Down By The Old Mars Stream

Mars is turning out to be warmer than expected, and we are finding even more evidence that water once flowed there.

What a lovely spot for a picnic!
Image NASA

But clearly things have changed since those good old days on the red planet. While at least one of our famous Earthly waterways is showing a positive trend, quality-wise, the Martian brook that Curiosity rolled over this week has clearly seen better days. The question of whether there was life there at one time remains unanswered for now, though I think we all can see where this is headed. We may never have the chance to waste an afternoon lounging in a peaceful dew-freshened glade alongside a Martian brook.

But I still feel a little nostalgic.

My darling I am dreaming of a distant sky,
A place where we were sweethearts that has since gone dry;
The ground is red and rocky now, the air is thinner too.
But still I will remember, where I first met you.

Down by the old Mars stream where the microbes grew,
There was algae too, in that watery stew.
What a different hue, was our Martian goo.
We made a scene. It was pea green! Down by the old Mars stream.

What is your favorite, most romantic waterway?

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89 thoughts on “Down By The Old Mars Stream”

  1. Morning all. I’m feeling a little victorious today – yesterday when I read the cnn.com report about Curiousity finding signs of ancient water on Mars, I thought to myself “bet Dale will find a way to put a new spin on this one.” And here it is!

    I own one of those little inflatable canoes. While it hasn’t been out of the attic in a few years, back when I was younger, wasband and I used to paddle around occasionally. Our very first trip was just a short one, on the Upper Eau Claire, but I do remember it as a beautiful and romantic day.

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  2. Yes, I am nothing if not entirely predictable. Thanks for getting out in front on this one, VS.
    Nice video – I can’t help noticing how sunlight hitting the water makes some bright spots that twinkle like stars.

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  3. How clever of you, VS, to use YouTube to illustrate your choice. Just a few miles north and west of the Upper Eau Claire Lakes area, the Bois Brule river runs north though an alder bog, past giant cedar trees, past palatial log cabins erected over a century ago, over some ledges and low falls and eventually spends itself in mighty Lake Superior. It is the most beautiful river I have been on, both because of the undeveloped forests and because of the charming developments of early pioneers on this river. The cabins they erected now look so right for the river it is as if they grew there.

    I returned to the Brule this summer, staying with an old friend who owns a cottage on the eastern shore of Lucius Lake (a wide spot of the river). In this video that i insert you can see Tom’s dock at the one-minute-45-second mark of the film. I spent one day sitting in one of those two Adirondack chairs, chatting with the paddlers (perhaps 200 people) passing before us. The day was perfect, and everyone on the river seemed to be in its spell.

    There was some kind of magic in the air. Everyone who passed before us was in love with the river, and they were good people (not teenaged drunks or quarreling couples). I think I spoke with virtually every one of them, and somehow that felt right. I remember thinking that most of them would enjoy Dale’s blog site. Because sound moves easily over flat water, I didn’t need to raise my voice to talk to someone 80 yards away.

    SG: “Some guys in a green canoe that went by a few minutes ago said I should be on the lookout for some beautiful girls coming behind. Are you those beautiful girls, or should I hope for something even better?”
    Girls: “If you keep looking, you are sure to see prettier girls than us.”
    SG: “I’m not disappointed.”
    Girls: “Well, it’s that kind of day, isn’t it?”

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    1. Sounds like you spent a beautiful day on the river, Steve. I’m sure you became a landmark for the travelers too, as in “we stopped for lunch about an hour after passing that chatty guy on the dock.”

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      1. It was one of those days when my arthritis was up and my energy was down. I worried about how I’d hold up for a trip of that length. When three of my guests weren’t able to go, I decided to stick close to home.

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    2. great video steve. feels like the good ol brule. i have not seen it with any fall color as my experience has always been in june i think. a favorite place but weekends with the boys for me. many smiles.

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  4. Good morning. Okay, I’m afraid I am going to break the string of posts with videos. I will learn to put up videos some day, but not today. Tomorrow I probably will pay a visit to Hidden Falls at Nerstrand. It is on one of our favorite hiking trails and we plan to go hiking there on Sunday. Nice video, Holly.

    I think I would have to say that a small stream near West Lafayette, Indiana would be the waterway that is the most romantic one for me. It is near a house in the country that was rented by some friends and it is where my wife and I first got to know each other. We met there for the first time and we spent some time exploring the creek together. It was love at first sight and we were a couple from that time on.

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  5. I am really at a disadvantage regarding waterways compared with Minnesota Baboons.. The Red, the Missouri, and the Little Missouri Rivers are far from romantic. Not much romance in a river nicknamed “The Big Muddy”. Off to Newell SD today to pick up two lambs from the locker.

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  6. I don’t imagine it is very romantic either, but what could possibly have prompted someone to give the monicker to the Republican River in Kansas and Nebraska? I remember driving over it with my parents when I was a child. My father certainly had some witticisms about the name, as I recall.

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  7. The old trick with Down By the Old Mill Stream can be applied here:

    Down by the old (not the new but the old) Mars stream (not the river but the stream) where the microbes (not viruses but microbes) grew,
    There was algae too (not milfoil but algae), in that watery stew (not chowder but stew).
    What a different hue (not tone but hue), was our Martian goo (not slime but goo).
    We made a scene (not an act but a scene). It was pea green (not kelly green but pea green)! Down by the old (not the old but the new) Mars stream (not the river but the stream).

    It might take a little longer to come up with the hand movements to go along with this. It will also be more difficult without an atmosphere.

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  8. Sort of have TV; Internet is back. Still trying to talk my wife into dropping it all.
    Anyway, the topic. My favorite rivers are frozen ones. On Saturdays when my wife worked at the library and my son was at speech, my daughter and I would walk up frozen rivers. We had many still bright blue sky days with temps around zero or so. We would bring sandwiches and hot chocolate. We went many miles up the Stewart (wild, woodsy, a few falls), Silver (flat and rather dull for a while) the Gooseberry (and down to the Lake), the Split Rick (the best walk of them all), the Beaver (but starting farther up) and the Manitou (rocky, brushy). Did some inland rivers, the many branches of the Knife. Then my daughter was old enough for speech. Later on my wife and I did a couple Sunday frozen river walks. What is most surprising is the color. You get in rock gorges and lichens are still red, orange, brown, and a bit of yellow, green and blue.
    The river of Jamez Vallez NM is a fond memory, did many walks along it. Photographed it and did some paintings from the photos. Must be called the Jamez River.

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    1. I love walking up frozen rivers. The one I remember best was walking up the Brule River – the one that is part of Judge C. R. Magney State Park. Every time we would step through the ice a bit, our friend would say “First layer.”

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    2. my old friend craig blacklock has done some marvelous photography of that part of the world clyde but first hand memories are always the best.

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    3. Great images of walking on frozen rivers on a crisp winter day, topped off with cocoa.
      One question – when you say “speech” do you mean – special-ed speech help, public speaking/Toastmasters speech or what?

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        1. No you are misunderstanding. My son was at competitive HS speech tournaments for which my daughter was too young for then. She was in grades 7 and 8 when we did this. Then in ninth grade she was able to join speech and she went to the tournaments, too. My kids were regional serious interpretation champions in high school competitive speech for four years in a row. My son his senior year; my daughter grades 10-12.

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        2. got it. i envied the speech guys but didnt have the desire to quit the band and do the competition. good training for the preachers of the world though huh?

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        1. I greatly admire anyone who, at such a young age, musters the courage to speak in public. I thought I was going to die from anxiety over having to speak in public in my required Speech class in college (I was 26 by then). Fortunately the Vietnam War demonstrations got out of hand that quarter and shut down our university before I was ever called on to say anything in class. No grades were given for that quarter, but I got a Pass since I hadn’t had the opportunity to make a complete fool of myself in front of everybody.

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  9. Greetings! We don’t get out much, so my best remembrance of a romantic getaway was one of the very few vacations Jim and I took before kids came along. We stayed in Marine-on-St -Croix at a gorgeous B&B called The Asa Parker house. It was a beautiful old Victorian mansion decorated with antiques and Laura Ashley prints. Our bathroom had a huge antique tub we could both relax into, and the owner made excellent breakfasts and brought coffee in a silver service to our door each morning. We went for walks, drove around antique shopping and spent a day canoeing (and canoodling) down the St. Croix River. It was a lovely time.

    I also remember going camping and canoeing around the Brule River — a gorgeous area. Nick was 4-5 yrs old at that time. I could use a real vacation about now. I’m tired of stressing about money and work. — and the lack thereof for both. Enjoy the day!

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    1. Joanne, it saddens me that you don’t get out as much as you obviously need to. I don’t know your kids, but would it be possible to get in cahoots with them to plan some meal to be enjoyed al fresco somewhere out of the ordinary? Sometimes it really doesn’t take much to spice up an otherwise dull routine. Go for it while we have these beautiful fall days.

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    2. I also hope you can take a needed break somehow, Joanne. It can be very wearing to never be free from the anxiety of not enough money/not enough jobs.

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    3. Thanks for your kind thoughts and a great idea. I will give that a try. About 2 weeks ago on a whim, Jim decided we would go out for a country drive one gorgeous Sunday evening. We drove to the Sherburne County wildife refuge of some kind. You can drive through and stop at points for a short hike to see native MN prairie, oak savannah, swamp, etc. Our teenagers weren’t that thrilled about it, but it was a lovely and relaxing drive that’s just a few miles north of Big Lake.

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  10. for romance i agree that water should be included
    in memorable moments where the goal as eluded
    is lasting and memorable love to remember
    in april and may and the end of september
    i have a few spots that i think of when i
    go back to the past where those memories lie
    some small lakes and some streams where distant fond thoughts
    of love spring eternal memories like that cant be bought
    lake celestine lake como the yellowstone river
    nine mile creek in there too it delivers
    my youth has the most of them but there are some recent ones too
    when im somewhere where there is nothing else i would rather do
    romantic moments happen these days when i am alone
    i know just what i like and as history has shown
    the days that go down as the greatest of all
    are the ones that touch me deeply and the ones that do call
    to the things deep inside and the sound of waves lapping
    on shore makes me think of my hearts hands while clapping
    and the river that gurgles as its by my head
    is a place i return to the memories embed
    for a moment that goes down as one of the best
    include water why dont cha it does add to the rest
    of the memorable aspects that will be with you for life
    and if you are lucky add your husband or wife

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    1. Like the part about “romantic moments happen these days when i am alone
      i know just what i like and as history has shown…”

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  11. Lake Superior from the vantage of Artist’s Point in Grand Marais – sitting on the big black flat rocks, when the air is cool and the rocks warmed by the sun. A spit of trees behind me, not much of humanity around. Mostly just rocks and lake and sky.

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  12. I have more experience with lakes than rivers, but as to rivers, parts of the St. Croix are certainly beautiful. When I was young we had our own tiny lake, and one of my favorite New Year’s Eves was spent skating up and down. (Clearly it was a year without much snow. The ice was excellent and black, and nearly snow-free, even though we had not shoveled.) For a long time I thought everyone was fortunate enough to have their own lake to skate on. At some point, I realized that was not true, but I thought I would always manage to have one. However, our farm does not have a lake. Now that I think about it, I am nostalgic for our lake. (The old place is still there, but the lake has been nearly filled in by a recent weed invasion.)

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  13. ot kinda. pointer sisters from yesterday reminded me of an out of charachter favorite of theirs. here is what happens if you try to describe a romantic relationshi without using water as a reference.

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    1. I am falling in love with The Pointer Sisters. Holly – I’ve had “Fire” in my head now for 3 days…

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  14. Living as close to the Mississippi River as we do, it’s probably the waterway I’ve spent the most time on, or near, in the past 35 years. Husband and I have a favorite spot along the Mississippi where we enjoy picnic brunches. It’s a rather private place in the sense that we have never encountered anyone else there. On sunny spring, summer, and fall Saturday or Sunday mornings you might find the two of us, comfortably lounging in our camping chairs, enjoying a good cup of coffee and simple repast while gazing at downtown St. Paul across the river. We both find it amazing that such an oasis can be found so close to a major metropolis. (OK, so it’s not that big, but still.)

    Another favorite place for a memorable dinner was the floating dock in front of the St. Paul Boat Club’s building on Raspberry Island just west of the Wabasha Street bridge. Husband had built us a low, sturdy (and heavy) octagonal table, and I had a collection of silver-plated serving dishes and candleholders picked up at estate sales. A few big, fluffy pillows and some fresh food that was reasonably easy to transport, and a couple of bottles of wine, and we had the makings of a memorable meal. We did this mostly with people visiting from out of town, state or country (mainly because we wanted them to have a lasting memory of St. Paul and couldn’t afford to take them to nice restaurants); it never failed to leave a lasting impression on our guests. After climbing down the rocky embankment with all of our stuff, we’d be sitting there on that dock, gently bobbing on the waves, enjoying our cande-light dinner, and waving at the passengers on the various paddle boats passing by, the lights from downtown St. Paul reflecting beautifully in the river. Alas, that’s no longer possible. With the improvements to the boat house, and the island itself, came more traffic of all kinds, and during the summer the areas on Raspberry Island that would lend themselves to that kind of excursion are now frequented by homeless people. We’ve ceded what we referred to as “our summer cabin” to them. It sure was fun while it lasted.

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        1. I really wouldn’t want to sell the idea of specific places, but I’m sure we’re all aware of places that would lend themselves to such outings if we took the initiative to take advantage of them. Some of our more memorable outings resulted from having to make alternate arrangements because our dogs weren’t welcome where we had planned to eat. Such was the case with our 30th anniversary dinner. We had driven all the way to Stockholm, Wisconsin for pizza. We ended up enjoying it on the front lawn of the “extremely liberal” (that’s what the sign in their window said) Catholic church down the road from the pizza farm when we realized that we couldn’t let the dogs out of the car at the farm. Hans’ picture commemorating the event is a classic; one of our more fun and memorable anniversaries.

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        2. PJ – do you have a photo of ” the floating dock in front of the St. Paul Boat Club’s building on Raspberry Island”?

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        3. BiR, it does seem like the type of occasion that Hans would have captured on film, doesn’t it? But this was before he upgraded to a digital camera that could capture good night shots, so we don’t have any pictures of those dinners. Fortunately, the images are still vivid in my head.

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  15. I’m going to take “waterway” and “romantic” loosely – I’ve been lucky to live by water twice, and my memories of them are romantic if nothing else. Got to live six blocks from the ocean for a couple of years, and during summer vacations I actually had time to walk along the shore and comtemplate the waves, climb the bluff and watch the ocean and write poetry…

    Then we lived a block from the Mississippi in Winona, and Joel and I would walk up on the levee, I’d bring my wildflower book and try to figure out the flower names, and he liked the “ball game over the river” – orange balls on a wire to alert planes, I guess.

    Husband and I, before we got married, took a moonlit walk across Lake Harriet – yes, it was frozen at the time – that is one of the more romantic moments I can remember.

    I would love to live with a river in sight.

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    1. my daughter olivia came home form school in 3rd grade and it must have been st patricks day because the teacher had shown a little flick of irish dancing and then asked the class if anyone knew the irish dance. my daughter stood up and gave a demonstration of the dancing steps they just watched. the teacher was very impressed and when she asked my wife how olivia came to study irish dance my wife answered a bit bewildered that she hadnt studied irish dance. talking to olivia on the ride home olivia said well im irish mom of courst i can do the dance.. in 5th grade they were discussing music and olivia mentioned a song and someone told ther to sing it. the teacher encouraged her and said go ahead so she did . she sang it for the class. she has since gone into theater and wants to do musicals but will settle for acting if there is no music. gotta love watching that stuff.

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  16. I’m enjoying spectacular fall colors on Goodrich Lake near Cross Lake with family. It’s astonishingly gorgeous and peaceful. We did some fishing and had bonfire and great food. A classic Minnesota weekend! Romance doesn’t happen to me anymore but weekends like this are priceless. Wish I could post a picture.

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    1. for romance these days i depend on my love with the universe. it never lets you down. it is prettier and more responsive than ever if you pay a little attention.

      trail baboon,
      im swooning with the moon
      in october and june
      you know

      that trail baboon
      keeps us in tune
      with all of the blog friends
      good vibes send out too

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    1. Silver Creek (pronounced ‘crick’ in these parts) runs through a corner of the farm. As a kid I spent a lot of time fishing in it. Never caught much.
      As I got older I would walk along it. Some of it runs through open grass land, some through trees and one part, my favorite part, is along a high bluff with the trees and a large area of limestone slabs that have fallen into the water. It’s changed over the years– the rock has trees in it now and it’s not the same form of ‘picturesque’ as it was. Still nice, just different.
      There’s a small spring fed stream about 2 feet across that feeds into the creek out in the pasture and one corner of a field is close to the creek. The beef cows got water from that spring fed stream.
      Cows are gone now and I’ve put those closest fields into CRP acres (Wildflowers) to protect the water.
      Those corners spots are far enough from the farmstead, that being out there feels like an entirely different place.

      Family from PA in town for a few days so off to a family gathering this afternoon…

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      1. Ben’s post reminds me of a waterway that, while not romantic (in the adult sense), was definitely a favorite. My grandmother lived in Williamstown, Massachusetts and all our family vacations were spent visiting her. We kids loved visiting her brook as much as we loved visiting her. She had a beautiful front yard that sloped down to “grandma’s brook”. We cousins dammed it, caught fish with our hands, cooled the precious bottles of Coke (the only time we ever had Coke), created little houses and stories with the smooth grey rocks and pebbles, waded and just enjoyed.
        There was a sweet fragrance of mint by the upper part. When I moved to Mpls and started jogging by Minnehaha creek, there was a spot with that same smell. As smells do, it took me right back. Sadly, that spot was torn up for bridge construction.

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        1. I’ve wondered that myself. I’ve seen the Silver Creek tunnel and my wife grew up near Silver Lake Township in Martin County.
          Our Silver crick runs into Silver Lake which is a man-made lake in Rochester. (Rochester is one of the few counties in MN without a natural lake.) Silver lake was popular for many years by the resident Giant Canada Geese that resided there in the winter. Although the last few years, the power plant doesn’t heat the water anymore and the city has started a campaign to keep the geese off the streets and shores.

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  17. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I could not think of anything to say about this, opening that I had nothing to offer until this morning at about 10:30 when the back yard bird bath became my favorite, most romantic body of water, since it is not a waterway that goes anywhere. Lou and I looked out the dining room windows to see a pilleated woodpecker at the birdbath and birdfeeder. No camera ready, of course. Wow. I have seen them many times, but never with such an unobstructed, close up view.

    We named him Woody.

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    1. interesting to see something so simple that would go otherwise unrealized by me.
      you ran with a brainy cowd alright. he looks like he would have been a defensive back on that football team of yours.

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      1. Brainy, you have no idea. And multi-talented. Leon Botstein lived down the hall from me, which I do not remember fondly. I was so out of my league. Ken was tight end and left outside linebacker; I was middle linebacker. He also was an excellent swimmer. And he was and I am sure still is an excellent acoustic guitarist and banjo-player.

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        1. next time you talk to him tell him id like to do a little pickin and grinnin with him. i was going to say offensive lineman but he looked a little small so tight end is perfect. who is leon botstein? sounds like an intro to another story….

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        2. Leon was only 15 then. And you just have no idea what brilliance is until you meet it. I had a girlfriend, more girl friend, who finished a double major in German and math in five quarters. Went to Harvard medical school to get MD and Ph.D. and teach several places and do research. I lost track of her. Somewhere along the line she seems to have married and given up her great name. She escaped from E. Berlin through a tunnel at age 12. Another friend and fellow member of the football team got three doctorates–law, MD, physiology. He sold his medical practice/clinic to Mayo for millions. I could literally go on and an on.

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  18. OT. I just talked to my mom. While my dad has been transferred to sit in a chair for short periods, and has had physical therapy, he has not been thought strong enough to stand, and he hasn’t stood up since he entered the hospital. Today he had to use the bathroom, so instead of calling for the nurses, he just got out of bed and walked to the bathroom. I guess the nurses were horrified. He goes to the nursing home in Luverne tomorrow for a month of rehab. I just hope he doesn’t take a notion to take a walk to his house once he gets to the nursing home.

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    1. Renee, I trust that your dad knows better than the medical establishment what he’s capable of. When I was in the hospital subsequent to my fall, I was labeled a ” fall risk”; after all I was there because had fallen! This meant that my wheelchair and walker had a certain color-coded ribbon attached (yellow as I recall) that signaled to all staff that if they saw me out and about, that they were supposed to keep an eye on me; there were all kinds of restrictions of what I was allowed to do. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more patronized and condescended to . The occupational therapists were particularly offensive. I’ve never taken kindly to being treated as if I were in some way inferior, and three fractured bones weren’t sufficient justification in my mind to treat me that way. Renee, support your dad in any way you can to allow him to do for himself what he is capable of. Insurance liability rather than common sense guide the policies of what the powers that be allow him to do.

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