Friday, August 9, 2013

The Friday Four, Part 26


Gramps and our family at his 100th birthday celebration
We traveled to eastern Oregon this past weekend to celebrate Gene's grandpa's 100th birthday.  William Eugene White, affectionately known as "Gramps", will officially hit the century mark on August 25.  His granddaughter Amanda wrote this tribute to him last month and I thought it so perfectly captured him that, with her permission, I'm reposting it here word for word.
My Grandpa is just 30 days from being 100 years old. In the last century he has seen drastic changes in our world, been a sheep farmer, horse trainer, farmer, rancher and dairyman. He has seen small towns grow up into big cities, he has seen our government fail, presidents be impeached and many other injustices in the world. But, in a century of life he has also been there to witness a million miracles. He raised 5 kids with my grandmother, watched 12 grandchildren grow up and graduate from high school and only has myself and Ray [Amanda's brother] left to graduate from college. He also has 23 great grandchildren. How many more blessings can you possibly ask for in a lifetime? Grandpa has been a huge influence on my life and has taught me so many things. Between him and my Mom, I have learned to be tough and to stand up for myself, I was passed down his superpower of being able to walk up to just about any animal and calm them down and I was taught never to give up on my dreams. I will continue to work towards becoming a veterinarian this fall; a dream that came about with some help from him. Above all else, he taught me to love people unconditionally. My heroes will always be cowboys, and this cowboy will always be at the top of my list.

While in eastern Oregon we trekked an hour or so to the east one day and visited Zoo Boise.  It's a respectable zoo for a smaller city, and had lots of shade, which I appreciated on a sunny afternoon when temperatures hit 98 or so.  The boys had lots of fun in the prairie dog exhibit, sticking their heads up into plastic domes from tunnels underneath to get a real prairie-dog's-eye view, and loved the petting zoo where they hand-fed already obese goats and sheep.  They marveled at the beautiful and stately Indian Sarus Crane, and then jumped about ten feet off the ground when the six-foot-tall bird let out a loud trumpet-like call while we were right in front of it.  I saw some animals I'd never heard of before, including the binturong (also known as the bearcat):

Binturong at Overloon, NL
Photo courtesy TassiloRau via wikipedia
and the kinkajou (also known as the honey bear):

Kinkajou in Volcanicito, Panama
Photo courtesy Dick Culbert via flickr
But the absolute highlight was a pair of black crested mangabey monkeys (my boys loved their "mohawks") with their energetic little youngster, who was born June 12.  The little one would explore and swing and frolic further and further away from mama until she would whoop and chatter and scold him, chase him down, grab him by the tail and haul him back to her platform.  And then he'd try to escape again and mama would snag his tail just in time to keep him close.  I couldn't help thinking how handy it would be to have tails on all my children, too...  I loved watching this little family; I could have stayed by their exhibit all day.

Black crested mangabey
Photo courtesy Ltshears via wikipedia

We're up to reading Little Town on the Prairie, the seventh in the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  In the summer of 1881, the town of De Smet, South Dakota, celebrates the Fourth of July and Pa starts singing part of the chorus from "Marching Through Georgia", a song that commemorates Sherman's March to the Sea during the Civil War.


I'm getting quite a backlog of books I've read but haven't yet written the reviews for.  It seems so much easier to find time to read than to find time to write.  Or maybe it's just easier to block out the distractions when I'm reading.  Any suggestions for getting more writing time in or for making my limited writing time more productive?

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