Longing for spring in a crazy world


Just think: Spring, by the calendar, is only three months hence. And isn’t it sweet to have those few extra minutes of daylight each day, even though the vernal equinox still slumbers?
Meanwhile, we must all endure Old Man Winter’s wrath along with trying to keep warm, keep the pipes from freezing and despite having had the fireplace chimney relined several years ago, I still can’t summon the courage to light a fire.
I need to have the damper checked. It well could have rusted after all these years – the living room with the fireplace was an addition in about 1936 – and I recall once when I forgot to open it and had to call the fire department to rid the house of smoke!
At the very least, the fireplace should be safe to use in case of an emergency, God forbid.
Another problem: The thermostat is in the living room and when a nice hot fire is keeping the room toasty, the rest of the house gets mighty chilly. As expensive as my heating fuel oil is, at least it shouldn’t set the house on fire.
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Ready for another rescued bird story, which in once sense doesn’t have a happy ending but in another sense does?
For years, George “Buddy” Huggins whose own business is The Garage here in Boardman, has taken good care of my various cars. My little 1995 Ford Escort had its usual checkup for winter not long ago.
So it was surprising to have Buddy call me the other day, saying he needed my help. It seems he had found a wounded barred owl resting in one of his trees and it was obvious the fellow had a badly broken wing.
What to do? He could not let the bird stay there and suffer and freeze to death.
Neither of us could reach our mutual friend, naturalist Randy Jones, so we called Raymond Horvath, Mill Creek Park’s naturalist. He gave us the name of Heather Merritt of Niles, who is a licensed raptor rehabilitator.
I knew of her fine work and had hoped to write a column about her last summer but we couldn’t get together.
Buddy called her and she told him exactly what to do, and when he told her he was a fisherman and had a long-handled net, that was the answer. He carefully netted the patient, put it in a box and covered it so it wouldn’t panic to further injure itself.
He met Heather halfway and she took it home to be evaluated.
Sadly, the X-rays showed three different serious fractures, none of which could be repaired. Euthanization was the “happy” ending as the owl did not suffer and freeze to death, thanks to both Buddy and Heather.
Heather said the bird’s knuckles were terribly bloodied, indicating it had tried to save itself after the crash, probably into an automobile.
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Twenty-three years ago, hackney pony enthusiasts Jeanie and Eddie Wilson of Canfield, were overjoyed with the very sprightly hackney colt foaled in their barn.
They named him “Vindicator” – not necessarily after the newspaper – and he lived up to his name time and time again in not just area horse shows, but in Louisville, Lexington and other prestigious shows.
When he was 5 years old, they sold him to Karen Waldron of Shassville, Va., who has campaigned him ever since to ever more wins.
He is the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s leading roadster hackney sire, among many other titles, and has also sired magnificent foals.
Early in January, Eddie was honored by the United Professional Hackney Breeders Association in Roanoke, Va., as Breeder of the Year. (I’ve known Eddie since he had his very first pony, “Lady,” a long time ago and lived with his parents on Hitchcock Road!)
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Our confusing world: For years we’ve been warned about slathering ourselves with sunblock so we wouldn’t get skin cancer. Now they tell us we’ll develop all kinds of other cancers if we don’t get enough Vitamin D from the sun!
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Does anyone remember my personal very bad hair day a year ago when instead of getting highlights I ended up with orange locks?
It might interest you to know that a whole year later, much of the disaster is still clearly visible. My now mostly gray hair is ribboned with all kinds of colors. Never again!
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Are any readers fond of opera? Did you know that at least once a month at Boardman’s Tinseltown theater the Metropolitan Opera Co. presents beautiful operas on that huge screen so you think you are right on stage with the singers?
I thoroughly enjoyed a three-hour presentation of Macbeth with a terrific cast. Coming up Feb. 16 is Jules Massenet’s Manon and March 15 is Peter Grimes.
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Does anyone else remember when men actually removed their hats when they entered a house? And tipped them to ladies? And when no one wore them backward unless they were clowning?


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A lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley, Janie Jenkins retired in 1987 as a feature writer and columnist at the Youngstown Vindicator. In June of that same year, she started writing her column, "On My Mind" for Farm and Dairy. She loves all animals and is an accomplished equestrienne. Local history is also one of her loves, and her home, the former Southern Park Stables, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.