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Opinion >  Column

The Slice: Mindreading a birdbrain

Every winter, I get emails from readers about robin sightings.

And every winter, I tell these good people that to the best of my knowledge we have robins here all year. Oh, it might not be the same robins. Bird populations shift around. But seeing robins in winter is not that unusual in Spokane.

Then I got to thinking. Why is that? Why don’t they fly somewhere warmer?

Here are my Top 12 theories.

12. Want to be near the grandkids.

11. Enjoy freaking people out with the whole “harbinger of spring” thing.

10. Collect Expo ’74 souvenirs.

9. Even with recent fluctuations, the DIY housing market in the Spokane area remains attractive.

8. Like to be able to keep tabs on the lake place.

7. Don’t do much driving, so it’s not hard to see the good in all four seasons.

6. Like to listen to “BirdNote” on Spokane Public Radio.

5. The eagles mostly stay over in Idaho.

4. Robins enjoy getting under the feathers of crows by saying “Hey Blackie, don’t you wish you were a raven?”

3. Desire to keep squirrels from claiming the best trees, so there will be some nesting options come spring.

2. They like Spokane. Grew up near here. Never had a good reason to move.

1. Would not enjoy being called a snow bird.

In praise of stuff: My wife and I are the proud owners of a 1987 Honda Civic. It has been totally reliable. Though, these days, it gets driven just enough to keep the battery charged. Actually, in winter, it doesn’t really travel anywhere. I just go out and run the engine now and then.

So here’s what I’d like to do. Tell me about something you own that is 30 years old. Something that has served you well.

Tools? Appliances? Garments? Furniture? Fishing/athletic equipment? Sewing accessories? Kitchen gadgetry?

I’ll make a list.

Today’s Slice question: One thing about working downtown is it affords you the opportunity to observe motorists leaning in, staring at parking meters. I’m sure many of these folks are simply trying to understand the apparatus, see how much time they have and make sure of the hours of operation.

But some of them, I’m quite certain, are looking for the answer to one of life’s big mysteries. You know, consulting the genie of the parking meter.

Well, what big mystery do you suppose that might be?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email You get a resolutions do-over on the Chinese New Year, later this month.

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