If you Love Dogs read this.

Found myself at the movie theater yesterday to watch an award winning movie that when complete I wondered if I had been punked. The very best thing about the movie was a Trailer that ran before it, and I thought so much of it I decided to share it with you in today’s blog.

If you love or even just like dogs, then this is a movie I would bet anything you will enjoy. A movie that will bring one laughter, smiles, joy and for those that know the grief of a pets death, comfort beyond measure. I returned home from the movie and watched the trailer several times, eliciting a powerful response each time.

The premise of the movie speaks volumes to me since I have become enamored with our Paisley. A cat man first but a dog is a whole other level, and everyone deserves to see this movie.

Based on the bestselling novel, A Dogs Purpose brings this story of one devoted dog to life. It is directed by the guy who made The Cider House Rules and more recently The 100-Foot Journey. Also the movie’s producer did Zombieland and television’s The Golden Girls.

Opens January 27th!

Opens January 27th!

Remember that your dog’s feet do take in through their pads toxins you might not have concerned yourself with before but you should if you care about their wellness. From floor cleaners, polishes and kitchen and bath cleaning agents to carpet deodorizers and chemicals on the grass of wherever they walk including parks and sidewalks.

Back to the movie, watch the preview and see it when it comes out in a couple of weeks. Here is the link to the preview on YouTube https://youtu.be/1jLOOCADTGs

Paisley chewing along

Paisley chewing along

I am confident it will deliver well when I see it opening day. Enjoy your weekend, share this with anybody, Be Well!
Brett

Lifetime Friendships

I wanted to share with you a friend of mine that was one of those people who always made you feel welcomed. I was fortunate enough to speak at his memorial service along with a few of his friends from Tuskegee and have liberated a good deal of it here today and on we go.

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Clarence Laudrec Shivers was born in 1923 and grew up in the city of St. Louis. As a child Clarence shoveled coal from the back of his dad’s coal delivery truck and was orphaned at 16. Although he had no real intention of joining the military one day he decided to take the entrance exam and passed with very high numbers and was offered a position within the Tuskegee Experiment, so he focused, excelled and graduated at the top of his class in 1944 of the 332nd Fighter Group.

He then went on to instruct other pilots both black and white in the Pacific. After twenty years he retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel and began to focus on his life-long passion, art. After receiving his degree from Bradley University and landing in Spain with his wife Peggy he began to create paintings that would become treasures for them that own them. They left Spain and moved to Colorado Springs. It was in less than a year later that I first met Clarence. I was thirteen, and we had moved right next door to the man who would become my friend, teacher, excellent role-model, and second father.

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He used to tell me stories of what it was like to be black and working to defend his country in the 1940’s and yet he was treated worse than the prisoners on the base. He had to walk on base behind yellow lines and could not step into many of the white only buildings on base and in town. He encountered racism and bigotry almost every day but knew it was simply ignorance and did his best not to focus on it. He never seemed bitter to me but more disappointed that people at the time were so backward. He was proud of his race and had a love for others in it to do well in life. He believed that we were each responsible for our destiny and since he was able to make himself into a man to aspire to, that all others could do it if they chose to put in the work, effort, and persistence to make it happen.

Did I mention that he could sing and whistle as good as any professional? Often I would hear him next door working out in the garage or yard and whistling some beautiful melody. His wife Peggy is an opera singer and singing Christmas songs at their piano with them was a highlight for me. The last time I sang with Clarence was in a cemetery out in East Texas for a family gathering one very hot summer day in 2005. I would start in on an old Nat King Cole tune, and he would simply join in. We laughed a great deal that weekend and I longed for times when we were younger and had more time together.

Clarence had great woodworking tools and taught me how to use many of them. When he was commissioned by the Miller Brewing company to create calendars for black history month, I helped him cut the boards and paint the base coats on the originals. When in the late 80’s he was commissioned to sculpt the Tuskegee Airman memorial that now stands at the US Air Force Academy he invited me to work with the clay on the original so that my fingers work would be on it also.

Lt Col Clarence L. Shivers

He would always laugh and tell stories of how I would follow him around like a puppy dog always wanting to talk or do things with him. He would also brag about the fact that the wooden deck we built onto the front of his house was still standing after some 20 years. He sold me one of the best cars I ever owned; it was a brown 1974 Datsun 260Z. He helped me create one of the first base boxes ever built, for the back of the Z. He taught me how to tip the right people to make things happen quicker. He also talked to me about life and girls. I recall one day in particular when I had used an unkind word to describe a girl. He pointed out to me that the term I used was not accurate and gave me a new perspective on how I viewed girls from that day forward.

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As a young adult I moved away from Clarence and Peggy finding my way back to Texas and also to New York but remained in contact and spent time with them several times over the years and I watched as my buddy Clarence begin to lose his short-term memory and his essence began to fade. I would get a kick out of telling him on a phone call the next time I was going to be in for a visit several times, as he would forget he asked. It told me he was looking forward to seeing me, and he was always smiles and laughs when we were together.

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Christmas shopping with Clarence for Peggy as he got older was always an adventure, and I was always was so very proud and grateful to be his friend. Most recently we would go to lunch or dinner and he always really enjoyed how the food tasted. The last time I saw him, he handed me a Commandant of Cadets’ medallion from the USAF Academy, and he would not let me give it back to him. I have that here with me, a physical connection to him. He and Peggy were role models for me growing up. They simply loved me for who I was and were always on my side. Going through life and its many changes I always found acceptance, kindness and understanding with them over the years.

Clarence found it hard to believe I had grown taller than he.

Clarence found it hard to believe I had grown taller than he.

Back in 1993, they started the Shivers African-American Historical and Cultural Collection at the Pikes Peak Library District that lives on and has grown ever since. His handsome face is part of the Black Americans in Flight mural that is at the St. Louis Airport. His paintings and sculptures are collected by art collectors & museums across the globe. One of his works was featured in the feature film “A piece of the action” with Sidney Poitier. His last few paintings were of a spiritual nature are featured here and are some of his finest works.

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He & Peggy were also involved in bringing Jazz legends to the Rockies as well as supporting local youths. For him to pass during black history month is fitting as he is an incredible part of their history and will be forever present in the future. Aside from his wife and children I think Clarence was most fond of his statue of the Tuskegee Airman that stands at the US Air Force Academy. He will always live in our memories and his works of art, and I will miss him for all of my days.

Enjoy your weekend, share this all you like and Be Well!

Thunderbolts and Lightning

Before six am one morning this week, there was a tremendous crack that filled every inch of the house from lightning striking nearby. While it sounded like it was just outside the window, it turns out it was about five hundred feet away at my neighbor’s place. He texted me a picture of the tree later that morning and invited me over to look at it. While I had not seen a freshly stricken tree before what stood out first was its long strips of bark laying fifty feet away from the tree in many directions.

twenty-four inch diameter tree

twenty four inch diameter tree

The tree wasn’t just singed; it had essentially exploded. From the point it was struck, on down, looks like a charge went off at its core. With one to five billion joules of energy, a lightning strike is more than enough to destroy the life of anything. Yes, it can reach out up to ten miles from the center of the storm so give yourself thirty minutes from the last sound of thunder to consider yourself safe from it.

Lightning Strike

Lightning Strike

We didn’t find anything burnt as I had expected and although the center was compromised, it remained standing. The tree is a post oak which is very common in this area and was certainly not the tallest nor the highest in the area, so why it, in particular, was hit is unknown.

Lightning Strike

Lightning Strike

While many of us enjoy the sound and sight of lightning; there are those who would do well not to have to bother with it, including many dogs. Ninety percent of the people struck by lightning live, though many do come away with some negative impact not as much as the 10 percent that dies from it. In America, about two dozen folks a year are propelled into eternity from lightning strikes.

Bark blown off

Bark blown off

While there is no safe place, if caught in the outdoors, the best course of action is to seek shelter in a permanent building or inside an automobile. While inside the vehicle avoid contact with the doors and inside buildings avoid windows, window frames, and incoming phone lines, etc.

Our canine companions often feel the buildup of static in their coats and may react negatively towards it in addition to the sounds that tend to accompany storms. There are various strategies to help them discharge it from lying against exposed metal pipes and radiators to methods using aluminum foil, just check online for more ideas.

Springtime is the right time for storms with lightning so keep your awareness up. Share as you wish, have a great weekend and Be Well!

Destroyed by lightning

Destroyed by lightning

Funeral for a Friend

I shared with you last week about my free-spirited friend Daniel dying far too young at 31. Yesterday was his memorial service, entombment, and 32nd birthday party attended by family and friends from all over the country. Shame he was not there to enjoy it and yet through all the folks that loved him he most certainly was there. From buddies, he grew up with to girls that had just met him last year everything spoken about Daniel was positive and loving, just like him.

The memorial service/mass was moving as his sisters and parents shared their memories, thoughts and love for Daniel. His cremains were then entombed in the churches columbarium in a beautiful courtyard on the grounds with his mother and father placing his urn into its final resting place. His mom later shared with me how odd it was that it had been 32 years ago to-the-day they had first placed Daniel into her arms. While it should have been her grieving last night, she was the one consoling the all the girls with broken hearts.

The evening held a celebration of Daniels life at a local pub attended by hundreds of people and just as many funny stories. It was wonderful hearing all the adventures of Daniel from all manner of friends from Colorado to California and beyond. His family enjoyed the stories most of all learning wonderful things about him and learning what a positive impact he had on all he met.

Another’s death may bring about self-reflection, assessment and contemplation of one’s mortality, in this case, it has been a process of learning much more about how Daniel lived on his terms touching people in a positive way as he lovingly made his way through life. Makes me miss him even more.

His family came up with a new slogan, and that is when faced with not knowing how to handle a particular situation, consider the motto WWDD What Would Daniel Do and then go for it. In most cases it would be to have fun, laugh and love everyone around you.

Be sure to take the time today to reach out to those you love and remind them of all they mean to you. Consider forgiving someone you haven’t, not to absolve them of their trespasses but to free you from the bondage created by unforgiveness. Please feel free to share this as you wish and Be Well!

I will see you Daniel on the flip side!

Daniel hotel Standard in LA April, 2014

Daniel hotel Standard in LA April, 2014

Only the Good Die Young

Receiving a call from a friend of mine on Wednesday afternoon, I was surprised to hear her husband’s voice on the phone and knew that something was amiss. He went on to state that her brother had flipped his car while driving out in California the night before and was killed. I dislike calls like that, and so it goes.

Daniel was just thirty-one and in those years, he likely lived a few lifetimes between Texas, Colorado, and California. His countless friends and loves have shared stories and tales of the life of Daniel, and the one consistent comment and fact is that Daniel is a free spirit. He was also loved by all who ever knew him.

His smile and hugs were always welcome as were the times spent talking with him, hanging out, catching up and dreaming out loud. He was a hair stylist, botanist and a real joy to all that ever spent time with or knew him. He is one of a kind, and the world is a bit less fun as a result of his leaving.

“We never know what we have until it is gone” could not be truer today than ever for me. I wish I would have reached out to him more and made sure to see him every time he was in town.

I used to call him Danielson, like Mr. Miyagi, and I guess I still will only without his smile in response. As the years pass death seems to be the one thing that still surprises me when it happens. We will all get a go at it one day, and I trust that what lies beyond is more amazing than we could ever imagine.

My heart breaks for his family and all the pain and grief they are experiencing, which is the norm and will somewhat pass over time. CS Lewis said, “The death of a beloved is an amputation.” In a sense it certainly is. To them, I say I love you, and we all share in your grief and miss knowing that Daniel is walking the Earth, just out of sight. He now knows all the truths about the universe.

Until we meet again Daniel, you will be forever missed. To my reader, make sure everyone you love knows it and may your weekend be a great one. Feel free to share and Be Well!

Daniel & Brett  2013

Daniel & Brett 2013