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Raleigh is one of the most romantic cities around, especially in spring

A Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly rests on a colorful and fragrant Joe Pye Weed at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve in Cary.
A Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly rests on a colorful and fragrant Joe Pye Weed at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve in Cary. newsobserver.com

While rambling through the internet I came across an article that listed Raleigh as the second most unromantic city in America.

How does someone measure a city’s romance level? In springtime, Raleigh is one of the prettiest cities I’ve ever visited. Consider Cameron Village for example. The late developer, Willie York, years ago must have taken seriously poet Sara Teasdale’s instructions to “Spend all you have on loveliness. Never count the cost.”

In 1950, while constructing the first suburban shopping center between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, the late York didn’t just throw up a bunch of stores and apartment buildings. He included generous amounts of greenery and flowering trees and shrubs that beautify the residential and shopping center. When springtime burst upon us in mid-February, the pear trees were ablaze with pink blossoms.

I silently cautioned the bluebirds darting in and out of our bird houses that winter may not have had its final say, but to no avail. The birds even dared to bathe in the icy water in the patio bird bath.

I glanced out the window one day recently at dusk to see six deer grazing peacefully on our back lawn. They, too, undoubtedly felt the tug of springtime and romance on the move.

“Dog-earing”

A longtime friend and devoted patron of our Wake County Library system asks me to appeal to book borrowers to not “dog-ear” pages in the books that they borrow.

OK, dear readers, if you are addicted to “dog-earing” books, cease and desist, please.

I make the request as one who once was guilty of the offense.

As a bachelor working at the Burlington Times News, I was befriended by and lived with Dr. and Mrs. Donald Robinson, who had migrated South to open his practice as the area’s first pediatrician.

“We almost starved at first,” Mrs. Robinson once said. “It seemed that everybody thought a pediatrician was a foot doctor.”

I’ve always enjoyed reading in bed and once also had that habit of turning down the page when I turned off the light. For a few nights, I was puzzled upon returning to my book and not finding the dog-eared page.

Eventually, I found a note tucked in the book. It read, “Books are our friends. Let’s not abuse our friends.”

This long ago lesson from a beloved friend was never mentioned by either of us. But my dog-earing days ended upon my finding that note.

Compassion supreme

Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson is said to have told an audience, “If a man can make a better mouse- trap than his neighbor, the world will make a beaten path to his door.”

But he didn’t say what one should do with the mice that end up in his better mouse-trap.

My niece, Lynn Snow, of Wake Forest, recently constructed a unique mousetrap by putting a piece of bread covered with peanut butter in the bottom of a trash can. She then leaned a yard stick against the side of the can.

Soon after, sure enough, a not-so-smart mouse walked up the yardstick and jumped into the can. After devouring the delicacy, the mouse, of course, was unable to climb out of the can. So what happened to the mouse?

His compassionate captor got in her car and chauffeured the mouse a few miles out of town and released him into an open field, a supremely fortunate and, one hopes, a wiser mouse.

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