A few years ago, Bob and I had the opportunity to take a trip to Canada that was an award from one of the companies I write insurance for. They had set up several things for us to do, such as hikes, an imitation Queen of England for us to meet, who was very good by the way, and even an animal exhibit, complete with birds you can’t even get close to normally. Canada was beautiful, and we had a wonderful time. We loved the hike we took, which ended at a waterfall, and there was also a river right behind our hotel that was running very high and made for a beautiful view as well.
One of the things that I enjoyed the most was the animals. They had a set of sled dogs that were just beautiful, and thankfully not like the mean one on the movie “Snow Dogs”. There was also a hawk and several other birds. But the one that most impressed me was the miniature owl. He was a Northern Pygmy Owl and he stood about 5″ or 6″ tall. He was so cute. I had the opportunity to actually hold him on my finger, and he willingly sat there. I would have thought he would have been skiddish, since they are a very timid owl. They normally hide as much as they can. Of course, I’m quite sure they aren’t timid when they are hunting at night, but then I suppose that there aren’t many humans out then either.
I did a little research on this littl owl, and found that when they get excited, they twitch their tail…and here I thought he was trying to keep his balance, hahahaha!! One thing that surprised me was how gentle he was while sitting on my finger. One would think that with claws like that he would have scratched or something, but he didn’t…and believe me, I was very grateful. His feet kind of tickled my finger, especially when he moved around a little, but I was so fascinated that it never occurred to me to feel nervous about what he would do. He was just too beautiful to take my eyes off of, and I had never expected to be able to actually hold an owl. Our trip was wonderful, and one I will never forget, and I am glad I have this picture to remember my moment with the Northern Pygmy Owl.
My dad always liked exploring. I guess I get that trait from him, because I do too. He loved to see what was around the next corner, or over the next mountain. He loved to travel, and wanted to share that love with his family. As a result of his need to wander some, we enjoyed a rich and unique view of the country we live in. Dad’s curiosity and imagination made every vacation an adventure. When we were in grade school, and the teacher said to write a story telling about our summer vacation, we had plenty to say. We had been so many places. It was something we took for granted really. It never occurred to us that our friends didn’t go places too. Looking back now, I can see just how blessed we were.
I have been told that my dad’s family all liked to wander a bit. His dad worked on the railroad. Like many people who work on the railroad, part of the draw is seeing the country. I can understand that, because that is a part of me too. I love to see new places, especially on foot. Hiking in the back country where you can be walking along in the trees one minute and then suddenly there is a river with a beautiful waterfall that most people don’t even know exists…well, the feeling is exhilarating.
Dad loved to follow historical markers and trails. It was something that filled the explorer need in him. I think Dad was a bit of a history buff, as am I. It is very cool to research the past and learn about things that happened so long ago, and yet not so long ago. When you look back in time, is a hundred years really that long? It’s basically one lifetime. To see how people lived just a hundred years ago. So many things change in a hundred years. It makes you realize what you have and how very blessed you are.
This is the kind of legacy my dad passed on to his kids. He had an interest in the outdoors and the history of our great country. These were things we got to learn about. As kids we may not have had a real appreciation of the history, but those lessons he taught us have never gone away, and when we were older, there was an appreciation that grew out of the seeds he planted. The grew into a love of history, at least they did for me, and now when I read about the past, I can picture some of the places the events took place, because I have been there, and almost feel like I’m an explorer too.