February 16, 2011

In my Own Backyard

In my soon-to-be-published historical novel for kids, WASATCH SUMMER, Hannah receives two turkey wings for her birthday. One is a gift from her Blackfeet friends, who tell her they use the wings as fans in hot weather. The second wing is from her mother, who uses them as a dusting tool.

Anticipating school visit requests, I've been looking for a turkey wing to use for show and tell when I speak to classes about the book. I've asked people I know who hunt or who know someone who hunts--but with no success. Monday, fiddling around on my laptop I typed "turkey wings" into the Google window and up popped several sources for intact feathered wings. The first site showed a gorgeous object, suitable for smudging. It cost $185. I gulped and went on down the list.

I came to a listing for Custom Feathers, which offered a variety of wings, feather sizes, and prices. I found one that sounded right and was reasonably priced. So I clicked away and put in my order.

Tuesday afternoon i heard the mailbox creak as it does when its lid is lifted. Normal sounds for mail delivery. But then the doorbell chimed--not normal. I found the largest Priority Mail envelope somehow managing to remain upright in our tiny mail receptacle. Inside was a beautiful turkey wing.

Amazed at the one-day delivery, I checked the return address. Custom Feathers is in Chillicothe, MO--a few counties away from Kansas City. I had found just what I was looking for--right in my own backyard.

Something to think about. How many other things, people, ideas have I roamed far and wide in search of, only to find them close to home?

February 1, 2011

Winter storms

A little less than a year ago, we were in Egypt, enjoying balmy weather and friendly hospitality from the people there. Now we're snowed in, watching the news about the demonstrations in the northern cities. We're not surprised because it was clear that there is much poverty and unemployment in that country and that the ruling government is not popular with the people. I hope that their struggle brings about positive, productive change.

While the Egyptians storm with righteous rage, the elements storm here in the Midwest--and across most of the country. Anxious birds attack our feeders in a frenzy, looking for survival--just as the people on the streets of Cairo are.