MOOSE MERIT ATTENTION WHEREVER THEY MAY ROAM

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When a grandaughter and her family moved to Anchorage, I learned that you need to be on your toes while driving downtown in the event a moose shows up on the street.

Moose can weigh more than a thousand pounds and stand tall enough to pose a deadly danger to anyone riding in the front seat of most passenger cars that strike these critters head-on.

No wonder they are given the right-of-way on streets in Anchorage and in other areas of the Northland. And I wouldn’t want to argue with a moose who invades my yard and garden in search for a blueberry or some other goodie.

The elk is considered a member of the deer family. The males grow antlers, and these furry-looking animals wade in lakes and munch on yummies that grow in and around water. Many people rely on these animals for meat. I’ll stick with hamburgers, however, because you don’t have to skin them, and they’re served with French fries.

Which reminds me of a moose joke that I heard years ago:

The director of a zoo in mainland U.S.A. decided to order two of the animals from a supplier in Alaska.

While writing the order, the zoo director realized that he didn’t know the plural form of moose.

So he wrote: “Please send us a moose, and while you’re at it, send us a second one.”

HER SHOES CAUGHT MY EYE AND LED TO LIFE WITH LOU

I must have dropped something on the gym floor while promoting yearbook sales between college terms when I noticed the brown-and-white saddle shoes dancing down the line.

saddle shoesMy attention traveled up a pretty set of legs to the face of a coed who appeared to be chatting with everyone in the place.  We greeted one another but didn’t meet again for several months.

During a return trip from a college game in a bus carrying college students, a number of us decided to attend a Halloween movie.

Everyone but Lou Ellen Jones, a guy whose name I can’t recall and I were the only ones who followed through. I drove my car. En route to the theater, a traffic cop on a motorbike stopped me and claimed I had run a red light. I argued, and he eventually zoomed off to check a traffic accident. Not so good a first impression.

A couple of months later near the end of my senior year, I met Lou Ellen again. It was in the campus theater above the office where I often worked nights editing the student newspaper.

Lou Ellen was helping paint faces on a number of football players who were learning how to dance in a chorus line for a benefit play. I began dropping in to watch the rehearsals of fellow athletes as they practiced for the show.

I learned that Lou Ellen walked home several blocks to her apartment after each rehearsal. Being gallant, I volunteered to walk her home to ensure her safety. On the sixth night, or maybe the seventh, I kissed her goodnight.

Now, you know how a pair of brown-and-white saddle shoe got all of this started nearly seven decades ago and why four children have good reason to celebrate Mother’s Day.

HEY, IF YOU’RE SURPRISED, DON’T BLAME UNDERWEAR

I put my underwear on backward the other day, which posed a bit of a challenge later that morning. I corrected the problem, laughed and had a story to share.

HIP X-RAYThe incident reminded me that life is full of surprises, which help make it memorable.

That point was further illustrated last month when my wife Lou fell, suffered a fractured right hip, underwent surgery and spent a week in a hospital.

She learned how to walk again in a Eugene rehabilitation center filled with patients who have suffered all sorts of injuries to bones and bodies.

Earlier, my wife had become housebound because of arthritis and other physical problems associated with aging. As a result, we no longer entertained strangers and friends around our dinner table. We no longer socialized outside the home. We no longer traveled beyond an occasional exploration of the countryside.

The fall and fracture changed Lou’s life and mine. Friends and family immediately responded with an outpouring of personal visits and best wishes.

Hospital and rehabilitation personnel soon became friends. Patients in the rehabilitation center shared their lives around the table at meal time. And one newfound friend brought a box filled with cookies, which I soon devoured during my frequent visits with Lou at the rehab center.

During this experience, Lou and I celebrated our 88th birthdays and were reminded that we’ve experienced our share of surprises during more than 66 years of marriage.

We also were reminded that life isn’t over just because “we are over the hill.” Come to think of it, the remaining years are all downhill. So, if we put our underwear on backward, it makes our days more interesting and our lives more memorable.