My Beagle Ralph

Since this is the final full month and 999th post on David's Musings, I would be remiss to not mention my now 7 year old beagle, Ralph.  I got Ralph when he was six weeks old in April of 2008.  He was a handful at first.  When people were involved in this blog, at the very start, everyone wanted to know about Ralph more so than they did me!  Ralph has been mentioned numerous times.  I even had a series with Ralph a couple of years ago entitled "On The Road With Ralph."  We went on visits to Civil War Memorials around the south on that trip.   Ralph was a joy and a real pain on that trip.  I never plan on doing that again.  But, Ralph eased the long monotonous trips on the interstate.  Ralph even had an escape from the backyard.  I thought I had lost him forever.  I chronicled that story in "Ralph:  The Great Escape."  I get sick just thinking about that incident.  Ralph and I have been through some really tough times together.  He actually helped me through my divorce.  Ralph was just there for me to take my mind off things.  He was with me during the hellacious day of August 29, 2005, the day Hurricane Katrina struck the gulf coast (and, yes, Katrina affected more than just New Orleans that day).  

Ralph has hip problems now.  He is getting medication to deal with it.  In fact, he has surgery scheduled for April 10th.  It will not be cheap.  But, he is my best friend.  I have to help him as much as I possibly can.  At 7 years of age, Ralph is a middle-aged dog now.  So, like me, he is going to have health problems.  Putting him down is out of the question.  So, don't even go there.  In short, Ralph has been a truly good friend to me, even if he does drive me crazy sometimes.  He no longer chews on furniture or bark at every bird that lands in our backyard.  But, if you are an intruder, you best consider leaving.  Ralph is an excellent watchdog.  In a way, Ralph is as much the owner of this blog as I am.  He has been a part of it from the start.  Just type in Ralph in the search bar above-right to see how many stories are about him over the years.  He may not be happy about us leaving this blog.  But, he and I both need to move on now.

Editor's Note:  This will be the only post this week.  The next post will be on March 30th, next Monday, celebrating the 1000th post on this blog.  After that, there will be two more posts on the 7th anniversary and a farewell post from JD Weldy.


Family Album - 5

This is the final installment of this series that was started way back in 2009.  I restarted it late last year.  I have gone over the family album to find a most fitting person to discuss in this the last installment of the Family Album series.  I have settled on a man named Leonard Shelly.  Leonard was another in a long line of family friends who made it into our family album over the years. Leonard was a friend of one of my uncles. He was not someone with whom you would want to get on the wrong side of for any reason.  For that reason alone, I still don't understand why he was placed in the family album so long ago by someone.  Leonard Shelly was a professional thief, by trade, who stole everything from jewelry to silverware to cash in your home.  The picture I'm looking at shows him standing beside a new 1955 Ford Fairlane in November of 1955.  It's entirely possible he either stole that car or swindled it out of a dealer somehow.  I have no idea who took the picture.

Leonard also had a violent streak in him.  If you tried to scam him out of money for merchandize he had stolen, you paid a price.  I have no idea if someone paid the ultimate price for their dealings with him.  But, based on everything I heard about him over the years, it wouldn't surprise me.  As an example, my uncle told me once that Leonard stole  expensive dining room silverware from a wealthy man's home with whom he was trying to scam money from on a business venture.  The silverware was pure silver which would net him a hefty amount of cash from the right person.  After he got that silverware, Leonard abandoned his idea of scamming money on a business venture with this man.  He sold the silverware to a pawnshop owner who assured him he was getting top money for this merchandize.  Leonard later found out the man had, in fact, scammed him by giving him about only 10% of what the silverware was worth.  Leonard paid that man a visit when he was closing up his shop 3 days later.  The pawn shop owner was beaten almost beyond recognition.  He had a fractured skull, both broken arms and multiple contusions on his face and chest. Somehow that man survived.  Leonard Shelley went to prison for two years for this incident.

When he got out, he had made connections with assorted crime syndicates in the Midwest.  This is what ultimately led to his undoing.  Leonard was making more money than he ever dreamed of making in the early to mid 60s.  He had gotten into selling drugs which a Chicago mobster warned him not to do....ever.  Leonard never let anyone tell him what to do, regardless of the danger to himself.  Leonard Shelley was found shot to death inside a warehouse in St. Louis, MO in 1965.  He had a double tap to the back of his head, a clear signal it was a mob hit. 

Leonard Shelley lived as he died, a violent lifestyle followed tragically by a violent death.  He was 36 years old when he was murdered.


Lasting Impressions From This Blog

There are a lot of things I will take with me as I take my leave of this blog next month.  As I have stated many times, you get to meet the same kind of people blogging as you do in the real world.  The only difference is that people in cyberspace are quicker to lose their temper than they would in a real life situation.  That doesn't apply to every situation, of course.  But, for the most part, people behind a computer screen are a lot braver than they are face to face. That is something that I will always remember no matter where I go.  I discovered this truth very quickly on David's Musings.  Some mighty brave people out there sitting in their office chair behind the computer screen.  I termed the phrase "Internet Cowboy" for these folks. Since that time, I have discovered others use that term to describe people who are all rough and tough behind the computer screen.  It is a phenomenon that never ceases to amaze me.

Another thing that amazes me is how blogging can bring out the "inner writer" in you.  When I first started this blog, writing a novel was the furthermost thing from my mind.  Oh, it had always been a goal of mine.  But, because of my lack of education, I thought writing and publishing a novel was beyond my reach.  Thanks to today's technology and, yes, to this blog, I achieved my goal of writing and publishing my apocalyptic thriller, "Diary:  Alone on Earth."  It never achieved the success I dreamed about continually.  But, reaching my goal was payment enough in and of itself.  I am convinced if I had not started this blog, I would never have had the intestinal fortitude to actually have that eBook published.  That is something I will always think about when I think of David's Musings. 

I also must mention the freedom to express myself this blog has given me.  I spoke of things, about myself that I have never shared with family members or close friends.  I know it is weird to say that when you share private information to total strangers on the internet.  I guess the rationale for this is that chances are extremely rare I will ever meet someone from cyberspace.  Now, I have met others I have become acquainted with via email.  But, I have never met anyone from interaction on this blog.  Blogging gives you that freedom to let loose and let the chips fall as they may.

I have enjoyed this little blog.  Letting go of David's Musings is like losing an old, close friend in a lot of ways. It reminds me of a line from Red in "Shawshank Redemption" (a movie I just love).  "But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend."  I guess I will too, Red.


Blogging Is A Learning Experience

As we continue on with the countdown to the 1000th post of this blog, I have to say blogging is definitely a learning experience.  Like with anything in life, there is a learning curve.  My first few posts, as I look back at them now, were almost laughable.  I was revealing things that were better left unsaid.  But, I have decided to leave them as they are in their present form.  Why?  To better illustrate the point that blogging can teach us things about ourselves.  For example, I had an interaction with an obnoxious lawyer (yeah, I know some will say that is being redundant, but bear with me).  As I look back at my reply to him, I was shocked at how angry I was.  What was the point of insulting him as he insulted me?  I had lowered myself down to his level (again, lawyer haters, bear with me).  I had been tempted to edit out some of the more verbose exchanges I had with people, such as with the lawyer.  But, I'm going to leave them as they are.  I was experiencing a learning curve in the blogging world.  Over the past seven years (as of April 5 of this year), I have had lots of back and forth with people on this blog.  My dealings with them taught me a lot.  One of the most important things I have learned about blogging is to interact with people as if you were talking to them in the real world.  People are different behind a computer screen.  That's something you learn fairly quickly.

Another lesson I have learned, you get out of blogging exactly what you put into it.  Like with anything else in life, you have to "earn it."  Now, I don't have nearly the comments as I once did here for basically two reasons.  One, I don't participate in other blogs as I once did.  I just am burned out from that experience.  But, that doesn't mean I don't read what they post.  If you want comments on your blog, you have to comment on other blogs.  It's that simple.  Two, blogging in general is in a downward spiral....again.  That doesn't mean that blogging is going to die off.  There will always be a place for a blog in some form or fashion.  But, blogging will never see its heyday as it did at the turn of the 21st Century.  Thusly, less and less people are reading and making comments on blogs.

Something else I learned...just as there are in the real world, there are some outstanding people that blog.  One of those people was a guy who would comment in the early days of this blog.  Matt was blog owner of "Matt-Speak."   He was a dynamite blogger and blogger hasn't been the same since.  I truly miss both him and his sister.  Another guy, who introduced himself, Art Nalley, commented on the Woolmarket series I started.  I ended that series about the middle of January.  I would wager if I had stayed in Woolmarket, MS, Art and I would have been lifelong friends.  I also made a post on AFSOUTH, in Naples, Italy.  That brought people from all walks of life who were stationed there at one time or another.  The biggest shock to me was the son of the Company Commander who I loathed made a comment here.  I hated that man.  But, as I have grown older, that hate, that loathing has left me now.  Everyone is a product of what they have accumulated in experiences over the years.  So, blogging has introduced me to much over the past seven years.  I wouldn't trade the experiences for anything.


Blog Update for March 2015

The final blog update for David's Musings.  There honestly isn't much to update.  I've already repeated this blog is winding down and that active participation by me will come to an end early next month.  I will basically do three final things for this blog.  I will do the 1000th post, the 7th anniversary post and a farewell post.  Once I do that farewell post, I will leave this blog in the capable hands of a webmaster, three writers and a blog owner.  I will remain as primary blog owner.  But, any profits that come from advertising will go to the above individuals.  I have received email from individuals asking why I am leaving.  There are personal and business reasons involved.  I won't go into the business reasons.  But, from a personal standpoint, I've done all I can do at David's Musings.  After nearly 1000 posts and nearly 7 years, I need to just move on to something else.  That something (at least for now) is my retirement blog.  I will concentrate on that. 

David's Musings is ancient by blog standards.  Many other blogs were started the same time this one was started.  Most of those are now abandoned and neglected.  I go by some and see there are no new posts since 2010 or 2011 and I think how sad that is.  At least give a goodbye post.  Blogging can be extremely frustrating.  I get that.  But, give your blog an ending point at least.  I find it interesting that few new blogs are starting on both major blogging platforms, Blogger and Wordpress.  As stated before, blogging enjoys peaks and valleys.  I think we may be in a deep valley right now.  Whether or not blogging rises again, no one really knows the answer.  We'll just have to wait and see.  Also, this Friday, I will post my final installment in the "Family Album" series.  I truly regret not continuing that series.  It is just now getting popular.  So, until Friday, have a great week.

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