In a few days it will be 6 June. Why is it special? – all the military types know and many civilians as well – Operation Overlord, the invasion of Europe.
A few years ago I was privileged to do a Battle Staff Ride to the Normandy Beaches. About a month before going each of us were assigned a unit to research and their part in the battle, drew the 121st Engineers. On the ride over on the bus we watched “The Longest Day”. The next morning we were standing on Omaha beach at day break, I was not prepared for the feelings I felt.
I was standing at the low water mark and looked up the beach. It was almost flat with the dunes and banks rising high above it. My first thought was, “My God, how did these guys have the guts to cross this killing field?” As I slowly walked towards the high ground I began to look: to my left was a firing bunker, but the firing ports weren’t straight forward it was at a 45 degree angle. I looked to my right and saw another one mirroring the effect – then it hit me = interlocking, grazing fire made to kill anything in range! How anyone survived I’ll never know. As I slowly went up, the slit trenches were still there and behind were the mortars. Placed along the beaches were some bigger gun emplacements as well. I learned on the beaches, aiming stakes had been set so the mortar men, machine gunners knew exactly what their ranges were. The entire beach was dialed in. I don’t have to explain the meaning of this to any of my Grunt Brothers, I know the hair on the backs of their necks will rise just thinking of this. The soldiers landed and got bogged down, but then they broke through and we know the rest. You can read this but unless you have walked that battle field you will never understand (unless you’ve been under fire as well).
Once they secured the beached then they got funneled into killing fields of fire again when trying to breach the hedge rows. It was a killer. Walking the roads, seeing the actual remains of foxholes still there, I have no words. The average age of WWII soldiers was 26, so maybe this helped them “suck it up”, draw from within and drive on. They knew they would die, but someone had to.
I have no doubt about the will and intestinal fortitude of our soldiers today, I’ve seen what they have done in Iraq and Afghanistan if let along to do the jobs they are trained to do and not restrained by our political leaders who sit on their soft chairs thousands of miles away.
Sometimes I look at our systems and think we got it all wrong. Our leaders should be military and they should be right out in front leading the men into battle. War has gotten too far away. Yea we think it is something when a guy can sit behind a joy stick in the western U.S. and kill bad guys half away around the world. I wonder how politics would be if war was once again close up and personal? If our elected officials were also required to be out front – There would be no need of term limits for Congressmen then, most would pull out in a flash.
Anyway I want to salute all my Brother Grunts who led the charge across those flat sands into the certain death many received. As I walked the green grass dotted with white stone in the cemetery above the beaches I could only look and read names.
The table is set and I raise my glass – SALUTE!
My Memorial Day is over. Here in Denmark it is no holiday, but my thoughts were upon this subject today as I shod horses.
Many times while traveling on the trains in Germany I have thought many times of what some downed air crews must have thought as they looked over the German country side. Did they see what I was seeing? I was visiting a friend North East of Frankfurt once. One evening we took a walk through town and the local cemetery where I saw three Veteran graves. My friend told me every year on Memorial Day flowers are placed.
I have visited the cemetery at Normandy – a very humbling experience. While on a different Battle Staff ride I visited sites where G.I.s made last stands trying to slow down the German offensive during the Battle of the Bulge. Having to research this Battle I was very humbled to read the battle accounts and then stand on the very ground where the actions happened. I have also communicated with my cousin who was an infantryman during this battle. We had a great talk after I had been there. I told him where I’d been and he knew the area very well. I have another cousin whose husband was a POW in Germany during the war, he was also an infantryman. I feel proud to have talked with both of these great veterans before they passed on – I pay both of them homage as they were up front in the real thick of the action. I think of my family who fought for the union during the Civil war, who served in the “Silent Service”, members of the National Guard, my family veterans who have gone to Valhalla.
As I travel south from my house many times I pass a memorial alongside the road. Once I stopped and read it. It was to an aircrew whose plane crashed during WWII a few hundred meters from the spot – all were killed. Now every time I passed the place I sit in the position of attention and render the crew as snappy salute as I can. I will talk to them, “Good Day Boys, see you on the return.” On the return I will salute them again and give them a , “Take care until the next time”
Since living in Denmark, traveling throughout Europe I have seen battle grounds, grave yards, talked with retired vets (expats) – to me Memorial Day has expanded. After I came home from my war, seeing the death and destruction war causes, I have so much more respect for those vets who preceded me; those who are still in uniform putting their lives on the line for me daily; and for those who are to follow, who will protect and defend the Constitution of The United States of America.
In the political times we have now, one thing is for sure: my Brothers /Sisters – in – Arms have all sworn to do this mission, no matter their political beliefs. My only regret is I have never had the chance to be “home” for a Memorial Day and help place flags on the graves of those who have passed before me.
I STAND AND SALUTE ALL THOSE WHO HAVE PASSED BEFORE ME ON THIS DAY.
There is an empty spot in the Dawson family – Jacob, my brother Larry’s son has passed on. Yes it is tough for a parent to see their child go before them, but our family has the blessing and promise of a better life for Jacob from our Lord.
I didn’t know Jacob as well as I did the two girls, but Larry and I talked all the time. Now in death I have learned so much more about Jacob and how truly special he was in his life, the friends he had and how he lived life.
I would see Jacob once in a while visiting Larry & Sue – mostly when they lived in Eagle and later on when visiting them in Prineville, Oregon. The things I remember most about Jacob was his smile, even as a little kid he always had a big smile on his face. I also noticed he loved to play card games and was great at them, along with making pizza.
Larry would tell me of the times he and Jacob would take the horses out and ride. They also went hunting and had great times at this. He also loved to be around his nephews and when the three of them were around Jacob his face really lit up.
Jacob was a guy to himself, in the way it took some doing to really get to know him. But it has only now been after his illness and all the postings made for him did I really learn how extensive his “family” was in Prineville. I can tell the church was the center of his life and doing for others was his main focus.
After Jacob had his stroke, Larry and I were talking. I remember him saying he didn’t know how much a guy could take. I automatically thought about Job. Job was a man with un-shaking faith in God. The devil told God he could make Job denounce Him. God told him go ahead and try, but one thing, he couldn’t take Job’s life. Job’s faith never wavered, Jacob’s faith never did either, even to the end he knew he was in God’s plan and however it played out was what he was going to accept.
I am thankful for Facebook because it was there that Jacob and I finally connected. I found many times he would “like” a post I put up. He even replied to me several times when Tabitha posted he had a part in the local theater. I could tell he really enjoyed this. I am so thankful for finally getting this connection with him.
Yes we all are going to miss Jacob very much, but I feel him is smiling now as he is no longer depended on a machine to live. He would want us to get back to our daily lives and remember the good times with him. Sometimes I feel our sorrows are for ourselves in the fact we don’t hear his voice, see his face, but we need not be. All we have to do is look around at all the thing and people’s lives Jacob touched, and he touched many. I lost my Dad in 1979, yet my Dad is with me every day in the things he did and said. Likewise Jacob will always be with each one of us in the things he did, said and the life he lived.
Jacob – your life was just as long as it was planned. You lived a full life and enjoyed it. You enjoyed helping people and never once did I ever hear you complain about the row you had to hoe. Thank you for being here and blessing our lives. One day we will all be together again – that we know.
This has been the story of my life – the things I want to do or enjoy have always come later in life. I guess through it all I have learned it is never too late to do something.
I wanted to join the army and fly, but 1 December, 1974 put a stop to that – I took a ricochet from a pistol in my right eye ending my flying and delaying my military career until late in life – age 26. By this time most guys have enlisted and completed eight or nine years. When I went to basic training I was called “old man” as I was the oldest in my platoon. Yet even with the late start and not getting to do what I really wanted to do I managed to have a Reserve career spanning over 22 years and I achieved the rank of Sergeants Major and now enjoy a retirement. In a way I felt a little left out as I already had a civilian career under way, but I was privileged to serve my country and contribute as I feel everyone should.
I’d been married and got divorced in 1984. After living in Pasco, Washington for a year, I moved back to Idaho and somehow got into riding saddle bronc. Here I am in my late twenties starting something which is a young man’s game (much younger than me). At my age most rough stock riders are in the second half of their career. I had a ball. I traveled to central Oregon, Northern Nevada, and many rodeos in Idaho. I didn’t make any money, but one thing I can tell you – there is nothing like coming out of the chute on that eight second ride!
I was around 30yrs old when my brother and I took a hunting trip with our horses in to the Salmon River Wilderness area in Central Idaho. While there I got offered a job as a guide and packer. On our way out my brother asked me, “You’re going to take that job aren’t you?” I replied, “You bet, this job has been offered to me and it is one most guys would give their right arm to do. Lots of guys pay to go to guide schools to get a job”. So began another episode in my life – professional guide/packer. I will have to say it was the best time of my life, so good I wrote a book about it.
Low and behold at age 36 I up and move to Denmark, half way around the world. The clincher to my move was there was an Army Reserve Command in Germany so I didn’t have to give up my long range goal of a military retirement. So here I planted roots and started a business as a farrier. Late in life I am beginning all over again. It was hard work and there were also hard times but I stayed with it and soon was able to enjoy a nice life.
My job in the army was infantry, but my war didn’t come until the end of my career. I was in year 19 when I answered the call to war. In 2003 I deployed and wouldn’t get back home for about 14 months. The worst part was I didn’t get to do what I was trained to do. I would have rather been in an infantry unit up front fighting the enemy, yet I ended up in the rear as the Rear G3 Sergeants Major of V Corps, doing a job we combat arms guys always detest, but I did my job to the best of my ability. After I moved up to Baghdad, I made contacts with an infantry platoon and was able to go out on night patrol with one of their squads. It was great, just being one of the guys, not in charge of anything, just taking care of my sector. I was out with these guys every chance I got, at minimum once a week. At age 47 I was finally getting to do what I was trained to do and enjoyed every minute.
So now I reach another late in life challenge – farrier competition. Last year I got talked into going to Las Vegas to attend the final for the World Championship of Blacksmiths. I entered the novice class, at first did I feel stupid – an old guy in this class with a bunch of young farriers, but no one said anything about it. I had a great time. I told a friend of mine I wanted to go back again this coming December so he said he would help me. I am not the best at forging. I can make shoes I need for the horses I work on, but for competition it takes lots of practice, practice. I got problems with my shoulders and arms, but it is fun and I am going to do it. I have just entered another competition in June, so I am pounding iron. Again I am entered in a lower class and will find myself against lots of younger farriers. I am having a good time and figure if I don’t do it now I may not have another chance.
We only go through life one time. If I’d put off things because I was too old, I would have missed out on so many good times in life. Yea, many times it is late in life, but at least I gave it a shot and had fun. After all, what is life if we don’t have some fun?
This morning I was watching National Geographic channel. They have a program called “Brain Games”. In this program they talk a lot about how our brain works and how we think it works – very interesting show. It got me to thinking about the choices I’ve made in life.
The other day I stopped to get a cup of coffee. When I went to pay for it, I noticed some rolls, I could buy one for a price, but I could buy 3 for another price. Well I only wanted two, so told the guy I wanted two. He then said I could get 3 for a better price. I looked at him and said I only want 2. After watching a couple episodes of “Brain Games” I’ve begun to wonder how merchants use our brains to influence us in how we buy things.
When we make a decision is it a snap decision or do we put some thought into it? According to the show, our brain tries to made logical decisions for us when we made snap choice. I don’t understand it all, but I do see the reasoning behind it. When we made a snap choice we then go into the mode of justifying the choice – better price, better deal, we need it, so on and so forth. After a period of time from making a snap choice, do you ever look at the choice and wonder was it the right choice? I have. I wonder, many times if we took a little more time to weigh out our options would we make the choices we do?
I see this with advertising as well. I’ve seen adds about borrowing money, you can get a quick loan approved within minutes, but did you get a chance to read all the fine print posted along with the add – of course not. They make the print small enough and it goes fast enough most normal people have no chance to read it and then some poor sucker gets one of these loans and gets stuck!
I am also a believer in God and if we ask He will help guide us in the choices we make. I am not saying He makes the choices for us, but I wonder if He gives us the little more logic to look at a situation and determine how to tackle the problem, buy the object, do the job? We are creatures of free will and choice. If I said I have made all the right choices in life you all would know I am a liar and blow this off. Of course I have made bad choices. But by making the bad choices I have learned the effects and also learned how to look at a situation much better. I wonder if this is the way God had helped guide me, by expanding my brain, giving me a little more reasoning and deduction of a situation. In my life’s experience I don’t ever remember important choices being done fast, it took some pondering and weighing out what I thought would be the results of my choices.
What is amazing is to look back over time and see how a choice has affects one’s life. I made the choice to become a guide for and outfitter in the Salmon River Wilderness Area in Idaho. It wasn’t a quick choice, I had a horseback ride to think it over, that along with some advice I’d received from an old guy. Putting the two together I made my choice and never been sorry about it.
Looking back over my life there’s been many forks in my road of life and thus far I can say the choices have been pretty good. Yea, I had those learning times where I know not to make choices like those again, but over all things have turned out pretty good.
If I can give you a piece of advice it would be: Keep in touch with God and ask His guidance, He won’t solve all your problems, but He will give you the choices to choose from, let you see things more clearly, it is up to you to make the right choice. If you don’t believe, well take that extra time to think about things. Just remember there are a lot of people out there who want to separate you from your money, influence you to do things, make things, or buy things that will advance their cause no matter the effects it has on you!
I just returned from a great learning experience at the International Hoof Care Summit. The long plane ride home has given me time to reflect about what I had learned and how I thought things could have been better.
I have been shoeing horses for many years, so by this time in my career it is not all the big things which I take in, but it is a multitude of small things, how other farriers do things differently, approaching problems in a different way. Many of us spend our working days alone with horses – other people are around, but not other farriers. Once in a while we might run into another farrier but for me this is seldom, so the chance to interact with other farriers has been a blessing.
The International Hoof Care Summit is a well planned event which has been running now for many years. This year was the third time I have attended. I knew I wanted to go as the learning experience is there. Having the schedule of events sent early gave me a chance to scan the subjects to be covered and choose the classes I wanted to attend. The worst part is you can’t attend them all!
First you have to understand this event is for both farriers and veterinarians. One of the speakers was a very well respected British farrier Simon Curtis who is very high and respected the world over for his work. His presentation was over three days and covered a very interesting subject, but it was also invaded with massive amounts of scientific data – for this kid I hate scientific data. Just give me the end result and the things I need to know and I’m out the door – good to go. I have always been more comfortable when farriers like Danvers Child, Mike Wildenstein, Grant Moon or the such are talking because they don’t use all the scientific BS, they talk at the level us “common” farriers really understand. Great, but are we just standing in our still water pond with no moving water?
You know what – vets were there as well and I can imagine most of them were very interested in all the data, how facts were found and the research behind the subjects. I remember looking around a bit and there were also other farriers who were interested (I guessed) as they ask questions about the data and findings. Yes I was able to wade my way through it, and many times it was only later after I was thinking about the subject the light bulb finally went on in my head. When that happened I finally understood – I’ve learned something!
Afterward on the plane ride home I got to thinking. We as farriers work with vets. Yes they understand our “language” and most of the vets I work with we have no problems. But also the other thing I got to thinking about is: Should I as a farrier bend a bit and try to understand some of the language vets use more than we do – OF COURSE! We farriers are part of a team, owner, vet and farrier. If I as a farrier don’t try to understand some of the language vets use then I am failing on my part to understand the whole picture. Applying this to the Hoof Summit I just attended, would I change any of the presentation? At first I thought yes, they need to keep it simple for us farriers, but now my answer is no, I have learned and expanded my mind into more the realm of the vet. No, I do not or will never consider myself as knowledgeable as a vet, but should I block my learning and not try to understand more their side? By attending events such as this one I have really been in the learning process. I attend things that are a “little” above my level and force myself to understand. The best part is while at the Summit and attending one of these more technical seminars, many times I am sitting next to a farrier who might understand so I can lean over and ask a question and not feel stupid if I don’t understand. After the lecture I can either ask the speaker who I’ve found is very patient with us less knowledgeable ones or talk to a farrier who gets it and get a good explanation. This is the learning process. If we fail to enter realm which we don’t fully understand then we will never expand our minds and learning capabilities are not fully use. Right after the Summit I thought there were some changes I would make, but now – nope, I want to expand my mind.
Looking back over the past year, it has been different. I think a lot of people got surprised at many outcomes.
I really believe if the big money and powers to be had stayed out of the elections, all the riots and bad behaviors we witnessed after Donald Trump won the election would not have come to pass. There’s a lot of information out there which states George Soros paid and supported much of the rioting and anti-Trump violence. Is it true – well you must decide? But much of this didn’t just start yesterday. People’s minds and ideas have been on the change for many years.
I look back to the way I was raised and how the generation after me was raised. When I grew up there were winners and losers. The winners got a reward, the losers got the back seat, they needed to regroup, rethink why they lost, maybe improve themselves, do better. Actually the losers were the winners because in losing they were forced to look into themselves and learn how to be winners.
Now, so I’ve heard there are no winners, no losers. Kids are taught if they lose they still get a reward so they will not be “left out”. What a bunch of bunk! If everyone gets a trophy then what and where is the reason for competition? Why should one excel in what they do – they will get rewarded anyway! Why should one try if there is a reward for just showing up? This attitude has spilled over into the “grownup” world as well.
I bet everyone reading this knows someone who is on some type of social help. In the beginning social help was a good deal, it had real meaning. Now with government running wild, social help is acceptable. I remember growing up, people were embarrassed when coming to the checkout stand to hand over some type of social help to assist paying for food. Today it seems to be a status symbol to be on social help. Today if you can get by on the government’s tab, why should you get a job? The problem with welfare is people get sucked into the trap, then once the government owns you, your mind goes with it, you become a robot, no self esteem, no want, no desire to achieve, progress, a person gets complacent to what is around. Yes, I have been out of a job, I have filed for unemployment on different occasions.
At the time I drew unemployment the total length one could draw for was 6 months. It was ok for the first week or so, but then I had to get out and do something. You see I had worked all my life and I missed it. So I got my butt out and found a job. It wasn’t the best job in the world, but I no longer needed unemployment and I was proud of that. Somehow, someway I have always been able to work, but I have always had that desire, the desire to move forward and not just sit still.
I remember in the 5th grade one day on the play ground with a few other boys. One asked me how much I got for an allowance. I looked at him and ask what an allowance was? He looked shocked and told me it was the money I got for cleaning my room, doing the dishes once in a while, but most of the time he never did anything for the money, it was just given to him. I look shocked at him and replied, “Those are my chores, my responsibility. First if I don’t do those things there is no one else to do them. Second if I don’t do them, then I get in trouble from Dad and Mom. Also if I want something I have to pay for it with the money I earn”. He then ask what I did for money, I then explained I had to make arrangements with my Dad or Mom to do other work around the farm, above and beyond the things I was responsible for. After I grew up and learned the world, I soon figured out the kid who asked me about allowance, who got his money for free is now running our governments.
I guess what it all boils down to is RESPONSIBILITY. So many of the younger generation have failed to learn what responsibility means.
It’s December 2016 – where did this year go? It seems only yesterday the year began. The older I get the faster time goes, or is it because I am busy and not paying too much attention to time that is quickly slips away.
January rolled in, I worked the first week and a half then I took an extended trip to visit relatives. Began in Missouri with Jene Benton and family. Was a great time. Got to see her new place and eat some of her fantastic cooking. Met Craig and family, was fun! So then I headed to San Francisco to visit Darin. Never been there before so he took me to all the places, Fisherman’s Warf, highest point in SF, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, and he took me on a boat ride across the bay. So then I rented a car and headed north. Never really been in northern California, so good chance to see it. Stopped and did the redwood thing – visited these giants and got a picture of me in the “drive through” tree. Headed on north and spent the night in southern Oregon. Next morning drove to my best friend Dan’s place where his wife Chris was home. The three of us always have a great time. They took me hiking to a waterfall, went to the coast and around. Then Dan took me to a shooting gallery where I learned I hadn’t really lost my eye as I did pretty good I thought, for someone who hadn’t shot a rifle in years!
Visited my brother’s two daughters Tabitha and Traci and their lovely families. Tabitha arranged for Traci and Gabe to come to her place and we all had fun. Tom, Tabitha’s husband , their two boys , Traci and her son went to smack a few golf balls around – what a great time. These two gals have really grown up and have such great families to be around. Visited my cousin Donna Clair, her husband Bill and two kids, Robb and deShauna. After that I hooked it on across Oregon, over the Blues and to my brother’s place in Fruitland Idaho. Was great to spend time with Larry and Sue. Visited friends around Greenleaf, Caldwell and ended my trip in Boise at Gary and Barbara’s place. Was a great trip, lots of stops, trying to get as many visits in as possible. So then it was home and back to work.
Now back to the grindstone. Work as been good. Got lots of great customers and horses to work on. So now it was to business for the summer and fall. I don’t plan time off until around the first of November because people want to use their horses. Also it is Jette’s time to go to horse shows. She ended up going to shows most of the weekends in June, July with some shows in August and September. When she is gone I take care of her horses and our two dogs. We have tried a few times to get someone to take care of our place, but it doesn’t work. Very hard to find someone who understands the word RESPONSIBILITY! We had one person who held a party in our house, the last one we thought we could trust couldn’t get out of bed to feed the horses on time, so no more. We know when one of us is home things will get taken care of right and that is very important to us.
First of September I turned in my reservation for the International Hoof Care Summit in Ohio in January 2017. After doing that a friend and fellow farrier, Tom Williams was at my house using my coal forge. We’d stopped for a bit to eat and he said he was headed to Vegas in December for the WCB finals. I said I might just take the time off to go watch. Tom then said why not go compete in the novice class, I said I was too old and such for that. He said no, it was for guys who had never competed, plus I could deduct it from my business! So Jette pips up and said why not, it would be fun! I sat there for a bit, yea, why not! So I turned in my papers and fees, booked a flight and boom, here I am sitting in the Silverton Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada!
It was a learning experience for me. I felt out of place in the novice class at 60yrs old, but everyone told me no. I felt good with some of my work, I ended up 8th place over all. My work could have been better, but this was the first time I have never worked with a striker and it was very different for me. Also I was working against the clock which I have never done before. I learned many things and now I am going home and do some work. I hope to come back next year.
With this closing I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and may your New Year be a fantastic 2017. God Bless you all and enjoy your journey down the road He has planned for you. I thank God every day for my family, friends and the life I have. I have been blessed to do the things I have done and the places I have gone. TAKE CARE.
Here in Denmark there is no Thanksgiving Day, but there is a lot to be thankful for. I was driving home from my day’s work shoeing horses and kind of down in spirits because today was Thanksgiving Day. I thought back to the last time I really celebrated it and wow, has it been a while back!
Last time I really did Thanksgiving was 1992, at my brother’s place. I’d got up early that morning because I was use to it. I was a little surprised when I got down stairs, no one was in the kitchen, no turkey getting started. Soon Larry came down and I ask why Sue wasn’t getting it done to which he replied she was sick with the flu. So why aren’t you doing it I ask? Well he really didn’t know where to start. I ask what time dinner was planned, with his reply I stated it would be a little later. Sue had the bread dried for dressing so I got started making the dressing, then giving the old bird a good rub down with a few spices. Soon he was stuffed and in the cooker, with extra stuffing made for the large crew, Sue’s family. I ask what else I needed to do. Sue was doing the main course; others were bringing pie, salads and such, so I got to work making my pot of coffee! After my coffee break, spuds got peeled and in the pot to cook. I prepared the neck and such, in a pan to boil so they could be used for gravy. After a while the kitchen was starting to acquire the correct smell. After a period of time Sue’s family started arrive. Learning Sue was sick, they were all ready to pitch in and help. I was thankful for all the help to finish the meal. It was a Thanksgiving to remember.
Yes I got a lot to be thankful for. I got so many Brothers – in- Arms who’ve come home in a pine box: I’m still here. I’ve got many who’ve lost limbs, carry the scares of war for the rest of their lives: all I’ve lost is a few marbles (so the shrink says). I get up every morning feeling the aches and pains of my past life; thankful to feel the pain because that means I am alive!
I’ve got a great place to live, it’s not big, but if it was bigger there would be a lot more work to do. I’m thankful Jette doesn’t have to go out to work every day, she keeps the place running and in order. We have worked hard to get what we got and I am thankful for all we have, mostly warm, dry place to sleep every night and good food to eat.
I am thankful for my family. This year I had some cousins drop in for a visit – was fantastic and loved every minute of it. I am thankful for my brother’s kids whom I have visited many times and enjoy. I am thankful for my friends, few they are, the best. I don’t have to name them, they know who they are. Those who’ve stood beside me through thick and thin. Everyone who have given me moral support in the times of my life when I really needed them.
I guess for me, now a day, Thanksgiving Day is a good time for me to reflect back over the past year, remembering all the things I am truly thankful for. I am glad so many of my family and friends are with their loved ones enjoying their Thanksgiving Day dinner. As you all sit around the table today enjoying a great dinner, each other’s company, please stop and reflect over your past year and remember all the things you are truly thankful for and Thank the Lord for all the blessings He has gives us all. Actually today turned out to be a REALLY GOOD THANKSGIVING DAY!
The past few days seems like weeks, guess the vacation has been a success. It doesn’t take much for me, I’m pretty easy to please. It is something we all need, time away from work, pressure and the everyday life. When I return my “batteries” will be fully recharged and I’ll be ready to get back to work.
Many of my customers ask me what the weather is like – to which I reply I really don’t care, but I must say this year the weather has been fantastic! But I just got to tell you about the plane ride first!
I departed Hamburg, Germany at 0600, to arrive in Lisbon, Portugal around 0830. Flight was great. The airline I fly with (TAP) is fantastic! We were arriving right on time. My seat was right over the wing, on the isle row, yet I could look out the window at the fantastic morning breaking all around us. The pilot had come on earlier telling us we were descending in to Lisbon and to get ready which we did. Soon we were dropping on a gradual slop into the airport. Right on schedule I heard and saw the flaps and slats appear on the wings, I knew we were on final approach. Next I felt the landing gear come down and lock in place. Looking out the window I could see the building passing and at the same time getting closer: ALL of a sudden I was jammed back in my seat, I heard full power being given to the engines and it sounded like they were screaming for all they were worth to lift the plane’s nose up as we entered a steep climb, soon we leveled off. After we leveled off the pilot came on the intercom. I can’t quote exactly what he said, but it went something like this: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we had to abort our landing due to another airplane on the runway. It developed a mechanical problem and couldn’t take off. We are coming around and will be landing shortly”. There was slight laughter in the plane as people understood what had just taken place. I realized I was on a plane where the pilot wasn’t just on autopilot. I realize today many use it to land with, and normally there is no problems. But today I was just glad my pilot was not over tired, fully alert, wasn’t reading a text message on his smart phone, talking on the phone while flying – he was fully alert and doing his job: THANK YOU VERY MUCH. You made my vacation! I have flown a lot, and this was the first time on a landing I had this happen. The first thing I thought about was my flight out of Baghdad International Airport in October 2003.
That was with the U.S. Air Force on a C-130. We started our roll down the strip. Once we lifted off, WE REALLY LIFTED OFF! The nose of the plane felt like it went vertical. As we were sitting sideways I was thrown to my left, hanging on to the cargo net type seat I was sitting in. Across from me was a small round window where I could see a shower of flares spewing out from under the plane – this was to keep the surface to air missiles from locking on to our plane, sure makes for a great pucker factor! Soon we leveled off once out of missile range. After that flight and I retired from the military I always during takeoff and landing think to myself, “At least no one was shooting at us”. Boy did I have flash backs coming into Lisbon!
But vacation has been great. Cut, split a bunch of fire wood. Got to attend the monthly boot sale (flee market) and saw lots of stuff and lots of junk. One must know the difference between the two when attending. John’s grape vines got all cut back and boy did that let the light in.
So now it is Monday evening. Two days and a wake up. Thursday I will head back to Lisbon on the train. I am going to have a half day or so there so will play tourist until my flight back on Friday. I’ve been on the internet and learned Denmark has had its first snow, so I am glad the wife said she would get the snow tires on my van. I will arrive home on Friday, late afternoon and then Saturday back to work. I don’t really care not having a weekend, I am relaxed and have had a great time. In fact I am looking forward to getting back to work. Just working off the time until vacation next year!