A Fish Tale

Robert Strozier

Many years ago I sold a piece about bass fishing to the New York Times Magazine, describing my never-ending quest—along with fishing buddy Geoff Ward—to outwit the wily denizens of the deep.

The Times wanted a photo of me fishing to run with the piece—the expectation clearly being that I would catch a fish—so a photographer named Karen joined us one day on an angling expedition. The pressure was on big time—I now answered to untold millions of readers.   (More…)

Different Angles to Trout Creek Conservation Park


Story by Diane White
Images by Donna McGrew,
Sheryl Long and Diane White

Look up, look down, try viewing nature from a different angle. That was the challenge given to OLLI-USF’s Better Composition for Outdoor Photography class at their field trip to Trout Creek Conservation Park located in Hillsborough County northeast of Tampa.

Using the composition techniques discussed in a prior online seminar, the class spent the morning looking for subjects to improve their photo skills. We started by taking a leisurely stroll along the short boardwalk which leads along the Hillsborough River to the canoe launch. Trout Creek Conservation Park proved to be a gem, offering a variety of ecosystems to explore, including the shorelines along the Hillsborough River, pine flatwoods under tree canopies and the edges of a floodplain forest. The zig-zag boardwalk and early morning dew provided many subjects for creative nature shots. (more…)

 

 

T’was the Night Before

Neil Cosentino

It was the night before Christmas Eve in 1970 at Torrejon Air Base near Madrid, Spain. I was a captain in the United States Air Force and the junior aircraft commander of one of the three Strategic Air Command (SAC) KC-135 tankers.  We were from three different air bases. My home base was Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. We were there to provide backup air refueling for the SIOP war plan, emergency air refueling and training sorties. It would be another Christmas on SAC alert duty away from our families.

It was the first day of my two days off from alert duty. I had made plans to go into Madrid and do my favorite thing: enjoying the city as if it were a living museum. I was always surprised during my walks in Madrid, London, Paris, Tokyo, Copenhagen or Rome that when I roamed these cities at random,  (More…)

America’s Fragile Democracy

Don Menzel

America is a 245-year-old experiment in democratic governance that is in grave danger of vanishing from the globe. Oh, you say, why are you so pessimistic? It never, ever occurred to me that I would see in my lifetime so much ill-will and downright ignorance embraced by millions of Americans. And then, as I began to ponder why so many Americans had reached this point, an “aha” moment struck me. Perhaps the stars had aligned to cast such a dark shadow.

Let’s begin with our fading civic culture, the social glue of trust that is essential for living with one another, add (More…)

The Innkeeper

Mary Bowers

Jacob put down the pen, pushed back the stool, and stretched out his long, lean arms. His stiff back resisted painfully as he struggled to his feet. His feet – how they throbbed in their sandals!

It had been a busy day, reflected Jacob, stroking his long, graying beard. The profits were worth it, though. His sharp black eyes again scanned the figures of the inn’s assets. Yes, he had finally made it. He and Sarah could retire to that little farm in the country, and his son Ben could take over the inn.

Twenty years ago, when he had first bought this run-down inn, he had dreamed of this day. He had worked hard to enlarge the inn and the stables and to keep them in good condition. In a town like this, where the census was taken every ten years, a good innkeeper needed only two good chances to make his fortune. True, the years in between (more…)

The Birds of Marco Island

If you’d like to work on your paddleboarding or kayaking, you should consider the tidal lagoon at Tigertail Beach Park on Marco Island.  As you’re probably well aware, Marco Island is a barrier Island in the Gulf, a bit south of Naples, linked to the mainland by bridges. It’s a wonderful place for a vacation.

Marco Island is also an outstanding place for photographing birds.  Birds that are somewhat commonplace for us, but wildly exotic if you’re from, oh, England for example. As our photographer, Paul Sullivan, is.  We’ll tell you what he has to do with OLLI at the end of article, but first, let’s take a look at his photographs.  (More…)

 

An Unsolicited Testimonial

Lynne Sebastian

Because I drew the short straw, again, I’m sitting in the Wash‘n’Go laundromat in Richfield, Utah, on a hot July afternoon with Calvin as my laundry buddy.  The laundromat is an archetype of its species – sickly green paint on the cinderblock walls, dull brown asphalt tiles spattered with fleck of yellow and orange on the floor. Large windows on either side of the front door are plastered halfway up with fliers advertising trucks and hay and various used appliances for sale, a fundraising dinner and dance benefiting a family whose little girl has cancer, posters for lost dogs, and an offer from someone wanting to trade a lawnmower for a chainsaw.  A double row of washers, back-to-back, runs down the center of the floor; the far wall is lined with industrial-sized drum clothes dryers. Along the wall where I am, there is a row of uncomfortable hard plastic chairs, a vending machine for tiny boxes of detergent and fabric softener, and a change dispenser that turns $1 and $5 bills into quarters.  The year is 1978.  The air is permeated with the smells of overheated fabric and Clorox.

There is no one in the place except for me, the old lady who runs the laundromat, and (more…)

Tranquility greets the OLLI-USF hikers at Lake Dan Nature Preserve

Diane White

We took off in small groups from the parking area of Lake Dan Nature Preserve in northwestern Hillsborough County near Odessa. A short walk later, as the trail takes a turn, we were rewarded with a view of a tranquil lake filled with birds and other wildlife. The boardwalk over the marshy lake with its diverse habitat is exactly what drew us to choose this park for our monthly adventure.

After being cooped up indoors for so long, we especially enjoy the opportunity to safely gather outdoors. Lake Dan Nature Preserve is the perfect spot to safely hold a group hike, or just explore on your own. The trails are well-marked and wide, stretching out over open spaces of pine flatwoods. Originally this property was used for citrus production, cattle grazing and as a wellfield for potable water. Horse farms and agricultural uses still border the property, along with some new residential developments.

On this day in mid-February, we found that the boardwalk provided the perfect (more…)

 

Remembering the Kennedy Assassination

On November 22, 1963, nearly 60 years ago, John F. Kennedy, the President of the United States, was assassinated in Dallas.

Where were you on that day?  What were you doing when you heard the news of the President’s assassination? And what do you remember of the days that followed?

George Hyde remembers.  And he has some questions for you.  (More…)

Our Start In America

 

Fred Barthmus

My family arrived from Austria in New York’s Idlewild Airport (now Kennedy) on a very cold January 17th, 1957. The family included my parents (Johann and Herta Barthmus), aged 46 and 48, sisters Brigitte, and Sieglinde (aged 14 and 16 years respectively), and my 12 year old brother Hans-Jürgen. I was just over 20 years old. We landed after a harrowing 28-hour flight in a Flying Tiger Airlines prop plane.  Because of two major storms over the North Atlantic we had to land on the Azores, and at Gander Airport (Newfoundland, Canada). As we were landing in New York we saw the impressive skyscrapers of Manhattan in the distance. After going through customs (each with one suitcase) we were welcomed by a representative of the Lutheran World Federation, and taken by bus to the Pennsylvania Station. It had snowed that day in New York City, but the snow had started to melt, and was mostly gray and dirty. A shocking first impression was   (more…)