I am sitting on the train from Hamburg, Germany north to Lunderskov, Denmark where Jette will kindly fetch me at around midnight. As I am making this last four hour journey, I’ve got time to recap and think.
It’s been a long trip. Seems like for ever since I departed, but in all reality it was just 4 days shy of 4 weeks. The last time I was gone so long from the house it was at Uncle Sam’s expense. But it is a lot shorter than the time I had to take off work when I had my hand operated on, which was about seven and a half weeks. When I was planning this trip, I had one customer make the statement it was a long time and I pointed out the fact it was almost half the hand recovery time.
I got to see lots of family and friends, I wonder if I will get to see them again. Many of them I haven’t seen in ten years or so and one, Darin I hadn’t seen in thirty six years! It was a long trip, and I know many of the faces I saw this time I very well may not see them again in person. The best thing today is the hi-tec world we live in.
When I first moved to Denmark it was letters. I would luxury myself every couple months or so to make a phone call back to the States, but it was expensive. Today I can call and see people on the internet – reminds me of the cartoon show “Jetsons” when I was kid. They had that telephone they could see people when they talked. What a fantasy which has become a reality! Just the fact I am sitting here typing this blog on the train on a laptop computer would have seemed amazing to people years ago. I just wonder where the borders are and just how far we will technically advance?
The day I departed Jene’s house I looked her right in the eye and told her I probably wouldn’t see her again. She looked me right back without a flinch and replied she knew it. I was realistic and so was she. I remember looking at some of my friends and thinking how much older they looked – I’m also guessing they did the same with me. Time moves on and we have no control. We can sit down and relax, but time marches steadily on with no breaks at a tireless even speed.
I also took time to drop in to Greenleaf Friends Academy where I attended my high school years and graduated. I felt God compelled me to get up and talk to the student body. I had to tell them what a fantastic advantage they had attending school there, and I felt I needed to just re-enforce upon them that whatever they do, they always got to do their best. If they don’t, someday they will be sorry. I also had to tell them they wouldn’t always understand what they’d learned and why they’d learned it, but someday down the road they would look back and see the meaning. That’s the way it’s been for me. Many times it’s been 15, 20 years – even longer after I got out of school when I realized the fact I was then using some of the things I’d learned there. Things that at the time I was in school, I figured I’d never use them again in my life. Never say Never!!
It has been amazing the people I met on this trip. I met a lady who had her own shop and business of blowing glass, we had a fantastic conversation. I had a guy in San Francisco as I was getting off the BART ask me if I needed directions and we ended up talking a good spell after. I met a guy who knew a guy in Silver City I know and haven’t seen in years. I sat next to a Marine who was deployed in Kuwait/ Iraq the same time as I was there – we bonded all the way to Seattle. I struck up a conversation with a lady who was taking her daughter to Seattle for a gymnastics competition. She originally came from California and we talked for a very long time about life and such. I met a person in the Seattle airport who was from Eastern Idaho, now living in the Seattle area who was headed to Paris on a “girls trip”. One thing which was great for me was after I got on the plane from Charlotte, NC to Springfield, Mo, I could just sit and scan the conversations. I could fully understand everyone because everyone was talking english! Much different than the silent trips one makes on the trains and planes in Europe! I’m guessing this is mostly due to many don’t know if someone speaks their language or not. I also wonder if it’s also because people don’t wish to seem like they are eves dropping on other’s conversations? Whatever it is, I find, for me as an English speaking person, the States are more free with conversing with complete strangers, but then I’m a native english speaker. Very rarely will I have someone strike up a conversation in Europe like they do in the States. Whatever the reasons, I enjoy them who do and those who respond to me.
There’s a lot of people I’ve got to thank for letting me take this trip. Most of all, my wife. In the winter time she’s had to put up with the freezing weather, doing everything around the house herself, but it’s no different than when I was deployed, yet I appreciate the fact she does. All my customers who put up with their horses going a little extra time between shoeing and trimmings. One plus is the winter time many hooves don’t grow as fast as in the rest of the year. The farrier buddies I got who covered for me. I tried to have everything done and caught up so there wouldn’t be problems, but good old Murphy is always with us and it seems just the time I am getting ready to leave or have just gone, some horse looses or bends a shoe. I understand horse people (I live with one), and I know in their spare time they want to ride and work with their horses and if a bent or lost shoe stops them, it’s not fun.
I’ll never make another trip like this one, but I will have the memories, pictures and good times with each and everyone with whom I had the chance to visit. The worst problem is all those I didn’t get to visit with! I’m sorry! I had only so much time and I just hope all of you I didn’t get to see will understand it’s not because you’re not important to me, it’s just I had only so much time. And there we are a full circle to what and why I took the trip in the first place – all because of the passage of time.