“What’s in my head is what I’ve read!”

Reading makes me a better bear.

As you probably know, my human is an author. I call him the Geezer. I usually don’t talk much about his writing, because he does enough of that. However, one of the things the old boy does is really pretty cool. Why? Because he wants kids to develop an interest and love for reading. Even though he’s not a children’s author, he wrote and produces a short book for kids from preschool through 4th grade. The book’s title is, “Why reading makes me a better bear.”

I have to take part of the credit for “Better Bear.” The Geezer would often mutter and complain to me after making one of his many, many historical presentations. His standard complaint was as follows: It drives me crazy! Parents and grandparents bring their young ones up after I speak. I ask the kids what the last book they read is, and they look at me like I’m a Martian! Don’t the parents and kids understand reading is the foundation for all learning? I got tired of listening to it, so I told him, “Stop talking and start doing.”

One of the unique things about this children’s book are the last two pages. They don’t finish this book, they are what the Geezer hopes will be the beginning of adults working with, and encouraging their loved ones to read! Giving a child the gift of love for, and appreciation of, reading, is one of the greatest acts a parent or grandparent can perform to insure the youths success in life. It doesn’t cost the adult a thing! A friend who has a doctorate in education helped him with those two pages. That friend’s specialty is reading retention.

What he does with the the book, is what I consider the best part. He gives them away to libraries and elementary schools. When he makes public appearances, he sells a few…all the funds collected from these sales are used to print more “Better Bears.” He has distributed close to 1500 to schools, libraries, and teachers to date.

One page from the book.

When I told the Geezer I was going to write about “Why reading makes me a better bear,” he said I could offer a free book to individuals who’d like a copy for their personal use. So I can send up to 200 out on a first-come-first-serve basis, after September 30th, 2019. Here’s how to get one:

Go to his web page at     www.dlhavlin.com

Under Inside the World (right side) – click on Contact

Complete the form required information –

Write in the comments section – “Send me a copy of Better Bear.”  Write the address to where you want it shipped.

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Tap those paws! Bluegrass is Florida tradition!

Keith Bass – one fine banjo picker & and a true Florida cowboy

 

Yee – Haw! I sure like to go to hear some down home pickin’ & singin’. So do my human’s! The photo and video clip in this blog are from a trip to one of our neighboring towns, Okeechobee. The Geezer and Mrs. G went to see the “Kieth Bass & Florida Bluegrass Express,” a band that they have enjoyed listening to and visiting for years.

Many who live in the Sunshine State aren’t aware that bluegrass and country music are part of Florida’s frontier heritage. Florida? Frontier heritage? Many will be skeptical when told Florida was part of the frontier well past 1900. It was, and still is, one of the leading cattle producing states in the US. Many of Florida’s early inhabitants were Scotch-Irish from Georgia and the Carolinas. Most of these hardy souls were “cow hunters” or were  associated with them in some way. They brought their instruments and music with them.

I remember my parents going square dancing on Friday nights when I was in elementary school in Fort Myers. Dancing to banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and bass was a deep tradition, not only in Florida, but throughout the  South and the frontier West. There is great artistry in the “pickin” of these instruments that have no electric assists to make the musicians sound better than they are. If you want to hear the sounds of our American roots there are two places to do it. Find black blues, jazz, and soul music in an off-the-main-street  lounge or bar. Find a country, bluegrass, or folk music show in a rural location that is its home.

If you’re worried about the welcome you might receive, don’t be. The folk who attend bluegrass events are among some of the friendliest you’ll find. Don’t go formal…no one else will be. Just brush the straw off your Stetson, be sure there’s no manure on your boots and you’re ready to go!

Kieth Bass & The Florida Bluegrass Express is representative of the bands that play this traditional music. They play it because they love it. Bluegrass (and country/folk) tell the story of the life these people led. Mule Skinner Blues, Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Tom Dooley, Fox on the Run, and I’m So Lonely I Could Cry are tidbits torn from the fabric of their every-day living. Below is a clip of the KBFBE band playing at the get-together my humans went to.

 

 

If you’d like more information and get a chance to enjoy some real traditional music visit the face book link below. It has schedules and all you need to know to have a thoroughly fun time!

Keith Bass & the Florida Bluegrass Express Band

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The Geezer (or DL Havlin as you humans call him) starts his fall and winter speaking schedule on September 21st., at The Landings Yacht, Golf, & Tennis Club in Ft Myers. He’ll be speaking to the American Association of University Women about Florida’s “Patriot War.” To find when, where, and what DL is presenting visit http://www.dlhavlin.com and click on his schedule of events.

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Memories, our most valuable possession………..

Sometimes I like to immerse myself in memories – so do my humans.

In the end, our memories maybe our most valuable possession. When other things are taken away from us we can retain these. They make our lives bearable, when material items are lost, when our physical capabilities are diminished, and most sadly, when those we love are lost to us. 

I have watched my human, one that I love, suffer the loss of his best friend. It was a friendship that is fifty-two years young and one that the Geezer says will transcend his “brother’s” death. Death is not a word we like. We avoid it like we avoid the event, but the knowledge it is inevitable forces us to consider it. Memories are what makes someone or something eternal. At least, that’s what the Geezer believes. 

His friend Chet was one of those people who created memories for so, so many. He achieved many things in life. Chet was a scholar-educator of the highest order, a great athlete, a fine father and husband, and a leader of men and women. He left his imprint on those who knew him. 

 The Geezer and Coach, as everyone called him, shared the highs and lows in life. The hunting and fishing trips, the triumphs and satisfactions of coaching young men, the sharing and support when either succeeded or failed, the unflinching friendship under all conditions, and they always knew if they needed someone they could depend on, it was that special friend. The memories of those times will not die. We love you Coach.

Chet the “Coach” on the left, the Geezer in the center, Miss Betty, Coach’s fair lady is on the right.

“I’ve never felt more alone,” the Geezer told me. “It is like losing mom or dad, again. We had so many good times together, we went through tough ones leaning against each other, it’s difficult to admit to myself I can’t get in the car and visit him.”

I told him, “It is so hard to say goodbye.”

The Geezer shook his head. “It’s not goodbye, it’s until later. Until then he is in my heart and in my mind. We will never be far apart.”

 

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A visit from Freddie the Dolphin!!! (Up close & personal)

Somethings were just meant to be shared. What follows is one of them. The Geezer’s daughter and his grands were down to fish. Yes, they braved the summer heat, rain and insects to take  some fishing trips that the Geezer is famous for — fifty fish or more. Since most of the game fish are in a closed season caused by last year’s redtide, fishing was catch and release. The Geezer looked for and found ladyfish, they provided fast action and spectacular fights.

During our trip we were visited by the Charlotte Harbor Dolphins. The pics and video is of their entertaining antics. The Geezer christened one of them “Freddie the Free-loader.” He said it was the name of a clown played by a Red Skeleton. Of course, I didn’t believe that until he explained it was the name of a comedian from his stone-age past. See the film and pictures below.

 

Hi, I’m Freddie the free-loader!

 

There is such a thing as a free lunch!

 

Lori with a lady – The Geezer’s daughter remains beautiful.

Checking out Freddie and friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are you waiting for Geezer?

“One of these.” Good fish but no lunch for the Geezer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Grand Branden” with a catch.

“Grand Bradley” with a wiggler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Feed me, feed me, feed me, feed me, oh yeah!”

 

I hope you enjoy viewing these as much as I did seeing them!

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To learn more about the Geezer and his books and speaking schedule, visit his web page at http://www.dlhavlin.com  or his blog at    http://www.dlhavlin.wordpress.com .  His new book, Escaping Skeletons, is a must read for history buffs and mystery/suspense enthusiasts.

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Canine friends – A Dog’s Gallery

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. These are some old friends and old times. Friends and memories have the same value —- They are Priceless!

Me and my butt buddy. Ruger and I became mirror images … sort of.

Super Trooper a real lover

 

Telling a scary Halloween story to my niece. Remi!

 

Remi doing a cool dip on the hot 4th!

 

Ruger and me. Note my position.

 

Chating with my sister Gracie before the Pine Island Canine Chowder and Ham Bone Marching Society meeting.

 

Say it isn’t so!

 

What’s a retrospective without a baby pic- Yep it’s me!

 

I remember momma!

 

1096 Me w-#1 Bro at 10 weeks

Me and my brother Bo when we were kids.

Oh for the good old days!

 

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A Sad Day …

This was a rookery for night herons and other birds — now its an ugly scar.

I saw my humans cry today. That’s a rare sight. They are upbeat people. However, I understand them and cry too. Last night it was a wildlife haven. Now! What had been a little piece of natures beauty, is now a barren patch of dirt.

For thirty-eight years the mangroves across the canal from the Geezer’s home were a refuge. For nesting birds. For feeding manatees. For the occasional playing otter. For nosey raccoons. For turtles. For doves, kingfishers, cardinals, red-tailed hawks, green herons, and most especially night herons. Eight nesting pairs. I’ve been privileged to share this living canvas for the last twelve years. It was wonderful.

I heard the Geezer remind himself that there was a time when he destroyed a little piece of paradise. That he couldn’t be over critical of others that did what he had done. But when his meditation ended it was with this final thought…”Why do we humans love everything to death?” 

A bird stays to the last as he watches his nest destroyed.

Pictures in better days!

No caption required

A nesting Night Heron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two juvenile Night Herons just starting to show adult plumage.

Where manatees used to play

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve found another word for progress … shit.

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Meet Missy!

Hooray! I have a new housemate! Meet Missy.

“My word! What’s this?”    Missy’s reaction to the camera.

 

 

I have a new friend and housemate. Mrs. “G” received a phone call from the lady that sits with me when the Geezer & Mrs. “G” go to places that are not dog enlightened. That lady, I’ll call her Peg, told a sad but recurrent story. A couple on the island went back north for the summer. They called a neighbor and asked them to take care of their kitty “for a little while” then left. The neighbor was in the process of leaving himself. That would leave the cat in a situation where chances of survival were minimal. My friend, Peg, made the call and “Shazzam,” I have a new half-sister.

A better look at my new friend, Missy.

Mrs. “G” says Missy has to go to the vet for a check-up before I can really get to know her. She seems very nice…and very quiet. I’ll introduce you to her when the two of us exchange nose sniffs and we’ve had a chance to chat.

I sometimes wonder about humans. How can they be so contemptuous of life that they really don’t value it? Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s because humans have or are losing all sense of responsibility. That even extends to themselves. Many simply expect “others” to take care of their responsibilities. Who are these “others?” …….. Their neighbors. Their society. Their government. You won’t find a Golden Retriever, a poodle, or any dog that isn’t faithful to their human and would never abandon them. As I often said, canines are superior to humans…at least, to a large group of them.

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If you like my blog you might want to read the Geezer’z blog — It’s found at http://www.dlhavlin.wordpress.com

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