The difficulty with trees is the fact leaves fall off come autumn and, in town, have to be dealt with --- most years at least. Here, the wind decides the scale of the leaf problem because a monster pin oak half a block north, among the last to drop its leaves, blankets the neighborhood. Some years, if south winds prevail, the problem blows away to the north, but that's not been the case this year.
So my neighbor, Lee, yesterday afternoon got out the big machine that blows snow in the winter, mows grass in the summer and, come fall, mulches and sweeps. This is a pretty handy arrangement. He clears the quarter block we occupy jointly and I haul the pile of mulched leaves and grass to the dump. It's a big pile this year, so I'm going to be hauling for a couple of days, it looks like --- but clear skies are in the forecast.
The curious thing about the dump, intended for vegetation only, is that some still have not gotten the message that plastic garbage bags, boxes and other non-vegetative items are forbidden. If too many start appearing, the dump gods get angry and have been known to lock the gate. But I saw only two garbage bags and one box yesterday evening, so maybe we'll get through the leaf season without that unpleasantness.
My cousins, Helen and her daughter, Marilyn, spent Friday here and we had a good time. Helen lives in Utah and Marilyn, not far from Lake Michigan in a rural area of far northern Indiana. They'd have stayed longer, but Marilyn had been on the road since mid-October and was anxious to head home, so I sent them off Friday evening for a Saturday in the Amana Colonies before the beeline across Illinois toward home today.
Many people I know also know Helen, who turns 90 next year. She's been a summer vagabond for years, spending up to six months on the road, usually visiting a couple of weeks with her Iowa cousins. But her daughters grounded her last fall after some vehicular unpleasantness in Texas, so she's transportation dependent now.
This doesn't necessarily mean she's slowing down. Sometime after Christmas she'll fly off to the Caribbean, where a nephew is building a vacation home on one island or another, Sint Eustatius I believe. Her 90th birthday party, however, still is a bone of contention. She plans to celebrate that with her Indiana grandchildren and friends, something resented by her vast family in Utah which is, as are many people in the West, horrified by the thought of travel back east into the Midwest.
It's always interesting to see what in Lucas County proves to be a hit with visitors. Friday, it was the lunch-time pizza buffet at Pizza Hut and, of course, Piper's.
I was interested in a story in this morning's Register about the Convoy of Hope event held yesterday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines which attracted roughtly 4,800 Iowans in need of groceries, shoes, haircuts and other basics as winter settles in.
Convoy of Hope is an outreach of the Assemblies of God, but many other agencies and churches participated in this one-time event, operating under Convoy of Hope umbrella. One striking fact --- the 750 pairs of shoes donated by an organization called Samaritan's Feet were spoken for during the first 90 minutes.
“It broke my heart we had to turn away some kids that I saw with just some really worn-out shoes,” The Register quote Teresa Hucko, director of mission and volunteer relations for Samaritan’s Feet, as saying.
I wonder how much will be spent in Iowa on political advertising as the Jan. 3 caucuses near --- and how many pairs of shoes the total would buy.