Wild Life


Charlotte skyline through trees

I like to play the Dr. Charles Sifford golf course in Charlotte. It was developed as a whites-only course back in the 30’s, but it’s every hacker for himself or herself now. It is only a few blocks away from Charlotte center city, and the skyline can be viewed from a few spots on the course.

Last Wednesday, I got the urge to play, but my usual partner was out of town, so I soloed, as I sometimes do. The course is undergoing some major improvements, and there were temporary greens, scalped out of portions of the fairway near the holes. They weren’t worth putting out on, but the driving and fairway shots were all good, and the course work promised good play ahead. It was hot and getting hotter, though. I had only planned to play nine holes and as I drove my cart up to the ninth hole tee box, I saw something I had never seen on a golf course – a coyote.


He was trotting across the ninth hole fairway in no particular hurry. He even paused a couple of times to look over his shoulder at me. I kept on driving toward him and he eventually reached the woods and disappeared.

Coyotes have made the local news quite frequently in recent weeks. They have apparently reached pest status in the suburban areas of South Charlotte and residents there are concerned about their pets. But here – within sight of Charlotte high-rises and a bare couple of hundred yards from the I-77 interstate? Where do they make their dens? At night do they come out, trot around the empty course and howl at the moon from elevated greens as the flags ripple in the soft evening air?


Sending a Child to Camp by Heidi Thurston


2005 camp -  you are kidding

Sarah packed for camp. Grandpa is aghast!

Sending a child to camp can be quite a traumatic experience, especially if it is for the first time. Never mind what the youngster might be experiencing in the line of doubt and apprehension; it is we, the parents, I am concerned about.

Once the camp fee is sent in, however, most of any father’s responsibility is over and done with; and now mother’s time has come. Oh, didn’t anyone tell you about marking and labeling everything – let alone purchasing all those odd items that are required but will, most likely, never be used?

Well, let me give you a count down of what must be packed into a suitcase in an easy way that makes it possible, at the end of camp, for the child to re-pack each item along with assorted rocks, pinecones and other collectible souvenirs they simply can’t part with:

Twelve shorts and shirts…a set for each day since you won’t want the camp director to think you don’t care whether or not your child dresses in clean clothes.

Eleven sets of underwear with instructions to change every day.

Ten pairs of socks, which may all come back unused along with your child’s very own set of athlete’s foot.

Nine sheets of paper for writing home …for more money.

Eight envelopes; stamped and addressed by all means, or you may never know whether or not the child is missing you.

Seven items for cleaning…deodorant (well for the older ones), comb, soap, shampoo, cream rinse, toothpaste and a toothbrush (you just KNOW they will brush twice a day and after each meal, right?).

Six night type articles: sleeping bag, pajamas, pillow and pillowcase, and top and bottom sheets that will all return in unrecognizable conditions.

Five swim things, including two bathing suits in case one should get lost (camps do not allow skinny dipping) and coordinated swim-caps so they can tell who is drowning.

Four odd items such as a flashlight and by all means include extra batteries (it gets very scary going to the port-a-john in the middle of the night), a plastic cup and a pocket knife (so you give them one without a blade (it has been done before).

Three pairs of shoes including old, old sneakers that you really would rather throw out – most likely they may never return.

Two bath towels and a washcloth (which most likely will never be used); and finally……

One great big kiss and hug – after which you drop them off and run to your car so they don’t see your tears.