Robert U. Montgomery

Nourishing the Soul

My New Book to Benefit Meals on Wheels and Senior Centers

The value of the national Meals on Wheels program transcends delivering meals to home-bound recipients. In
Nourishing the Soul--- the Real Value of Meals on Wheels, author Robert U. Montgomery documents how it improves life emotionally, spiritually, and even physically for volunteers, as well as recipients.

Front cover NTS copy

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December 1963

Additionally, I was aided and abetted in my survival by the Beatles, who also came into my life in 1963. On Dec. 26, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There” were released in the United States, igniting Beatlemania. No, I didn’t yell, scream, or swoon as so many teen girls did when John, Paul, Ringo, and George appeared on the “Ed Sullivan Show” in February of 1964.

But I do remember sitting on my bed in the new house that I hated and actually feeling pleasure surge through my body as I listened to those songs on my transistor radio. During those days of crewcuts and Elvis pompadours, I recall the delight that I took in seeing one brave soul wear a shaggy Beatles wig to school.


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'She Makes Me Smile Every Day'


With Ursa (in photo), a stray Lab-mix pup I adopted in 1998, I began to understand that dogs are at their finest and happiest when we treat them as companions instead of just pets. As a consequence, we are better and happier too. I'm not sure how this happened. Call it sudden insight coupled with long-overdue maturity on my part. Certainly Ursa needed no epiphany to consider herself my companion, just as Squeaky and Happy didn't decades before.

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Who Is 'Smarter' Than a Bass?

If you're an angler who believes that sometimes you get "outsmarted" by those wily ol' bass, I have some bad news for you.

Carp are even "smarter." That's right. The bottom feeder disrespected by so many is no dummy.

Florida bass--- Okeechobee

"From my years of experience in observing bass in the laboratory, I would have to rank them around the middle of the intelligence range: definitely smarter than trout (at least hatchery trout) but dumber than carp (no insult intended — carp are smarter than you think!)," said Dr. Keith Jones, who has long studied fish behavior for Berkley.

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"The common carp (Cyprinus carpio) are indeed among the smartest freshwater fishes, if not the smartest," said another source. "They learn well for fish. They have the longest complex learning retention of all fishes tested."

Seriously, though, it's impossible to measure fish "intelligence" in any way comparable to the way that it is measured in humans. Rather, we watch how they behave in nature, and, more importantly, in laboratories and just their response to various stimuli.

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As I reveal in
Better Bass Fishing, you’re just outsmarting yourself if you try to “out-think” bass. Yes, bass are capable of learned behavior. But they definitely aren’t the “Einsteins” of the fish world. Carp and bluegill rank higher in laboratory tests. Most importantly, though, bass (and other fish species) don’t “think” and they aren’t “smart.”

Rather, bass are selective as to
food, cover, and water, and, each spring, they are driven by the biological imperative to spawn.

Those anglers who are smart enough to recognize those needs and respond accordingly, are the ones who catch the most and largest bass. They look for water and cover that they have learned is attractive to bass during each season of the year. They learn the migration routes that fish take to those locations. They observe what bass are feeding on and try to offer baits that are similar in appearance.

Although bass are not smart, they do seem to learn to avoid some baits. That why new baits--- and new colors, to a lesser degree--- seem to produce better than older styles. For a while. We saw it happen with buzzbaits in the 1980s and soft jerkbaits in the 1990s. Chatterbaits, swimbaits, and Alabama rigs are more recent examples.

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And here's an interesting take from the
World Fishing Network:

The IQ of fish varies greatly depending on the species. It varies even further depending on individuals within any given species. Anglers need to look at the species that they are targeting for known traits and advantages that could make them more difficult to catch.

Fish can learn to avoid specific lures and noises made by anglers. In order to continue to be successful, anglers need to try new lures and colors on a regular basis. An effort should also be made to fish new areas and to make as little noise as possible.

Fish intelligence is hereditary and they can be bred to be easier to catch. Anglers should care take when harvesting fish in order to avoid selectively breeding intelligence. Smaller fish, whether intelligent or not, haven't had the chance to learn to avoid lures. Therefore, they make a better choice for harvesting.

Whether you are catching fish or not, it is unlikely that they are outsmarting you. Their intelligence is very limited. You just need to work around what they may have learned.

For Anglers and Others Who Have Skin in the Outdoor Game

protection from sun

In 2009, a surgeon removed basal cell cancer from my right forearm and left me with an impressive S-shaped scar. At the time, I asked him if one basal cell meant that I was predisposed to have another. He said that odds were good that within five years I would have another.

In 2014, five years later, a small basal cell was removed from the top of my right ear.

Today, five years later, dermatologist found a suspicious-looking tiny place on my right shoulder and took a biopsy. She's not certain because the area is so small, but wants to err on the side of caution. In two weeks or less, we'll know. If it is cancerous, she'll simply remove it.

At this point, basal cell doesn't scare me. Yes, it
is cancer, as the surgeon emphasized to me back in 2009. But basal cell typically does not spread to other parts of the body, as many cancers do. It can expand on the skin from its origin and it can do nerve damage by sending down roots, if not taken care of.

Melanoma is the bad one because it is considered malignant. Squamous is of a little more concern than basal, but not much if caught early.

Also today, dermatologist froze four areas of precancerous skin on the sides of my face. For the new few days, I'll look like a burn victim. But that's a small price to pay as a preventative against future cancer.

For someone who has spent much of his life in the outdoors, I'm one of the lucky ones. I started early with maintenance to address the damage that the sun has done to my skin over the years. An annual checkup and a few frozen spots on my face generally are all I need now.

But I've seen many older anglers, including some whose names you'd recognize, who've paid dearly for their unprotected time in the sun.

Please, don't you be another one of them. If you're someone who spends considerable time in the sun, whether fishing, hiking, playing sports, or working, you should visit a dermatologist at least once a year to ensure you don't have skin cancer. And you're never too old to start.

On the other hand, you could die prematurely if you don't.

Also, wear clothing that will protect your skin from the sun. I long ago stopped wearing tee shirts and shorts for a day on the water. Now, it's long sleeves and pants. I might start and end the day wearing a baseball cap. But when the sun is high, I also wear a hat that will protect my ears and neck. A buff is another good option to protect those areas, while specialty gloves offer good protection for hands.

And don't forget the sun block, especially for your face.

Halloween Treat From Book That You Will Enjoy Year Around


Halloween is one of the times that I remember best from my childhood, a simpler time when many Baby Boomers were growing up. This is an excerpt from "Dracula's Disciple" in Under the Bed: Tales From An Innocent Childhood. If you were a child during the 50s, 60s, or 70s, this book will take you back in time and awaken your own fond memories.

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Bugged in Walmart

As I pushed my metal cart into the checkout lane at Walmart, a large, green praying mantis landed on the frame.

Startled, but never wanting to pass up the chance to have a little fun, I pointed out the insect to the cashier and said, "I'm not paying for that."

mantis2 low

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Tall Grass Delights

My house sits on 1 ½ acres, with much of the land sloping steeply down to the lake.

As soon as I moved in, I started allowing grass to grow unchecked on both sides. I did this to cut down on runoff and improve water quality in the lake.

Instinctively, I knew that allowing the land to exist naturally again would attract wildlife, but I really didn’t give it much thought.
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