 18, 2015

Look What Smokey Bear Left in my Stocking!

The Fiddlin' Foresters
Am I opening presents early, when Smokeymas is still a week away? Not really, I found this CD, "In the Long Run" by the Fiddlin' Foresters, at ARC today.

I had no idea that (a) the US Forest Service had an "official old-time string band" and (b) that their website had been presidentially singled out by Barack Obama as an example of government waste. Was that a taxpayer-funded banjo too?

Thank heaven we have saved $10 annually on domain registration fees. The deficit will melt like snow in May if we keep this up.

The album is still available.

I played it on the long drive home from Colorado Springs. They do a tricky thing in the middle, moving from the campfire-singalong jollity of "Smokey the Bear" through another cut and then into "Cold Missouri Waters," which is a song I rarely listen to because it interferes with my vision, and that's not what you want at 65 mph. Jane Leche gets into Joan Baez territory with the vocal track (YouTube).

"Is that about a wildfire?" M. asks.

"Mann Gulch," I manage to say, although my voice sounds funny.

But let's be real. The song is a weeper, but I was not even born yet when the events took place.

I am thinking more of a sunny dining hall at the Wheaton College science station/summer camp in the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota. A boy sits off in a corner while his father, the Pactola District ranger, gives some students a quick version of what would be today the S-190 and S-130 "red card" wildfire-training classes, in case they have to fight a fire on or near their 50-acre site.

Sheet music to "Smokey the Bear" sits on the rack of the upright piano in the dining hall, and the ranger is telling the students how you should never run uphill from a fire, how something bad happened in Montana not too many years before.

March 25, 2014

Middle-schoolers in Shooting Spree! (Safely)

Students from Craver Middle School in Pueblo County get a supervised trip to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Range out at the reservoir (with video).

There is an Project Appleseed tie-in, not well explained—but what do you expect from local television.

The kids liked it. 
"My favorite part is shooting guns. When I was little we used to go to the shooting range," said another student, Danielle Cooper.

These students have been on field trips before. But not one quite like this.
Guns in school can be a touchy subject.

"Often firearms and schools don't mix. There's a big fear there. So we are pushing the safety aspect and hopefully ease some people’s fears," said Timothy Baird, with the Craver Middle School.
The school's website lists Mr. Baird as a music teacher, so you may insert the "song of my people" meme here.

December 29, 2013

Sleeping in the Cold

A young guy in northern Minnesota decides to try sleeping outdoors for a year in the back yard. He started out in a kind of tree house, but then winter came.
The snow house smelled like straw, which littered the white floor. In this holiday season, Hummel seemed to be occupying his own Nativity scene.
Lots of foam pads, that's the secret. (Via Free Range Kids.)

I have done some winter camping, but a year—I respect that.

M's and my second dwelling was a sort-of-winterized little house in Manitou Springs. We slept in an unheated, uninsulated sun porch. It did have glass windows—jalousies that did not seal too well and let little patches of snow drift in.

But our rule was that when the temperature in our bedroom dipped much below 20° F (-7° C), we would move into the indoor guest room.

December 07, 2013

Winter Camping in the Age of Ignorance

I was skimming this article (and its informed comments) about temperature rating on winter
This looks like my childhood sleeping bag.
sleeping bags
and how many manufacturers (in the writer's opinion) overstate them. In other words, a bag rated to -20° F (-28° C) is really more like a -10° bag for a man — maybe a -5° bag for a woman.

With the temperatures hovering around 0° F. outdoors, I remembered my first serious winter camping trip and sleeping in a Korean War-surplus M1949 "down and feathers" mummy bag.

That was not the worst of it. Compared to the rest of my gear, that was a high-tech sleeping bag.

My Boy Scout troop went to the annual Winter Camporee, held in Rocky Mountain National Park — near Bear Lake, I think. I was about 12 years old.

The troop supplied canvas tents, while we Scouts brought our own personal gear. Maybe if Dad had been around, he could have offered good advice and some of his own stuff — he got me started on camping and backpacking, after all — but at this point, the marriage was dissolving, and he was living elsewhere.

As I recall, I was equipped with cotton long underwear, probably cotton socks, cotton blue jeans, some kind of shirt and sweater (?), a not-great ski parka, knit hat, and mittens. On my feet were oiled leather pull-on boots, "Wellingtons" in the American sense of the word. They leaked.

If you had a down parka back then, you were probably a pro mountaineer, like Jim Whittaker on Mount Everest, or else had the money to pretend to be one.

Under my M1949 sleeping bag was a plastic-covered foam-rubber pad off a patio chaise longue. And maybe a GI poncho.

I shivered through the night and spent part of the morning standing next to the campfire that was slowly sinking down, down into the snow. (We "cooked" on campfires, as I recall).

I learned some things right away, such as that blue jeans freeze, and since there were no outhouses, just the woods, you can spend hours working up the courage to take a shit in the snow.

On the plus side, I spent a lot of time snowshoeing, and that plus the bright Colorado sunshine warmed me up. The snowshoes kept my inadequate boots up out of the snow as well.

The second evening, the Scout leaders loaded us into their cars and took us to some Park Service building where we watched a natural-history movie. I suspected even at the time that the real reason for the trip was to let us spend a couple of hours inside a heated structure.

I made a few improvements to my bed, survived the second night, and ran in the snowshoe races the next day. And then it was time to head home. I thought that I had had a good time overall, and I proudly sewed the Winter Camporee patch onto my uniform.

December 02, 2013

Blog Stew for Free-Range Kids and Tactical Barbequers

¶ A northwest section has been added to the Colorado Birding Trail. The "trail" is a series of wildlife-watching stops and driving loops. Here is the site for all the "trails."

¶ Exurban Kevin rounds up some of the "tactical" Christmas-gift ideas out there. A MOLLE-gear barbeque apron? Tactical paper? I never go hiking without it.

¶ It snowed last week in Walsenburg too. With photos.

¶ No MOLLE gear, but check out "A Terrible Mother's Holiday Guide to Dangerous Gifts," via Lenore Skenazy's Free Range Kids blog.

July 28, 2013

Take Your Kid 'Squatching'

Introduce your kids to the outdoors by searching for the most elusive free-range primate of all: Bigfoot.

Tracks and other evidence were found.

Northern Colorado readers, doesn't this look like Roxborough State Park? I have never been there myself.

April 21, 2013

Blog Stew: Cook it for a Merit Badge

"Pimp My Walk" — an article on the glory days of walking canes, with comparison to today's hiking apparatus: "I’ve noticed an inverse correlation between the use of paired aluminum walking sticks and eye contact — they’re often like car drivers who don’t like to make eye contact with pedestrians.

• Being a locavore is fine, the writer says, but, contra Michael Pollan, is it a good idea for government to require locavorism?

Were Boy Scouts of 1911 tougher than today's or merely living in a "just do it" society?
One way to illuminate these changes is by comparing the original BSA handbook, published in 1911, with the modern version – the 12th edition was introduced in 2009. In an incisive book review for the Claremont Institute, Kathleen Arnn conducts this type of side-by-side analysis. She points out that while the modern version contains many of the same skills as the original, “its discussions of these things have been pared down and lack the verve, punch, and adventurous spirit—the manliness—of the original handbook.”
• • •
Modern badge requirements also diverge from the old in their more abstract, mental nature. While the 1911 badge requirements are all direct actions, often of the physical, hands-on variety, the modern badge requirements emphasize more thinking than doing. The hands-on tasks are now tucked into long lists of requirements that ask the scout to thoroughly Review/Describe/Explain/Illustrate/Demonstrate the underlying principles and context of the badge’s subject matter before trying their hand at it.

February 01, 2013

'Maybe Teens Aren't Interested in Nature Because We're Selling Them Too Much Freedom to Consume'


Ryan Jordan of Backpacking Light, who is also a Scout leader in Montana, narrates a brief video on "boys in the wild."

In the film, and in a short article he speculates about why some boys are energized by wilderness backpacking while others are discouraged "that the mountain is so steep."

Facebook's Colorado Mountain Men group.

Meanwhile, I am looking at their gear and thinking how much lighter and better it is than when I was 14 going on multi-night backpack trips with Troop 97, Fort Collins.

December 23, 2012

Drop the Smart Phone, Go Hiking, Be Smarter?

I am not sure how you measure creativity — it's not like saying how many pull-ups you can do or something like that, but if being outdoors enhanced creativity, then I will support the meme.
Earlier studies have shown that children spend only 15 to 25 minutes outdoors daily and that outdoor recreation has declined over the past 30 years. People ages 8 to 18 spent more than 7.5 hours daily watching TV or using cellphones or computers.
But I always feel a little guilty about now in writing such a blog post, because guess where I am at this very moment.

OK, tomorrow, serious hike. It's supposed to snow too.

December 12, 2012

Blog Stew for Kids Who Survive

• I think of catfish as bottom-feeders, but under the right conditions, they are sharks!Say Uncle.

• Dog seat belts don't work. No, that's not a real dog.

• If you have kids on the gift list, check out the "I Survived . . . " series. They come recommended from the Free Range Kids blog, where a reader comments, 
One of my son’s favorite book series this year is the “I Survived…” 9/11 attacks, Titanic, San Fran Earthquake (from Scholastic Books).  At first, I was concerned of his interest in disasters but after reading a few of the pages, I understood why he enjoyed them. He wanted to find out what kids did to survive and not be  victims.

September 06, 2012

Blog Stew with Only Purebred American Buffalo

• From Glenn Reynolds, a brilliant idea to encourage kids to play outside—make unstructured outdoor activities a class marker that helps your child get into prestigious schools.

Breeding "pure" buffalo at Colorado State University. (I had learned only in the past few years that many American buffalo have some domestic bovine genes.) So when do we get shows and and judges and ribbons and people talking about "the fancy"? Or does that already exist, and I don't know about it, not being friends with Ted Turner?

• At Vuurwapen (firearm) Blog, basically a hardcore shooting blog, a good post on "Why I Avoid Shooting Animals and Reptiles."

August 09, 2012

Kitty is a Killer

And Kitty Cam can prove it.

Research from the University of Georgia:
Results indicate that a minority of roaming cats in Athens [Georgia]  (44%) hunt wildlife and that reptiles, mammals and invertebrates constitute the majority of suburban prey. Hunting cats captured an average of 2 items during seven days of roaming. Carolina anoles (small lizards) were the most common prey species followed by Woodland Voles (small mammals). Only one of the vertebrates captured was a non-native species (a House Mouse). Eighty-five percent of wildlife captures were witnessed during the warm season (March-November in the southern US). Cats roaming during warmer seasons were more likely to exhibit hunting behavior and the number of captures per hunting cat is expected to decrease with increasing cat age. Cat age, sex, and time spent outside did not significantly influence hunting behavior.
Patrick Burns has some comments.
If you have decided that your cat is entitled to behave like a wild animal, don't be surprised if  your cat's life ends like that of a wild animal -- dead from vehicle impact, bullet, trap, poison, or a mauling from a dog or coyote.
Somehow the cat issue ends up connected to the whole "free-range kid" movement too.
Um, there may be some differences between cats and children, at least with time.

May 18, 2012

50 Things to Do before You're 12

I think that I managed most of these. Geocaching had not been invented, and I did not see a seaside rock pool until I was in my teens. Ditto wild blackberries— do chokecherries count? (Via Free Range Kids)

May 15, 2012

Siren, Emergency, Residents for the Warning of

You don't normally associate tornadoes with snow-capped mountain peaks, but two days ago the National Weather Service issued a warning for the western part of the county—big thunderstorm, rotation observed, etc.

I happened to be looking at the Pueblo NWS radar map, and there was the red tornado trapezoid on top of the yellow trapezoid for the thunderstorm. What a surprise. It never really formed, although some people said that they saw the beginnings of a funnel cloud.

Today I went up to the county seat for the monthly emergency services board meeting (I representing our little fire department), and of course the tornado was topic #1 on the agenda—specifically, how long to blow the town's emergency warning siren for such an usual event.

At one point, the sheriff suggested letting it sound for as long as the Weather Service warning lasted.

The emergency-services manager said that she had consulted some of her counterparts in High Plains counties, where they know about tornadoes, and that they often used a three-minute warning siren followed by a one-minute "all clear."

And so on. Meanwhile, I drifted off into an old childhood nightmare, typical of a mid-Cold War childhood. (There's a documentary film about that.)

Dad was an officer in a South Dakota National Guard anti-aircraft unit, tasked with defending Ellsworth AFB and Rapid CIty if the Soviet Air Force came over the North Pole and headed our way. He was also involved with some sort of Civil Defense work.

So I had in my schoolboy's billfold (which rarely contained money) a card, red ink on white card stock, that explained all the different emergency siren tones—continuous, undulating, intermittent—and what you were supposed to do when you heard them.

The siren could be for any threat—in 1972, after we left, a flash flood through the town killed more than two hundred people.

But in my mind it would always sound for a squadron of Tupolev "Bear" bombers.

In my 8-year-old's imagination, I was running (or bicycling) across the street from my school, up the gulley past the Methodist church, and across a half mile of prairie toward my house.

Because it is better to be incinerated at home than at school?

All that never happened, of course. When the siren down the highway from my house blows, it means just one thing: "Where is the fire?"

But somehow the discussion brought back a little kid tearing (mentally) down a dirt road toward a yellow house with brown trim.