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Memorial Tales

Baltimore’s 65 acre Green Mount Cemetery seemed perfect for my morning constitutional, but the inscriptions so hobbled my pace, I could hardly claim any physical exercise.  Every tombstone offered a glimpse of a story that left me wondering over the rest.


Ensuring Memorability

Johns Hopkins loved his cousin, but couldn’t marry her because they were Quakers. Instead they married no one and joined in a lifetime platonic partnership.  With no heirs, the successful J. Hopkins designated his entire fortune to found Johns Hopkins University and Hospital.  Every year the University sends a celebratory contingent to Hopkins’ grave at Green Mount Cemetery to honor his memory.  So while a different Green Mount memorial promises eternal life through the memories of loved ones, Hopkins had better success by leaving no one.


Travels with Mom

  In the fifties, Crater Lake was overrun with bears. My parents watched a man taking a picture, go rigid when he realized that a bear was using him as a leaning post. A less friendly looking bear tempted Mom to try for a bear-on-the-attack photo. She popped out of the car and waited for the bear to rear up and threaten her. When it did, she lost her nerve and sprinted around the car. She kept trying, and she might have pulled it off if a cranky ranger hadn’t got involved. In the sixties, tattoos weren’t for “nice” people. […]


Library Cruise

I spent much of last year begging people to listen to programs I’d slaved over for months.  I got a few takers here and there.  Then I got my foot in the door with half a dozen libraries and the Colorado Springs Senior Center, and life is good! This year I let their schedulers know I’m rolling out my Whales presentation, and I’ve got five speaking date just like that.  I’ve always appreciated libraries—Steve says I’ve never seen a library tax I didn’t like—but now I am profoundly grateful to libraries, not only for speaking ops but for so many of […]


South Padre Sign

Can you give me a clue to step two? Jump?  Head between knees?   Fire!?


Mile High Sea Sightings

Snorkeling the Under the Sea exhibit at the Denver Aquarium would have been more exciting if I hadn’t watched it on every round I’ve made as a volunteer guide. Still my view from the top revealed a number of things I’ve never have seen from the walkway. An interesting fish approached and took a big interest in my gloved fingers.  I knew that no snorkelers have ever been nibbled in Under the Sea, but thanks to that visit, I also knew that the dive safety team’s decision to glove against fish nibbles was an excellent call. Active moray eels are easy to spot near exhibit windows, but in the quiet recesses they drape themselves in crevasses and over a […]


Mile High Snorkel 2

It was the most pampered snorkeling trip I’ve ever experienced.  Kim got me rigged up in top of the line gear, including a wetsuit that floats, then had me sit with my feet in the water while she slipped on my flippers! No waddling across the beach like a duck in clown shoes, no getting queasy in the waves, no fear of, drowning, drifting out to sea, animal attacks or boat strikes.  No worries period.  Any time I lifted my head, Kim was there with a float to steady me, answer questions, adjust my gear.  Much as I love the ocean, […]


Mile High Dive

Dry-landers take heart.  If you’re yearning to snorkel with sea creatures a thousand plus miles from the nearest seashore, Landry’s Denver aquarium will have you swimming with more sting rays, eels, fish, and skates than sea snorkelers can hope to glimpse.  You may even spot some mermaids.   Too calm for you?  In another exhibit, you can scuba dive with the largest sharks in Colorado either as a guest or volunteer.   It’s a great way for divers to keep in practice when a trips to the coast are such a strain.   After a year of driving to Denver to work as a guide, I can attest that Landry’s is a breathtaking place to […]


Reading Between the Lines

Stately adjoining tombstones with g!owing inscriptions.  Mrs. was saintly beyond belief.  Mr. descended from Mayflower stock to marry that saint.  Did her sainthood come from living with a Mr. whose only good attribute was his family? This elaborate monument also piqued my curiosity.  Mrs. R’s loving daughter credited herself as the stone’s sponsor.  Did she want to share in the glory, or did her sibling(s) fail to contribute?