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On haunted, hallowed ground.

 

The "King's Highway." This piece of American history is haunted.

The “King’s Highway.” This piece of American history is haunted. It wandered its way from Fort Brook (Tampa, FL today) to Fort King (Ocala). A bloody massacre occurred on the sands pictured here.


 

Have you ever been on a spot that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck? I’ve been to several, but I’ve never been to one that had my ESP on alert more than the one pictured above. My fur, and I have plenty of that, was at full attention during my entire stay at this place.

You might ask why. The shaded, sandy lane is the place a war started. It was one that those who fought its battles, at the time, saw as necessary. History would add “unjust” as a descriptor of the conflict, but would also have to  add “inevitable” during the era it was fought. On December the 28th, 1835, Major Francis L. Dade and a group of 108 soldiers were attacked and defeated by 180 Seminole warriors under Chief Micanopy. Only three of Dade’s command survived; Seminole losses were later reported to be less than a dozen braves.

The reason the Seminoles attacked was fear that Dade’s troops were there to enforce a treaty that some of their leaders signed agreeing to relocate to west of the Mississippi in what is now Oklahoma. The soldiers were on their way to strengthen Fort King which settlers feared wasn’t strong enough to protect them. Reality, harshly stated, was 30,000 settlers wanted access to the lands belonging to 5,000 Seminoles. Tricked, bribed or coerced, some Seminole chiefs signed treaty papers ceding their lands to the US Government at Fort Gibson after visiting Oklahoma in 1833. Legality and morality became opponents.

My human, the Geezer, is doing research for a four book historical series he’s writing on the birth of modern Florida. It was a pregnancy that covered a period from the 1780’s through the 1950’s. Ohhhhh, my! That makes the canine gestation period of 9 weeks and the human pregnancy of 9 months, pieces of cake.

We walked over the well-documented battle site trail at the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park. I could feel cold hands reaching out, touching my coat. The dead’s spirits hadn’t left this spot.

I asked, “Geezer, do you feel something?”

“Like what?” he answered. He grinned at me. His expression was wry, not mirthful. The old boy knew and felt their presence, too.

“Ghosts!” I said and he simply nodded, yes. It is a haunted, hallowed place.

There is a great museum there and the battlefield is very well marked. I’ve included a few photos.

Flintlock rifle, bayonet, and sword in the Dade Battlefield Museum.

Flintlock rifle, bayonet, and sword in the Dade Battlefield Museum.

 

An artist's recreation of the battle scene.

An artist’s recreation of the battle scene. The Seminoles wait, hidden, as Dade’s column approaches.

 

Recreation of the log revetment the survivors of the initial assault built. They made their last stand behind the logs they cut down.

Recreation of the log revetment the survivors of the initial assault built. They made their last stand behind the logs they cut down.

1835 soldier in uniform

1835 soldier in uniform

Seminole ready for battle.

Seminole ready for battle.

 

These two figures are in the museum on site. The information provided is excellent and portrays both sides fairly.

 

 

 

The Dade Battlefield park is well worth making a trip to visit or swinging by if you’re traveling past. It is just a few miles off I-75 near the town of Bushnell, Florida. The address is 7200 County Road 603 (Battlefield Parkway). You can get more info from the website – http://www.dadebattlefield.com.

 

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August 12- Here Gator, Gator, Gator! Gator calling video.

“YOU RANG!”

I’ve been waiting, virtually panting, until I could get some help putting the video below on my blog.  My tail’s been figuratively wagging off my butt wanting to share this with you all.  Sometimes I find four paws just aren’t enough when it comes to the convoluted logic human technology prescribes.  The Geezer is limited help on such things.  His rusted brain, which tries to stay current, needs assistance now and again.  “Gator,” his son, a big time engineer with Ford, came to the rescue.  The Geezer and his buddies are a bunch of outdoor types who go on a once a year fishing, hunting, and camping trek.  They call themselves the Graphite Avengers.  (For those non-fisherfolk, the “graphite” references a type of fishing rod.)  It’s discriminatory – no dogs allowed.  I really don’t mind—there are alligators around most places they go.  Alligators like canines, but not in a good way.  I don’t relish the idea of being a gator’s main course.  When the Geezer returned from his trip this year, he showed me the pictures so I could enjoy, vicariously.  Among them was this brief video showing off one of the group’s gator calling skills.  Take a look:

  

The “gator caller” is the son of my human’s best friend.  I’ll call him “Bo” since the Geezer tells me it’s bad form to give a person’s real name on the ‘net.  The picture below is of “Coach,” the Geezer’s buddy, and “Bo,” in their native habitat and in one of their favorite means of locomotion.

"The Geezer's best friend with his son"

The Graphite Avengers include the “Coach,” his son, the Geezer, his son, his grandson, and “Buddha” the Geezer’s son’s best friend.  The pictures below show them and what they do, and in the case of Geezer and Coach, what they’ve done for the last fifty years.

"Geezer and grandson and canoe"

 
“Buddha with a big one”                                            “The Graphite Avengers”

All those years provide my old boy with a treasure trove of material for his writing.  That goes along with his visits around the world (to eighty plus countries) and his experiences, including being a football coach, a business executive, and a fishing guide to name just a few.  The picture below could be a scene from his latest novel, “A Place No One Should Go,” but in reality, it’s from the camping trip.

"A Place No One Should Go, territory"

I’d love to go along on these trips, but know it’s for my best interest not to.  I’ve seen the Geezer display his gator calling prowess from a safe position in the car a few times, and it is something to view.  I’d love to see it closer, but…..  His descriptions of camping life, telling stories around the campfire, and beautiful sunsets like the one below are one of the few things that could even tempt me to wish I were a homo sapien.    Oh well, every human has his day!

"A beautiful Florida camping sunset"

If  you’d like to learn more about the Geezer, visit  www.dlhavlin-author.com

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July 28- A recipe for Vega-que

     My human is fat.  There I said it.  You know all those human interest pieces you see on TV about obesity, well the Geezer is the poster…I sure can’t say child…senior for that affliction.  It isn’t like he doesn’t try to get slimmer.  We walk a mile every day, he lifts weights four times a week, he makes a bona-fide attempt to avoid fattening foods, that’s until someone comes to visit.  Then “damn the calories, full gluttony ahead.”
     A case in point.  His beautiful daughter, her wonderful husband, and his two grand boys visited last week.  That meant an interruption.  Seven straight days where there was no time for walks, weights, or much of anything that constitutes a normal day in Geezerville.  Add to that the fact that some of the daughters friends visited; there was a whole lot of eatin’ goin’ on. 
     The Geezer is a good cook.  The problem is he normally prepares things like Steak Diane, or Eggs Bokeelia, or Baked Alaska.  By the time he gets done with the trimmings, the Titanic would have sunk under the weight of the calories he cooks, without tussling with the iceberg.
     Problem is, once the company leaves the overeating and break from the routine continues.  That’s compounded by the fact his publisher is releasing one of books, he’s working on two more, and generally, he’s trying to head in more directions at once than a cat dropped into a kennel holding nine pit bulls.  All this action is done while sitting on his ample ass behind the keyboard.
     I give him a hard time.  It’s for his own good, bbuuutttt I do enjoy it so.  As he pounded the keys I asked, “Are we going to take our 9 AM walk?”  It was 4:30 PM.
     “Oh shit, Sandy.  I forgot.”  He looked embarrassed. 
     “That’s all right, I understand.  It’s just I don’t want to look like you.”
     “Come on Sandy, give the old Geezer a break.”
     “Yeh, I don’t want kids chasing me down the street with a harpoon yelling, “There she blows!”
     “Ahhh, It’s not that bad.”
     “With all the food you’ve put away the last ten days, your brain must be in your butt.  And, with all that blubber pressing down on it, I can see why it doesn’t function well.”
     “Have a little compassion, girl.”  He looked like a toddler that just soiled his fresh diaper.  “I’ll get back on schedule tomorrow.  I promise.”
     “Oh yeah?  What are you having for supper tonight?”  I figured it would be something with enough calories to power up five sumo wrestlers.
     “Vega-que.”
     “Hmmmmm.  I’ll quit bugging you if you make some for me.”  I’m a meat and potatoes type girl, but……….
     “Deal.”  He went back to making arrangements for his book signing tour.  I went to the kitchen and waited.

     The recipe for DL’s Vega-que is:

Ingredients
4  tablespoons of butter
1   zucchini   9-10″  – cut into 1/4″ disks
2  yellow squash medium to large  – cut into 1/4″ disks
1  cup of cauliflower florets  –  be sure they’re small
1/2 cup of red spanish onion
1/2 cup of green bell pepper
1/2 cup of red bell pepper
2  medium gold potatoes  – peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes
10  medium white mushrooms  – cut in half or quarters
1  can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of catsup
2 tablespoons of whole pickling spice
1  tablespoon of garlic powder

Instructions
1. Place a quarter cup of virgin olive oil in a large pan and heat to medium temperature.
2. Place butter in crock pot and melt with LOW temperature.
3. Place zucchini, yellow squash, cauliflower, onion, bell peppers, and potatoes into the pan and stir.
4. Place the mushrooms in the crock pot.
5. Cook veggies over medium heat 1-2 minutes then add to crock pot. (should NOT be soft)
6. Place can of diced tomatoes and catsup in crock pot.
7. Add whole pickling spice and garlic to crock pot.
8. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
9. Simmer (LOW heat) for 3/4 to 1  hour  – stir lightly every 10 minutes.
Serves eight – freezes well.

Yum!  Yum!

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www.dlhavlin-author.com 

May 12- What? An award for me?

     Cut the leashes!  Break out the doggy treats!  Convene a meeting of the Canine Chowder and Ham Bone Marching Society!  One of my readers has bestowed a great honor on this shy and humble scribe.  It’s called the Versatile Blogger Award.  While I shouldn’t divulge this information because it might spoil my image, I can’t help myself.  I love being awarded anything!  It’s in my blood lines – both mom and dad were best of show canines – so blame them.  Please give me a few seconds to bask in the spot light….

Bask….

Bask….

BASK….

     Okay, I’ve basked enough.  First, I want to THANK Jodi Stone, you can find this discerning blogger at   www.jodistone.wordpress.com  , for presenting me this award.  Next, I want to thank my parents, my teachers, especially Dr. Longfellow the Bassett who has honed my literary skills, the water meter reader who always pets me, my friends in the ‘hood, the Pope, the Academy out there in Hollywood, and Mrs. G for her love and attention.
     Let’s see, did I miss anyone?  Oh yes, I should mention the Geezer whose computer is required to produce my blog.  He also does a few little things like feeding me, walking me, and providing me with comic relief.  And, he is my best friend.
    I would be remiss if I were to not scrupulously perform the required tasks accompanying this august award.  These include:  1) Post a link back to the person who gave you the award, 2) Share seven random things about yourself, 3) Award fifteen blogs you’ve discovered and like, and 4) Drop them a note and tell them about it.  So here goes—-

First here’s the link to that paragon of literary taste and blogging virtuosity, Jodi Stone.     www.jodistone.wordpress.com  

Second here’s seven things you don’t know about me.
*  I can eat two cups of Beneful dogfood in the amazing time of 11.913 seconds.  The Geezer stop watched my time.  One disclaimer, the entrée was served with gravy on top.  I don’t recommend this behavior, it creates gas.
*  I read a lot!  I like Sparks, Cornwell, Ivanovich, Clancy, Gresham and many others, but my all time favorites are Norman Maclean, Harper Lee, Mark Twain, Bruce Catton, and Max Schulmann.
*  I’m an avowed nudist!  I haven’t been able to influence the Geezer, though.  As far as I can get him is to work at the computer in his underwear.
*  I’m a connoisseur of all types of eatables.  Particularly meaty dishes, pastas, breads, soups, cuishes, desserts, socks, underwear, shoes (left side only), the neighborhood flowers, and roadkill.  My human says I’m truly a connoisseur without the conno.  I’m not quite sure about that.
*  I love baseball, football (my favorite), softball, volleyball, basketball (the most difficult for me to sink my teeth in), tennis ball, golf ball, or just plain old ball-ball.  My specialty is chase and retrieve.  Surprise, surprise.
*  I love to get up early in the morning, watch the sunrise while sipping coffee, and look at the osprey soar and scream their “good mornings” to the Geezer and me as we sit on the dock behind our house.
*  My most favorite, number uno, bell-ringin’, supremo thing is making the Geezer look foolish.  The only problem is it’s just too easy to do.

Third, here are those 15 blogs (OH hell let’s make it 20) I’ve discovered and enjoy!
www.emmalougoldendestroyer.wordpress.com
www.france59.wordpress.com
www.conditionallysatisfactory.wordpress.com
www.DeborahValledor.com
www.JohnAdcox.com
www.musingbymoonlight.com
www.oldereyes.wordpress.com
www.doggieroodotcom.wordpress.com
www.ladyfi.wordpress.com
www.marilnkaydennis.wordpress.com
www.arleneandtangosblog.wordpress.com
www.suzicate.wordpress.com
www.charlywalker.wordpress.com
www.accordingtogus.wordpress.com
www.andienewton.wordpress.com
www.daisyfae.wordpress.com
www.shitmycakesays.wordpress.com
www.catherinesherman.wordpress.com
www.accidentalstepmom.wordpress.com
www.lifeintheboomerlane.wordpress.com

Four says to drop them all a note – which, of course, I shall do!  All of those that are receiving it – pass it along.

Thanks again JS –

Sandy

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www.dlhavlin-author.com

 

March 28- Camping, another reason canines are smarter than humans.

     Every time the Geezer goes off on one of his jaunts with his fellow fossils, I lose access to the computer.  That means no blogging.  I hate that.  The old boy has been on an extended fishing, camping, canoeing, and bull-shitting trip.  When he returns, he looks and acts like a well chewed shoe.  Typically, he lounges around, complaining about the aches and pains he’s garnered after ten days of strenuous activity his ancient body doesn’t normally experience.  That means a dark monitor and a keyboard in “Rest-in-peace” mode.
     He’s finally resuming his normal (for him) activities, including lighting up the computer.  I’m back at the keyboard.  All’s right in the world.
     Camping.  That’s one of those things wiser species, like canines, find hard to understand.  Humans make such a fuss if they lose power in their houses for a couple of hours, you’d think someone had revoked their constitutional rights.  Yet, they voluntarily wander off to the woods and profess to enjoy the privations to which they expose themselves.  And, they call Homo sapiens an evolved species?!
     After allowing the old boy a few days to recuperate, I decided to ask the Geezer about the mystic fascination camping holds for some humans.  “Hey, Geezer, why do you go on camping trips?”
     “Why, to commune with nature,” he answered immediately.  That meant he was sure of his answer or had given no thought to the matter, which, with humans, is often one in the same.
     “Don’t you commune with nature when we take walks or when we go in the boat?”  I knew I had him there. 
     “Yes, but it’s not the same.”  He looked annoyed.  He usually does when he knows I’m about to make him look really foolish.
     “How’s it different?”
     The Geezer squirmed.  “Well, you get to hear the whip-poor-wills at night, feel the chill of the morning breeze, see the stars and moon, cook out in the open, lots of things…You know, roughing it.”
     I didn’t know, but telling that to a human that was as fruitful as peeing on one of those electric flower garden fences.  I asked, “Hmmmm, if roughing it is what you want to do…” I hesitated, baiting the trap.  A wiser species would have recognized the ploy.
     “Yes?”  Zap!  The trap sprung and the Geezer was where I wanted him.
     “You say you like roughing it, but why do you take all that stuff with you?”  I watched the expression on his face.  It’s what the Geezer would call a shit-eating-grin if he observed it on others. 
     “Give me an example, Sandy.”
     “Well, why do you take all that kitchen paraphernalia?  What about the tables and chairs, cooking stove, and that sink center that opens into quarter-mile long food processing center?  Wouldn’t it be rougher to sit on the ground, cook over a fire or eat cold food, and prepare what you eat right on mother earth?”
     “Yes, but…”
     “What about the cot, the air mattress, the sleeping bag, and the tent?  Wouldn’t it be cooler, couldn’t you see the stars better, couldn’t you hear the whip-poor-wills more easily, and wouldn’t it be rougher is you just slept on the ground?”
     “Yes, but…”
     “How about the screened room you haul along…”
     The Geezer quickly interrupted me, “Ahhh, sand flies.  Mosquitoes.  The little bastards can make it miserable out there.”
     “But, isn’t that what you said you wanted?  Isn’t rough and miserable pretty much the same thing?”
     “You just don’t understand.  Say Sandy, would you like to take a ride in the boat?”  The Geezer changed the subject when he realized he’d been out-thought, outmaneuvered, and defeated.  I’ve seen humans do that a lot.
     “Sure,” I said.  Then I wagged my tail and let him know that I didn’t wish to embarrass him further, insuring I’d get my boat ride.  Unlike humans, we canines know when not to rock.

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http://www.dlhavlin-author.com