REFLECTIONS, MAKING MEMORIES

Sitting here drinking my morning coffee I get the chance to reflect on my vacation. It has been good, but I am ready to get back to work.
I talk with my brother all the time on Skype, but getting down to it, there is nothing like the real thing. It was so great to be met by him and his wife at the airport. The following day he took me to get my business done and when we got back to his house, we continued what we had done the whole day – talk. The following day we drove to his kid’s place south of Portland, Oregon, we continued to talk almost the whole way. We had a fantast weekend with his two girls and three grandsons. On Monday after the kids had gone to school, we got a few games of pinnacle in. Has been years since I played, yet didn’t take long to come back to me.
Had a great visit with cousins who have been a large part of my life. One whole day we sat in the kitchen and talked, it was 2200 that evening when we finally went to bed, yet we never talked the same subject twice. Like the rest of us, they are getting older and I wonder if I will see them again. This is the same thought I have with everyone I visited this trip. We all know there is no guarantee in life, so every time I come over, I take it special, like it is the last time I will see them, until the next.
My best friend in school, who is my best friend in life, got to spend a few days with him and his wife. It never matters how long since we have been together, we can pick up right where we left off from last time. We fall right into life as if we have never been apart. His wife continually made the statement, “Just like having a double here”. I think she never gets over the fact we are two peas in a pod.
Leaving his place, I made the trip back to Idaho on the interstate through the Columbia River Gorge, making a stop in Hermiston, Oregon. Had to visit a Brother from another mother. Those of you who have never been in the military will never understand how this family is, especially this family – we are all 11 series – INFANTRY. Even though many of us have never met, we are tied by the bond of the rifle, the fact that ties us together for the rest of our lives. It was a great time meeting a brother I had never met, then surprised to meet two more. Even though it was the first time we physically have met, we had a bond which can never be broken.
After leaving his place, the drive was fantastic, a clear day. Looking way over to the west north west, I got to see a snow – capped volcano, Mt. Hood sticking up like a guiding beacon. It was beautiful, I have never seen this before. Up over the Blue Mountains, down in to LaGrande. Looking to the mountains to my left, they were all dusted with snow. Climbing Ladd Canyon, I remembered so many times driving truck up this stretch in the snowy, slick winter having to get out and chain up. It was a beautiful day all the way past Baker City, down the Burnt River Canyon to the Snake river, into Ontario, Oregon. Had to take a brief stop to say goodbye to my brother who was getting ready to go elk hunting.
The Treasure Valley, where I grew up, but no longer a home I recognize. It has grown up so much with so many people. After a couple night with a good friend living in Greenleaf, Id, visiting friends, enjoying the great Café in Greenleaf, I went to Boise to get some business done. I drove around the valley some, just looking. Yes, I did get a game of golf in with three guys I didn’t know. They were great to guide me around the course.
One thing I loved, this is the first time since I moved to Denmark I have been back in the fall. I love the fall colors here, one thing I miss in Denmark. I was blessed with fantastic weather, clear sunny days to enjoy the beautiful colors God has blessed the Treasure Valley with. Along with the colors was the smells and sights of fall; Crisp aspens, the sugar beet factory in Nampa, corn in the fields ready for harvest, lawns filled with leaves, empty irrigation canals, the reds, yellows against the green evergreens. Yes, I took pictures, but pictures can never replace what I seen with my eyes and are now burned in my brain.
My last Sunday I drove to the Owyhee Mountains. God blessed Idaho with some of the most fantastic country on earth. My Dad introduced me to this country when I was very small and instantly fell in love with it. I have covered lots of this country horseback. Hunted much more. One has to experience it to really appreciate it. To end a great day, I was blessed to have dinner with many of my school mates. To fantastic ladies, Karen and Becky contacted those still in the Valley and we got together for Mexican food in Caldwell. It was great, lots of stories of our younger years with smiles and laughter. God has truly blessed me with these friends I went to school with. I looked around the table, not seeing the older men and women we are, but the kids of our youth because memories are strong and they never age.
Two days remaining, will spend with my cousins in Boise. When is the next time I get back – who knows. Will everyone I have seen this time still be on this earth – God knows. I am so glad for the memories I have made this trip. The friendships I have renewed. Today it is not like it was 27yrs ago when I moved away. Back then it was snail mail, today we reached “The Jetsons” age, seeing who I talk to, half a world away. Yet there is nothing like being able to see the person, shake the hand, give a hug. After our dinner Sunday we were just standing outside the restaurant, not really talking. I shook hands and hugged around, then we stood there not really wanting the moment to end. Finally, we said our goodbyes again and departed. Love you all!

EXPRESSING FEELINGS

Walking to the airport exit my thoughts were of getting my baggage, contacting my brother so he could drive by and pick me up. All of a sudden a guy moves to my right and a arm goes around me, by brother. What a good surprise. I was not expecting to see him until later. We talked a bit and headed to the baggage claim, retrieved my bags, Larry contacted Sue so she could meet us out front, loaded up and away we went.

Larry said something which stuck with me, something about we were getting older and how much more important it was see each other. I mulled it over and yep, he was right. Both of us are getting older. I remember back in time when I use to see my Dad great his brothers or sisters after not seeing them for a long time. I remember see two older people who’s faces lit up upon seeing each other after a long time.

We have it a little different today. Larry and I communicate almost regularly over the internet. If not by e-mail we do the video talking bit. Hardly ever do we turn on the camera as it is more important just to hear each other’s voice and know we are still alive and kicking.

One thing my brother and I have always had a special relationship. While working as a guide, I gave him my check book to take care of business for me while I was in the back country. I remember telling someone this once and their reply was in shock and how could I just give him total access to my stuff. My reply was, “He is my brother. If I can’t trust him, then I have no one.”

My first day back he took me around to get some business done. I said something about taking time, his reply was: “I don’t care anymore, I am retired.” Wham, that stuck with me. My brother was retired and he is only one year older than me. I guess that means I am not too far behind and both of us are no longer spring chicks. We got some good talking that day and the following day as we drove to his kid’s place in Oregon we talked almost non-stop for two hundred miles.

Getting to his oldest daughter’s place I was met by these two very much grown up guys. Not the same “boys” I had remembered. Tabitha’s two and Traci’s one have all grown up so much I almost never recognized them.

We have had a lot of fun, playing some golf, listening to Gabe, a young man starting a music career. He was kind of put on the spot to play for us and it was tough. I know he was nervous, I remember when I was a kid and my mom wanted me to play for others. I knew what to do and now to do it, but it some how didn’t come out right. That’s OK, I know the more he plays and practices the more he will enjoy (if that is what he wants)and the better he will become.
Family is something, something very precious. I never had kids. My life was too scattered, here, there, impulsive, never really settled down until my later years, then it was too late to start a family. If I had do overs in life I wouldn’t change a thing, because if I did I wouldn’t be me. But through my brother and his family I feel proud to know there is a connection to the future.
Looking at the way his two girls have turned out and in turn see the way Larry’s grand kids are developing into fine young men with good moral standing.
Yea I think back to Larry and I greeting each other at the airport. I didn’t express my feelings as openly as my brother, maybe that is because he has more practice at it than I do, but that doesn’t mean my inner feeling of joy and excitement weren’t there to physically be with my brother after all those years.

I guess maybe I had better get a little more in practice because in a couple weeks I will return home and have to greet my wife and dog whom I will have been away from for three weeks. After all they are MY family and I do miss them very much.