My Original Piano Music “C-13 Sonata”

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Throughout the creative process, I paint pictures, write stories, take photographs and compose music which all interweave into the tapestry of my life.  Though viewing the process from the underside with all the loose threads it appears to be quite a mess, the passion within is determined to interweave all the colorful threads to behold a brilliant gift from the Universe!

This copyrighted piano composition is inspired by 1 Corinthians 13  and spans my life journey.  When my beloved Mother passed, Dad  had this engraved on their stone:

“A hug, a smile, a kiss, fond memories of a lifetime”

(Posted on You Tube as well as on my blog’s Piano, Art and Photography tab, with some of my artwork, photography and family photos to go along with the music).

Enjoy!

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In Memory of Margaret D. Petran Mitchell Stolarcyck (excerpt)

Chapter 10: Tomatoes, Sunflowers and Roses

“My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

Lori found this writing John had done about his mother-in-law
Margaret Stolarcyk’s halupki the day after my Master had passed.
I personally do not care for cabbage, but John just loved it – please
read:

The Saga of the Last Halupki 

You came to me in a big red bowl, thanks to
Grandma Marge – you and 25 or 30 little piglets
in your kraut and sauce. I could have devoured the
whole bowl at one sitting.
But no – I decided to portion them out over
three days – sounds reasonable to me. Three here,
four there, one snack, two snacks – well, you get the
picture.
Finally, there was but one – and a perfect one at
that. The art and love that went into making you was
quite evident. The corners of the cabbage leaf neatly
tucked to hold every morsel intact. There you lay in
that big red bowl, nestled in a bed of kraut and sauce
topped by a strip of bacon – a little lovely – maybe. A
sight to behold – yes.
And as I opened and closed that refrigerator
door my mouth would water in anticipation of eating
that last tasty treat. But no – I would save you for
later – prolong the agony.
Then finally – it’s time to end this torment and
enjoy this last treat. Nuke for a few second – just
enough to warm it through. Then delicately slice and
savor each bite – right. Wrong – the savage in me
took over and I attacked this last morsel like a pack
of piranhas!
As quiet time took over and I wiped the corner
of my mouth with a napkin, I mumbled under my
breath –
Rest in peace you little bastard – you will
torment me no more.

So, what do you think about the symbolism in his writing?
It personally speaks to me about his life in a “halupki” shell, if you
will. Intelligent, handsome, athletic and witty, with a beautiful wife
and family, yet he had that one halupki in the batch which tempted
and tormented him during his entire adult life. The apostle Paul
speaks often about this weak nature and thorn in our side. He goes on
to say that it is only through our weakness that we are made strong
because we are to draw closer to God and He will draw closer to us. I
witnessed that moment of peaceful surrender and acceptance of John
that summer while he watched the sunset. All I can say is thanks be
to God for giving me such a wonderful Master and for God’s grace
to bring peace to John’s tormented soul.

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Sisters Margaret and Bobbie together once again

 

T

Epilogue from “My Father’s Greatest Gift”

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“When we die, we leave all that we have

and take with us all that we are.”

Connie A. Mitchell Marchell

“My Father’s Greatest Gift: Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

Ah, Doghead here. Hope you enjoyed hearing about what
my mission was while I was here. Just thought I’d like to point
out the synchronicity of all of the events that led to bringing that
much needed peace and serenity to John’s tormented soul. His wife,
Connie, had told him that if she were ever to leave the earth plane,
she would come back as his dog because he gave so much love and
attention to all of the animals in his life. All I can tell you on that
note is that since Love is all there is and we are all One in the Spirit,
it is quite possible that her love channeled through me to mend his
broken heart and bring life more abundantly into his life. So my
mission was accomplished and I want to thank you for giving me the
opportunity to share my experience of the unlimited powers of love
with you. Doghead out.

A Once In A Lifetime Love…

“It is good to have an end to journey towards; But it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

LeGuin

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On this day, May 20, 1961 my parents, John V. Marchell and Connie A. Mitchell were married.  It was a bittersweet wedding for my mom’s father, G. Clifford Mitchell, had passed from a heart attack less than a month prior to their wedding date.  Their love for me is crystal clear as I was the honeymoon baby.  Dad would often say to me that I was a ‘much loved child.’

I do believe that Grandpa Cliff’s Spirit has been with me always, as he was a graphic artist who, at an early age, was asked to work for Walt Disney.  He declined the offer and went into business for himself with many of his creative works promoting IBM in their beginning stages with their first place of operation located in Endicott, New York.

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So on this day, I honor my parents unconditional love and everlasting guidance still evident miraculously in my life as love transcends our human understanding.  It is through building a firm foundation by focusing on the gift of union which makes the relationship stronger and resilient to withstand any storm.  With the extraordinary gift of a once in a lifetime love,  one hundred percent belief, trust and faith in one another with open heart awareness; together the two open their arms wide to embrace the unknown.

As their hearts joined together pictured in the glowing setting sunset clouds, I know that their gift of new beginnings is approaching for me as their message permeates my soul.

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“It’s time to unite your hearts, for together your energies  combined are magnetic, magical and infinite in their abilities to manifest miracles.”

Mom and Dad

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“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore.”

Andre Gide

©Art and Photography by Loriginal Designs

Highland Lake, PA

(©wedding photograph, unknown)

An Autumn Saunter Around Quaker Lake

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“The water’s edge mirrors to us the glory of God’s creation.”

L.D. Marchell

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“The reflections of our inner self become evident upon the waters’ welcoming our heart home.”

L.D. Marchell

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“Timelessness is the hush of heaven.”

L.D. Marchell

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“In flight we travel as our awakening state becomes one.”

L.D. Marchell

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“As autumn is upon us, new life is at its door. Rejoice in its glorious finale, unencumbered now to soar.”

L.D. Marchell

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“Golden yellows and brilliant burgundy accents upon us now; as only the Master Artist could envision somehow.”

L.D. Marchell

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“Only God can make a tree.”

Grandma Marge Stolarcyk

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“Our adventure to awakening’s pathway is the journey to the heart.”

L.D. Marchell

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“Being open to all of our heightened senses, living presently in the moment, relishing the gift of life.”

L.D. Marchell

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“Let there be a world to see, let it be of inspiration. Let there be a world to see, let it be of God’s creation.”

John V. Marchell

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“In quietness and calmness we release and welcome all that is our connection to Mother Gaia.”

L.D. Marchell

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“Through all of life’s twists and turns, it is the colorful, blissful treasured moments that ignite passion of the soul.”

L.D. Marchell

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“Now abideth these three things: Faith, Hope and Love. And the greatest of these is Love.”

1 Corinthians 13:13

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“Memories of childhood laughter echo as the water softly lapping into shore, recalling summer fun and hearts overflowing joy.”

L.D. Marchell

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“To the revitalizing waters we are drawn, as if it holds for us all the answers we seek; Tranquility is its messenger as it renews our mind, body and soul.”

L.D. Marchell

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©Loriginal Designs

©John V. Marchell

©Margaret D. Stolarcyk

Quaker Lake, Pennsylvania

Arrowhead Parable Book Signing!

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Arrowhead Parable Christian Store Book Signing

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Julie C. Tedesco, Rob Nearing (Calvin J. Boal), Lori D. Marchell Carlsen (L.D. Marchell)

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“London Calling Jesus”

Author:  Julie C. Tedesco

 

“St. George’s Cross and the Siege of Fort Pitt:  Battle of Three Empires”

“Valiant Warrior:  Knight of the Third Crusade”

“Last Run of the Whisperer”

Author:  Calvin J. Boal

 

“My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

Author:  L.D. Marchell

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“Sharon Whalen and L.D. Marchell:  my fourth grade teacher from MacArthur School!”

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“Visit from my friend Lisa!”

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“Thank you to Arrowhead Parable Christian Store and everyone who visited the book signing!”

©Loriginal Designs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Love In The Air!

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“True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in the worth and choice.”

Ben Jonson

Jaco and Pearl

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“…Memories of a lifetime.”

John V. Marchell

©Loriginal Designs

©“Chert Dog’s Greatest Gift: Quantum Leaps of Faith”

“My Father’s Greatest Gift” First Book Signing and “The Sedona Method”

My Father’s Greatest Gift: Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever book signing held March 18, 2017 at Arrowhead Parable Christian Store, Johnson City, NY
My Father’s Greatest Gift Website

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Are any of you familiar with The Sedona Method developed by Lester Levenson, with a tool set to assist in clearing out old, embedded thoughts, beliefs and feelings that were handed down through our DNA; which we have now become able to access on our own through The Akash to allow for the realization of these aspects of our depths in order to do “Spring Cleaning” as it were. The core components are letting go of the four basic wants: Approval, Security, Separation and Control. That said, it is a mouthful to digest when one begins asking the questions about how are these certain aspects of our inner workings serving us anymore and can we let them go? Are you willing to let them go? When?

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The Sedona Method has been one of my “tool sets” for many years, but for some reason it surfaced this morning, so I am being led to share some insights from Lester’s “Lessons” on releasing. We are all cleansing energetically now, using a variety of tools which resonate for each one of us individually. The Sedona Method, by author Dale Dwoskin, shares Lester’s workings and research on our unlimited potential and provides yet other applications to address the old, worn out thoughts and beliefs which most probably were not originating from our own thoughts, but handed down through generations, like a grafting form a rose bush.

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Once you maser writing out the reasons why you are holding onto a certain want: Approval, Security, Separation or Control, you then need to address the deeper layers of thought patterns: Apathy, Grief, Fear, Lust, Anger, Pride, and even areas of Courageousness, Acceptance and Peace. By doing this deep inner work, your are dissolving resistance to “reacting” to criticism and to praise. In other words, you are at point zero equilibrium balance of mind, body and spirit, the center of Love and Gods Set Point.

As Khalil Gibran noted: “I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant and kindness from the unkind; yet strange I am ungrateful to those teachers.”

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So you may be wondering why I am reflecting on The Sedona Method and how that applies to my first book signing of Chert Dog’s story, My Father’s Greatest Gift: Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever? It is very simple. Because of all the years of doing the inner work within and clearing out the old thoughts and beliefs, it has given room for unlimited potentials to flourish in my life! (“Pombu Zoplatz: Thanks be to God”).

Care no more for the opinion of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing for you. Act for yourself and face your truth.” Katherine Mansfield

L. D. Marchell’s New Book “My Father’s Greatest Gift: Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

From Chert Dog’s perspective, “Doghead is pretty easy to learn, you just have to speak from your heart.” This velvety Black with Chocolate accents English Labrador Retriever came…

Source: Chert Dog’s Book: “My Father’s Greatest Gift: Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever

Amazing Love!!!

“Hope in God!  For I shall again be thanking Him; in the presence of My Savior and my God!”

Psalm 43:5

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“And He will…make you shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of his Hand.”

Michael Joncas

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“Who gave Himself for our sins, to rescue us from the present evil age, as our God and Father willed – to Him be Glory for Endless Ages!”

Galatians 1:4

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“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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“Doghead is easy to learn, you just have to speak from the heart.”

L.D. Marchell

As some of you may know, through the tragic loss of my Mom, Chert Dog saved not only my Father’s heart, but my brother, John’s and mine too!  There is something about unconditional love from an animal, so altruistic, pure, peaceful and kind.  Angels brought to us in various forms, to be embraced and cherished or relinquished forever as we are all given that chance to choose the highest and best for all concerned.

It is during these most tremulous times that we are being given the opportunity to make new consciously aware and awakened choices with our most precious gift of life.  Allow for your new preferences to include:

“…Whatever is true, whatever is kind, whatever is lovely, and if there be anything worthy of praise, think then on these things.”

Philippians 4:8

https://youtu.be/nwjTT2bqKk0

©Loriginal Designs Photography

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©Newsboys “Amazing Love”

On Eagle’s Wings!!!

“You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord, Who abide in His shadow for life,  Say to the Lord, ‘My Refuge,’ My Rock in Whom I trust.  And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings, Bear you on the breath of dawn, Make you to shine like the sun, And hold you in the palm of His Hand.”

On Eagles Wings by Michael Joncas (Psalm 91)

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This is the last in The Three-part Romeo Series of oil paintings inspired by Tofino Photography.  My eternal gratitude for the empowering photographic compositions which bring one to a place of such beauty, tranquility and peace!

As I took a break from painting the second layer of oils onto the canvas yesterday, I went outside to walk barefoot in the lush, soft grass.  As I walked around my prolific blooming garden, I knelt in the grass next to my Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue that I have placed in front of my white with pink-tipped flowering Peony plant, whose buds are just beginning to form.  The statue is with Jesus dressed in his white robe with the red over shawl, as some of you have seen in my photographic image of the setting sun in my posting entitled Jesus Walks Among Us.  If you look into the setting sun over Highland Lake, you see an image of what appears to be an individual wearing a white robe with a red shawl.  It also appears that this image has an individual alongside him as the red material seems to be wrapped out around another image. When my Dad was alive, I recall him sharing with me a dream he had which impacted him for the rest of his life.  It was a vision of Jesus, shining in his glory in a purple glowing cloak with his ethereal eyes gleaming compassionately to envelope ones soul with peace. So I ended up repainting the Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue’s heart and his wounds in red and the cross, chain and shield in gold and the collar of his cloak in gold.

I do believe that the Romeo Eclipse is an important message for us all, that we are to be living heaven on earth now, and that the lion shall finally lie down with the lamb.

“Let there be a world to see, Let it be of Inspiration, Let there be a world to be, Let it be of God’s Creation.”

John V. Marchell (My Dad)

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the suffering and afflicted.  He has sent me to comfort the broken-hearted…Beauty for ashes; Joy instead of mourning; Praise instead of heaviness.”

Psalm 61: 1, 3

©Loriginals Designs Oil Painting

©Tofino Photography, Eagle Eclipse April 6, 2017

https://tofinophotography.wordpress.com/

Honoring Glorious Mother Gaia

“Woman is a ray of God.  She is not that earthly beloved; she is creative, not created.” Rumi

 For it is by preserving our forests, hills, mountains, lakes, streams and rivers and co-existing with wildlife that Gaia will begin to heal from countless centuries of destruction placed upon her when all she wants is to share her miraculously breathtaking resources and beauty with us.  As she cries out for help, let us all consciously unite to assist her in giving back to her for all she so unconditionally gives to us each day.

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Algonquin Summit

 

Algonquin Summit

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Algonquin Summit

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Algonquin Peak Trail

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Looking out from Whiteface Mountain

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Whiteface Mountain Olympic Site

Whiteface Mountain

© Loriginal Designs

As Wayshowers we must be united in one consciousness of healing our sacred Mother Earth as her very bowels are being extracted for energy consumption.  From pollution in the water, ground and air and the devastation of our mature tree population, to the covering of her grassy fields with pavement, it is time to mend our relationship with her through our appreciation and gratitude.  There are alternative free energy resources that are not corporate driven.  There is a choice.  The gift is the green grass, the vibrant sky, the flowing waters, the rustling trees, the birds singing and the animals traveling across her open terrain.  We are all being called to assist in restoring her to her pristine magnificence through our collective conscience of unconditional love toward ourselves, toward others and to Gaia who gives of herself tirelessly.  It is now time for us to give back to her.

“Let there be a world to see, let it be of inspiration.  Let there be a world to see, let it be of God’s creation.”

John V. Marchell

Chapter 2: Smelting (excerpt)

“My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

…Later that day as the sun began to sit low in the sky it reflected
its brilliant hues of orange, pink, yellow and purple. That is when
many people of all ages, shapes and sizes began arriving to Salmon
Creek. They had long nets and wore funny boots that stretched all the
way up to their waist! People began to build campfires on the stony
banks of the creek. There were also other kinds of Dogheads there. I
spoke out in my excitement! Soon, the sun had gone to sleep and the
sparkles of stars in the sky began to appear with a big yellowish-white
moon rising against the darkening sky. Lanterns began to turn on as
the people began to wade into the creek with their long nets as they
scooped up the silvery-blue colored smelt from the rushing waters.
Soon, Salmon Creek was filled with the lights of the lanterns and it
appeared to be BRIGHTER than the stars in the sky!…

Chapter 10: Tomatoes, Sunflowers and Roses (excerpt from Chert Dog)

“My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

John had a heart of gold and would do anything for you.
His loves were his beloved wife, Connie and her father, his son and
daughter, his brother and parents, in-laws, family, neighbors and
friends. But his most special gift was that of loving wildlife and
gardening, and did he ever grow amazing tomatoes whose “stalks”
stretched alongside the backyard garage to almost the rooftop! The
sunflowers had enormous flowers of which all the birds would flock to
for a feast! His lawn was the lushest and greenest in the neighborhood.
And I had heard from many that when Connie was alive, the rose
garden’s beauty and fragrance had a surreal appeal. You might say
he was blessed with a “green thumb” as many referred to him as a
Master Gardener. One could also note that it was his education and
training at Cornell’s Agricultural Program. A neighboring retired
veterinarian would often comment that it was the Japanese Quail
droppings. I personally say that is was his complete and selfless love
of planting, watering, nurturing and talking to the many plants, trees
and flowers that he gave his unconditional love to. I know that for a
fact because the minute I met John, I could see immediately through
his outer gruffness when he smiled at me with a twinkle in his eye
and spoke to me with words filled with an altruistic appreciation for
Dogheads like me. There seemed to be a release in his demeanor
the day that we met, as if to say that he had found a fresh start and
relief to his tired and grieving heart. I loved him from the start. He
gave me discipline, to make me a better person-I mean Doghead! He
showed me many wonderful places and exciting people to expand my
horizons. My most favorite times with him were being co-pilot when
we went for drives and sleeping on his pillow on his couch.

It was in his brokenness that God healed his spirit thought the
love of his children, the kindness and many homemade-meals from
his mother-in-law, family and friends and the many adventures that
both he and I had throughout his life. I was there to see two weddings
as he became a father to yet another son and daughter that brought
in many new family members. This brought much change for him
to deal with at first, and though reluctant and stubborn, he seemed
to adapt graciously until he had a sense of pure knowing about
him…

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Chapter 4: Quail Eggs (excerpt from Chert Dog)

“My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

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…John has found a new use for his business as a hatchery for
Japanese Quail. Those crazy birds sure can make a lot of noise –
they are lucky that they are in cages otherwise I would just have to
chase them, being the bird dog that I am! No, I would not eat them –
yuck! And remember, unless it’s covered with tomato sauce, I am
pretty much a vegetarian. Anyhow, John sells their molted purple-blue
speckled eggs to Japanese restaurants in New York City. A big
D’Artagnan truck drives up on Fridays to pick up the quail eggs.
I’ve never been to New York City, but I think it would be fun to take
a ride there. I’ve seen on television these bright red double-decker
tour buses that are in the city. I would ride on top of one of those and
see all of the sights! I think I would like best to go for the Macy’s
Thanksgiving Day Parade with all of the floats, big balloons and
music during the day, then at night for all the beautiful holiday lights!

But back to the birds…as I said, John graduated from Cornell’s
Agricultural School and has recently been working with them in the
business of quail-raising. Sometimes we go for rides up to Cornell
to pick up more quail. John has a machine that gets very hot and it
hatches the quail eggs. He keeps the females while the males end up
going back to Cornell. He started this operation in the basement of
the house that we live in, but it outgrew that space, so he moved it to
his business property.

John takes such joy in creating Easter egg baskets for friends
and family using the molted bluish-purple speckled quail eggs in
little tiny baskets. Unique, that is for sure! Can’t say I ever tried a
quail egg, though – I guess they are cooked then pickled and served
in Japanese restaurants as a delicacy. If people could see a “behind
the scenes” of the life of a quail, they might have seconds thoughts
about terming it as a “delicacy” as their lives are not any different
from that of a chicken – the chickens just lay bigger eggs…

 

Chapter 5: Co-Pilot (excerpt from Chert Dog)

“My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

On a ride out to the countryside, John’s vehicle broke down.
We had to walk for a while and my paws started to bleed, so my
beloved Master carried me until we found help at the in-law’s family
auto dealership. I guess I am very heavy because he was having a
difficult time. He is sooooo good to me; I wish I could take away that
empty place inside his soul. I smile and carry his quilted flannel shirt
everywhere we go and wag my tail and even bark to bring him out
of himself. Sometimes he’ll grin and laugh and say that I am the best
dog he ever had. But deep down I know that no matter how much love
I give to him, he is missing the woman who made him feel complete
even despite himself. So I guess I’ll just keep taking his shirts down
off of their hangers and bite off all of the buttons and run away when
he lets me outside without a leash to help him transfer some of his
emotion into dealing with me! Ha! Ha! Ha!

There are so many different colors, shapes and sizes of
vehicles at the dealership! Some have soft cloth tops, some have really
big wheels with white sidewall tires, rims and back seats that open up
on the outside of the vehicle which are called rumble seats! The newer
vehicles have common names such as Chevrolet, GMC or Pontiac.
Others from the antique and classic collection have unusual names
like Studebaker, Auburn, Rolls-Royce and Lincoln just to name a
few. John has one called a Packard that is black with a rumble seat
and was made in 1935, the year he was born. I would love to ride in
it someday! I would wear my dark goggles and flashy scarf and feel
the breeze running through my ears – it sure would beat putting my
head sideways out the window all of the time!

I guess before my time John’s step father-in-law owned this
dealership and was quite a character, or so I have been told. He
always wore really wild colored pants that had prints and plaids
on them and you could see him coming at you a mile away! He
absolutely LOVED collecting cars, ALL makes and models and
would travel across the country with a traveling car club. They had
a chance to participate in a movie that required antique cars and
went to big parties. Oftentimes, he would buy another vehicle while
traveling and either had someone drive back to get it or he would
drive it back himself and have his wife drive the other vehicle. When
they moved to spend their winters in Florida, he would drive his
1957 Packard convertible that had bright pink interior and a white,
pink and black exterior with a license plate which read “Pink Pet.” I
never thought of a vehicle as a pet before, but I guess everyone has
their passion! He would drive to the donut shop every morning to get
coffee and donuts (us Dogheads call them “doghnuts”)! My Master
gives me white powdered sugar-coated ones when he has coffee in
the morning. I get covered with the white fluff, but they are tasty! I
think that his relative loved cars just about as much as I love PIZZA!…

Chapter 6: Happy Family (excerpt from Chert Dog)

“My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

John and I went to a party and I got to meet another Doghead
named Lad. He had longer white hair with liver-colored spots and
hair wings off the back of his legs, ears and tail. I had never seen
a dog with hair wings before! Talk about energetic! He ran circles
around me! I’ll bet he drinks espresso coffee or something. There
were lots of people there, new faces and familiar faces. It was a
beautiful day and I went for lots of walks in the woods behind the
house. I think this is the home of Lori’s fiancé. His parents are really
fun people and they want me to call them Papa and Bobci. They’re
cool because they have a Doghead, too. Lad likes to swim and dive
for rocks! He actually dives under water from their boat and picks up
the heavy rocks in his mouth. The poor guy really does need to go
to the dentist for some dentures or something! Except he would need
super glue to hold the dentures in if he continued to pick up rocks, so
I guess it’s best for him to just keep what is left of his teeth!

 

Chapter 7: Twice The Treats (excerpt from Chert Dog)

“My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

Now with two new families through marriage our lives are
really getting busier! More toys and treats for me! John is adjusting
well to all of the visits from his growing family with invitations to
visit and many activities. He seems to be softening up on the inside
as well as the outside, too. He laughs more and is excited about his
garden preparations for this year with many little plants started in the
sun room alongside the living room. He is quite a horticulturist with
his special lights, mixtures of soils and deliveries of unique seeds
and tiny plants.

As the weather began to get a bit warmer (and muddier), John
made greenhouse covers alongside the back garage to keep the tiny
transplanted plants warm and protected from any early spring frost.
He made them from recycled tanning bed covers. So his homemade
greenhouses kept the tiny plants warm and healthy as the weather
began to get warmer.

2000

Chapter 9: Thanksgiving (excerpt from Chert Dog)

“My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

I, personally, got to pose with all my little “cousins” for a
family photo shoot. They even allowed for me to assist in some of
the present unwrapping festivities, of which I gladly partook. Out of
all of the holiday seasons that I have experienced with John, this one
seemed to be the most cherished. It is memorable for me in knowing
that my purpose and contract was nearing completion for John and
knowing deep within that he had put to rest all that had troubled
him throughout his life. He had finally reached his true, inner being
releasing all that no longer served him and was finally at peace.

Chapter 8: Snow Plowing (excerpt from Chert Dog)

My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

Snow, snow, snow!!! How I LOVE SNOW! Whenever I can,
I put my head through the light, fluffy stuff then roll over and make
doggy angels! Sometimes, the snow gets hard and icy, then it is no
longer fun for snow plowing! I will sit outside in the snow for hours,
catching the flakes on my tongue – tasty! The way the shadows of
blue and silver sparkle like diamonds on the snow are my favorite
thing this time of year! Everything has a fresh newness to it and you
feel revitalized with the crisp air. I could sit in the snow for hours – it
is one of my most favorite pastimes!

It is football season – and John just LOVES football and his
favorite NFL team is the New York Giants! He is so knowledgeable
about the game, he could talk about it for hours with other football
fanatics – and he often does! Back in his younger years, if you played
professional football, you also had a full-time job in the off-season as
the pay was not that good. There was a feeling of camaraderie among
both the coaches and the players and you were a family. You did it
because you loved it, not for the money because it really didn’t pay
that much back then. Boy, how times have changed. Anyhow, he still
loves football and enjoys the announcer’s enthusiasm and background
information about the players.

Chapter 10: Tomatoes, Sunflowers and Roses (excerpt from Chert Dog)

“My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

On a bright and sunny day, while basking in the afternoon
sun on the cool-grassy yard, a few goldfinches and cardinals flew to
the bird feeders as a soft, soothing breeze ruffled my fur. Chris and
Lori unloaded the truck to reveal oodles of red, juicy tomatoes that
they had picked from John’s garden. Even though he was no longer
with us, his garden was producing an incredible crop – his generous
heart was still giving to us from beyond. He taught me through his
patient process of germination to his bountiful plants bearing fruit
how important it is to give things their appointed time to flourish.
No two plants are the same; I am pretty certain that can be said for
Dogheads and people, too…

carlsen-01

 

 

Chapter 11: Mr. Svelte at Taughannock Falls (excerpt from Chert Dog)

“My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! We all went on a family vacation
together and I got to stay overnight in a rustic wooden cabin in the
wooded-camping area of Taughannock Falls overlooking Cayuga
Lake. There were walks up the wide tree-lined pathway towards
waterfalls and we even got to go into the creek bed so I could swim
for a little bit. There were these deep sink-holes which made for a
refreshing experience. Several people of all shapes and sizes were at
the campsite, some had little children and Dogheads, too!

When it approached dusk, they tried to lock me up in the
cabin by myself, but it did not interest me in the least to rest inside
when I could be exploring new sights with them. So, we all piled
into the car and drove to a restaurant situated a few miles from the
campsite. They parked the vehicle very close to a window to the
restaurant so that they could see me from the inside. And you guessed
it – NO DOGS ALLOWED in the restaurant! I was very reluctant
with the situation at first, and continued to comment as they kept
coming out to talk to me and let me know that they would be bringing
me something to eat when they were finished with the meal. Well,
why didn’t they just TELL ME they were going to bring me some
eats? After that, I laid down in the back seat awaiting my delicious
treat that would be on its way.

Later that evening, they built a campfire which smoldered a bit
at first due to the wood being damp. After a while, the flames began
to crackle across the dried kiln and there was a toasty fire glowing in
the darkness of the night. They toasted some marshmallows skewed
on tree twigs over the flames and I tried one, but it was really hot
and sticky. I much prefer the uncooked version! Other campers had
fire pits snap-crackle-popping while the crickets created a cadence
of sounds that went along with the soft sound of the waves lapping
at the shoreline below. Since it was a moonless night, the orangey-yellow
light from the campsites brought warmth to the chill in the air.
Have you ever just looked into the flames, their colors ranging from
yellow to orange to red to purple to blue – as if it were a of rainbow
of sorts? Observing the burning piles of dried wood seems to be the
most mesmerizing experience I have ever had in my life. It seems to
take you either deep within yourself or very much out of yourself. But
wherever that cosmic place of serenity is, the flames seem to ignite
that knowing place in your soul.

taughannockpark

Chapter 15: Cousin Dugan (excerpt from Chert Dog)

“My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

The next morning, Lori took me for a walk and I visited with
my Syria and had some more photos taken of me. It was a beautiful
day with the autumn leaves expressing their joyous celebration of
color as they lit up the hillside with their vivid hues. The sky was a
brilliant deep blue which brought a sense of peace to my heart. Then,
we all went for a ride, but this ride was not at all like all the other
rides I have been on in the past. I just knew something was different
about this trip. When we arrived at our destination, Lori went inside
the building and came back out to say that we were to come back in
about an hour.

Guess where we went? My most favorite place – watershed!
They helped me out of the back seat of the car and we strolled along
the pathway with the little pond nearby. Several Canadian Geese
were floating on the water and flying around the shoreline. There
was a creek on the other side of the pathway which flowed across the
many rocks in its bed. The colors on the hillside were a breathtaking
backdrop to our unexpected walk. I must say that it was truly the
most wondrous day of my life!

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