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Ramble with Storm: Jauss, geese, Manthey and bare trees

Mulling things on my morning ramble

with Storm, the family’s mixed Lab.

How do you explain these things?

After a couple weeks of Canada geese being relatively thick around the town pond and the surrounding fields, I couldn’t hear or see a single one this morning.

Maybe, and I do mull such questions, they were staying in the fields longer this morning with the heavy overcast.

I don’t know why for sure.

But I do know that such simple mysteries make me feel alive and like my brain is still functioning when I ponder the ramifications of such simple things.

No muskrats. Many mornings in the last week or so, a muskrat has dived into the water as the meathead and I approached. Not today.

No herons, either. No kingfishers. No rabbits. No doves.

Thoughts of the late Bill Jauss have floated around my head for the past week. He died at 81 a little over a week ago. But I have had trouble pulling my thoughts together.

In the mid-1990s, we both covered high school baseball: he for the Chicago Tribune and me for the Sun-Times.

I find it very easy to work up a good hatred for Tribune sorts. As a general rule I find them elitist bastards I can very easily do without and be the better for it.

Yeah, I know that is an antiquated notion in these newspapering times.

But I can live with myself and will keep battling windmills any way.

The thing was Jauss was different. He was a big star back then and could have pulled an attitude for being stuck on the high school beat, but he didn’t.

Instead he busted his ass, which meant I had to bust my ass to stay with him, and he treated each game like he was glad to be there.

(Well, most of the time. There are some high school baseball games that nobody wants to be a part of, including the players and coaches. But that’s the nature of modern high school baseball.)

He was a guy. Everybody–coaches, scorekeepers, umps, grounds crews, fans, players–all felt like they knew him from “The Sportswriters on TV.” And he treated them all like they did in fact know him.

He was a man who did his work with dignity and passion, lived his life that way, too.

Those are good things.

Things I hope I learned well enough from him.

Just as I hope I learned such things from Dave Manthey, but Manthey’s material for another morning ramble.

One robin flew off by the old rail bed.

Back in town, one gray squirrel ran up a nearly bare maple.

Time relentlessly moves toward all bare trees.

We will do our first raking of leaves this afternoon. Before this, the wind has been kindly distributing them in the yards of neighbors.