Tag Archive | Entertainment

Hi! I’m Brandi…

HI! I’m Brandi. I’m Sandy’s understudy. I hope to carry on with her tradition – – – a dog’s eye view of humans.

There comes a time in a dog’s life where she wants to kick back a little, smell the roast beef, and enjoy the next part of life. That time has come for me. Sooooooooooo, let me introduce you to someone who will be writing some of my information pieces on you humans. I give you Brandi! She’s a Golden Retriever just like me! In living color!

I believe a lot of life is the angle you view it from!

Hello! I’m young…I’m energetic…I love life…and I love all you crazy, mixed-up, humans. I’ll be sharing the keyboard with Sandy and the Geezer. Some at first, then more, and more, and more. About me! I’m still getting to learn about myself. I have a different view of things, I do some things well…Run around like crazy, wag my tail so hard my whole rear shakes, eat non-stop, and play hide and seek with Missy…She’s something called a cat. I’m still learning lots. My grammar is spotty, my bark is shrill and high pitched, and I don’t do potty well. I do LOVE to chew!

Above all else I love to chew!

One thing the Geezer and Sandy agree on is that I love people and people love me. Oh…another is I’m a cutie. Standby. I’m ready to start my writing career.

I know I’ll love all of you! I hope all of you will love me!

 

Sandy here! Isn’t she lovable…

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It started with…I got to get out of here!

Someplace away, serene, peaceful and all alone

It all started with a shared scream, “I got to get out of here!” COVID-19 has turned the world’s human population into the same class of sheltering animals as earthworms and moles. The Chinese Crud, the more accurate, but less politically correct title for the plague afflicting the world, keeps humans playing hide-and-seek. The Geezer and Mrs. G had enough of the same four walls. In unison, they announced their attentions. The question was where to go and be safe. My keen canine intellect knew just the place! Amity cabin. It’s the perfect place to travel to and be more isolated than at home. I’ll explain.

The little cabin in the Mississippi woods. It is located on a 40 acre lake in the middle of 400 acres with only the owners home to share it.

The Geezer loves to fish. He has tarpon and snook in the canal behind our Florida home. But, he loves to catch bluegills, crappies, and bass just as much. We visited this fishing and hunting paradise a couple of years ago when we made a pilgrimage to Mrs. G’s birthplace in Laurel. That’s in Jones County Mississippi, the site of the recent Mathew McConaughey movie, “The Free State of Jones.” The whole family fell in love with Amity, but it was I that remembered its beauty and haunting serenity. Mark one up for canine superiority. We drove straight through, 12 hours, to minimize exposure to the virus. Below are some of the pictures of our weeks stay.

What we came for: A bunch of 8 inch bluegill for a tasty supper. They’re loads of fun when caught on a light flyrod and a rubber spider. Caught tons of these we returned to Lake Fredrick.

 

Follow tracks like these…

Tracks like these…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The unspoiled woods that cover the property are a wildlife lover’s nirvana. We saw many deer, turkeys, pond birds, song birds, etc. Quail? Mrs. G whistled up Bob White and I thought we were in an outtake from Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” The track below was made by a big bruiser!

Big ol’ Buck tracks

Mrs. G loves all the flowers. Her particular favorite are the Magnolia blossoms that adorn the numerous waxy olive leaved trees. The one below was the size of a bucket.

OH, MAGNOLIA!

When all is said and done, that’s 800 miles and three woof’s later, there’s no place like home.

Me, back in Florida…with all my things!

 

The Geezer will be out and about in a safe manner this weekend. He’ll be speaking at the Authors for Authors, Writers Conference in Melbourne, Florida this Saturday. Registration is open at 8 AM, at the Hilton Rialto. Hope to see you there…from behind my mask.

 

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June 6th, 2020…Another D-Day? Getting a toe in the water —

The Gezeer, “I shall return.”

June 6th, 2020 is another D-Day of sorts. At least, it is for a lot of us. That includes the Geezer. He’s venturing out to try to reclaim some vestige of “normal” life. For the first time since February, he’ll be out and about. He’ll be at Mixon’s Arts & Crafts Show in Bradenton, Florida. Will he observe all the do’s and don’ts – masks, spacing, disinfecting.

There is the same question in his mind that must be occurring in thinking human’s in ALL the US of A. Which is right? We must stay isolated. We must hit the streets and thrust people together to mix and match virus strains. One has to be correct…but which? Of course, if you’re waiting for direction from our political leaders, what is jokingly called our news media, or the even more ludicrous disappearing medical experts, good luck!

As the Gezeer said, “At this point, I’m going to use my common sense, try to protect myself and those around me, and enjoy what little portions of life the politicians, media, and junk science people allow us.”

As I remove my four paws from the soap box, I’ll tell you that the Geezer will be at the Mixon Arts & Crafts Show, Saturday, June 6, 9 AM to 4 PM. The location is:  2525, 27th Street East, Bradenton, Florida. He hopes to see you there and encourages all to wear masks, practice distancing, and be good citizens…something that is lost on a segment of our population.

The sign at Mixon’s…one of Florida’s last privately owned tourists attraction.

 

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How Reading Makes Me A Better Bear!

Reading makes me a better bear.

 

Guest post: The Geezer is doing this post for me – Woof, woof!

About four years ago, I’d had enough! Enough of what, you say? Enough of seeing young ‘uns with no interest in reading. I speak to libraries, civic groups, museums, continuing learning groups, and at book stores. After one of my presentations, there are always a few questions posed by audience members and they are often accompanied by young children. My standard question to ‘our future’ is “What is the latest book you’ve read?” The young ones most frequent reaction to the query is to look at me like I’m a Martian.

I’m not a children’s writer. But, if you’re going to criticize, you to be willing to help solve the problem, not add to it. (If any of you know a media person, please quote the last sentence to them.) I wrote “Why Reading Makes Me A Better Bear” for that reason. Its intent is to stimulate young children’s interest in reading. I print them, sell a few at appearances to offset my costs, and give them to schools, libraries, and organizations promoting children’s literacy. So far we’ve given over a 1,000 away. A two page guide at the rear of the book is a guide for adults to work with a young reader to get the most out of the book. (Prepared with the HELP of PhD. in education process.)

Since a lot of us are confined to wherever we call home, I thought this would be a good time to share…….and to hope you’ll share with your friends and family.

  1. Click on the link below  2) Power Point will ask if it can come up on your screen – answer yes  3) At top click on slide show  4) Select from the beginning.

Narated.Why.Reading Makes Me A Better Bear

One page from the book.

Feedback from libraries, etc. has been extremely favorable. If you are a teacher, librarian, or other adult who works with children and want a free copy of the book, go to my web page  http://www.dlhavlin.coom  then click the contact tab and request we ship you one. We’ll ask you for shipping cost ONLY.

 

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Aunt Gilda’s Christmas Gift

The Geezer and I wish you all a very “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!”

It’s time for my annual Christmas and Holiday greeting to all my friends…four and two legged. The Geezer has written a new one that I’m sure you’ll enjoy!

 

Aunt Gilda’s Christmas Gift

 

If I could relive one day of my life…at one place…whenever I wished, it would be at my Aunt Gilda’s home on Christmas morning 1968. I learned something that morning; one of the most important bits of wisdom I’d ever receive.

The year 1968 had not been a good one for our family. My older brother went to Vietnam and died there, early in the year. Resulting stress took its toll on our whole family. My sisters, both older, were very close to Eddie. The loss nearly destroyed them both. Their wrath focused on my parents whom they believed allowed Eddie to enlist. My father’s health went from vibrant to precarious after a mysterious malady struck him. He would not find the cure in the bottle that caused it. Mother struggled to keep what she possessed in-tact. That was difficult. Both my sisters were in a state of uncontrollable rebellion, her husband a tottering drunk, and I…I had become convinced that love was something I didn’t want. From what I saw, love was simply a transitory, conditional thing that eventually caused pain.

Aunt Gilda was special to me. My mother’s sister, she was several years older than my parents. Gilda wasn’t a stranger to life’s disappointments and tragedies. Her husband died in World War Two. She had no children. She never remarried. After a brief period earning a living as a nightclub performer, she settled into first managing, then owning a small restaurant. It suited her. Despite a fire, hard economic times, and a violent robbery, she persevered and prospered. She was happy sharing life with friends and her two Golden Retrievers.

I was her surrogate child and she was my favorite aunt. So, when things reached a crises in our household that December, I was sent to stay with Aunt Gilda for the holidays. My mother needed fewer problems and I was one that could be removed from her over-stuffed basket. Two weeks before Christmas, my aunt greeted me with a warm smile as I walked out of the airport gate. My twelve-year-old mind only processed the material aspect of my stay. Gilda was a great cook, generous to a fault, and fun to be around. My first evening there, Aunt Gilda discovered that as we sat in front of her huge fireplace.

“I’m sorry you don’t have your parents and sisters here. I know you’ll miss their love.” Gilda shoved a plate of pecan pralines at me.

I greedily grabbed a few of the sweet candies and said, “Thanks, Aunt Gilda. These pralines are a good substitute.”

“Jerry, you don’t mean that! There is never a substitute for the love we share.”

I casually said what I felt, “I don’t know Aunt Gilda. It seems to me that love always has a string on it. If things go bad, it can be jerked away. It’s kind of like the way my sisters play with their cat. They tie a piece of paper on the end of a piece of string. They let the cat chase it until they get tired. That’s the end of it. If things go bad or get boring, love just goes away. Dad says love is just another four letter word.”

My aunt examined my face but said nothing for several seconds. Finally, she said, “I’ll have to think about that for a while.” I was to get her rebuttal Christmas morning.

“Get up, Jerry,” my aunt said as she pried me from the bed much earlier than I expected. Presents! What was I waiting for? I rolled out of bed and took a few steps toward the bedroom door before she stopped me. “Whoa!” She grinned and I noticed a sheet and a huge red bow draped over one of her arms. “I have to wrap you before I give you away,” she said.

“Huh?” I was surprised and confused.

Gilda smiled as she covered me with the sheet, grasping both hands so they would extend uncovered. When she finished, I was encased in a white cloth “package” with the red bow pinned to the sheet. “You’ll make a great present!” Was I really going to be someone’s gift? She said, “Come with me,” and led me to whatever awaited. I could smell the pine as we entered the living room and stood next to the Christmas tree.

I heard strange noises. After a few seconds, I decided they came from my Aunt’s two dogs. She asked, “Are you ready?”

No one answered, so I decided I should. I murmured, “I guess I am.”

“Good…Buster, meet Jerry. He’s your Christmas present.” Simultaneously, I felt something soft, warm, and furry being placed in my hands. And, it was moving around. My fingers circled a small body between four legs.  Aunt Gilda snatched the sheet away. I was staring into the eyes of a golden retriever pup.

Back when I was a puppy ……

Aunt Gilda spoke to the puppy, not me. “What do you think, Buster? Do you want to keep him? He’ll likely be a pain in the ass to train. He has no idea that to love something or someone it has to be unconditional. No strings…no if’s…no anything. He’ll need to learn to take you with him most everywhere he goes, the proper way to scratch behind your ears, and what your favorite treats are. Test him a time or two…leave a few messes for him to clean up. Want to give it a shot?”

Buster whimpered a little, took his eyes off me, stared at Aunt Gilda for a few seconds, then focused on me before issuing a baby bark, indicating he’d accept the challenge.

Aunt Gilda looked at me. “It seems Buster is willing to give it a try. How about you, Jerry?”

I would have the thought the smile on my face would have answered her question, but I enthusiastically answered, “Sure!”

“Hold him to your chest and let him enter your heart.” I did, and Aunt Gilda said words I’ve never forgotten.

“Jerry, when you take someone into your heart and decide to love them, it’s a decision you can’t cancel, though sometimes you may wish you could. That’s the reason you make the decision to love carefully. Buster will provide you with unconditional love if you do the same for him. Love wisely, love unbreakably and you will love happily.”

Merry Christmas Friends

 

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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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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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Do you ever wonder???

I reflect best when I ride. Some of the things I’ve wondered about recently are shared below.

A couple of days ago the Geezer and Mrs. G were running errands and took me along. They know how much I love the car. This is particularly true when we’re going somewhere … you know, like on vacation or a book signing trip. This wasn’t nearly as much fun.

The half-day was a series of short drives from uninspired stop to uninspired stop. The car would get hot after a few minutes parked in the Florida sun. It’s May. It’s 90. It’s boring! I shared this emotion with either the Geezer (most of the time) or Mrs. G as one or the other sat with me while the other performed some mundane task. The expressions on their faces said, “Ennui!” If anything, they were more bored than me!

Don’t get me wrong. I love being petted and having my ears scratched. The Geezer always has treats to reward me for just being his buddy. The windows were down in back so I could exercise my nostrils. But all these enjoyments have limits. I was bored to the point of distraction. That distraction started me wondering if other canines (and humans) wondered the same things I wonder. I’ll share a few of these wonders with you.

Do you ever wonder, if a few generations from now, human babies will be born without hands? If Darwin is correct they’ll be replaced with a cell phone on one side and a game tablet on the other. Will they be called right celled or left celled?

Do you ever wonder what television would be like if every program wasn’t a vehicle for pushing a political view or an ideological agenda? I’ve seen archaeological artifacts like, Ozzie and Harriet, Fantasy Island, and Dragnet that entertained without rubbing manure in your nose every minute.

Do you ever wonder why human ladies spend so much on the “latest style?” It would be smarter to just keep your old clothes for a long enough time so that some high-priced designer re-invented something that was done forty or fifty years ago. Hey, pants suites are now rompers. Remember the “chemise” and the “sack dress?” They’ve come back under a new title. Micro-mini skirts do keep their same title, though the Geezer calls them “water cooler stop lights.” Anybody know why? Anyway, my coat is always in style.

Do you ever wonder if we’ll get the politicians and TV anchors to settle their arguments Roman Style. In the Coliseum. Televised. With appropriate weapons. How about Sean Hannity versus Chris Mathews with battle axes? Or Hilary Clinton versus Sarah Palin with maces? Why not Ted Cruz fighting Chuck Schumer using long swords? Think of the attraction of Jon Stewart matching up with Rush Limbaugh. They can fight each other with shovels and huge piles of manure. The first one that covers and smothers the other, wins! After all, it’s these individuals creating the huge divisions in the country. Really, 75% of the people would just like them to go away.

Do you ever wonder when humans will figure out that reading is the best way to get information? Stuff on TV, in movies, or on the radio, effects people primarily based on presentation … NOT SUBSTANCE! If humans read most speeches or documentaries made on/for TV, etc. they’d learn something completely different than the quick view that’s intended to trick them. Reading actually gives you time to think and question information.

Do you ever wonder why canines are so far superior to humans as a species? No further explanation required.

I love my human. He is an inferior species, but this is even more of a reason for me to look after him.

 

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To go or not to go, that’s my question. Not for you … you GO!

 

One of the pioneer houses at the Crowley Museum

One of the pioneer houses at the Crowley Museum

To go or not to go that is the question. Whether to be admired and petted by my many admirers or to risk the hooves and horns of free ranging farm animals … Wow what a question. The Geezer says I can go with him on one of his trips … I always beg him to … now I’m not so sure I’ll go.

The Geezer or DL Havlin as he’s better know, is one of the speakers at the Southwest Florida Heritage Festival at the Crowley Museum this Saturday. He’ll be doing two presentations. One will be “The Loyal 14th Colony: Florida and the Revolutionary War” which he’ll present at 1:30. The other will be on the years from 1865 through 1914. He calls that one, “Florida, the forgotten years,” and his talk will begin at 11:30 for that one.

There will be a large number of fun and educational events held at the Crowley. Don’t miss it! Here is a site that provides more information including directions on how to get there.  http://crowleyfl.org/calendar/heritage-festival/    DL (and maybe me) will be there. There will be all kinds of demonstrations from blacksmithing to pioneer cooking. Live music, too.

Here are more pics taken at Crowley.

An 1800's Cracker Limo

An 1800’s Cracker Limo

"I have nothing to offer you but blood, sweat, and grits" A pioneer kitchen---

“I have nothing to offer you but blood, sweat, and grits” A pioneer kitchen—

What put the CRACK in Cracker -- An exhibit at the Crowley Museum.

What put the CRACK in Cracker — An exhibit at the Crowley Museum.

The Geezer’s latest book has been released. It’s a suspense mystery novel titled The Bait Man. It will be available through your local book stores and on-line in ten days to two weeks.

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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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