"People say I train dogs, but in many ways I train people."- Cesar Millan
Glancing at the cover of my book, and not knowing me, one might suspect I am a dog owner. Not so! But I admire the Humane Society and the many really dedicated, loving dog owners who provide good homes for their devoted pets. They walk them; they groom them; they feed them; and they play with them. But dogs do more for us than we do for them. In so many ways, dogs truly are man’s best friend. Dogs are favorite family pets, providing love, devotion and companionship. But they do much more. Depending on the breed, dogs have been trained to provide all sorts of vital services for their human companions. Consider the stereotypical Saint Bernard with the keg of life-saving liquid hanging from his neck, digging through a snow-slide to rescue some hapless skier in the Swiss Alps. There are so many others. The Husky sled dogs are true pack-animals of the north, providing essential transportation for the Inuit and their goods. Seeing Eye dogs are trained to guide poorly sighted and blind people safely wherever they choose to go. German Shepherd police dogs, assisting police officers in the line of duty, provide an invaluable service. More recently, dogs have been trained to support and assist veterans suffering from PTSD as well as patients experiencing major depression.
One of the cutest work dogs we ever encountered was in New Zealand, just as we disembarked the aircraft for an extended vacation in that country. New Zealand has a pristine landscape and relatively pest-free environment. They want to keep it that way and have trained dogs to help them. Visitors are strictly forbidden to bring certain fruit, vegetables, plants and animals into the country. The dogs sniff all luggage, alerting the customs and border patrol when they encounter any contraband. One of these cute little inspectors seemed to be very suspicious of Cecilia’s hand luggage. He kept returning, alerting the customs people of Cecilia’s vain attempts to smuggle forbidden objects into the country. Cecilia kept assuring the personnel that she had nothing to hide, and when they inspected her bag they found nothing unusual, but the little canine guard was persistent and wouldn't give up. Finally, Cecilia remembered that she had had an apple in her bag, but that she had eaten it while we were on the aircraft. The four-legged guard, detecting the odour of the ripe apple, sounded the alarm. Fortunately, the customs people knew the truth before the New Zealand police force arrived to put my good wife in the Slammer.
Gerald M. Sliva
“No one’s family is normal. Normalcy is a lie invented by advertising agencies to make the rest of us feel inferior.” – Calire LaZebnik
Accidentally bumping into an old friend or a long-lost relative is one of the joys of life. It has been one of the blessings of being a self-published author having to meet people everywhere, to offer them my business card and to promote my book. I have met and renewed acquaintances with so many marvelous people and animals in the six weeks since my book has been published.
While in Regina, Saskatchewan on a recent book promotion tour we stayed at the Country Inn and Suites. During and after the complimentary breakfast hours I took the opportunity to offer my business card to several patrons. Some were not interested, but many more were avid readers and keenly interested in my book. One woman asked for two cards because her nephew was planning on writing a book and he might learn from my experiences. A few minutes later she came back to me wanting to purchase a book and asking me if I was related to a certain person with the same last name. I said, "Yes." and described the relationship. She replied that she was my relative's cousin.
Later that same morning we were just leaving the hotel. Seeing a woman sitting by herself in the foyer, I offered her my card and asked her if she likes to read. Oh, yes, she was an avid reader. She took one look at my card and said, "I know you!" It turned out that when we were children we went to the same church in Kuroki. As we talked, I learned from her that my sister sang at her wedding, that she resided in the same city as my parents had after my mother's stroke, that she had occasionally visited with my parents and that she had attended my mother's funeral. I had not knowingly seen this lady in the last 55 years, yet we had so many connections.
There are so many other similar incidents I could relate. Our lives are so interconnected. We tend to be suspicious of strangers; we tell our children not to talk to strangers; we wonder about the authenticity of people of different colour, ethnicity or religion. Yet people are only strangers if we do not make the effort to make them friends.
"Browser" is the name of my serious looking canine friend on the cover of my book. In my book promotion travels, Browser found Rusty, one of his long lost relatives. Just like Browser on my book cover photo, Rusty has a vision problem and wears corrective lenses. For now here is a photo of Rusty, but very shortly Rusty and his owner will be the stars of one of my upcoming blogs.
Peace be with you and yours!
Gerald M. Sliva
"There is no rehearsal for life. No cue cards. No practice. No do-overs. One chance. Do it right!" - Gerald M. Sliva, Not-so-famous Author
People who are considering following my blog might be interested in knowing what is in store over the coming months and years. Barking From the Front Porch was a collection of essays, sprinkled with a small seasoning of satire and social commentary, about life in the tiny hamlet of Kuroki,. We all have fond memories of our home towns, but eventually we graduate to barking elsewhere.
In writing Barking From the Front Porch my objectives were to tug at my readers' heartstrings while telling a true story, to elicit laughter, tears and deep thoughts about the meaning of life and death. Some of the most popular current television shows are called "Reality Shows", most of which have nothing to do with reality for the vast majority of us. In my "Barking" I wanted to have a true-life reality show, something most people could relate to, a story of common people living an uncommon life and loving it. We all do it. There is nothing more real than family, friends, food, laughter and tears. I hope you find them here.
In my blog, Still Barking, I intend to continue along similar themes of essays and stories about real people - me, my family, my friends, my acquaintances and sometimes strangers who cross my path, who somehow brighten the days of people they encounter. Sometimes I may reflect upon on the past, the good old days in Kuroki, but most often I'll bark about present day stories, issues and circumstances which affect mankind.
Thank you for following me to see where our journey leads us.
Gerald M. Sliva
“I hate housework. You make the beds, you wash the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.” ― Joan Rivers
Greetings my friends,
Thank you for following my blog musings.
Just a few housekeeping and information items:
1. If you make a comment on my Blog site, it will not appear immediately. Each comment must be approved before publication. That is simply to avoid racist, sexist or abusive commentary or language being posted. We all know bad stuff sometimes appears on the internet. The vast majority of individuals will not engage in this behavior, but the world wide web is available to all humanity. Who knows what some person might try to put in print?
Occasionally, I might post controversial blogs. If you disagree, your commentary will not be censored. It will be approved providing it is not abusive.
2. There have been questions about how my Blog followers will know when I post a new Blog. My intention is to post five or more blogs by November 15, 2015, then to post a minimum of one blog per month, about the fifteenth of each month. If you want an easy way to check my blogs, just click the RSS Feed symbol on the right hand side of this blog post. That will place an icon near the top of your web browser, immediately under the Web Address Bar. The icon will read: Gerald Sliva - Blog. One click on that icon will take you direct to my Blog and my website. You won't have to search for my website address.
If you get tired of my Barking and want to get rid of the RSS Feed symbol on your browser, just right click your mouse on it and "delete".
Thanks and have a great day!
Gerald M. Sliva
The whole war between the atheist and the theist comes down to this: the atheist believes a 'what' created the universe; the theist believes a 'who' created the universe. ― Criss Jami, Killosophy
For many hours I pondered the subject of my first Blog. How could it be brief, yet memorable and somehow beautiful? I decided to start at the beginning, the genesis, or creation. “Genesis” – the Encarta English Dictionary defines genesis as “beginning”, the time or circumstances of something’s coming into being.
Imagine the pride of a little child coming home from kindergarten cradling her first crude drawing, a piece of art for Mom and Dad to hang on the refrigerator door. The child loves her creation. That same feeling exists in every artist, sculptor, dancer, carpenter, plumber, musician, or author – in every human being. The carpenter molds, shapes, bends, cuts, nails and glues pieces of wood which were once a tree, a beautiful creation, into a desk, cabinet or coffee table: a new beautiful creation. That same tree could be used by a sculptor, a carver to fashion a unique artistic creation. What the carpenter and the sculptor have created, they proudly display and love.
The composer or author can take a piece of blank paper, a creation made from that same tree, to imagine, to fashion, to dream yet another creation. There are only eight notes in music (plus some sharps and flats), and only twenty-six letters in the English alphabet; yet musicians, poets, and authors forever manipulate those notes into billions of amazing melodies, those letters and words into uncountable creations of drama, mystery, comedy and tragedy. They love their creations!
Christmas is around the corner. Everywhere there are pre-Christmas craft sales where artisans, craftspeople, uncommon men and unique women proudly display their wares, their creations. They made them and they love them.
When I created Barking From the Front Porch, I knew she was not perfect. She had some blemishes, some flaws; but she was my creation. I made her and I loved her, even with her imperfections – and I forged ahead. I published.
As I pondered my crude creation, I considered the child’s rudimentary drawing proudly displayed on the refrigerator. I wondered at pride of the sculptor in her carving, the carpenter in his cabinet, the craftspeople in their craft shows, the musicians and authors in their symphonies and anthologies. We all have created something. We all love our creations.
In the same way, it seems to me, our Creator loves us.
Gerald M. Sliva
Still Barking! Blog of