CENTENNIAL—Thanksgiving was a lovely holiday around here as Jonas’ Colorado family was able to get together and have a nice time. Jonas spent part of the day wearing some Native American artifacts he made at school, including a necklace that declared what he was thankful for in his own words. And Roxie should be pleased as he said he was most thankful for his “pupe,” which translates from 5-year-old to adult as “puppy.”
CENTENNIAL—Jonas has been working on the concept of storytelling at kindergarten, a skill he’s already had down for a little while. But we nonetheless have been impressed with his progress and his ability to tell a tale. The other day, he shared the story of Thanksgiving, including a little-known part about the Pilgrims’ time in Colorado. A Daily Gewirtz videographer was on hand to record this version, which we present to our readers as we wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving!
CENTENNIAL—Dad had to go on one of his occasional work trips the other week, a long one for his magazine’s annual conference. A few days after he got back, he found himself in the basement and discovered the coolest thing on a whiteboard Jonas keeps down there. In very solid handwriting was about the most awesome thing a dad can find: “I luv my Dad,” written by a 5-year-old boy. Dad asked Jonas what it was about and Jonas said he went down there to write it after Dad got home. Nonetheless, Dad figured Mom might have had something to do with it, perhaps through a gentle encouragement? But when Mom said she hadn’t been down there and that Jonas must have done it by himself, Dad was even more impressed with the sentiment than he was the fantastic sentence structure. And as Mom and Dad discussed the other evening, Dad may have to just keep this photo on hand for that inevitable moment when a 16-year-old grounded Jonas declares is father to be completely unfair.
CENTENNIAL—It’s not like we don’t feed Roxie anything. But boy does she like to go searching for any possible crumb or speck of dust or lint or any microscopic particle on the floor. This is a typical scene around the baseboards these days if you’re trying to find Roxie.
PARKER—Yesterday we shared with you the amazing story of our spectacular visit to a local nonprofit that educates the public about birds of prey. Near the end of our visit, the owner of the operation asked Jonas if he’d like a close-up photo with any one of the creatures we’d seen. And Jonas did not hesitate when he made his selection: the bald eagle. This is a boy, of course, who has a good stuffed animal eagle friend named Swoopy. A boy who has a framed photo of an eagle in his room. A boy, we might add, who even wore his favorite eagle shirt to the visit. We saw some absolutely beautiful animals on our visit, but there is something just so majestic about a bald eagle. Mom and Dad even got in on the photo action as well. It was an incredible end to what was an incredible morning.
Editor’s note: First of a two-part series.
PARKER—The best newspapers deliver their strongest content on Sunday, so today, Daily Gewirtz presents an amazing and true report of what happened after Jonas recently decided to do a good deed. It begins with a weekly charitable donation that we’ve been making to our tzedakah box for about a year. Mom and Dad told Jonas that when a year was up, he could donate the money to whatever cause he saw fit. Early on, he decided he wanted to help endangered animals. The move was partly due to books he had been reading from the library about the topic, but also thanks to a local nonprofit that he has come across a number of times at preschool, his elementary school and at a few fairs across the area. This particular nonprofit rescues injured birds of prey, a particular interest for Jonas, and educates the public about these fantastic creatures. So when Jonas decided he wanted the money to go to this group, we wrote out a check for the $50 we had saved, and Jonas wrote out the following note to the owners.
Mom and Dad wrote a little note on the back letting them know Jonas was a 5-year-old who appreciated what they do. And we didn’t think much more about it—until a week or so later when the owner gave Dad a call. He was touched by Jonas’ note, not to mention his generosity. “Would Jonas like a look around our operation?” the owner asked. It was quite an offer. That’s because while the man who runs the show keeps his amazing family of birds in an open-air building behind his house, the site is not open to the public. His operation is all about outreach to schools and public events and such. “Yes,” Dad said, “I think Jonas would like that very much.” And that’s how we found ourselves the other weekend down a rural road in nearby Parker to meet the owner of the operation. When we got there, his only request was that we not broadcast the meeting “to the world” since the home tour was not something he regularly does, which is why we won’t be mentioning his name or organization here directly. But we nonetheless feel compelled to share with our small family of readers a bit of his story. A native of Guam, he came to Colorado to attend college and somehow came across someone who was a falconer. He was hooked. It remained a passing hobby, though, as he continued what turned out to be a successful career in financial management. But the birds kept calling and he eventually abandoned his high-profile (and high-paying) job to pursue his passion and became a master falconer himself. And that’s how his rescue was born. He’s now many years into it and has done thousands of demonstrations around the state with the help of volunteers. But the operation is not a cheap one. Food alone runs $40,000 or so a year. (And you can only imagine the type of “food” that gets delivered to this guy’s house to feed these raptors…) Mom and Dad were a bit blown away by this man’s story, as well as his generosity. (He was also a character, showing us a turkey vulture that he named after an ex-girlfriend from college.) When Jonas arrived, the owner had a lot of questions for our boy. And Jonas had some great questions about the birds. He also impressed the gentleman with his knowledge of many of the birds we saw, thanks in part to the education he’s already gotten from this organization. Inside the bird area in this backyard building, we were all treated to a tour that included close-up views of peregrine falcons (the fastest bird in the world, capable of flying an astounding 240 mph), harris hawks, red-tailed hawks, bald eagles and just about every variety of owl you can imagine. There were even owls you couldn’t possibly imagine, like a crazy-thin long-eared owl that none of us had even seen a photo of before, let alone seen one a few feet away. He also was caring for a rare Eurasian owl named “Bubba,” a big, stunning creature we could have stared at all day. It was a remarkable group of animals. And the man was so generous, we ended up spending nearly 90 minutes with him touring the operation, asking questions and taking photos with his friends there. He even took out a hawk and let it fly around for us to see, all of us marveling at his control of what would seem an uncontrollable creature. Once these injured animals come to live there, they more or less stay for life if they can’t be released back, meaning this a long-term commitment. Some of them can live 30 years or more. When we were done, the man had one more surprise. Would Jonas like to get a close-up photo with any one of the birds we had seen? Jonas was immediate in his response. Tomorrow, we’ll share with you his selection and what happened after that. But for now, we present a few images of our fantastic tour. While we won’t mention the organization, we were so impressed that we also feel compelled to at least offer a link here if you’re curious to check them out. If you’re ever looking for a worthy cause, we highly recommend this group, whose owner wound up giving us much more back than Jonas ever gave to him.
CENTENNIAL—After our big snow the other day, Jonas was excited to go out and make his first snow angels of the season. Roxie, on the other hand, took the opportunity to take advantage of Jonas’ prone face by licking it to no end. The licking made the snow angel-making a bit more challenging for Jonas, who was equal parts amused and flustered. He nonetheless managed to get a few good ones off and Roxie seemed pleased at whatever seemed to be taking place. A win for both in the end.