Photo competition one sign of season

By Lynn Moncus: QCS columnist

Some people look for signs in nature in order to know when autumn is approaching, but others know the season is almost here when Harold and Kathy Nichless return to Iowa after spending the summer here.

Of course, a few of us have pointed out that most creatures head south for the winter and north for the summer, but those two assure us that the other creatures are confused.

As most of you recall, Harold was the person who forced me into the computer age and wrecked my serene existence.

Once he conned me into buying a computer and printer, he decided I really needed a digital camera in order to be able to illustrate the many letters I write and to keep him in tune with Quay County during his absence.

That added further confusion to life and caused a major problem because we are both rather competitive. As a result, we try to outdo each other as we exchange pictures.

As one might expect, he doesn’t exactly play fair because he keeps buying fancier cameras each year, thus making my simple one look like a Brownie Box Camera and causing me to stretch my imagination in order to avoid eating so much of his dust.

He now has some kind of super telephoto lens that permits him to capture distant objects as though he were standing right in front of them. When I take pictures of distant objects, I am the only one who knows what those dots are. I was able to play with the computer some in order to bring them close enough to be recognized, but that wasn’t really satisfactory.

I finally decided to play with a monocular in order to stay in the race and have done much experimenting during the summer while holding that little dude to the camera lens and trying to remain steady enough to keep it in place and shoot at the same time.

Actually, I’ve had some remarkable results even if I am the only one who appreciates all I have gone through just to show Harold I’m still in the game. After taking a few passable pictures to show off, I take them to coffee, only to have him come in with a few hundred he has taken since our last visit the day before.

I’m now pretending I don’t have to take that many pictures in order to have at least one that is right good. Besides, I like to look at our countryside through my glasses instead of through the view finder.

Despite our battles, I have to admit that Harold certainly added more dimensions to life on this corner when he talked me into buying that first computer and camera. He made it possible for me to write our Quay County book, to scan old pictures and to make new ones to add to our history.

Before that, he made it possible to edit grandmother’s book and even to write a few stories for other publications. I’m sure editors appreciated receiving something more legible than my handwriting. Even my friends have expressed their relief at not having to try to read that scratching as we exchange letters.

Once Harold and Kathy go north, I’ll relax for a few minutes while trying to figure a few new tricks to use in order to maintain the competition. I will also try to have something different to send in the first letter to force him to retaliate. We’ll exchange numerous letters, but that isn’t nearly as much fun as meeting over coffee to challenge each other eye to eye.