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PAGE THREE THE OBSIDIAN DECEMBER 1953
CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM OUR PRESIDENT
I'd like to tell you about a Christmas which I spent in the Army, and which holds a very prominent place in my memory.
Several of my buddies and I who had just returned from Europe were aboard a train bound for the West Coast. We had hoped to be home at Christmas time, and we were disappointed to have to be traveling. It didn't seem like Christmas at all, this morning on the train.
When we stopped at Omaha, the weather was bitterly cold and blustery, and our spirits were about as low as the temperature. Near our antiquated Pullman stood an elderly man very poorly clad for the freezing weather. He clapped his bare hands vigorously in an attempt to warm them. Having no time to get off the train several of us opened our windows and spoke to the old fellow.
This man obviously had very little of worldly goods and perhaps no formal education. However, he captured our friendship in just a few minutes with his manner. He asked many questions concerning our families, and our homes. He listened to each of us with an intense interest. And he was happy for us that providence had seen us safely through the war; glad that we were soon to be separated from the Army, and soon again to be home among our friends and those we loved. His friendly sincere interest brought some cheer to this part of the day. As the trail pulled away we shouted "Merry Christmas" to him and to each other, and waved our goodbyes.
Then, while waving, one of the men dropped a glove out the window. It was one of a fine pair which the soldier treasured as they were a Christmas gift from his family. Our old friend by the track ran to the glove, picked it up and ran for our car in an effort to return it. He was almost able to put the glove in the outstretched hand of one of the men, but finally his speed lessened as that of the train increased. In a last attempt he threw the glove toward us-but it was missed, the train now going faster. Suddenly the soldier owning the gloves threw his remaining glove near the one on the ground and toward our Christmas friend, as he called out "Merry Christmas, mister". The old fellow put the gloves on and as long as we could see him, he waved to us. Seeing this needy person receive a gift in such an unusual way brought the Spirit of Christmas to our Pullman for the remainder of that Christmas Day. Dale Carlson
FIFTY-FOURTH CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT
For the past ten or more consecutive years the Natural History Society of Eugene has been taking part in a wildbird census known as the Christmas Bird Count.
This project--covering continental U.S., with parts of Canada and Alaska--is directed by the National Audubon Society in collaboration with the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service. The purpose being the gathering and recording of evidence for scientific and statistical uses in determining year to year variation in abundance, distribution, etc., of birds, and in setting dates and the duration of hunting seasons, and bag limits on game birds. In addition, the project has recreational, aesthetical, and educational value.
In 1599 a small group of conservationists decided to attempt to substitute a Christmas bird count for the then customary Christmas bird kill. The results were gratifying. Twenty-seven gunless observers reported almost ten thousand birds. From that beginning the Christmas bird count has grown into the greatest cooperative ornithological project ever undertaken. Now, fifty years later, some five thousand volunteers take part each season. They travel up to fifty thousand party-miles (ten thousand of which may be on foot); more than four hundred reports are sent in, listing as many as four hundred seventy species, with a total of six to eight million individual birds.
The 1953 census is set for Sunday, December 27th. Meet at Condon Hall, U of O Campus at 8 a.m. Bring lunch. From there small parties will go to assigned localities. Trips will not be strenuous. About 4:30 p.m., return to Eugene, home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Flynn, 1762 Columbia St., where, following refreshments and count totaling, Gordon Gullion is expected to entertain with pictures of desert wildlife.
THE WORLD USUALLY PUSHES A MAN THE WAY HE makes up his mind to go. If going up, they push him up; if going down they push him down--gravitation, however, making the speed great in the decline. (G. F. Train)
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