THANKSGIVING

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!

BACK TO WORK

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!

VACATION

It’s here. The time I’ve waited for all year. Spring, summer and fall is the time of year I need to keep my nose to the grind stone, now it’s time for me.
Starting in February got many customers who really begin to buckle down and start training their horses as the show season is just around the corner, for me that means I need to have their hooves in order and able for them to their jobs. With show season just around the corner I got plenty to do.
Summer time is busy. Horse shows, owners wanting vacation with their horses and can’t forget the wife – she attends many shows as well, so guess who gets to stay home and take care of the place while she does her thing! We’ve tried getting someone to take care of things, but it never works out. So many just don’t understand the word – RESPONSIBILITY. One time the wife and I went to big international show in southern Germany only to come home and find the person had a party in our house. The worst was she couldn’t even had clean water for the dogs!!
I’ve got great customers. They know when the show season is here they can count on me being on the other end of the phone and I will do everything within my power to get them to the show or on vacation with their horse. They also know I need the time free and they work great with me on this. I wouldn’t trade any of my customers of anything!!
Many times they ask me what the weather is like, my reply is I don’t care because of two things: there are no horses where I am going and I have no mobile phone with me!! They smile and understand what I am saying because they have thought back about their own vacations earlier in the year! I get some time to bang on the keyboard writing a little junk for you to read, I get to kick back read a book. I also get to do some “other” type of work: cut firewood, work around my friend’s place, we travel around a bit. He has lived here ten years and yet to have a TV. Instead we sit in the evenings and watch the fire. We also have planned sessions with our therapist, Dr. Jack. Sometimes we have Dr. Johnnie, or Dr. Jim. Many of you may know them and have attended sessions with them (Jack Daniels, Johnnie Walker, Jim Beam). Very relaxing! Many days Dr. Jack recommends a day of physical therapy, so it’s wood cutting or whatever. Many evening there is a prescribed session of deep inner peace so we turn on the TV(light the fire), spend the evening watching the flames dancing around and shadows on the walls. And if we are lucky we get to hear some hoot owls down in the valley with a star lit sky at night. As John’s village is at the end of the road, and there is 7 people living here on a full time bases, not too much traffic.
John and I are both vets but from different wars, yet we have so much in common. I met John after I moved to Denmark, he is also a farrier. One day my wife told me “Some guy is going to stop by and take you with him tomorrow”, thus began our life long bond. He show this gringo the ropes and guided me into the Danish life style. He is like a brother to me, and any of you can ask my brother just how we are! We have a very tight bond.
Anyway when I get back I will have a smile on my face and ready to once again to do the best I can for your horse. I will always treat your horse as if it was mine! If you have a problem while I am gone, I hope you understand and I will get to you asap. Thanks for allowing me to take this time free.