Thankful and grateful

27 November, 2011    Thankful and grateful

Like a lot of us, I have a great deal to be thankful and grateful for at the outset of this holiday season. I have my health and I am employed. They’re the bedrock of gratefulness. My family is large and generally healthy. And I was able to see a lot of my family this weekend, and speak with the others, and eat and eat and eat. Then have dessert. Evelyn joined me and a large part of my family at my brother Kevin’s home in Ashland for his annual Thanksgiving celebration. And Pat and I had a great bike ride Saturday to burn off at least a few of the calories.

I haven’t posted for two weeks, so I’ve built up a lot of pictures. On the other hand, if really had a lot of great pictures, I would have posted earlier. But here are a few items. My last post was Sunday, 13 November, “My current version of “normal””.

When you get to the parking lot a Pony Pasture and go down to the river and look across and a tiny bit upstream, there’s a dam way over there. It’s called the Williams Island Dam and I took this grainy-ish picture of it on Friday, 18 November. This is zoomed in 140x so it won’t be nearly this obvious if you’re looking from Pony Pasture. But it’s over there. You can look on Google Maps at this image of Williams Island. Zoom in a little and you’ll see the dam on the lower right of the island.

Williams Island dam

Evelyn and the dogs and I made it down again on Sunday (20 November). Two beautiful pairs of mallards were entertaining themselves – and me. Perhaps they were stretching, or performing duck yoga, or maybe waiting for escargot to be served. I’ve since learned they eat mostly plants. But there are so many snails at the river, and these ducks looked so elegant and sophisticated and refined, I felt certain snails were on the menu:

Mallard aerobics? Yoga? Mallard models? Stretching? I just can't tell.

It’s water plants they eat, but they still could have had a salad of dandelion greens, even in late November. Nice to still see bright flowers while other colors fade. I think dandelions are the first plants to appear in the spring and the last to depart in the fall. I took this picture the same day:

Beautiful color for late November

Clark and I went train spotting on Wednesday (23 November) and were rewarded with the rare sight of a 6,250 hp locomotive, a GE AC6000CW. I regret to say I didn’t realize that’s what it was until I went home and googled the locomotive number. CSX only has a few; I won’t make that mistake again. Never is a long time, but it’s very possible that once these 6,000 HP locomotives are retired, there will never be a locomotive that powerful. 4,400 HP locomotives are enough for anything.

6,250 horsepower - what a monster.

Evelyn was kind enough to join the dogs and me for our very early (7:00 AM) Thursday river hike. It was Thanksgiving and the weather was stunning. She took this nice picture of the four of us:

Thanksgiving morning

We enjoyed an outstanding holiday weekend, including Thanksgiving dinner with my brother Kevin and his wife and daughters and his wife’s family plus my parents. Kevin and Jenny host a beautiful Thanksgiving meal every year. But after taking pictures with the dogs at the river that morning, I didn’t get the camera out for the rest of the day. Evelyn and I went back down to the river for another great hike this morning. I was surprised to see a non-blue (non-CSX) locomotive on the front of a train. It’s formerly Union Pacific, formerly Chicago and Northwestern, current paint job (the proper word for a locomotive’s paint job is “livery”) is CREX, or “Citicorp Railmark”. It’s a “Dash 8”:

CREX Dash 8

Sometimes big flocks of seagulls stop in at Pony Pasture. I am not good at telling one kind from another. There were hundreds. This is just a handful:

Seagulls - what can I say?

We also saw this sweet (sweet looking, anyway) little wren. I regret not getting a better photograph. I guess it’s a Carolina Wren, just because they seem most common in this area. If anyone knows different, please enlighten me:

Carolina wren

I hope you all have had a nice start to your holiday season. And I look forward to seeing everyone during the holidays! Enjoy this fine weather and have a great day,


About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Dogs, Endurance, Flowers, Fun, People, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!). Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Thankful and grateful

  1. Anne Adams says:

    I love your pictures and commentary. Have a great holiday.

  2. Thanks Anne! Great to hear from you! I hope you and Tina and everyone at the office had a great Thanksgiving and enjoy your holiday. And thanks for the note – I always love to get responses on my blog! Have a great holiday,


  3. Evelyn says:

    I’m thankful and grateful that you posted that duck photo; my remembered image was not nearly as entertaining! This was a wonderful holiday weekend – from Thanksgiving day’s crack-of-dawn walk all the way through to the memorable end. Thank you for sharing it with me. What fun! xo

  4. Hi Evelyn,
    And thank you for sharing it with me too! It’s great the way the 4 of those ducks are standing in a row, male/female/male/female. Going from a very stern male on the left to that extremely silly (appearing) female on the right. I don’t know what she’s really doing, but it looks like she’s laughing so hard she can barely control herself. Thanks for the note and have a great day,


  5. Pingback: PP Fauna | NEWFAZE

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s