Monday, July 29, 2013

For the love of Dog

When I was young, I had a black fox terrier and chihuahua mix dog named Blackie.  I suppose you can guess why she was named that.  We lived in the country and the dogs were not kept in a pen.  They lived outside because my dad would have never allowed a dog in the house.  I didn't think of it at the time but they would find warm places in the winter time and cool places in the summer time.  I would keep ticks and fleas under control on them but they never saw a bath or a vet.  My dog served a utilitarian purpose of barking when someone came to the house, or alert me to a snake or other wild animal nearby.  Vermin control was important in the country and Blackie did that very well!  She was a sweet dog that had an aggressive streak towards anything that she thought meant her or us any harm.

Another dog we had named Gypsy.  She was Blackies mother.  She never really cared for Blackie and would  force her to submit at almost every turn.  Gypsy was the alpha dog.  This probably went on for a couple of years when one day Blackie turned on her.  She went after Gypsy as if she were possessed by something else.  The wounds on Gypsy very nearly cost her life.  It was then I had to give Blackie away to someone else as they could not live in harmony anymore.  You can't have two animals who are at each others throat every day.  I was probably seven or eight at the time so I didn't have a lot of say in the matter.  I just remember I felt like I lost my best friend.

I had several dogs in my life.  I remember Blackie, Duchess, Ben, and Mitzi.  All of them had their unique personalities.  All did have one thing in common...they were full of love for me.  Regardless of my situation, they were there for me whenever I would reach out my hand for someone.  Dogs have an incredible capacity to love with only wanting love in return.

When I married, I didn't have a dog for 25 years.  My wife is more of a cat person.  Now during that time I have learned to love cats as well.  We can all learn a few things in life I suppose.  I remember one day I told my wife I would like to have a dog again.  Now that didn't go over well at first but she finally relented.  I saw Charlie on Craigslist and the people were going to take him to the pound if someone did not respond.  I wrote them and learned that he was a Coonhound mix.  I had never dealt with a large dog before but I was willing to take that on.  He had those forlorn hound dog eyes.  So very sad but so very sweet.  It turned out the contact was a friend of my wife.  That was a surprise so she ended up bring Charlie to me the next day.  He had been named Nero but I picked Charlie because I thought it suited him better.

After 25 years it is amazing how much you remember and forget about having dogs.  Charlie was only eight weeks old so it came as no surprise that he gnawed on me or my possessions with those needle teeth.  Every time I came into contact with him was an experience in blood letting.  He had not learned to control his play to not bite so hard.  I began to think he needed a playmate with thicker skin and more understanding.  I began looking for a companion for him, on Craigslist of course, and one day I saw someone who had to Border Collie mixes in a nearby town.  I called and set an appointment to see them but knew I could only take one.  Lucy was only about ten weeks old and had the puppy playfulness to keep Charlie occupied.  Lucy is a Border Collie-Malamute cross so she is a bit bigger and does not know her own strength.  She has a sweet submissive personality but a playfulness which I have not ever seen in a dog.

After a couple of years together, I see that Charlie still causes me blood loss from time to time.  Lucy is  so active that I have trouble keeping her calmed down.  Then comes those times when all is quiet in the house and that come next to me and just lay at my feet.  They let me pet their heads and rub their bellies.  I enjoy it as much as they do.  They know when I am sad and try to comfort me.  They know when I am happy and they rejoice with me.  They are there for me even if no one else is. Though I will never have Blackie again, I have gained the love of another dog.  Their love is unconditional just as the love of God is unconditional.  I wonder if that is why the same letters are used to spell God and dog.  I just know that I have got my best friend back.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Defending My Own

There has been a lot of media attention on Paula Deen in the media in recent weeks. Now I consider her primarily as a cook and not a chef. Being born in South Carolina I recognize her as a very good cook. Having read the deposition of the lawsuit pending against her, I cannot see how what she said created such a furor.
Now a lot of , which are being politically correct, have dropped her from their affiliation. I for one, am aghast at the unmitigated gall of these companies. So what you will hear from me is how these companies have benefited me personally in the past. Take note, these are only my opinions.

The Food network was the first to drop her after many years of faithful service. Thank you Food network for being the watchdog over my morality and conscience. I do not think I could have done it without you. The second to drop her was Smithfield meats. That really distressed me the way she had tried to promote their brands. In a statement, the company said it "condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind. Therefore, we are terminating our partnership with Paula Deen." Of course I know that recently they have been sold to foreign interests which do not represent the South as I

Ballentine Books which published her cookbooks said: The publisher said Friday it would not release "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up," which was scheduled for October and was the first of a five-book deal announced early last year.

Read more:

The truth is that her cookbook coming up was enough to top Amazons best seller list. Their loss I suppose because someone else will surely pick it up. Me included.

Walmart, Target, Ceasars, QVC, Kmart, Penny's, and Sears have followed suit in dropping her brand. On one occasion or another I have had qualms with all of these stores.

Political correctness is the scourge of America. I will not, and cannot, continue in good conscience to follow these companies and give them my money. Their argument holds no water. I have read the deposition and not found it to contain anything that warrants this kind of fallout. Paula Deen is being railroaded and unjustly so. I plan to buy her books and support her because the simple fact is...she cooks better than most of us can. Now isn't that what I want in a cookbook?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A bit of light reading

I am going to pick up today where I left off last post just because I am so obsessive compulsive. Not going to talk about book readers much today though. I thought I would focus on some of the books I have read lately and those books I plan to read soon.

When I got back into the “reading thing” I decided I wanted to read some spooky stuff. You know....tales of the macabre and ghost stories. I am not that big into slasher tales but I like a well told spooky story that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. I started with “Dracula” by Bram Stoker. I have seen every Dracula movie there was to see but had never taken time to read the book. I was not disappointed. Then I read some stuff by Dean Koontz, Algernon Blackwood, H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, M.R. James and W.W. Jacobs. Most of this reading material is in the public domain and easily obtained. My next post will cover where to get classic books for free.

For some reason I had my fill of horror and quite by accident it overlapped with True Crime genre. I started reading about Jack the Ripper, Lizzie Borden, and then I bought a copy of “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote. Thus far, it is one of the best books I have read. I really like it when a writer can capture your attention and hold it. You know the kind of books that are hard to put down? This was one of those books for me. I did come across a couple of books I wanted to share links with here. Well...maybe three. :) I just think these are books and authors you would enjoy.

Jerry Bledsoe is a writer from North Carolina who was once a writer for the Greensboro News and Record. A very good writer in the True Crime genre. Alas! Not all of his work is available for my Kindle yet. Bummer. :(

Kennesaw Taylor is a humorist from Georgia. I found him quite by accident looking for something to read. His humor work puts me in mind of Lewis Grizzard but he has a style that is definitely his very own. The book I read by him had nothing much to do with humor though. The book is titled: “Informally Educated: A True Tale of Child Abuse, Survival and Murder.” This book is the story of his childhood and it will bring tears to your eyes with what that boy and his family had to endure. I read this book in one sitting. It was that good!! Fortunately a good bit of his material I can get for my Kindle.

While I am still reading some of the True Crime books I have diverted a bit of my attention to the Humor genre. I will tell you something that tickles me just as much as the humor books do. Mark Twain has been dead a hundred years now and his autobiography is number two on the New York Times Bestseller list. :) Now that is what I call a comeback!! I would like to read this one for real. If you have...don't tell me anything about it. I want to read it for myself. :) Do yourself a favor and check out the links of the authors Amazon page. I am sure you will find something you like. That should do it for my December reading list. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

To Kindle a fire

A few months ago my daughter told me she would like to have a Nook for her birthday. My response was: “What on earth is a Nook?” Turns out to be one of those book reading devices. Now I balked at this idea at first. When I learned what the price of these devices were I balked a lot. “Do you know how many books you can buy for a $150?” I just didn't think it was worth the money it would take to get her one. Then I came into a bit of extra cash and decided it was just a book reader...not a Mercedes. Long story short...I bought it for her.

Now something happened after I got that thing for her. It was something I didn't expect at all. I liked it!! I wanted one for myself. It was cool to be able to carry a hundred books at a time that weighed less than a pound. Not only that, but you could change the font size of the book you were reading. You didn't have to look for special large print books. One book did it all. Everything was in black and white including the pictures. This thing read books, pictures, music files. It even had wi-fi and a web browser. It was really a cool gadget! It was about this time I started shopping for myself.

I reviewed several different eReaders: The Nook, Kindle, Sony, Kobo and etc. While they are all a bit different in how they navigate, they all do about the same thing. So it is really a matter of preference and the availability of books for them. There is still only one problem with them. The price. All of these devices are worth no more than say....$119. That is just my opinion but it is an experienced opinion. I have been buying electronic stuff a long time. Anyone who knows me will know that it takes a lot of time and about two sticks of dynamite to blow me off my wallet. However, I did finally break down and get myself a Kindle. I have to admit I love it and have done more reading lately than I have done in years. It has kindled a little fire in my heart for reading again. (Pun intended).

Prices right now are pretty low for some of these eReaders because of the Christmas shopping season. So if you like to read or know someone who does, it may be worth your time to look at these devices. If you buy one for someone as a present you may as well get two....Just so you won't be jealous of theirs. :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Good Old Days

I am wondering how many times I have heard the phrase: “I just wish we could go back to the good old days.” Someone usually says this when they are thinking of something wonderful that happened in their past. Perhaps it's because things aren't going so well at present. So I decided to compare the good old days with present day and see what I could find.

My dad's family is from northeast Georgia. My mom's family is from the upstate of South Carolina. Both sides were in rural areas and life was very similar for them in many respects. They lived on farms. To put it better, they lived on someone's farm and worked the land for them. The term is “sharecroppers.” Eventually both sides got their own place to work. You wake up early and have to go milk cows to have milk to drink and cook with. You take the milk and churn your own butter. You plant and work a large garden to have vegetables and raise livestock if you want meat. Now all this means you are having to do lots of manual work. Cows have to be milked and beans have to be plowed and picked. Eggs have to be gathered and cooked and animals have to be butchered and preserved. It's not easy work! If you wanted to go to the was about a hundred feet from the back door with a well beaten path leading to it. If you wanted dropped the bucket into the well and pulled it up yourself. If you want it put it on the stove. You had to chop wood to keep warm and to cook. I did know some who had access to coal for heating. For was always wood.

Life got a bit better with houses being wired for electricity. Stoves and refrigerators helped take a lot of the work out of it. Washing machines took over what a wash bucket and washboard once did. Houses were fitted with plumbing for running water and you no longer had to trod that path to the outhouse. It eliminated the need for chamber pots in the bedroom. Most of us would panic if we had to use what they had to use then.

Today we have our TV's and our music players. Cell phones can go anywhere with us and we feel lost without them. We reheat leftovers in the microwave and complain that it takes all minute! We truly live better than royalty did just a couple of hundred years ago. We travel in hours what it used to take days. If you are cold or hot you go to the thermostat on the wall. You turn it up...turn it down...or turn it off. In case you haven't realized it...these are the “good old days!”

The advances in technology have freed us from a lot of time consuming chores and hardships. They make our lives better is someways and worse in others. Too much idle time is not good for anyone. To try and fit everything under the sun in you schedule is just as destructive. Maybe more. It can make us very impatient. Just be thankful for what you have and use it wisely. We all have a lot more than we realize.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Update on my last post

Just wanted to give an update to you since my last post. I really appreciate the prayers everyone gave for Debbie's healing. This past Friday evening, Debbie went home to be with the Lord. It would be appreciated if you would continue to lift her family up in prayer during this time.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Prayer for a Special Person

This is not my normal kind of post but this is an important post. Not often do I ask favors from people. I am asking tonight. I just wanted to tell you of someone who is special to me and my wife and why.

Have you ever met someone who touched your life in an unforgettable way? I am sure there is someone in everyone's life who is that way. I have been blessed enough to have several who have been there for me or those I cared about. A few years ago, my wife had a tumor on her brain stem. Things worked out well in that situation. During my wife's recovery there was a person who was there with food and moral support for us.

A couple of years ago I wasn't working regular and I had one of my bouts with depression. I had gained quite a bit of weight and most of my clothes didn't fit anymore. I have an odd size in pants and really had no money to buy new clothes. This person found and bought me several pairs of jeans. She would not take my money for them. This is the kind of lady we are talking about. There are other instances I am not mentioning. She did these things for many people...not just me and my wife. She is someone who knows compassion. She knows Christ in a personal way as savior. I am thankful for that.

Tonight as I write this, this lady has advanced cancer and is fighting for her life. Now I know the things God can do. I have seen miracles first hand. I have even experienced a few. Tonight I am asking a favor from you. Would you join me in prayer for this lady? Just an honest simple prayer from your heart for her is all I ask. Her name is Debbie and I believe she would welcome your prayers. I thank you from my heart.