Cicero said, "You just need two things in life, a garden and a book."

Master Gardeners and librarians would appreciate the Roman philosopher and orator, Cicero. For many people, the joy of working in a garden is surpassed only by, maybe, the joy of reading a book. If you get tired of the book, you can always return to your garden.

What two things would you name as the most important things in your life without naming family and friends? Here are some examples for you to ponder.

A fishing boat and a lawn mower. Whenever you go fishing, you can always return home with a tale to tell. Something exciting or unique always happens out on the water. We have a pair of loons with three baby chicks on Lake Julia, which is kind of rare. I have always found mowing the lawn to be satisfying. Not only can you see the results, there is nothing like the smell of freshly cut grass. When you finish the lawn you can climb in the boat for another adventure. You may even want to fish.

A cola in a glass bottle and a Viking football game. It's a fall Sunday afternoon. The weather has turned a bit chilly; you have a fire going in the fireplace; and the Vikings are playing the Packers and winning. You take a sip of the ice cold cola in the bottle, bite into a baloney sandwich made with fresh white bread-nothing could be better. You don't have a care in the world. Now if the Vikings lose-- sorry, can't happen.

How about a clean car and a drive in the country? I recently purchased a 2016 Jeep. I don't like it. I had a Town and Country for many years so I thought I would try something different. It's just too small, especially when you have to fit a wheelchair into it. Still, I try to keep it clean, inside and out. My father was always a stickler for having a clean car. I get a good feeling going into a clean car. I think I am a better driver. Kathy and I have always enjoyed rides in the country. We have some beautiful places around Bemidji. Regardless of the season, you can always find beauty if you look close enough. I guess I will try to find beauty in my Jeep.

Binoculars and a birding book. I can't think of anyone I have ever met who didn't enjoy watching birds. Even though they probably couldn't accurately identify them, bird watching is like eating rhubarb pie. You just can't get enough of it. Seeing birds up close through binoculars is exciting because now you have Superman eyes and you see the minute details that distinguish one bird from another. Now that you have seen the bird up close, turn to your bird book and learn what you have observed. If you have never seen this bird before in your life, you added an exciting piece of knowledge to your brain. It's an unforgettable experience. I think that was a yellow belly sapsucker.

A cup of coffee and a crossword puzzle. For people who love to drink coffee, a crossword puzzle seems like a logical choice to go with your favorite kind of coffee. There are all kinds of coffee today. Kathy likes a cappuccino and she would probably have a nervous breakdown if she could not do the Sunday crossword puzzle. Many of you feel the same way. Now, what's a five letter word that is kind of like a "cappuccino"?

A good movie and a bag of popcorn. It's fun to see a movie at home but there is nothing like seeing one in a theater while eating a bag of buttery popcorn. I have this habit of just eating a few handfuls and taking the rest home. I enjoy day old popcorn. Maybe it's me but there doesn't seem to be as many good movies as there once was. I don't go in for the animated films and the scary, gory movies are not entertaining and the "R" rated films are pretty rough. I can't remember when I have seen a good romantic comedy, a good western or even a good comedy. Whatever happened to movies like "The Pink Panther," "Open Range" or When Sally Met Harry? Or, was it, "When Harry met Sally?"

A dog and a stick. What is it about a simple, not too long wooden stick that intrigues dogs? It's like they can't live without them. If I toss one away, Simon, our golden retriever, will just go find it again. I can even throw it in the lake and Simon will go after it and bring it home with a huge smile on his face. "Hey, look what I just did. Aren't you proud of me for returning your stick?" "Yes, Simon, I'm proud of you but please don't shake that water over me. Whoops, too late." We do love our pets and Simon loves sticks so I try to keep a good supply around, which is not difficult when you live in the woods. Even though pets cost us quite a bit with food and vet care, we can't seem to live without them and this is why we can't just live with one dog, we have to have two. "Okay, Simone, your turn. Go get it."

Riddle: Why don't dogs make good dancers? (Because they have two left feet!) So, what two of something can't you live without?


100 percent graduation

A local movement is underway to ensure the area has a 100 percent high school graduation rate. Here are a few more summer tips that will help you keep your kids in school. Make it a summer of learning new things.

1. Get them interested in a hobby. Hobbies give kids reasons why it is fun to learn.

2. Take them to the county fair. Create some kind of a scavenger hunt for them when you do go. Make it a learning experience.

3. Attend a Fourth of July parade and count how many things in the parade that you have never seen before.



John R. Eggers of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker