White Deer Twins on the Riverwalk

White Deer Twins on the Riverwalk
These rare white deer twins were born this summer and have found a safe home at Dan Daniel Park and on the Riverwalk
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My name is David Hoffman. I teach English and journalism at Averett University, but I have two side interests - writing and photography. I also enjoy walking daily with my English setter, Sadie, and my wife, Elizabeth, on the Danville, Virginia, Riverwalk. As a novice to studying nature, I am fascinated by the slightest facets of the great outdoors, but most of my pictures are of birds - I don't know a lot about them, but I am learning more and enjoying taking pictures of them daily. I also take pictures of plants, other animals, and insects. All pictures posted for each day were taken on the day of my blog entry.

Leave a comment if you have the time or e-mail me at dhoffman@averett.edu


Wednesday, June 16, 2010


(JUNE 17, 2010) "How's WHATZIT doing today," a lady asks every morning as we pass her and her friend walking the Riverwalk?

I know she is asking about Sadie. She calls her "WHATZIT" because a few years ago when we first talked with these ladies they would come over to Sadie and Sadie would, in her excitement, jump up on the women. The ladies didn't seem to mind that, but whenever they called Sadie's name, Sadie would make a lunge toward them wanting to be petted. So, as not to cause Sadie to pull on the leash, they referred to her as "WHATZIT" or as "the dog whose name shall not be called.

It has turned into a friendly joke over the years as they ask how I'm doing and then ask, "How's WHATZIT?' I say, "She's just fine," and we continue on our walk.

This morning I encountered several dogs that Sadie had met before. However, one dog, Mia, I hadn't recalled her name, so I asked, "WHATZIT's name?" Mia's owner said, "Mia. We have met before." I recalled her dog after she mentioned her name; Sadie and Mia got along fine with each other, we shared treats with each other's dog, and then went our separate ways.

Over the years we meet dogs on the Riverwalk and know the name of the dogs but not the names of the owners. Today Sadie saw Jodie, a small white curly furred dog. We have seen Jodie on the trail almost every morning for a couple of years. The dogs sniff each other and then move on. This morning, Jodie's owner asked me the name of another person on the trial, and I told her. She called me by name; I was embarrassed because after a couple of years I knew only as Jodie's master. She told me her name, and now I will not only speak a good morning to Jodie but to . . . WHATZHER name as well.

Sometimes my eyes deceive me as I look at something that seems odd and respond with the WHATZIT question. I generally go over to investigate the WHATZIT object. This morning I saw a beautiful flower that had black spots all over it white flower. My first idea was that the spots were little bugs, but as I got closer I realized that they weren't bugs at all, but little holes in the flower made, I assume, by little bugs.

On a plant there was a dark spot to which I asked myself, "WHATZIT?' As I walked over to it, I realized it was some kind of roach or waterbug that had taken up residence in the flower. It was a rather attractive bug with a maroon shell and black accessories. I also saw another plant with what seemed like a little hole in it. The "hole" started to move, and as I got closer I realized that cute ladybug had landed on the plant and made an attractive picture with the black and orange bug on the white flower. Another bug was hanging upside-down on a leaf. When I saw it scamper up the stem of the leaf, I responded, "WHATZIT?" Well, I think it might have been a mosquito or some other long legged bug.

Near the bridge to the train station there were two lovely yellow bell shaped flowers. On one was an interesting bug that was yellow and black. As I looked at the other I assumed that it was full of the same bug, but what appeared to be several of the bugs were actually the stamen of the plant that looked just like the small bug on the other plant.

And finally, the most exciting part of the walk this morning was the sight of a great blue heron flying over the water and landing just a little ways from where we walked. It's landing wasn't the most graceful; in fact, this graceful bird of the sky had such an abrupt and clumsy landing that I exclaimed, "WHATZIT?"

And finally, when you see Sadie on the Riverwalk, you might want to refer to her as "WHATZIT" or she may respond with an overly friendly response. However, if enough people call her WHATZIT, she may start responding to that instead of Sadie. And then the two ladies who walk together have to start calling Sadie something she won't respond to - maybe - "bad dog?"

Well, it was another beautiful day on the Rivrwalk.

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