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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spring Migration in south Texas


The incredible colors of spring. This is my first April in south Texas and it is marvelous. The soft colors of the mesquite trees, the yellow, pink and salmon-colored prickly pear cactus blooms, the hundreds of varieties of flowers. I love them all.

However, spring migration is almost beyond my vocabulary - to describe the gorgeous birds who stop here in the Rio Grande Valley on their way back home. Most of them I've never seen before and I'm overwhelmed at their beauty.

I've met many birders and photographers who can name all the species and even better, who willingly share their knowledge with anyone who asks. Looking for these birds is like hunting for hidden treasure.

I've fallen in love with the painted bunting (shown above). I've never seen one before, Their colors are incredibly vibrant. I'm sharing two photos of them. The one with the brightest color is the truest to life - but the location and light make them look different.

Another bird I love is the indigo bunting  (shown on the left). They are blessed with a beautiful shade of blue feathers. The scarlet tanager is another beautiful bird. They are all new to me, Their colors amaze me.

Isn't the scarlet tanager below beautiful?

I've taken hundreds of pictures - thank God for digital - and every day I realize even more than I need a good lens for my Canon. So that now tops my "wish" list.

Anyway, these photos will give you an idea of the beautiful colors these birds wear every day.

This is a "wish  you were here" to all my family and friends - I'd love to share this exciting adventure with you. It's a marvelous treasure hunt!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sharon Rogers, leader of the Sharon Rogers Band

Last November, three members of the Sharon Rogers Band and the pilot who saved their lives in a 1946 plane crash came to Branson to launch their book, The Sharon Rogers Band.

Sharon (known in the book as Sherry) planned to come but had to bow out because of health issues. Last week Sherry left this world but will live forever in the memories of those who loved her and in her music.

I met her one time while working on the book. In October of 2007, Joyce Faulkner and I attended the Military Writers Society of America conference in San Diego. Sherry lived nearby. We made plans to meet her and interview her. I had heard so much about her from band members Florence Kuhn and Laura Daniels.

In a way, I felt like I already knew her. She was beautiful, talented, and according to the members, a great choice to lead the band. She not only led the band on stage, but also handled the managerial duties while the band performed in the Pacific as USO Camp Show #687 in 1945 and 1946.

We met for lunch and spent several hours listening to stories, asking questions and looking through old photos and newspaper clippings. We found her charming, beautiful, witty and intelligent. Her eyes lit up when she talked about the band members and the Pacific Tour. Both heartwarming and funny incidences filled her recollections of those long-ago days.

Joyce and I talked about the guts she and the other ladies possessed to pursue a life on the road as musicians in the 1940s. Whether women worked in factories, joined the service, toured with the USO, or kept families together back home, they had to be strong. We saw this strength in Sherry, and all the band members.

Like others of their generation, they answered their country's call. When asked to join the USO, they said yes. When asked to tour overseas and play for the troops, they said yes.

Sherry, I wish  you Godspeed and the chance to make music in heaven forever.