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Paul Turner: Of backyard magpies, raccoons, moose … and eagles?

UPDATED: Mon., July 9, 2018, 11:45 p.m.

FILE – Linda Silverman, of Spokane, took this photograph of a moose in her backyard Oct. 10, 2007. “Yesterday I was shocked to find a moose staring in at me, she was right in front of my dining room window,” said Silverman. “We live in a condo at The Ridge, and have seen deer quite often, but never a moose,” she said. (PHOTO BY LINDA SILVERMAN / PHOTO BY LINDA SILVERMAN)
FILE – Linda Silverman, of Spokane, took this photograph of a moose in her backyard Oct. 10, 2007. “Yesterday I was shocked to find a moose staring in at me, she was right in front of my dining room window,” said Silverman. “We live in a condo at The Ridge, and have seen deer quite often, but never a moose,” she said. (PHOTO BY LINDA SILVERMAN / PHOTO BY LINDA SILVERMAN)

Years ago, I lived on the edge of Browne’s Addition in an apartment with a balcony that faced the woods.

I was telling someone back then about the raccoons and magpies that made our balcony a regular stop on their travels around Spokane. This was someone who doesn’t live here.

He asked if we ever got eagles. At the time, I found it to be a silly question. Eagles? On our balcony?

Not likely, even if the river wasn’t far away.

But then a few years later someone in Spokane emailed me a photo of a moose taking it easy in the family’s wading pool. An uninvited dip, I might add.

I expanded my view of what one might see in the Lilac City.

Anyway, I was thinking about that the other day and it occurred to me I ought to solicit photos of wildlife in or around backyard wading pools. (Having already done numerous rounds of dogs in pools.)

Maybe someone local has a picture of an eagle in her backyard. Or a bear or a cougar. Or a pterodactyl.

So, please share. But I should warn you. If you do have a photo of a local pterodactyl, it might wind up running on A1 or the Outdoors page.

Imagining variation on ice cream truck fare

Jon Ingalls has an idea. He may or may not be high.

First, he wants to stipulate that he is not against traditional ice cream trucks. Sure, he gets as tired of the same old tinny songs as you do. But he’s happy that kids get to experience this summertime classic. So it’s all good.

But Jon got to thinking about marijuana.

“With legalization, it’s a new day. What if for the big people, on certain days – perhaps stressful Mondays or Christmas mornings – the marijuana truck drove around our neighborhoods to offer us a little break. What would be the song they would play on their loudspeaker?”

Transistor radio under the pillow

I was looking at a Chicago Tribune story on a woman making a documentary about legendary disc jockey Dick Biondi. The piece referred to her listening to a radio tucked under her pillow at night as a kid. So I guess I wasn’t the only one who did that.

Here’s what that made me wonder. I spent my own radio-under-the-pillow years in the Midwest and Northeast, usually not all that far from multiple large cities. Picking up out-of-town stations at night was easy. And some of them were several states away.

But what if you grew up in Spokane or elsewhere here in the less densely populated West? What could you hear at night, besides static? Dodgers games?

Whereas kids back East had to have a safecracker’s touch when gently nudging their radios’ channel selection wheel, did those who grew up out here have to robustly roam the AM dial to find a 50,000 watt signal from Denver or Mexico?

Toy soldiers and anachronisms

Once upon a time, little boys played with toy soldiers. When summer arrived some of these war games moved outdoors. Setting up opposing armies in the garden or amidst landscaping features allowed for establishing defensive positions by digging in. Literally.

But it also invited anachronisms.

Because outdoors play involved seemingly limitless space, the “front” could stretch all the way across the yard. Kids would be tempted to deploy every toy soldier they owned. Often, this would involve plastic troops based on armed conflicts that took place centuries apart.

This made for some interesting discussions.

I mean, really, how would your Confederate cavalry unit fare against another 10-year-old general’s crack World War II Panzer tanks?

Throw in your Frankenstein and Wolfman models (and maybe a few Knights of the Round Table or a Rat Fink dragster), and you really had the makings of a memorable battle.

Following directions

So I’m not the only one momentarily thrown by the notion of going up to travel south in Spokane.

Heard from Steve Wilder, who moved to Spokane during the snowy winter of 1975. “All those years and still now I have to remind myself that up and down and north and south are not synonymous.”

Steve Owings understands. “It’s also weird for me when I hear people say they are going up to the South Hill.”

Lynn Edwards wrote, “For years, going downhill to go north confused me, and occasionally still does.”


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