Purple Martins Return To Their Summer Homes

Published 9:49 am Thursday, April 16, 2015

It’s the smallest of colonies, but most everybody starts with only one pair of purple martins. My birds returned last week and immediately went flitting about the fake plastic gourds that are their North American homes.

Four birds have returned so far, and this is the third year of the Spillman Road colony.

I’ve mowed around the base of the 15-foot pole that hoists the gourds aloft. The base is robed in barbed wire to deter snakes and varmints.

Also back are the scores of barn swallows that have nested in my dad’s barn since my childhood. Purple martins fly high to eat bugs. Swallows flit about at ground level.

I love to watch them and imagine the mosquitos and bugs they are consuming that won’t be able to bite me.

• • • • •

How about a bake sale? Or a special levy on those who voted for the new high school?

The wiseacres hanging out at York’s Exxon last week were figuring out how to raise $11 million to pay for the unexpected cost-overrun for the high school on Farmington Road.

They listed people who might be good for a million dollar donation and dreamed of various money-making schemes.

Someone promised to donate the money if she wins the mega-million dollar lottery.

Oddly, there wasn’t much from the “I told you so” chorus because we’re all in this together. This is serious stuff. Good luck to Superintendent Darrin Hartness in cutting the project to live within the money available.

• • • • •

Hillary or Jeb? Rubio or Cruz? Sen. Rand Paul’s in the race, and others are expected to jump into the fray as the race to elect a new president gets under way.

No matter how we try to avoid or delay it, the 2016 presidential election is being foisted upon us as eager candidates rush to announce their campaigns and grab for money.

There’s talk of the American Dream, Haves vs. Have Nots, two Americas, unequal opportunity and would-be champions of the middle class.

Sen. Marco Rubio’s theme is “A new American century.” He’s been compared to President Kennedy, youthful with a pretty wife and children, and would be the first Latino president.

Hillary Clinton is stressing income inequality. “The deck is stacked in favor of those already at the top,” she said in her announcement speech. She hopes to be the first woman president.

Sen. Ted Cruz theme is protecting individual liberty and “reigniting the promise of America.” He’s the best speaker of the lot, the best intellect and quick on his feet. Debates favor him.

Sen. Rand Paul pitches himself as a “different kind of Republican” who has reached out to traditionally Democratic voters such as the youth and minorities.  “To fix Washington, we can’t have business as usual,” the libertarian-style conservative has said.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has vowed to “do it on my own” — saying he was not a carbon copy of his brother or father, both former presidents.

Do we elect a third Bush or a second Clinton — or a fresh face and name unhampered by family legacies?

Money is gushing into the various campaign coffers. This promises to be the most expensive race ever.

Mrs. Clinton so far is alone on the Democratic side, but that could change. Stay tuned …

— Dwight Sparks