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The story within the story

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It was a different day (Monday, November 21, 2022). I started by going to a concerned citizens’ breakfast with a small group from the Hernando County area. The restaurant was called “Up For Breakfast.” They put on a good spread of nicely cooked items. This group of people are contributors to a site on the Telegram channel called “Team America Chat,” which fields comments on political issues, voter integrity, voting machine manipulation, school board functions (and malfunctions), and Hernando County Commissioners meetings.

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The breakfast attendees have been active in the community and are not afraid of their “presentations” being recorded for all to see. Today, we had Mr. Jack Martin, widely known as “Pastor Jack.” Jack Martin has shepherded congregations for many years and recently came off of a grueling political contest against Mr. Gus Bilirakis. He has an interesting website on Rumble and Telegram channels called “The Hard Right” (which shows him wearing a pair of red boxing gloves to begin his segments).

Also in attendance was Mr. Mark “Brad” Benson, who has made several trips to Tampa’s courthouse, and the Capital building in Tallahassee. His latest endeavors have him contesting the legalities of the electronic voting process (and the machinations and wire-passed “anomalies” associated with them). In addition, he has gone against “The Man” in Washington, D.C., with a whistle-blower case and won.

Seated on my side of the table was Ms. Diane Liptac, who has championed political causes and cases dealing with natural resource issues. Then there was Ms. Anita Barnes, who has gone before the HCSB (Hernando County School Board) with input regarding issues from school lunch quality, CRT (Critical Race Theory), and many other topics.

And of course, I was there to listen and add what little two cents worth of input I could contribute. This group of concerned citizens may not significantly impact how things are done both locally and nationally. Still, I am constantly impressed with the passion of their commitment to try to make this a better place for us and future generations to live.

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(Now to the titled part of this story.)

The two women in our group started asking about the vest I was wearing. I told them it was my “Story Vest,” and every pin and sewn-on patch had a unique story. The vest itself had the best story of them all, as it was made by “recycling” a deer hide from a wildlife casualty on Hwy 98 North many years ago.
A truck had hit and killed the deer very close to a pond (filled with alligators). I had just gotten off of work that afternoon, and I took the remains of the animal and fed them to the critters of the night! It was getting late, and I had put in a full day’s driving (from 3:00 am that morning). I did not know how long that animal had sat on the roadside, so I was not going to take it home to eat.

Not more than two weeks after that incident, I had brought my old canoe out to the lake and decided to try my hand at bringing home some fresh bass for dinner. As I was pushing the canoe from the shoreline with a paddle, it was set on a small water hyacinth cluster and gave way, causing me to go right over the side of the small craft and into the muddy waist-deep marsh.
I told the group at this meeting that when something like this happens, your thoughts come to you in a manner of priority, and my mind was quick to process two main items of importance. The first one was that I still had my cell phone on my side (it was not in a waterproof baggie). The second thought that came to my mind was that I got rid of a deer carcass less than two weeks earlier on this very spot! So once the canoe and I cleared the bank of the pond, it was the last trip I took over those hyacinth, cattail, and gator-filled waters.
With all the other interesting and story-filled souvenir items collected and displayed on the vest, I should also have one with an alligator!
Y’all be blessed, and have a good week!

Steven Goodwin
Steven Goodwin
Steve Goodwin is a recently retired Christian conservative veteran (of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division), who still feels that "duty to country" did not end when the military uniform got hung up. He and his wife Cecelia live on the edge of a beautifully wooded tract of land just south of the bypass, and are involved in not only church activities, but also attend school board meetings and local community action events as well.
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