Da Big Six Oh

by Carl Strang

As of yesterday I have survived 60 winters. Decadal space-time milestones tend to inspire jokes and retrospection. The jokes I’ll leave to others; I’m happy to be alive to be the butt of them. So, I’m jumping back to my first year to begin a retrospective.

Mom, and me at 6 months. I’m the one on the right. Can’t say I remember this.

In my first decade I discovered my love of natural history. We all were impressed when a strong thunderstorm took down a big black locust in the back yard.

That’s not a choke hold. I’m keeping my beloved little brother Gary from falling off the tree. On either side of us are kids from a neighboring family.

It wasn’t all nature stuff, though. Sometimes we were cowboys.

Gary always shows more personality in our childhood photos.

In our second decade, brother also won the hair competition.

Dad, Gary and me with a day’s catch on an Arkansas vacation. Note how I am holding the light end of the stringer.

I went on to Purdue to study wildlife. After my sophomore year I got the opportunity to go to western Alaska as a research assistant.

I’m the one holding the cackling goose after a banding drive. Raincoat on a nice day? The ungrateful geese tended to crap on us. Behind me is Dave Eisenhauer, the graduate student I was there to help. Cal Lensink, legendary Alaska waterfowl biologist, is in the orange cap.

In my early 20’s I was able to do my own thesis study in Alaska, and also got to take a graduate class in tropical ecology that included a month in Panama.

Holding a sea snake was a real treat. Of course I did it carefully as they are highly venomous, but this one was placid.

Now I have to jump ahead to my mid-30’s, as I don’t find any digital format pictures from my college teaching years.

Can you see me? Yes? Then I guess I could have done a better camo job at one of the Tom Brown survival classes.

After an acting class and some storytelling study, I was ready to be a decomposer in my 40’s.

My friends all call me Fun Gus.

As I approached 50, I looked forward to my trip to Australia.

Here I am driving the audience out of the room with my didgeridoo solo.

That 5-week trip had many highlights.

I really enjoyed my little camel ride, for instance. You can tell the camel is excited, too.

As for my life in recent years, I’ve been putting a large part of it into this blog. So now you know, if today’s exercise in self-indulgence hasn’t driven you away, that you need to interpret future blog posts as the product of my growing geezerhood.



  1. Hal Atherton said,

    April 18, 2011 at 6:55 am

    From one geezer to another, happy birthday Carl!

  2. Su POdraza-Nagle said,

    April 18, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Thanks for the candid photos Carl, and Happy Day!!! Again, another blog well done!

  3. Marie said,

    April 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Have a great birthday! Really enjoyed this post and your blog is great!

  4. April 19, 2011 at 1:37 am

    Happy birthday Carl!

  5. natureinquiries said,

    April 19, 2011 at 5:56 am

    Thanks, Friends.

  6. mary said,

    April 19, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Happy Birthday! Really liked the decomposer and Fun Gus.

  7. Kelli Parke said,

    April 24, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Happy Birthday Carl

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