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Woof-woof Woof-woof-woof – Translated … Happy Thanksgiving

The holidays are on the way – Happy Thanksgiving, all!

The Holidays are HERE. I hope that the following season is a happy one for each of you.

May your disappointments be few –

May your successes be many –

May your opportunities be plentiful –

May you enjoy good health –

May your football, basketball, and baseball teams win –

May the “calorie sucker” do a good job on all the goodies you’ll eat today –

May we all understand the blessings we have and be thankful –

 

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Glory! Hallelujah! I’m glad I’m a dog!

It’s discouraging to know that when you go home with your human they’re as smart as they will ever be…….

I watched my human as he struggled with numerous government agencies and insurance companies trying to straighten out the mess hurricane Irma created for him. It’s times like these I so happy that I’m canine, not human. He is so miserable, I’m not. I got to thinking about many of the reasons I’m glad I’m not human. Here are some of the many reasons I’m happy to be a dog.

  • I don’t have to wear clothes. My coat is an all-weather garment. I don’t need a closet full of expensive stuff I only wear once in a while. Fur is always in style.
  • April 15th is just another day to me. No thoughts of suicide or robbing banks.
  • All the things I enjoy are free. No car payments … no boat payments … no credit card payments for last night’s dinner out or that new fishing pole. A stick, an old shoe and being scratched behind my ears don’t cost me anything.
  • I don’t own a phone. When I watch TV, go for ride in the boat, or eat … I’m not constantly interrupted by someone wanting money for The Society to Preserve the Rights of Left-handed Pregnant Male Zombies.
  • I don’t have to go to college to have evidence I was born with a brain.
  • Since humans have decided to take the “news” out of them, I can once again put the New York Times and other big newspapers to good uses, like emergency toilet facilities or to wrap garbage.
  • Nothing I have has to have insurance. Why pay money to a company to tell you that what you paid for isn’t covered because the damage wasn’t caused by the Tooth Fairy.
  • I can feel free to like or dislike any dog on this planet without being called a “dogist” and having old Rin Tin Tin movies burnt in the park.
  • Unlike humans I feel no need to blame my bad-breath and farts on other species I live with.
  • My canine friends consider my ability to smell birds, or bark loudest, or chase a squirrel up a tree, or pee on every dandelion in the yard more important than my AKC papers, where my mom and dad were from, and the color of my coat.
  • I never have the desire to half-straggle someone I claim to love and drag them around with a rope.

 

 

Wow! I’m glad I’m a dog! To all you humans … Try to have a nice day.

 

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“I speak to you from hallowed ground.”

 

“I am speaking to you today from hallowed ground.”

Just for the period of time it takes to read this post, I’d like you to imagine the words are being read to you by Charles Kuralt. All of you under forty are probably asking, “Who in the hell is Charles Kuralt?” Charles Kuralt was “the voice” of a CBS program that aired for years. It was titled On The Road. His distinctive voice was the signature for this show … a show that was all his.  On The Road was just that, Charlie nosed around the nooks, crannies, highways, and byways of the US. I know it may be hard for the younger folks who read this post to believe, but once upon a time their were actual journalists on national television that were true to their vocation, not their political beliefs. It was a time before we were divided into blocks for political opportunism. Kuralt found and touched the heart and the soul of his viewers. As you read my words, hear them through his voice.

The historical marker for Camp Blanding. Though it tries to tell the story it can only hint at the brave people who traveled through history here.

I’m speaking to you today from a few hundred yards off of Florida Highway 16. It’s about midway between two places you probably never heard of, the towns of Starke to the west and Green Cove Springs which lies eastward. The grass field I’m sitting in the middle of, is part of the Camp Blanding Museum. Around me are the tools of wars past. They’re reminders of what this place was, one of the important training areas for a war that would engulf the world. What remains of this site as an active military center is behind the entrance south of the museum. It’s only a token of what was once arguably the largest city in Florida. Over 300,000 men and women trained or worked here. Look around and you see what young men came to this place to learn to use. They had to do this to help win a war we could have lost and as importantly to give them their best chance of surviving it.

One of the artillery pieces on display. An artillery barrage was an infantryman’s worst nightmare.

This 1 1/2 ton truck was a World War II workhorse. Men road in it and supplies it carried kept them fighting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sherman. This M4A1 version was a medium tank. Shermans were the primary battle armor used by US forces in WWII. Its numbers offset the German armors superiority.

Looking inside the drivers compartments of these vehicles is a shock to some. The levers, switches, and mechanisms are crude by 2017 standards. A young man asked, “Did they really fight in these things?” An old man answered, “We sure did and we did a damned good job of it!” There was more in his voice than pride in having served and survived. In his eye and tone there was that reverence those who have experienced combat have for those they knew who did not return to stand here today.

The lawn around the museum is home to many vehicles. Half-tracks, DUKWs, ambulances, trucks, field pieces, all are pages of a book that tell us a story. Even a C-47 transport plane with D-day markings graces a concrete pad, a reminder of 508th Paratroop Regiment who trained in the sands beyond the guard gate.

Mixed in with the vehicles are monuments to the Army units that trained here and the people that were flesh and bone that gave them life. Among them was the Big Red One – the first army division. Nine infantry divisions lived here and learned about war on these grounds. There are monuments to the extra brave who began their journey into hell at this place. One honors distinguished service cross recipients and another the nations highest award, The Medal of Honor. Both have a significant number of names chiseled into stone to remind us of sacrifice and that sometimes forgotten word – honor.

Going inside the museum is like stepping through a time portal on Star Trek. We see what we were. What we did. Right and wrong.

A D-day newspaper. This sealed Hitler’s fate.

A GI dressed for battle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pictures and exhibits show us what a base for a quarter of a million men looked like. Row upon row of small cabins, barracks like the one the museum is housed in, hospitals, theaters, commissary buildings, maintenance facilities, everything that a city of that size needed to exist was built in Florida’s wilderness. Work on Blanding was a seven day a week, three shift schedule in 1940-1941. Today, most of the 150,000 acres that is Camp Blanding has been reclaimed by the pine barrens and swamps from which it was hacked. Concrete foundations, weathered and hidden by nature, dot the ground and are the ghosts that haunt these woods.

Reminders of the past always bring bitter to go with sweet. Exhibits remind us of where we’ve been, some of them telling us of what we did wrong. The Army of 1940 was one that was still segregated. Separate facilities, living areas, even swimming lakes are indictments of what just one of our societies mistakes has been.

It tells us of things we did correctly. Few know that many German POWs were transported to the USA. Camp Blanding hosted around 2,000. They lived in the same type facilities as our GIs. They were given jobs and paid to do them. Contrast that to the fate of POWs in German or Russian hands. Less than 10% survived the war and literally this amounted to millions of deaths. More than 15% of Germans elected to stay in the US and become citizens and over 98% survived.

Places like this, Camp Blanding, are places that should bring us together. We can attempt to change history, there are those who do, but it really won’t change. Camp Blanding is a string tied around our finger, like ones used by our country men before computers, to remind them of something they had to do. If we forget the good and bad that history teaches, we’ll neither continue our virtues or avoid our mistakes. Humans are on a long voyage of discovery. That discovery is how imperfect we really are. We have to embrace what we have become, not languish in what we were, but learn from where we’ve been.

The Medal of Honor.

 

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Golden Buddy — Where does all your energy come from?

Me and my niece Remi. This younger generation makes me tired just watching them.

I’m recuperating. My muscles are sore, my joints are jingling, even my tail hurts. Keeping up with the relatives isn’t always a good idea, particularly if the relative is ten percent of your age. The Geezer and Mrs. G took me to visit my niece, Remi, this weekend. She lives in the Jacksonville area. She’s Golden. Yep, she’s a Golden Retriever, too. Remi is a little over one year old. I love her, but she makes Niagara Falls look inactive.

We’ve been together before and I new she was energetic, but I didn’t expect to step into a situation equivalent to a nuclear explosion. When the front  door closed behind me at her human’s house, the action began. In the twenty feet it took to get from the door to the living room, Remi had circled me four times, jumped over me three times and crawled under me once. She was as quick as the animation in one of those super-hero cartoon films. Maybe she thinks she’s The Golden Flash or something.

“Let’s play tug-o-war.” Remi bounded around and picked up a rope with handles on both ends. When I didn’t respond, she added, “Come on, live a little!” I rolled my eyes, but she didn’t receive the same message I was trying to send. “How about we do the tug thing and run and jump into the swimming pool at the same time. How’s that? Huh? Huh?”

I needed some excuse that wouldn’t admit I was at the age that a discussion about the literary classic “Lassie, Come Home,” or an in depth analysis of the pros and cons of dry foods versus canned was more to my liking than a serious romp in the park. The best I could come up with was, “My winter coat is coming in and I’m shedding very badly right now. I need to stay out of your humans pool.”

“OH! Okay! Lets play with a ball. I’ll go get one. We can play take away. I hold it my teeth and growl when I’m ready to begin. You grab it with your teeth and try to pull it away from me.”

I had to think of something. I lied —– “I have false teeth.”

“Oh, that’s too bad. Lets play tag, instead of take away. I hold the ball and runaway until you catch me. Then I give you the ball and I chase you until I tag you. I’ll even give you a five second head-start.”

“Honest, Remi, I’m tired from my travel. Right now I’d have a rough time summoning up enough energy to chew my dinner.” I thought that would end the conversation.

“Poor Sandy! Those horrible false teeth. I’ll help! I’ll chew your food for you! You might lose some in the process, but it’s better than starving.”

I knew I was cooked. I said, “Let’s go play.” No other three words have caused me more misery.

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The Geezer had a successful visit to the Florida Heritage Book Festival on Saturday in St. Augustine. His publisher and a number of her authors attended to support this literary event. I’ve included a picture of his display and pictures of our visit to the Camp Blanding Museum on the way home. I’ll being speaking of both in future posts.

DL (The Geezer) in his taylor and Seale tee shirt talking to other T&S people at the Florida Heritage Book Festival

C-47 cargo plane with D-Day wing markings. Aircraft like this one were what our brave paratroops jumped out of to land in France.

Inside the Museum. A room like this was where GIs lived while they trained for combat.

 

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Water, water everywhere …… 18″ and still raining!

Water everywhere! This is a picture of Pine Island Elementary School and the road to it. Notice the depth of the water on the Stop and road sign! The entire area is one large lake.

Rain, rain … go away! Come again some other day!

That’s an old saying, but it certainly holds true for a couple of sections in the US today! Those poor people in Houston! We can appreciate what they are going through and we send our sympathy and prayers to them. Here in Bokeelia, on Pine Island, Florida, we’ve gotten a taste of what some of our Texas friends are experiencing. WINK-TV our local CBS affiliate reported we had over 18″ of rain in the last 4 days and we’ve had significant rains since. Water is everywhere! So much so it’s hard for a female canine to find a spot to pee in without having the puddle … ooohhhh, you know!

There’s another reason for Bokeelia to understand the plight of those folks in Rockport, Corpus Christie, and Houston. The last category 4 storm to crash into the US came ashore here and the eye passed over this community. The Geezer went through Charley. What a horrible experience! It took him and Mrs. G two years to really recover and they are still paying for its costs. He posted some pictures of it and some suggestions to help Harvey’s victims on his blog. If you want to see them, click on the link on the left side of this post.

The Geezer had to make a trip out into the storms yesterday to record a radio program. (At WKDW in North Port a trip of around 40 miles) Parts of the trip there and back were better suited to a boat than the car he drove. He took some pics and these are shown below.

Water covering SW Florida pastures. In most places there isn’t a two foot change in elevation for miles. Pity the wildlife that has no where to go!

Water streams across Burnt Store Road, one of the major arteries connecting communities. Water covered highways & streets for miles of his trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People were using canoes and kayaks to get around.

Road pictures. This is Stringfellow Road the main (and only) north/south highway on Pine Island’s 16 mile length.

A “side road” or is that a canal? See if you know where the road is — we didn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The picture speaks for itself!

The white and yellow lines were a great driving aid … when the water was shallow enough to see them.

Traveling on the Stringfellow canal. Note that cars were forced to straddle the road’s crown or flood out.

Note! Da coconut, she float. See them … those aren’t ducks.

A palm nursery that won’t need irrigation for a while!

Our neighbors front yard. Luckily we are high enough that 95% of our yard is above water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, we have lots of water … and some problems … but nothing we can’t handle. Do what you can to help those folks on the Texas coast. We’ve been there, done that. THEY NEED HELP. Send your prayers and anything you can spare to them.

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Saaaa-lute!

My salute to all U.S. veterans and our current military. To the living and especially to those who gave their all, God bless you!

 

Thank you!

 

Thank you, Thank you, Thank You!

Words aren’t always enough. We owe so much to those who have fought for our freedom, gained it and have protected it ever since. But since this is the best we can do … THANK YOU from my heart … and the Geezer’s.

 

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Go see the Geezer tomorrow! Learn some Florida history.

 

One of the pioneer houses at the Crowley Museum built in the “Florida’s Forgotten Years” That period is his topic for his appearance at Sandman Book Company tomorrow.

I thought I’d give you a last minute shout!  The Geezer is presenting one of his historical programs tomorrow at the Sandman Book Company near Punta Gorda, FL. It’s located at 16480 Burnt Store Road. He’ll be speaking at 11:00 AM and will be signing his latest novel, The Bait Man.

His talk will be about Florida’s history in the period from the end of the Civil War to World War I. It’s full of interesting information about the people and events that still impact us today. Winds will be to high to fish and the Derby isn’t until after five. It’s a short ride for folks living in Lee or Charlotte Counties. Go visit him – he’d love to see you.

 

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