Month: September 2016

National Dog Week

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I hope you enjoy this excerpt from  “Spirit Dog” my book last year. It’s the adventures of Jeff and his dachshund, Adolphus, in the Oklahoma Territory in the 1850.  I’ll be happy to email you a teacher’s guide for anyone that is being home schooled.   Excerpt from Chapter 10::

If the  Osage were intent upon making Adolphus a Spirit Dog, that dachshund was just as intent on not being one. Those braves that had already been nipped by Adolphus wasted no time in telling their friends to beware.  Jeff wondered what might happen to Adolphus now? 

The Ancient One left Jeff  laying in the center of the lodge.  She was gone only a few minutes before she returned leading Hawk along on a thin rope.  Without a word, he sat down too on the floor.  Minutes later Adolphus came pouncing into the lodge, immediately jumping on  Jeff’s lap and covering his face with warm wet laps of his tongue. He was dragging the  rope. He must have chewed his way free. His  tail was wagging back and forth, slowly at first, then vigorously in quick beats as he jumped just as eagerly onto Hawk’s lap.

“Let me look you over.” Hawk laughed and let the dog push him back until they both were laying on the floor again.  “They have painted circles around his eyes,” Hawk pointed out.

From his prone position Jeff gazed into the dog’s eyes. “Those must be Spirit markings.” A rope was tied around his neck with shells and an eagle’s feather attached to it.  Adolphus squirmed free, ran to the door and then looked back at them. Hawk followed him to the door and peered out cautiously. There was no sign of a guard. Still he sensed that they were being watched and guarded from a distance.

With Adolphus’ disappearance, they should have guessed that someone would miss him.  It was not long before the Medicine Man swept back the door flap and entered. He gazed down at Adolphus who was now content to lie quietly beside Jeff.

The Medicine Man stared down at the dog and then shook his rattle over their heads and vengefully under Hawk’s nose.   It-was a highly ornamental rattle that looked to have been made from a hollowed shell of a terrapin that had been dried and then filled with small rocks. Obviously it held special power in his opinion.

“He has pronounced a terrible curse on us,” whispered Hawk as the Medicine Man left continuing to shake the rattle in a frenzied manner above his head and in front of him. Jeff shivered. He didn’t feel any different.  He continued to hear the Medicine Man still rattling as he walked away. He must be pronouncing a terrible curse!

Jeff turned to Hawk for some explanation.  “The Ancient One spoke English! Is she a princess?  She seems to have some authority doesn’t she?”

Hawk nodded, although he seemed to be as puzzled as Jeff.

“Yes, she definitely is an important person to this tribe.  Maybe she will tell us.”

When the evening meal was set before him, Jeff dived hungrily into the thick corn meal mush, dipping it awkwardly out of the shallow clay bowl with a crust of flat bread. It was the first food he had eaten since he had been captured.  Even the strong pungent odor of the rendered animal fat did not kill his appetite. He was getting pretty good at scooping food up to his mouth with his fingers or eating with a smooth flat wooden ladle.

Jeff  had not quite figured out everything that had happened to him, but he did know one thing. He was grateful to the Ancient One for rescuing him, whatever her reasons might be..

Since their return to the lodge neither Jeff nor Hawk had spoken, except to say thank you in English to the Ancient One. Jeff instantly recognized that their remarks seemed to please her. He tried to smile but his mouth and lips were too dry. Apparently the Indian meal did not consist of any kind of drink. His throat felt parched and dry. He wondered if he could ask for a drink of water but thought better about it.

“Spirit Dog” is available from in paperback or Kindle.


Reading Signs

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Have you ever heard of “sandwich board signs?”  Historically they were started years and years ago, but they are still being used.

A local automotive sales company near me–named Koon’s– has one or two men wearing sandwich signs out on the highway nearly every day.  As you are driving past, how much can you read?  In many ways this reminds me of people reading texts  while driving. Now the first word or two is  “Car Sales” and then beneath runs 10-12 more other words. Unless you would turn in their drive and stop you would not be able to randomly read the other words. Maybe they hope that you will be so curious that you will turn around right there in the middle of the highway and come back to catch the rest of the message.

A few years ago I gave a talk on using signs effectively.  I suggested that to be effective a sign should carry no more than three to five words. One of the most popular signs we see are  the “Garage Sale”  signs. Maybe under it the sale day such as “Saturday.”  Then under that come the times.  Although that information is getting smaller and smaller in lettering.

Restaurants have used sandwich board signs effectively and put them out right before lunch or dinner hours.  They usually say “Lunch Specials” and then name one or two. An art store nearby also used a similar sign listing two sale items and a small meat market combined with a deli also places a sign out on the sidewalk for a few hours listing one or two specials.

Another similar type of sign is the one that hangs from light poles along the roadway.  Sometimes they will say “Class Reunion” and then under that a year date.  Or there may be some other type of special event such as “Centennial”  and a date.  Have you ever tried to read that sign as you pass.  They are posted up and over your head and you do indeed take your eyes off the road to read it.  Now you can either hit the car in front of you or skid your right side tires into the curb.  Indeed I do — so I no longer read hanging signs.

Another type of sign is the flapping banner stuck in the ground.  One near me marks  where the “State Farm” office is located.  I used one of these myself when I was with a company in Richmond, VA.  It  marked where the driveway entrance was located . However, we just used the company logo.  You’ll see these a lot lining a car lot, a gas station or more recently I saw one beckoning me into a McDonald’s.

So, I guess what I am getting around to saying, is that a point can be made in a few words. .  Is is effective?  Does it draw more sales?  Probably some is my conclusion.  .