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As we inch closer and closer to that magical first day of spring, I find myself getting antsy and drifting off into thoughts of warm summer days spent relaxing by or on any body of water that holds fish. They say it is healthy to have a vivid imagination so I guess that would make me mentally healthy but physically maybe not so much.

As a kid I always had a good imagination and would daydream from time to time about my heroes like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hoppy, Sgt. Preston of the Yukon and other cowboy heroes along with Tarzan and Superman. These folks along with my favorite football players gave me someone to look up to. I am not sure that in this day and age there are actually any real heroes except for sports figures. It seems as if TV kid’s shows have actually become pretty complicated; whatever happened to the simple cartoons like Tom & Jerry and Bugs Bunny?

Television has replaced the good old sitcoms with shows that don’t really make you laugh but tend to relay some message. When I watch a comedy I want something that will make me laugh out loud and not make me look for some hidden meaning. Being the old guy that I am I still remember fondly going to the movies to see Abbott and Costello, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, Ma and Pa Kettle, Francis the Talking Mule and many more. These shows weren’t made to make you think but to make you laugh.

I always enjoyed late night TV as a kid because you could, from time to time, see movies with Jack Benny, Red Skelton, Mickey Rooney and others. Granted, there have been a few good sitcoms over the years but in today’s world they are being replaced by more and more reality shows. A few years ago I had watched about 5 minutes of some reality show and stated that they couldn’t possibly get any worse. Boy was I ever wrong; but enough said about that.

The other night as I was looking out into my backyard with a full moon — making it seem almost like daylight — a peaceful and relaxed feeling came over me. We have a little brush pile in the backyard that I didn’t get a chance to clean up last fall and it has now become home to a pair of rabbits. Even though I live in the city, there is still plenty of wildlife to entertain me. The rabbits are always fun to watch and of course there are the neighborhood squirrels. Over the years I have not been a big fan of those bushy tailed rats that seem to want to get into everything. Because of these two squirrels that reside in the area I no longer am feeding the birds.

Earlier this winter they figured out how to get into one feeder and could empty it in about a day. After they had emptied the first feeder, they turned their attention to the other feeder and eventually totally destroyed it. I know that a lot of folks enjoy feeding the squirrels and watching them play. I am all for that (the playing part), but when they start getting into my garage, shed and destroy my feeders, I have visions of watching these particular squirrels in the sight of my BB gun. The other vision I have is more realistic: a live trap with those two critters inside riding in the back of my pickup to their new home far, far away from the neighborhood.

I have always enjoyed watching critters in the outdoors and am amazed at how wild animals adjust to living in the city around humans. Over the years I have seen an occasional deer running through the backyards of the neighborhood, a woodchuck, and a few blocks away I spotted a fox trotting down the middle of Newton Avenue like it owned the street. There have been the aforementioned rabbits and squirrels, and of course numerous birds, not to mention a pair of mallards that seem to drop by every spring. My sense of smell has also warned me from time to time when a skunk was nearby.

Yes, living in town can give you plenty of chances to observe wildlife, and the best thing about it is you won’t even have to leave the house. I plan on doing a little shopping and hopefully I will find that squirrel-proof feeder that I am looking for so that I can once again start feeding my feathered friends and not those busy-tailed rodents.

As the weather warms and the birds begin chirping and are busily building their nests, we have to remember to keep our cats indoors. Baby birds and rabbits are easy prey for a house cat that is left to roam freely about a neighborhood.

Until next time, take some time to enjoy the outdoors and remember; spring is just around the corner.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason that we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

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