Thursday, September 16, 2010

We host pigeon, research war relic

We have been back on Corregidor almost a month already, and have been having really good weather. Last year at this time we were running our diesel generator several times a week because there was not enough sun to keep our solar-powered batteries happy. Since our return, we have not had to supplement with the generator even once. It’s one of those things you kind of hate to mention. We’re not supertitious, but like most people, we’re “a little ‘stitious’.” You know how it is when you mention something that has been better than you might expect, say “knock on wood,” and the next thing you know, the very thing you talked about not happening starts happening? Anyway, we hope that by mentioning the weather, which has been mostly sunny days followed by cloudy, often rainy nights, we don’t start the next round of typhoons. It’s really nice to avoid listening to the very loud generator, and to save diesel fuel at the same time.

The other day Marcia spotted a pigeon standing near our dirty kitchen, below our clothesline. She decided to try taking its picture before it flew off, so she went inside and grabbed her camera. She started by photographing from a distance, and kept moving closer and closer. The bird stayed there, watching her but not flying or walking away. At that point we decided that it might be injured, maybe having flown into a windowpane. She was able to get within a foot or so before the bird started to walk away from her, not appearing to be injured, although we were not sure yet if it could fly. When Marcia returned to her usual seat on the bench in our dirty kitchen, the pigeon walked right below Steve, who was reading in his hammock. He took a few more photos from that vantage point.

After a while, Marcia walked behind it and took a few more pictures. The bird walked ahead of her and went around the corner of the house. Marcia reassumed her reading spot, and a few minutes later, here came the pigeon from the other side, having walked around the whole house. It was obviously not afraid of us. Steve hung his foot down and the bird pecked gently at his toes. The next thing we knew, it had flown up and stood on the table between us. Eventually it flew up to the top of the bench where Marcia was reading. Finally, after a couple of hours, it flew to the ground, walked off through the yard, and disappeared. We thought we had seen the last of it.

But then we heard a sudden flapping of wings, and it perched right up next to Marcia’s head. It seemed very content to just stand there. We went to Ron’s for a little beer and supper, and when we returned, it had settled in on our auxiliary table next to our outdoor fire-pit stove. The next morning, it was still perched there on the table. Steve shooed it off the table, which was, as you might expect, covered in bird poop. The bird, which the Filipinos call a “racing pigeon,” has a left-leg band which reads, “PHIL PFP 2010 20169.” If you are able to identify the bird more accurately from the pictures we’ve provided we’d be glad to know more about it. We are not sure if or when it will return to our house, or how one might find its owner if it continues to stay close to us.

And speaking of identifying something for us, when we returned to Corregidor, Ron gave us something that had been uncovered while the guys were clearing the Fort Mills Command Post (aka C1), which we talked about a couple of newsletters ago. It can best be described as a black circular piece of hard rubber or soft plastic, slightly smaller than and half the thickness of a hockey puck. On the top side is a smaller circular transparent cover, with a thin metal frame and a metal band through the center, having a small screw to hold the cover in place. In the upper half of the circle is a word which clearly begins with “Master,” followed by “p” and some partially obscured letters. Our best guess was “Masterplan,” but we were wrong. The number 719 is handwritten below it, in the lower half of the covered area. Not knowing what it was, and hoping that someone else could identify it, we sent a photo to a few Corregidorphiles. Most of them were stumped. However, after the email with its photo got passed around a bit more, someone was able to identify the piece. It turns out to be an important Corregidor artifact. We are supplying the picture of the top, as well as a picture of the bottom, which shows that it was hollow and had two holes which could be used for screws. Can you figure out what it is? Hint: you probably have to be near 50 years old to have actually used the object of which this was a part.

You may remember that late last year Steve gave a tour to Congressman Bob Filner of California. Earlier this month Steve provided a tour for Cong. Jeff Miller of Florida. Although they are on opposite sides of the aisle, they are both on the Veterans Affairs Committee, and the congressman (who was very informal and insisted on being called Jeff) said that Bob is a good friend of his. The visit was kept very low key, and he later told his U. S. Embassy escort that he really enjoyed his time with us. Jeff is also the ranking Republican on the Anti-Terrorism committee, and could chair it should the House of Representatives go Republican in November.

We hope that we can continue to serve the Embassy when they have dignitaries and visitors here in the Philippines. It is always a pleasure for us to “show off” the sights of our Corregidor home, and we enjoy the occasional chance to spend a day with folks from the States.

P.S. As we were in the process of writing this, the pigeon returned.

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