Ben's Babbles: Right place at the right time

March 12, 2011

Thursday morning I drove out to Dee to go fishing. Not fishing with a rod and reel, but fishing for a fish photo.

I trooped out to the confluence of the Hood River in Dee and waited on a jetty a few hundred yards from Punchbowl Falls. I stood there, hoping one of the steelhead currently making their way up the river would jump out of the water.

I waited and waited and waited. No luck. The fish simply were not jumping for me. I didn't even have a rod, but I was still sucking at getting a fish. Let's put it this way: I am the world's worst golfer, and I am even worse at fishing - apparently even when it comes to doing it with a camera.

Eventually I gave up, realizing that the fish just were not jumping, and that even if they did jump, I would probably blow the shot anyway.

So I hiked back to my car and began driving away. As I stopped at the intersection of Punch Bowl Drive and Green Rd I happened to look out my passenger side window. Standing at the side of the road was a chicken. Which then began to cross the road. The chicken was crossing the road! Before I even had the chance to wonder why, I was diving into the back seat of my car to grab my camera to get a picture.

I had come out to Dee to get a picture of a fish, but I would up with something better - a chicken crossing the road.

I found a diamond in the rough.

I was in the right place at the right time and stumbled upon something great.

That's a bit of a theme this month across the sporting landscape.

It's spring training month for major league baseball, where players young and old alike are trying to prove they deserve a spot on a team.

Some of them are unknown commodities; others have been around the block time and time again. Odds are a few of them will become this year's breakout players, the kind that are unknown in October and then get features devoted to them during the world series about their long journey to the Show.

This Sunday is selection Sunday for the NCAA basketball tournament. At some point in the coming week, some small school from nowheresviille from a conference full of nowhere schools is going to shock the world by beating a big-time school. It happens every year.

Also this week I've been making the rounds of the high school teams getting ready for the spring sports season.

All of the teams have various questions: Who is going to step into key roles? Who is going to get the most playing time? Who is going to play where?

Typically every year I can look at a roster and predict who I think is going to play well or who I think is going to be counted on to fill a certain role. But inevitably injuries happen, things don't work out and another player steps into the void.

They are in the right place at the right time.

I may not know why that chicken crossed the road, but I do know why I was there to capture the picture.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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