NaNoWriMo 2015 – Progress Report

Hello my blog followers, it is I back from the NaNoWriMo Wars!


So you know I took the plunge and committed to the insanity that envelopes the writing world each November, the quest to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I had plenty of trepidation before the starting gun, but am happy to report things are going very, very well. Plus the support of the community doing this with me is incredible!

As I write this I sit at 13,393 words after six days. That is an average of 2,232 words per day. In comparison, 50,000 in 30 days averages to 1,667 per day. Where are all these words coming from? well, I can thank all the movies and shows I have watched over the decades for feeding my ideas to fuel my plot and its development. prog1

Above you can see the dashboard for the site that tracks your progress with many measures. One of the lines I favor is the one that says At This Rate You Will Finish On. In truth I will not finish my novel on November 23, 2015. I may cross the 50,000 line on or around that day, but this baby will be larger than 50,000 when I put The End on it.

November 23 is a good date because I am leaving the country for a week four days later. I think I will probably load up whatever I have by that time onto my Kindle and take it with me to read and look for plot gaps and other “uh-ohs”. That seems like a great opportunity to push back and see what I have. You certainly have no time for it during this thirty day sprint.

So, who wants to know about the plot? Anyone? Anyone? Okay, I heard you over there in the United Kingdom, here you go. This book is about a Iraq/Afghanistan Vet  (still thinking about the time frame) who, due to PTSD has become a serial killer. But his target is very specific, the girl that sent him a Dear john letter while deployed. Now Avery Winston was determined to get her back.

The problem was that in his diminished mental state there was just a couple of main characteristics of his former love, Caroline Mitchell he focused on. unfortunately half a dozen young women with long, curly red hair and emerald eyes have drawn Avery’s attention and fell victim to his bloody spree.

Now Gracie McKinley has crossed Avery’s radar and is likely to be victim number seven. Gracie is a photographer and has unwittingly snapped a photo of Avery’s licence plate. But Gracie has a couple of heroes in the form of F.B.I. agent Layton Spencer and his partner Callie Tremayne. They are narrowing the hunt for Avery and will be Gracie’s best hope for survival.

The novel is set in and around the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Virgina, near where I live and I hope to give the readers and interest of all the area has to offer . . .minus the serial killer of course.


I am not sure if anyone from here is interested in knowing how this grand adventure is going, so if you are give me a comment! I will be back on the 12th for the next update!

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Treat – Weekly Photo Prompt -10/29/15

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Treat.”

This week the Weekly Photo Prompt asks us the share about a treat we love. I am taking the word in one of its many forms as in something I enjoy. Tonight my daughter will complete her last home game as a senior cheerleader and member of the high school marching band. Combined with my son’s years in high school we will close the chapter on eight years of supporting my alma mater high school. The treat for me is watching my kids as they participate in the marching band (my son and daughter’s contribution) and cheerleading (my daughter’s contribution.


My daughter is third from left on the front row.


My daughter is first trumpet back from drum major stand.


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NaNoWriMo – Why Do It?

I agree I might be on the edge of doing something totally insane. Okay, maybe not insane, but some kind of crazy. What is it? I am going to commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in a month’s time.


National Novel Writing Month or #NaNoWriMo as you will se it on all the cool kid’s sites like Twitter Facebook, Instagram et all, is a concentrated effort to get some new book material out of writer’s heads and onto paper, in word processors or wherever people choose to write these days. Amazon, Good Reads and every other online site with any connection to books has to like the concept. I mean, what good is a storefront with nothing to sell?


I am doing it because over the years I have been writing novel length works I have never been published. Stay with me here, I am going to answer this question, it is just a long answer. There are many phases to writing a book. The preplanning is one, the writing a whole BIG other and then publishing perhaps the biggest of all. So really I am doing it first in hopes that this novel will be the one to kick in the door and get a publisher interested in what I write.

Secondly, again going back to the years I have been writing, I have learned to mentally develop a plot to see if it has the legs to be a full blown story. Sometimes you can have a really good story and well developed plot, but a good sized short story is all you can wring out of it. Have no illusion, writing a 75,000 word novel is no walk in the park. The #NaNoWriMo only asks 50,000, which will be tough enough in thirty days.


The plot I chose to develop has been rolling around in my head for nearly three years. Usually within that amount of time if the plot does not continue to develop you know it has to be trashed. This one has only continued to grow and become more interesting. I feel like I would be passing up on the best choice of my working ideas if I let it go.


Whoo! That is a good question. November is a busy month for everyone. I mean it is basically the start of the holiday season. Once you get to the last week, with Thanksgiving, you get into the Christmas slide and time seems to enter an accelerator of some type. AS a matter of fact, I will be departing the U.S.A. for an international mission trip on the 27thof November and with Thanksgiving the day before I am mentally giving myself 25 days to pull this off. I may have some time while away to finish things, but I want to plan as if I don’t.


I need a jump start in my writing and there is nothing like a new project to do that. The excitement of building out characters, setting, Plot and basically the whole ball of wax is invigorating. Pair that with a partner (my wife) that is willing to read and critique and you have a pretty good incentive.

I am also excited about the promised partnering of the folks at the #NaNoWriMo web site. They have developed there involvement so much that they have different regions of the country and groups for each along with coaches and liaisons to assist if you need. I would love to meet other writers/authors, especially those from my local area.


Well, there will be a couple fo ways to do this actually. has several links that will report your progress back to your website or blog. I have inserted these in the right margin of two of my blogs: (1) In the flagship blog, Joe’s Musings. (2) I included it on the Fiction Playground blog. This is where the majority of my blog traffic comes in. I have other blogs, but they just do not get the same amount of attention from me or visitors.

So, taking the time to make this little post has equaled around 750 words or 38% of what I will have to create each day to make the 50,000 word goal. I hope you will cheer me on, encourage and wait breathlessly (while breathing of course) to see if I can cross the line with the thousands of others taking this challenge.

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Coming to a Bookshelf Near You – Daily Post – 10-28-15

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Coming To a Bookshelf Near You.”

Today’s Daily Post asks us to write a book summary for the back dust cover of a book we would like to read. I decided to float the germ of an idea I am developing.

It is the year 2090 and the earth is dying. The supposition about Global Warming and Greenhouse Gases have come to fruition and are accelerating the demise of the planet. Countries have been replaced by political regions. The political regions are run by oligarchies.

Siobhan Grinaldi is a young teen in one of the few oligarchies with a concern for the well-being of their citizens. Her father is one of the ruling council and feels relatively confident his family is safe. But he does not know of the coming political change. Or the population reduction plan of the opposing party, one that will threaten Siobhan’s life and that of thousands of other children.

Daily Prompt

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If You Leave – Daily Post – 10/27/15

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “If You Leave.”

Life is a series of beginnings and endings. We leave one job to start another; we quit cities, countries, or continents for a fresh start; we leave lovers and begin new relationships. What was the last thing you contemplated leaving? What were the pros and cons? Have you made up your mind? What will you choose?

After more than a year of no real significant progress I have decided to shelve my current novel in progress. I would have you know I am an aspiring author and still looking for the first novel to launch my career. It is an intimidating process to be sure.

For the last eighteen months I have edited and rewritten the novel and still believe there is hope for it, but I have tired of the process and want another story to tell. I will credit WordPress with he germ of the novel I intend to start in five days. See this post: Daily Prompt – Coming to a Bookshelf Near You

For this prompt you are to come up with the blurb for the back cover of a new novel. My idea involved a girl snapping a photo of the license plate of a serial killer’s truck and him chasing her across the country. I replied to this on November 20th of 2012, so nearly three years ago.

So here I am nearly 1,000 days make this storyter ready to finally make this story come to life. Over that time the characters have developed in my mental picture some and the setting has changed based on a brief anniversary trip I recently completed with my wife.


I decided to get a jump start on the novel by dove-tailing it into rse of thritythe #NaNoWriMo. If you do not know, and I am  sure most of you do, NaNoWriMo is something that ties potential authors to their writing programs and desk during the month of November each year.

Authors are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel over the course of thirty days. Oh good, you did the math for me! Yes, that’s right, I will have to average 1,667 words each day to meet the thirty day, 50,000 word goal. Can I do it? I invite you to pop some popcorn and check out the fun as I and thousands of others give it our best shot.

See my posts about #NaNoWriMo here:


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Dogs of My Life – Jack

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This series is in honor of the latest addition to my canine history, Sydney, a Shetland Sheepdog or Sheltie pup that will be joining our family on October 17th, 2015. As I approached this date I thought it would be neat for me and hopefully you to see and read about all the dogs in my life that proceeded Sydney.

Of all the previous DoML posts up to now, the unifying matter is that all the previous dogs were ones I had while still unmarried or living at home. There was a long stretch between 1992, the year I married and the year we got the first dog for my son and daughter. My wife had never had a dog growing up, so there was a process of convincing her a dog was important.


Our first choice for a dog was a Labrador/border collie mix. Jack was a small black mainly  Lab looking dog with a very white patch on his chest. I can still remember riding in the back seat holding Jack as we brought him home. While my kids were happy to have a new puppy I felt like a big hole had been plugged in my life.

Jack was my constant companion, following me everywhere I went. At that time we still had a greenhouse business operating and it was the time of year I would plant a couple thousand fall mums to get them ready to sell in September and October. When you arrange them it is in long rows with specific spacing to allow them to grow and spread to a full size. Jack ran through and bumped them, causing the spacing to be off. I cannot tell you how many I had to rest, but I didn’t care, having a dog was worth the trouble.

Unfortunately, Jack was the dog that had the shortest stay with us. At the time we weren’t thinking as much about containment as we needed to be and Jack met an unfortunate end when he did not understand the relationship between a heavy car tire and a little dog. Jack was the first of three dogs that had either part or a full Labrador influence, unless you count the eight Labrador puppies we had in 2007. If you want to read about that adventure you can click here: A Chocolate Lab Summer -Part One and A Chocolate Lab Summer – Part Two.

To read previous posts in this series you can follow the posts here: Snoopy, Puff, Master and Sparky.

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National Novel Writing Month is coming in nine days. So what, you say? Why should I care? Well it is highly possible some novel you read in the next six to eighteen months could see its beginning in the thirty day festival of novel writing that is #NaNoWriMo. Basically, for anyone still in the dark, novel writers commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. While 50,000 words might seem short for a novel, on average there are 250-300 words per page. using this estimate a 50K word novel would constitute around 200 pages.

I can count five manuscripts in my inventory of unpublished works. I will confess I have never tried to do the #NaNoWriMo because the concept is more than intimidating. You will write 1,667 words on average each day to total 50K in thirty calendar days. Keep in mind there is a holiday on November 26th and you eschew that 24 hour period. This year I also will surrender four days of my writing schedule to an international mission trip. While I could still find the time, who knows if I will want to try?

So there are innumerable reasons to shake my head and retreat from this challenge once more, but there is another compelling reason not to: A story dying to be written. It is a concept I have been mentally building out over a few months. But now it is getting ready to hit the fast track and get a full court press to 50K words.

So, what can I do to facilitate this? Well, for the first time in my novel writing adventures I plan to do a flow chart. No, I am not a flow chart expert and it will not be pretty, but I feel like I need to chart out the action and story line so i can write more effectively. I have decided to use the tact of writing individual chapters that focus on one of the characters, and believe I can chart accordingly.

Three Christmases past my wife invested in the Dragon voice dictation program. It is great as far as making the entry a lot faster, once it learns your speech eccentricities. It is not 100% flawless, but it helps quite a bit. What I am hoping for is to connect with other #NaNoWriMo authors to build some community so we can cheer each other on. I would also like to get some others who will gently inquire as to my progress and keep me focused on the goal. Who knows, I might be able to get this thing ready for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award that is coming in Jan-Feb time frame.

Okay, here is the part where I find out how many people who click on my posts read to the end. You are probably asking what will be the subject of this novel. It will be a suspense thriller with an FBI agent chasing a serial killer on the Blue Ridge Parkway of North Carolina and Virginia.

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Dogs of My Life – Sparky

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This series is in honor of the latest addition to my canine history, Sydney, a Shetland Sheepdog or Sheltie pup that will be joining our family on October 17th, 2015. As I approached this date I thought it would be neat for me and hopefully you to see and read about all the dogs in my life that proceeded Sydney. 

The next dog I want to tell you about is the first one that came to my home while I was not still living there. I guess I was, in fact, still considered a resident, but it was while i was away wrapping up my bachelor’s degree. My brother Kevin was the main beneficiary of this canine-human relationship. He bonded with the dog from the time it was a puppy and did all kinds of things with him.

Sparky as a pup

Sparky as a pup 

Since I was not at home when my parents and brother got the dog, I was never really sure exactly what breed he fit into. I saw some German Shepard tendencies, but Sparky was not the size and did not possess the temperament of the police dog breed. He was very social until he began to age and had moments where he was actually pretty comical.

Sparky with my brother, Kevin

Sparky with my brother, Kevin 

As I said, the bond between my brother and the dog was pretty special. There is a little convenience market within sight of my home place and they have a custard machine. It was very often that Kevin bought Sparky a cup of vanilla custard and Sparky would consume it in short order.


I could really tell the passing of my brother left Sparky wondering what was happening. All the sudden his best buddy just did not come around any more. How do you explain this sort of thing to a dog when you just really do not understand it yourself? I think seeing Sparky reminded my mom of my brother because she seemed to be less interested in fooling with him after this happened.

Sparky and my son in 1996

Sparky and my son in 1996

Sparky was the first dog in my son’s life. It was a few years before we had our first dog at our home and my son was just too young to fill the shoes of my brother as Sparky’s playmate. I am sure Sparky was not the only dog to ever lose their master prematurely, but it seemed kind of unfair to him.

This is number four in the Dogs of My Life series. If you need or want to catch up you can read the previous posts here:




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Weekly Photo Challenge – Happy Place – 10-9-15

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Happy Place.”

My wife and I took a couple of days this week and visited the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469 mile motor route through the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. Along with the seasonal coloring of the deciduous trees there was also lots of other dazzling sites. One was the water fall that follows, it is called Crabtree Falls and the water flow was augmented by the torrential rains that buffeted North and South Carolina the first weekend of October, 2015.


Another addition to the happy places was the place we stayed overnight, the Switzerland Inn in Little Switzerland, North Carolina. When I told my daughter we were spending the night in Switzerland she said “I guess you won’t be home soon, huh?” She had no idea and neither did we there even was somewhere named Little Switzerland in North Carolina.


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Favo Foto Friday – Blue Ridge Parkway – 10-9-15

Fav Foto Friday is a new invitational photo blog I have discovered. Basically you select your favorite photo from the week and share with the others who add photos or come for the fun.106

My wife and I took a trip on the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway, which stretches for 469 miles through North Carolina and Virginia. There is so much beauty this time of year as the leaves are nearing the peak of color as Autumn’s chill brings about their annual color show.

While I have some photos of the leaves I liked this photo and the one that follows more for their views. The first photo is of one of the many water falls along the Parkway. This particular one is named Crabtree Falls and is an arduous, as we discovered, one plus mile hike from the parking area. The flow of water was augmented by the heavy, heavy rains sustained by North and South Carolina in the first week of October 2015.

The other photo is taken from the back side of the place we spent the night in Little Switzerland, North Carolina.

120 When I sent my daughter a text about where we were I said we were in Switzerland and she said, “well I guess you won’t be home soon.” She had no idea there even was a Switzerland in our neighboring state.

I hope you enjoy the photos I have from the Blue Ridge Parkway and I invite you to investigate more about it online.

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Dogs of My Life – Master

Okay, let me pause a minute for you to laugh heartily at the name of the third Dog of My Life or DOML, as you will see I have shortened it to. I understand your point, I mean in the bible within the book of Genesis it is made abundantly clear that he created man to have dominion over all the animals of the earth. Well, anyone who has ever had a pet long term will tell you that over time that line can blur.

I think Master was trying to tell my brother and I he wanted fish in his diet.

I think Master was trying to tell my brother and I he wanted fish in his diet.

I can remember going to pick up Master as a puppy. We got him from a cousin to my dad and there was a half dozen dogs to choose from. I think Master was the one that seemed the most friendly and we were not disappointed with our choice. I wish I had pictures from when he was a pup, but unlike his predecessor, I at least have more than one photo.

One thing about Master stands out so vividly, even nearly thirty years later. He absolutely feared thunderstorms. At the time I had him I was not staying home during the summer alone yet and instead I went to my neighbor’s home, who was a day care mother as she termed it. There was anywhere from six to sixteen kids there and it was a great place to spend summer days. But frequently during the summer that number would swell by one drenched and fearful dog that had easily hurdled her dog lot fence to find me.

This is the best photo I have to show you how gorgeous of a dog he was.

This is the best photo I have to show you how gorgeous of a dog he was.

If you read the first DOML post, you know that my first dog, snoopy, met a tragic end, failing to grasp the rudimentary truths of cars and running willy-nilly amongst them. For Master the end was not sudden like this, but rather a mysterious one. Suddenly one day he was nowhere to be found. Over time my parents conversation about Master’s fate settled on the idea he was probably taken by someone. I have no idea if this was close to the real reason or if they were exercising their parental discretion to avoid relating a less desirable description of Master’s situation.

I thank you for stopping in to read the third DOML post. I want to tell you at this point that there is a reason for this series other than just a simple reminiscence. Very soon I intend to add a new dog to the Dogs of My Life, a Shetland Sheepdog pup. I plan to cover all the DOML in chronological order, so it may be a couple of weeks before I work up to that one, but trust me it will be forthcoming.

We had an acre and a half for Master to roam.

We had an acre and a half for Master to roam.

I think Master was trying to tell my brother and I he wanted fish in his diet.

I think Master was trying to tell my brother and I he wanted fish in his diet.

Other Dogs of My Life Posts:



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The Dogs of My Life – Puff

You know there are some experiences in life that are so stark you can not forget the details, but for others there is only whispers of remembrance. That is, unfortunately, the situation with the second dog in my life, a boy dog named Puff. Puff followed Snoopy, my first pet, but for the life of me I just don’t remember a whole lot of unique details about him.

I do remember the family from my dad’s hometown in Glade Spring, Virginia that had the litter containing Puff. I also remember Puff looked a lot like Snoopy. I cannot remember him being a “critter gitter” like Snoopy however.

My personal ambition is to provide pictures of each “Dog of My Life”. If you knew me you would think well that wouldn’t be to hard because if there is anything I do it is take a lot of pictures. I mean why not? One of these days when my memory begins to fade I hope I can rummage through my picture library and aid my recall. But for poor puff I was really beginning to think I was going to come up empty.

Puff, Master and me around 1975.

Puff, Master and me around 1975.

As with Snoopy, the first DOML, I could only find one photo and poor Puff had to share time in this one with his successor, a full Collie we named Master. I know, the funny will come when Master gets his own write-up about how ironic that name was.

Puff was the only dog to be displaced by another in my dog history. You know as I try to remember the specifics of the situation I cannot identify any particular reason that we relocated Puff. I think it was just the fact that my parents felt two dogs were too much for us. He got along well with our Collie, so other than having to pets to feed and care for I just don’t know why he had to go away.

As it turned out Puff moved along to the grandparents of my cousins on my mother’s side. So when I traveled the ninety minutes to where my grandmother lived in Clinchport, Vriginia, which I did often, I would go to my cousin’s house and see Puff next door at their grandparents house. Puff never seemed to hold a grudge. I think he enjoyed being the top dog at his new place.

Well, I suppose you can guess the subject of the next DOML post, it will be the full blood Collie named Master. I hope you will follow on to that post. If you are new to this series and want to catch up you can read the first post about Snoopy.

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The Bicentennial Wagon Train

I was eleven in 1976 when the United States celebrated the two century mark as an independent nation. There were innumerable celebrations to mark this important milestone, including among others celebrations, commemorations and parades. I was old enough to remember many of these, but one in particular made its way through my home town.

Early in 1975 a trek began from within the Midwest of the U.S.A. that had a final destination of Valley Forge Pennsylvania. Okay, you say, so there was a trek, so what. What if I told you that a wagon train consisting of wagons from all fifty states combined to make the journey.

Wagon2 wagon1

My hometown is in the Southwestern end of the state of Virginia, a town called Abingdon.  The many pictures I posted with this article show the parade through my town.

Wagon3 Wagon4

I can remember thinking how wonderful it would have been to be a part of this.

Wagon5 Wagon6

There was even a lot of women along with the wagon train that dressed in period clothes.

Wagon7 wagon8

I was rooting through some old photographs from my mother’s house when I came across these and decided to do a post about it.

wagon9 wagon10

Even the kids of the wagon train members took part in the adventure. They got to deliver some pretty interesting essays to there teachers when they returned to school I am sure.

Wagon 11

I was searching around for information about the wagon train and found this Bicentennial Wagon Train Pilgrimage Official Souvenir Program for sale on Amazon.


I can remember thinking at the time how cool it would be to live long enough to enjoy the Tri-Centennial celebration, which would occur in 2076. Of course to do that I would have to live to be 111. While it is possible for a human to live to that age, I am not giving myself good odds to be among the celebrants. Hopefully my son and daughter will be able to do it in my stead.

Posted in 1776-1976, 1976, American independence, Bicentennail, Bicentennial Wagon Train, Commemorative Events in 1976, Covered Wagon, Wagon Train | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Dogs of My Life – Snoopy

Yes, yes, I co-opted the well-known soap opera title Days of Our Lives as a pattern for the title of this blog post. It is not that I am incapable of creating a unique one, but rather that I intend to document each dog I have had in my life. Why am I doing this? Because within the next 14 days we will add a new canine member to our family. I thought it would be fitting to take some time to remember the previous dogs that filled my life.

My first pet was a dog. There are a multitude of possibilities for a pet, but to me, the dog is unlike any other. I am sorry to use a too-often over used term, but they truly are “Man’s Best Friend”. A cat wants you when it wants you and no time else. Birds, small rodents, reptiles and the like just don’t thrill me. But a dog, now there is the kind of friend everyone wants and even deserves.

I loved the comic strip Peanuts, in that form and in the annual cartoon specials. My favorite character was the fabulous dog, Snoopy. I loved him so much I influenced the choice of our first name in using Snoopy. Snoopy of the comic strip is a Beagle, but my Snoopy was a mix my dad called a Heinz 57. But in my eyes my Snoopy was as cool as the other.

This is a photo from Christmas 1970 of my brother on the left. me and Snoopy.

This is a photo from Christmas 1970 of my brother on the left. me and Snoopy.

Snoopy was larger than life in my world the few years he lived. He was ever present, roaming the acre and a half where I grew up, chasing rabbits, killing groundhogs, being a great watch dog at a time it wasn’t really necessary and a great, great friend.

I was told stories of how Snoopy would visit my neighbor during they day and wait with him on the porch for the magical hour when my school bus would deliver me home in the afternoon. We all know about a dog’s acute sense of hearing. From what I have been told Snoopy knew the sound of my bus and made the tenth of a mile journey from that porch or our home every day when the bus came to walk me up the hill to my house.

I can remember Snoopy cornering a groundhog under my mom’s Chevrolet Vega one Sunday. My dad assisted in making the groundhog weaker so Snoopy could finish the job he initiated. He knew who or what did not belong and acted accordingly.

I am sad to share I was there when Snoopy’s life came to an end. I cannot remember why I was there exactly, but I can still remember seeing the car hit him and him spinning around from the impact. Burying him with the help of my neighbor’s son who was about fifteen years older than me was one of the toughest things I had done in my first 10 years.

Since then I have buried several more pets and it does not get any easier. But I don’t want to dwell on that, I just want to reminisce and share my canine memories with you. I hope you will come back for the other blog posts in this series.

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This is my response for the No, Thank You prompt for the Daily Post of August 26, 2015.

Okay, a disclaimer to begin. I am not against this four letter word in its original context. I agree with the concept of telling someone that I like the way they do something or the way they look. I even can stomach the implication that it “looks” like rain. But this poor four letter word is one of the most abused in our hallowed dictionary.

So, who are the devious culprits at work here? One has the surname of Zuckerburg. The other is not a solitary who, but rather legions of young ones from age 12 to 22. Yes I am talking about the teen population that cannot complete a sentence without invoking this four letter word any number of times.

So, Mr. Z first. On the surface, liking someone’s offering on Facebook is a great idea. I mean everyone likes a little encouragement or validation, I get that. But when someone posts an announcement about a death or some other tragedy and I see this avalanche of likes it rubs me wrong. I mean, come on Facebook programmers, are you telling us you cannot add a toggle where the Like button is to allow for a more pertinent response?

I guess I can get past the Facebook misuse of the word, since after this many years there is not a groundswell behind me to have Facebook change its advance. But this teenage revolution in the wrong direction may be our bigger concern. The art of conversation is something we develop as children and through the years we should try to develop into a strength. Every inter action we have with others allows us to sharpen this life tool. The dulling of this by using the word like as a lazy modifier is horrifying to me.

I used to drive a school bus for a short period during one of my different seasons of my life. One morning I challenge this particular teenaged girl to say four sentences without using the word like. She could not do it. For thirty minutes she struggled to meet my challenge. During the school day this remained on her mind and later that afternoon she came back on the bus and managed four ragged, short sentences. While I have no misconception I made an impact in her life, perhaps for a few moments she saw my point.

Again, I am not against the concept of telling someone what I approve of or when something strikes me positive. I just want this particular four letter word to get a bit more respect.

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