Tag Archive | family

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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Butt buddies.

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

Irma wasn’t a lot of fun for my humans, not one bit. However, it did give me an opportunity to see my cousin, Ruger. The storm chased us all from our Pine Island home all the way to Mooresville, North Carolina. That’s where the Geezer’s daughter lives. The dogs that own her, her husband and her two children are Ruger and Bandit. Both are Australian Sheperds. Bandit is my age plus a couple and Ruger is a puppy. But a fast growing one!

As you can see from above, Ruger idolizes me. What ever I do, he emulates. We became the “buttsee twins” after the Geezer noted that Ruger would consistently lie down with his rear toward me.

 He does it again! I had to ask — “Do I have bad breath?” — “No,” he answered, “I just like to be like Mike!”

It was a quick trip. Irma couldn’t make up her mind where she wanted to go, so we changed evacuation plans as frequently as a roofer changes underwear in the summer, the President changes cabinet members, or politicians change their reasons for losing elections. The Geezer kept trying to figure out where the storm’s eye was going. We were going to stay put, then we were going to the east coast, then off the island but staying local, then toward Jacksonville. It seemed like the storm was chasing us. The old boy gave up guessing and headed for the mountains … knowing if it got that far … there wouldn’t be much left.

It was a stressful week for everyone but me. The Geezer and Mrs. G were racing around storm-proofing the house, racing from location to location looking for gas, racing from point to point to avoid the storm and finally racing to NC. It was even stressful for Oreo, my feline half-brother. He and Bandit didn’t see eye to eye on some things. Bandit’s ear and paw ended up in Oreo’s mouth and Oreo’s leg resided in Bandit’s mug for a second or two. Neither hurt the other. Maybe a little pride, but nothing physical. Me … I enjoy traveling. And … I avoid altercations. I prefer taking Edwin P. Dowd’s advice on living with others. He said, life is a choice of being ever so strong or ever so nice. He chose nice as do I. (For the young and the uninitiated, the words are from the play and movie “Harvey.” Great flick, go rent it.)

Irma visited our neighborhood. The Geezer’s house was okay, but ……… the seawall wasn’t.

 

Coconuts! Coconuts! Coconuts any one! Two for a dollar. Get your green coconuts here.

As you can see Irma deposited her share of doggie dew on the Geezer. Our house came through like a champ. Not so his seawall and boat. There is much doom and gloom, but that to will pass. The Geezer is a lot like a sponge … he manages to absorb a lot.

On a more positive note —– I’ll be attending the Florida Heritage Book Festival in St. Augustine this coming weekend with the Geezer and his Publisher, Taylor & Seale. It will be held on the Flagler College Campus in the Ringhaver Student Center, from 9 AM to 4 PM, Saturday, September 23rd. It’s free to the public. You can get more information on the event by calling 904-819-6339. If you’re in the area … come see the Geezer! I’ll be staying with Remi a friend in Jacksonville. Tell you about it next week.

 

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Getting ready for Irma … And hoping she doesn’t come here!

The Geezer finishes putting up hurricane shutters while I supervise.

GO AWAY! Irma certainly isn’t wanted here. As if we have a choice. Hurricanes are the equivalent to having the proverbial 800 pound gorilla in the room with you. What does he do? What ever he wants!

The Geezer and Mrs. G are scurrying around the house securing items, moving outside items inside, preparing items that we’ll need if we are forced to evacuate. If the hurricane gets close that is pretty certain. We live on an island for gosh sake. They know the process. Charley visited this house in 2005 … and almost destroyed it. Charley was a category 4 storm and the destruction was like what has been televised from Rockport in Texas. The Geezer and Mrs. G are doing their best to get everything ready … with the knowledge that if Irma comes in here as a cat 5 hurricane they are likely to return to total destruction.

Right now, Irma is predicted to travel up Florida’s east coast, that would put it at between 80 and 100 miles away at its closest passing. I’ve posted a few pics of us getting ready and of our home. Mrs. G has all our bags packed. That makes us all nervous … knowing we might have to leave on very, very short notice. Charley was a category 2 storm that wasn’t supposed to strike Pine Island. Instead of smashing into Tampa Bay as forecast, it turned sharply and intensified into a 4 creaming Sanibel-Captive, Pine Island, Punta Gorda, etc. The destruction was Biblical.

This is the last post I’ll be able to make until after the storm. I hope the next entry will be with good news.

 

The first problem Irma caused — Moving potted plants crunched a corner of the “palm island” in the front yard.

 

Coconuts! They are cannon balls in an environment that a major hurricane brings.

 

One set of double doors shuttered one to go! Things like the furniture in the picture have to go inside or be blown away.

 

 

The lush tropical growth pictured is almost sure to disappear if the storm makes a direct hit.

 

“Good job Geezer.” I congratulate the old boy for doing a good job.

I sincerely hope Irma decides to visit the middle of the Atlantic and does her blow job there. The Geezer and I don’t want to have anyone visited by the destruction and heart-break that will accompany a call by Irma. Say a prayer for all of us.

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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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My new buddy! Ruger! He’s a real son-of-a-gun.

This is RUGER! He’s my new relative. Cousin Ruger has more energy than tens dogs should have

Meet the newest addition to our family. He is an Australian Shepard named Ruger. Ruger owns my human’s daughter and her family. Ruger, Lori, Mike and Bradley came down to visit and fish with the Geezer. Did you notice his eyes? Intense!

Of course, Ruger is a puppy. His perpetual puppy spring is still wound tight. He’s always on the move chasing something or somebody. From the time he bounded up the stairs until the time Lori and Mike’s pickup left for North Carolina … I was his primary objective. Being young and being male, well I’m sure you understand. I was polite and didn’t get harsh with him. However, I spent a lot of my time in a sitting position.

Ruger is a chaser. Balls … birds … beagles … boys … it doesn’t matter. He’s a very love-able character. Enthusiastic about everything, I got tired just watching him.

Ruger and me. Note my position.

 

“Chow Hound” should be Ruger’s nick-name. Here he drools over a lobster toy

 

The Geezer, Mrs. G, and I all enjoyed the not-so-little guy. Oreo our black and white cat was less thrilled. They stared at each other from a distance and Oreo chose the high ground. Stairs. The balcony. Back of the couch. The high ground.

 

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Why, a question we need to ask more frequently, but alas … don’t.

 

Here I am in the act of pondering why things are as they are. Anyone have an aspirin?

I wonder if there is a more powerful or disturbing word in any language than why. It’s a painful word. Why? (There’s that word) It makes us think. That is something many don’t like to do. I find thinking is particularly distressing for human’s to attempt.

Dogs’ “why” questions normally can be logically answered. Consider our questions and our answers.

Q. Why do dogs chase cars?  A. We feel like bullies chasing squirrels.

Q. Why do dogs have to go outside for bathroom duties?  A. Humans put the toilet paper in places we can’t reach when sitting on the john.

Q. Why do dogs fetch balls or sticks when a human throws them.  A. Humans are too stupid to give treats to their dogs unless prompted.

Q. Why do dogs hate cats?  A. We don’t, but we have to pretend we do so humans think we’re normal … don’t humans all hate some group? Republicans? Democrats? I could go on forever.

Q. Why do dogs chase their tails? A. We only do this when we are bored and need exercise. This can be the result of watching too much television. It is also caused by trying to emulate Congress.

Notice that canines have straight-forward, logical answers to our “why” questions. Dogs admire logic. I’m sure a canine poll would disclose that Mr. Spock would be among our favorite media characters.

Dogs tend to admire strong minded, low key people who control their emotions. That’s why we bite so many TV commentators and politicians.

I think its interesting to consider some of the common “why” questions that humans struggle with.

Q.  Why did the chicken cross the road?  A.  Human’s actually debate this. My question is … Why is there any doubt? The damned chicken wants to get to the other side. So simple, yet humans wrestle with an answer. Who knew ………..

Q.  Why do humans cheat on their spouses?  A. They wear clothes. No one knows what they’re getting until its too late!  (Note: We dogs have a clear vision of what the “possibilities” are!)

Q.  Why do politicians lie?  A. Humans struggle with this and try to come up with all manner of explanations that have to do with ideology, character, etc. Come on humans! Politicians lie for 5 reasons: 1) They believe voters are stupid. (in some cases this is correct) 2) The shape of their tongue (forked) makes telling the truth impossible 3) Most have no idea what the truth is 4) They want to get elected and don’t care about honesty. 5) They will get their own health care plan and don’t have Obama care if elected.

Q. Why do humans buy fancier cars and bigger homes than they can afford?  A. They need the space to contain and carry around their egos.

Q. Why do dogs develop conditioned responses while humans continue to repeat the same errors? A. Pavlov never had to try to teach a human.

Thinking is painful and difficult for homo sapiens. They do other things better. As an English poet once wrote, in part … “Ale man, ales the thing to drink … For all of you it hurts to think.”

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