Happy Birthday! Wow, I remember those days as a kid. Mom always ask what cake I wanted, I got my choice of what to eat for dinner. Presents, they were great. It was an exceptional day coming once a year and one I could hardly wait for.

Well this year my birthday has come and gone. It was nothing special as it has been years ago I celebrated a birthday. To me, it’s just another day like any other day. Now instead of getting presents and such, I spend the day reviewing the past year and thinking about the upcoming year.

Looking back I discovered I’ve had a pretty good year. Every day this past year I was able to get up and put my pants on by myself, so I’m guessing all is pretty good physically. Mentally, well I wonder sometimes. I’ve always asked the question – “What’s normal?” Is it normal to get under an animal big enough to kick the crap out of ya? Well, I’ll leave the subject of normal for another time! I was able to make enough money through the year to support my house hold and pay all the bills. And the high light of the year was a trip back to Idaho to my class’ 40th reunion! It was so great to see those I’d went to school with and finding out I wasn’t the only one who hadn’t retained that slim physical appearance with a full head of hair! Going to Salmon, Idaho I got to visit some very dear friends and I finally got to do something I’d never done – being a dude! I took a day float trip down the Salmon River with a guide. It was great not doing the work, just sitting back and enjoying myself. The final evening in Salmon I was treated to a BBQ with so many good dear friends and people I’d worked with over the years. I had a great vacation with my good friend in Portugal to highlight my fall. Christmas rolled around and so ended 2014.

What is my next year holding? Good question. So far it has been great. I really don’t set too many goals because at this stage of life I just enjoy taking every day as it comes and live. I am planning my annual trip to Portugal. I will go to Germany for a VA physical and while there get to visit a good friend.

I don’t do birthday presents, just asked my brother and his kids. I’m lucky to remember his birthday. I think the best present I get every year is my birthday is in the spring time. It means rebirth of the trees, flowers, birds come back and start singing. Days begin to get longer and warmer and it is kind of a rebirth of my spirit. I am looking forward to next year when I turn 60. Then I can begin to draw my military retirement pay. I was only Army Reserve, and the retirement pay won’t be as much as if I was full time, but at this stage of the game, every little bit helps. I’m also planning on getting a different van for my work. It will probably be my last one as they usually last me a few years.

Now for me birthdays aren’t about presents, cakes, parties but being thankful for the time I’ve had to live and enjoy life. There are so many more important things to me. One thing I’ll never forget is my birthday – why? It’s tax day!!


It’s 0630 and I’m done with my first appointment of the day! This customer was so happy the first time I said I could show up at 0600. After that, our normal appointment time is same time, winter or summer.
For me morning has always been the best part of the day. Being up before sunrise and watching the eastern sky turn from black to fire is always amazing to me. Add to that in the spring, summer time the birds singing announcing the new day is something else. Mornings were always special when I worked at the Root Ranch in central Idaho. I’d look out my cabin window and most mornings I could see elk munching away in the grassy areas with a deer or two mixed in. Down along the creek many times a moose would be walking along. Coupled with the birds singing and the fresh air, it was fantastic!
Now don’t get me wrong, evenings have their special time as well. Mostly I enjoyed evenings when I could sit with a cup of coffee looking over the creeks and the mountains, hearing the coyotes singing in the distance. Downing a fresh cup of coffe, not much can beat this for a day’s end. I remember sitting on the kitchen porch with the cup of coffee in hand and a lone coyote would start. Off in a different direction I’d hear another one join in. Soon there’d be a whole choir singing away announcing the coming night.
But for me mornings top the lot. I can still see the light rays flashing over the morning sky while on horseback leading a pack string. I’d be climbing up to Butts Point. After a couple hours on the trail I get to a place where I always stopped for a half hour or so to eat my breakfast. I remember our cook always packed a double lunch for me, half was breakfast, half lunch. I’d grab my breakfast and head back past the pack string checking the loads on the way, ending up at a big rock where I’d crawl up on and watch the morning. Many mornings I look below me and see a golden eagle circling, riding the thermals up to gain some altitude. It always amazed me to look down on them and soon they were above me; all the while hardly never moving their wings. I would look down on the Salmon River and listen to the water rush along – sound traveled great in the fresh, clear morning air.
Winter mornings have their special time as well. I am always surprised how a good hard frost can completely change the looks of the landscape. When the sun comes up it is cold, many times the coldest part of the day, but it is also the most beautiful part. Watching the sun come and shine through the frost on the trees it’s like millions of diamonds hanging on the trees and plants as the light refracts through the moisture. When snow covers the ground it is especially great! To walk out on new, fresh snow which has been delivered during the night thrilled me as a kid and still does today. It was so neat to get out and make the first tracks in the snow. Tracks – a person never really knows how many different animals are around until the snow falls and you can see their tracks. Seeing where they went and how many there were. Yes first thing in the morning with fresh snow there were so many tales to read of the wild inhabitances in the area.
Now I’ve save probably the best for last – that first cup of coffee! I enjoy coffee. I can drink coffee any time of the day, summer or winter, but there is nothing like the first cup of the day. I always enjoyed coming into the kitchen up on the ranch and the first smell of the day was a fresh pot of coffee! It almost raised me off the ground. I’d grab a cup, fill it, sit down and just have my hands on the cup for a while feeling the warmth of the cup in my hands and enjoying the smell. Today it’s a little different. My wife doesn’t drink coffee, so I only make instant coffee. I don’t get the lingering smell, but after I fill my cup with warm water and give it a stir, here comes the smell. I’ll sit down at the computer and start to read, but my right hand is still holding that cup, I still enjoy the feeling.
So now I’ve had my first cup, first horse shod, I’m ready for my day. Sun’s up and shining so it looks like a good one.