2 December, 2018            Cheerful 

It’s hard (for me, anyway) to look at this picture and not feel cheerful.


That’s my old friend KD; we were hiking at Deep Run Park in western Henrico County Friday before lunch when we came across that sign in the woods. You may recognize KD’s kind smile from a blog post where it was featured prominently in 2014. If you missed that post or want to see it again, it has nine more images of KD; he’s smiling that much or more in most of them. Take a look again, it’s like the sun comes out: smile

The title for this post came from a chat I had with my brother Kevin many years ago when his three daughters were very, very young. I’d been hiking with them or running around outside or something and I remarked to him later that they were fun kids to be around. He just nodded and said, “they’re cheerful.” That is a nice, nice adjective. They were indeed cheerful, and KD was cheerful, and the thing about being with cheerful people is, it makes you cheerful too. What’s not to love?  

I got a picture this morning at the river with my phone that came out better than I’d anticipated. Unfortunately, our big buddy Yuki (the white German Shepherd) who normally joins us for our Sunday hikes was unavailable so it was just me, Mackey, Turner and our two friends Lola and Luna. The only color here is Turner and Lola (both on the right). Everything else is black or white or somewhere in between: 

Monochrome river this morning. Mackey on the left, then Luna, then Turner then Lola.


Earlier this week I was going to title this blog post, “I got to fly a new plane this week!” and use this for the first picture:

Beechcraft T-34C Turbo Mentor at KJGG (Williamsburg Jamestown airport) 


I just didn’t get to fly that new plane. I got to fly this new plane:

Tecnam P92 Eaglet – I actually got to fly it!


And when we landed at Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport (KJGG) the T-34C was parked on the ramp. The pilots were inside in their flight suits, having lunch at Charly’s Airport Restaurant. Ernest (my flight instructor) and I ate there too – you should go if you’re in the area. If you’re in the vicinity, you should stop for a meal – even if you’re not flying. Just drive in if you’re going to Busch Gardens or William and Mary or something. Great place to eat. Great view of the runway too. 

The first plane is a Beechcraft T-34C Turbo Mentor, a Navy and Marine Corps flight trainer. Civilians don’t fly it. The second plane – the one I did fly for the first time – is a Tecnam P92 Eaglet and it was really fun to fly. The Cessna 172 I normally fly is really fun too – there’s nothing about flying I don’t love. But it was a great experience to apply the seventy or so hours of instruction I’ve accumulated to a new type of plane. It was also fun to land at a new airport and eat at a new restaurant – what’s not to love?  

The light this morning at the river (as seen in the picture of the dogs) was monochromatic from start to finish. I took the picture of the dogs not long after we arrived, at around 9:00 AM. Between hiking and photographing deer and birds and dogs and more, the hike took just over two hours. The fog had not burned off even a little bit. When we got back to the parking lot, these two crows were perched in the top of a tree. Perfect day for shooting all black birds:

Two crows at Pony Pasture this morning. I should have tried a cardinal.


Yuki did come over later today – after Mackey and Turner got home from the river. I think he was hoping they’d play but they fell asleep in front of the fire. I almost did too! Yuki’s a shepherd; they keep an eye on things. Thank goodness our front door is red – a little color!:

He barks at the UPS truck but not FedEx. I think the white truck looks more familiar.


The next meeting of the Wildlife Center of Virginia Wildlife Book Club will be Tuesday (the day-after-tomorrow) evening at 7:00 PM. It meets every other month on the first Tuesday at 7:00 PM. You should log on Tuesday night and check it out. Especially if you’re a reader or an outdoors lover or both. You don’t have to be a member of anything, there’s no cost or log in fee, no passwords, nothing. You also don’t have to read the book – you can just “lurk” and see what it’s like.

Our book for Tuesday is Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird by Katie Fallon. I’ve just loved it and I’m really looking forward to Tuesday. Some of the books I don’t love that much and I skip book club but this one is excellent. If you click on Wildlife Book Club you can scroll down and see the list of the 26 books the club has read since August of 2014. It’s a nice list, very creative and comprehensive – I’m always excited to hear what they come up with next.

I’m a little thin on content this week, I apologize. I just scrolled down here and realized I have a pano of when Ernest and I were at Williamsburg Tuesday. They warp the perspective but in bright light (unlike today) with a lot of space (like at an airport), the results are good. I’ll close with it in a second.

The first time I flew into (and out of) Williamsburg airport with my friend Pat’s son Daniel – as I’ve mentioned umpteen times. Daniel was an instructor there and we flew from Williamsburg to Tangier in a Cessna 172. Pat and I were passengers on that trip; I was fascinated by flying but mostly by watching the ground and water and sky go past, and by the experience of flying in a light plane – it is 100% delightful 100% of the time. That blog post has twelve pictures on it, and a variety of different subjects. But mostly flying and Tangier. Have a look here: I went flying yesterday! . Meanwhile, a bright pano from Tuesday, and I hope I’ll see you next week! All best,


Williamsburg Jamestown airport – KJGG



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 Birds, Cessna 172, Dogs, Fun, James River, People, Pony Pasture, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!), Wildlife Book Club, Wildlife Center of Virginia and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Cheerful

  1. Love, love, love this post and this blog. Like its author, so uplifting.

  2. Jody Bambacus says:

    You are, as always, cheerful. You are a great influence.Yours is the kind of peer pressure the world can use more of.

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