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9: endearing

Dear Friend,


I’ve been wondering if you get tired of that same salutation. Do you? I mean, there are three and a half billion other ways I could be opening these letters to you each week. But I’ve kept it the same - Dear Friend, every week for over a year … now that I’m thinking of it, have I missed the opportunity to be creative with every Dear Friend? But, Dear Friend, does say what I want to say: I greet you, Friend, and let you know that, to me, you, Dear, are precious, adorable, sweet, a treasure… so yes, ‘Dear Friend’ says what I mean … but please let me know if you are tired of it.


It’s interesting how many different names one person can have. Just for fun, can you think of five different names that others frequently call you? Maybe it’s not easy to come up with five? Or, perhaps you can come up with a lot more than five? Think of your proper name, your occupation, who you are in relation to other people, or maybe you have a nickname.


Nicknames are interesting to me especially when they suddenly come out of nowhere. One day friends/colleagues/family members are using your given name and the next, they’re calling you by the name of your favorite color.


Have you ever wondered why people give nicknames? These are names or labels sometimes based on initials or the acronym of a given name, personality traits, behaviors, hobbies, physical appearance, sometimes they rhyme… sometimes they are in fun, sometimes they are meant to degrade – either way, a nickname will stick if it isn’t averted. And averting is not always a smooth process.


Grownups can help kids by communicating ‘why’ nicknames may or may not be ‘fun for everyone.’ Sometimes the nickname is meant to provoke which can lead to memorable, character building episodes, stuff that a coddled child might miss out on, but stuff that can also scar an otherwise happy childhood. Is there a healthy balance?


Imagine that it was up to you to thwart an insulting nickname (for yourself or for someone else). In your imagination, are you solving the problem? Have you arrived at a solution? It’s interesting to think about, nipping such things as nicknames in the bud.


Taking a child aside to ask, ‘How do you feel about being called, ‘The Amazing Mayo?’ might surprise you to learn that The Amazing Mayo loves all of this attention. Do you thwart it anyway?

Grownups know better, right? (smile) It seems that simply being honest and asking someone permission before calling them ‘Toad Face,’ and then going on to explain, ‘because that is what you remind me of,’ is also tricky. I think that honesty is a great thing and I’m all for opening doors to communication… but if we don’t want to ‘hurt feelings’ or to ‘be rude,’ there is so much to think about, huh? Perhaps it does help to think first; maybe it would just be easier to lead with kindness? Maybe we could start by asking ourselves, ‘Would I want someone to call me that?


What about names that are meant to be endearing, kind, and loving? They can be a meaningful show of affection between friends, family members or just between two specific people. Do you use any of these? (These are just some that I’ve heard others use, these are not meant to represent personally applied nomenclature).


Why do people use endearing names? We even give endearing names to our animal friends. Can you think of any that you’ve instigated?


Dear’ is one term of endearment, widely used and is usually well received. It is a word that can indicate how expensive or valuable something is… it can also be used when one is cherished, or cute, or it can just be a polite way to greet a dear person to whom you are writing.


Who is dear to you? What is dear to you? And how do you feel about deer?


I think that deer are dear but because they tend to be where they can find food and water, they are often innocently guilty of destroying gardens. And deer, like squirrels, haven’t had to learn the rules of the road. To them, a road is just another thing to cross on their journey to find food and water, they’ll run out in front of bikes, cars, trucks… And, when you are on your bike, or driving your car or truck, it’s good to remember: if you see one deer, slow down and look for others, they rarely travel alone.


I found this beautiful photographic and informative collection of different types of deer.  

Like I said, I think that deer are dear and I think that it is amazing that they live, often mysteriously thriving, in herds throughout the world, native to every continent except for Antarctica and Australia.


So far, the climate of Antarctica is still harsh. People don’t go there to live and raise families, in fact there are no native people of Antarctica. The land is so barren, there is nothing much growing, nothing for deer to eat – it is just a starkly-beautiful but freezing wilderness.


Australia’s versatile landscape and thriving deer population is a different story.


Of course, no matter how one might feel about this, recreational hunting has been known to bolster the economy of, and bring resources to, people in remote areas… In Australia, where, up until the 19th century, no known native deer existed, people deliberately introduced six species of them as game animals. And, apparently, without any trouble at all, deer have escaped from containment to live in forests, grasslands and farmlands of Australia, and though people would like to save the grassy farmland for other reasons, it often fills the tummies of hungry deer. And since the population of deer in Australia has grown from 50K in 1980 to around 2 Million today, deer are now considered an ‘Invasive Species.’ It is a huge problem and a very sad reality for every living thing involved. The truth is: People are capable of so much.


As I write this to you, I hope that you are warm and comfy. Outside, the sky is dumping sleet and the wind is whipping sharp shards of ice in every direction and just a bit south west of here, a small herd of female mule deer is huddling out of the wind in a forest of bay trees. Frank took some photos of these locals, near and dear to us.


And sometimes the bucks stop here.


No matter what your name or who calls you what, please know that you are a dear Friend to be here, checking in, spending your time reading Tracks by the Post.


NEWS: My website: has been updated. Yay!  BUT: if you have Tracks by the Post saved in your bookmarks with the previous link, it would be best to delete it and resave with this better link. PLEASE USE THIS LINK: 


(Please do NOT use this OLD NOT WORKING LINK:  which takes you to a page that says “So Sorry, Friend!...Return Home” linking you to the new page).


And please don’t hesitate to contact us if you wish to share a nickname or a deer tale… or just to say Hi!


Wishing you the very best week possible,


Gently Be,

Leslie and Frank




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