Reflecting on 2014

Today is the last we will see of 2014, whether for good or bad. The years continue to fly by, for “Time and the Tide wait on no man.” As you will see on page 548 of Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions, that old saying has been with us since at least 1225–almost 800 years!

Thinking about the past year, I look back on it with ambivalent emotions. There have been sad times and good times. But isn’t this true with every year, and to some degree, every day? I missed my 50th High School Class reunion due to sickness, and two days ago was sent a package with a video. On it are memories of those who have, “Been promoted to that Big Classroom in the Sky.” The pictures of the 31 class members who are gone move forward on the screen while “Memories” plays.

But though I have lost a son, several class members, a dear friend and a beloved pet over the past year, I am still here to enjoy the blessings of life. Most Comprehensive Origins...has exceeded my expectations and Rhonda and I are in decent health.

So, my wish for my readers is “Have a happy and prosperous 2015, and reflect more on the positive than the negative. Don’t worry about things you can’t change, and change that which would be better by your doing so.”

Remembering Joe Cocker

Yesterday another legendary giant in the music industry passed away. British-born  Joe Cocker died at his home in Crawford, Colorado of lung cancer. He was 70.

His 1968 recording of the Beatles song, With a Little Help from My Friends took him to the top of the charts in the U.K., but his performance of it at Woodstock hit a chord with the American audience that was never forgotten.

Though I never attended a concert at which he preformed, as I did with so many great talents, I loved his raspy, soulful voice, and I had at least one thing in common with him: my favorite song by him was You Are So Beautiful. When he did the take which went down on vinyl, his voice cracked at the end, showing great emotion. Rather than take it out, the producers left it in. That choice helped to make that record one of the most beloved of all times.

Rest in peace, Joe, we will miss you!

Now you can begin your journey Exploring Our Exciting World!

I have just approved and released Exploring Our Exciting World Book One: The Greater Southeastern United States Including Washington, D.C. It should appear on Amazon in one to two days. Years of forethought has gone into this series which will be global is scope and direct the reader to great vacation destinations, giving many directions and a lot of history of each featured area. It includes State and National Parks, Attractions, Festivals, Civil War Battlefields, Monuments, Old Cemeteries, Sports, Best Lakes, Institutions of Higher Learning, and lots of other features, much of which is from firsthand observation and experience. It has a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED notation on many locales. Photos and information passed on by family and friends are also included. It is filled with photos and illustrations.

Future volumes will include writing by other skilled contributors. Like Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions, it is a unique tome built upon much research and study, and I believe each reader use these volumes for reference many years down the road of life. This one is 609 pages and covers featured areas in 12 states and the District of Columbia, all of which I have personally visited. So check Amazon soon for your personal copy!

And the Winner Is:

Last night millions of Americans were glued to their TV screens watching NBC’s The Voice Finale. The four finalists stood in a row on the stage with solemn looks on their faces, even their arms around one another at times.

It came down to the last two: Matt McAndrew from Team Adam and Craig Wayne Boyd from Team Blake. Carson Daly spoke, “And the winner of the Voice is…” the pause must have lasted at least an hour in the minds of those two artists. “CRAIG WAYNE BOYD!”

I was happy. I felt that those two were the better choices to win, But all of them, Damien, Chris Jamison, Matt and Craig, are stars, and should go on to great careers in the music world. In fact, many of the final 20 should have fruitful careers, not just these four.

TV talent shows have propelled the success of so many young people, even those who did not take the trophy or win the million dollars, or sometimes more.

In order for a person’s talent to have a showplace they must be POSITIVE, PERSISTENT, and PROMOTED. I have had two persons talk to me this week about others that have a dream of seeing their work in print. I can’t help with singers, but I can with writers.

Just remember, all of these attributes must exist in order to .be a success. If you think you have them, contact me at stan@stclair.net.

Closure, though sad

I’m simply going to say it this way, as I find other words difficult.

FROSTY MORNING

It was a frosty morning in mid-December

As I walked my dog this morning.

I blankly stared through the fine bare limbs

Of a giant maple at a dark gazebo.

The silver-grey skies beyond

Reminded me of the gloomy focus

Of my troubled soul.

The five past days were filled with angst.

Our rambling cat had dashed away

As we were leaving home at night.

Because before he’s be there waiting

At the door the following morning,

That is what we thought would be.

But not this time.

Every effort I made to find him

Proved another fruitless gesture.

Then yesterday I told a neighbor

To keep a watch for him.

An hour later she came calling.

Out on the highway near her house,

Our cat had been struck down.

I brought him home; laid him to rest

Beside two other loved ones.

Every second December,

We’ve lost a pet;

Our hearts have been distressed.

Rest in peace, our Fonzie, dear,

You’re gone, but never far.

12-13-14

Pets hold a dear place in our hearts

I’ve talked a lot on here about our cat, Fonzie. There have been a lot of antics and laughs since he came to live in our home. His mother dropped him off at my son’s feet on his back porch when he was a kitten. He hasn’t known any keepers but my son, my wife and me. Occasionally he would like to dash out the door when we opened it. We felt that he would do it just to show us he could, like the other tricks he would play.

Five evenings ago as we were leaving he dashed out. It was nearly dark, but we thought he’s come back in, either when we got back home that night, or early the next morning, like he has done so often. He still hasn’t shown up. I’ve driven all over our neighborhood twice, plus the two adjoining subdivisions. I keep opening the door and calling his name every morning hoping he has returned and is lurking in the shrubs.

He is so dear to me, as all our pets. To us they are like close members of our family. I’ve called a friend at a local radio station and announced his absence, and an ad is going in our local Sunday paper.

Books are also important to me I have a large collection, and it seems to continue to grow. Also, today I have submitted my latest book to the printer, the first in the Exploring Our Exciting World series. I’ll announce its release soon. In the meantime, visit us at http://stclairpublications.com , You might see something you like. There are even some about animals! Also, if you spot a grey cat with a white heart on his chest let me know at stan@stclsir.net. There is a reward for his return.

 

Does your dog “talk to you?”

Our little dog, Brody, responds so well to what I say that it is remarkable. When I told Rhonda yesterday, she said, “One of these days he’s going to start talking to you.”

Brody knows what I’m saying to him, no doubt, a great deal of the time. When I say “‘short walk” he knows to head around the house instead of out to the street. He protects our older female cat, Shia, from our younger, playful male, Fonzie. When I call him to be a disciplinarian he comes running and gets right to it. When he starts pulling me in a direction I don’t want to go, I say “We’re not going that way,” and tug a bit on his leash and he changes direction. When it’s time for him to go to bed, I just say, “Time for bed,” and he hops up and heads for his crate with its soft warm blanket. Sometimes it seems that he is talking to me. When he wants to go out, he comes and paws my feet. If that doesn’t work, he whines a little.

The relationship between a dog keeper and the dog is almost like that of a parent and child. If they are trained right, and gently and lovingly disciplined, they will learn to obey and they will cling to their human.

This is demonstrated in verse in my little upcoming book, I Walked My Dog This Morning, featuring a poem by that name which I posted on this blog a few months ago. It will be out sometime next year. But right now, I’ve got to get to work putting the finishing touches on the first volume of Exploring Our Exciting World. It will be out shortly. I hope others enjoy it half as much as I enjoyed writing it. It covers the entire Southeastern US and Washington, DC. I’ll post when it is released!