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Liz Ciancone

March 31, 2014

LIZ CIANCONE: Words can take us on memorable excursions

TERRE HAUTE — When The Tribune-Star recently asked the reading public to name “the best” in dozens of categories, I didn’t hesitate in naming Mike Lunsford as my favorite columnist.

This is not false modesty on my part. I admire Mike’s ability to really see nature and to take us along with him as he treks his woods and travels further afield. He often takes me back to Yorkville and my younger years. A lot of my column ideas go through a convoluted process when Mike’s work taps into my memory bank.

I cannot remember what point he made recently which set me off, but it took me back to “the Perkins house” where we lived during my junior high school years. Our home was just a few blocks from the Fox River while just down the hill from our back yard was Blackberry Creek and the Mill Pond as well as an Illinois State Fish Hatchery. The proximity to so much fresh water suited my loner personality, and I so enjoyed walking along one body of water or another.

Of course, if I was going for a walk our collie, Lady, assumed that it would be her walk, too. She always walked about twice as far as I did because she would sprint ahead, then circle back to find me. On one memorable occasion she came dashing back to me with her plume of a tail wagging furiously. She had rolled in a dead fish. I’m sure she thought she was perfumed, but Dad didn’t see it that way and before she was allowed in the house, she was flung into the old washtub which doubled as her bath tub. She seemed to think it was a lot of fun. Dad didn’t.

On the way to the Fox there was a road bordered by a wooden fence. I had been reading about how the Indians used to walk, one foot directly in front of another, not only for balance, but to avoid leaving a trail. I decided to give it a try and learned how to walk along the top rail of that fence — Indian style.

What I admire most about Mike’s writing is that he takes us along with him wherever he goes. I have followed his adventures in New England. While Calvin Coolidge was not our must dynamic president, Mike made him seem human. Cal hasn’t made my bucket list, but I did enjoy the trip.

I’ll continue to travel at home and away with Mike Lunsford and come home with memories to share in my own column.

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send email to opinion@tribstar.com.

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