TRIP BACK IN TIME

Tuesday I got done late with my last horse. Just rounding a turn in the road here was a 1959 Chevy Apache Fleetside sitting in a guy’s front yard staring me in the face. I just had to back up and take a picture. As I backed up, here the guy was looking over his yard fence. I yelled out, “Great looking Chevy”. He started out the yard gate so I parked, got out, we shook hands and started to talk. He gave me the low down on how he acquired it and told me about a get together of American car owners in the area. Of course I had to tell him my Dad owned a Chevy Apache, which we used on the farm, and how I learned to drive in it. I then went to talk about my first car – 1969 Chevy Camaro. Finally I had to go, so we shook hand and off I went. Now my drive home was a trip back in memory lane.
It was metallic purple with black interior. When I got finished I had rebuilt the top end with a 4 barrel carb, new headers, high lift cam, you know, all the goodies needed to get some more horses under the hood. I only had a 283, but I got as much power as I could get from it. Bought a set of deep dish slotted steel wheels (chrome finish), L60’s for the rear, 70’s for the front. Air ride shocks all around. Inside I decked it out with a brand new Craig eight track power play, with Pioneer speakers, two almost filling the back deck. I was real proud of this car. Also I had my CB radio mounted under the dash, my handle was “Purple Pirate”.
My best friend Dan had a ’68 Malibu. We soon learned girls took money away from the things we “needed”, plus it was much more fun “cruising “ down town Boise without gals, also a lot cheaper! One weekend I would drive my car, Dan would buy the food and drinks. The next weekend he would drive his car and I would buy. Great deal and was a fantastic time.
It was the ‘70s. The movie “Happy Days” had played and the TV series of the same name was still playing. Down town Boise was the place to be on a warm summer Saturday evening. There were two, main one-way streets at that time. Both streets would be lined with people, teenagers, young adults to watch the cars cruise the streets. Every once in a while a couple would line up and drag from stop light to stop light. I never remember any trouble, everyone was there for a good time. It was a fantastic time to grow up, have a great car and enjoy a good summer weekend.
It was usually after midnight when Dan and I would head home. On the way many times we’d stop at the Hong Kong in Nampa. One time we ordered a meal for “4”. The waitress didn’t want to order it for us, but we said we’d pay the rate for 4. She looked at us kind of strange, especially when Dan ordered extra portions of hot mustard for the pork & seeds. Later on as we sat back, after finishing a Chinese meal for “4”, the waitress came and shook her head in disbelief.
Yes, those were the care free days of our youth. Later on after Dan moved back, south of Portland, Oregon, I made a trip out after rebuilding my engine. I got it tuned up on the way out. I told Dan to find a good, straight road with no traffic, I wanted to see how fast she would go. The speedometer went to 140mph and I pegged it, so I figured it was fast enough.
I turned into my drive way, looking up I can see my dog Gabby came out to greet me as usual – back to reality. Slowing driving my VW Transporter up to the parking spot I collected my computer, phone, work calendar, opened the door and was greeted by a good looking dog. We gave our greeting and headed for the house. Yep, I’m back to reality, but it is sure great to have those memories in my head and get something to trigger them every once in a while, just so I don’t forget them.

MY RYDER CUP

Competed in my first match play game of golf – it was fantastic. I thought being hooked on golf was something, but now I have discovered match play. This is where handicap has no play, you against the other guy, counting strokes to win a hole. Whoever wins the most holes wins the match.
I couldn’t believe how good I played, yea if I could reach around I would pat myself on the back! I believe it brought out the best play in me because I was counting not only my strokes, but his as well. My short game was almost perfect. I only really screwed up a couple long chip-ins, and one of my short chips. If I screwed up, had a bad shot, then I would start thinking, “Ok he’s a stroke ahead, where can I make it up”. I found myself focusing more on the ball when shooting, thus getting more good shots. For example: One par five was about a forty five degree bend to the right. My tee shot was way too much to the right, just about inside the trees. I looked at my opponent’s ball, he was sitting good in the middle of the fairway, crap, I was going to get a shot behind getting around the corner – unless I could go over the trees. The only problem was there was a little tree almost in my way, I looked at it and thought if I got a good shot I could make it – go for it. I got my hybrid 4, picked my direction and thought, “Watch the ball, rotate the body, now hit the ball.” I did, a good shot, I could feel the solid whack and hear the sound as well. It climbed over the trees, I watched I could see it bounce on the fairway, I did it. That was my second shot. My third shot I landed on the green, but rolled just across to the other side. Now I had about a 12-14 meter putt. My opponent hit the bunker and had to get out, now I was a stroke ahead. My putt was good, I was short, about two feet from the hole. My next shot was in – par. I won the hole all because I took the chance.
I had some bad shots as well. One hole (par 5) I duffed my tee shot, lucky enough it ran a ways, but I was only half way to my opponent’s ball. My next shot with my fairway wood I topped the ball and watched as it just went over a little rise – directly for a ditch crossing the fairway! I just knew I lost my ball. My opponent was sitting great, he took his next shot and came to help me look for my ball. He found it just about a foot below the edge of the ditch, playable but tough. I took my sand wedge, tried my best to get a good footing on the side of the ditch, whack, amazingly enough it popped out about 30 meters forward. I was relieved, he was a stroke ahead. We both got on the green. I missed, he went in. I lost the hole, but just had to putt the ball in for a finish to a bad hold.
Lots of give and take, him winning a hole, me winning it back, coming even on many holes. I won the first two holes outright. We tied the next couple. I won another couple, only first dropping a hole on the eighth. I wasn’t keeping score, and I wasn’t keeping count of how many we tied, but I was keeping track of my wins. Finally after hole 17, as he picked up after I holed my ball, he stuck out his hand and said, “Congrats, you won”. I must have looked surprised because he repeated it. I stuck out my hand and said thanks, then I remembered I screwed up – forgot to take my hat off (guys must do), so I apologized, removed my had, stuck out my hand and did it right. He then said, “Shall we play the last hole just for fun?”, of course I said, after all I have no idea when I will play this course again. So we played the last hole, not keeping track of strokes.
I know it’s not the same, but I understand how the guys playing the Ryder Cup must feel when they win a match! Yea, for me there was no crowds, no big prize (in fact it cost me to win, I had to buy his first drink), but this was my first match play game and I had WON, bringing home a win for my team. I was on cloud nine. I just wanted to jump up and down and shout to the world, but I didn’t, somehow I remained proper and respectable. Afterwards the opposing team had food ready, all I had to do was buy my opponent his first drink (their rules), I didn’t mind. This first win ranks right up there with the first deer I ever shot, the first saddle bronc I came out on, calling in a bull elk within about 10 meters. Yea, it is one for the memory books.

BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN

Finally, after a long winter I am back to work and play! 12 November last year I received a new left knee. It wasn’t major surgery, but it is taking a long time to recover. Even now I am not up to full work, only about half time, but it is great to get out of the house. Worst part is I got my two dogs spoiled. They now think every morning I should devote at least twenty minutes or so playing ball, then every afternoon the same.
I was given an injection in my back, deadening me from the waist down, so I was able to hear the entire operation. Saw, grinder, hammer, chisel and staple gun. I figured out I got all the tools for to do the right knee, just need to contact my local vet to see about getting some drugs.
The guy in the bed next to me had his right knee done right after me. Later in the afternoon he suggested we take a walk, so we got our walkers, threw a robe on and headed for the elevator, down and out side. It was great to get some fresh air, my partner needed a smoke. Was a good walk, best part my left leg was still dead – then it woke up.
Didn’t get much sleep that night. They gave me some pain pills, but they did no good. The one thing that helped was ice. I kept the nurses busy all night getting cold packs which was great. The next morning the nurse told me I could take my walker, go up the hall to where they had breakfast ready. I got my walker started out. I got about three quarters of the way there and all of a sudden started to feel funny, oh no, so I backed my walked up to the wall, set the brakes, turned around, sat down and passed out. I woke up with four or five nurses standing around me, I was still sitting. They had my bed there and got me back in. The nurse in charge of me asked if I was in pain, I said yes. She asked if I had taken any pain pills, I said just what they gave me. She asked why I didn’t say something. I told her what was pain? I have lived with pain, worked with broken bones so I just dealt with it. Now she really got pissed off. She said this was the reason I passed out because my body said enough and just shut down. They got me back to my room and gave me two little blue pills. I guarantee I took a trip and never left my bed!
The other thing which helped me get through the long night was I thought ahead, brought the charger for my mobile phone. I knew they had free internet, so I was able to plug in a couple of my favorite talk radio stations, KBOI and KFSO – great listening to talk radio to help pass the time of night. First time I was thankful for a smart phone.
Getting into the car for the ride home was tough, but great to get out of there. I will have to say the food was good. Jette fixed up the couch/sofa in the office for me to sleep at nights so I didn’t have to go up stair. She was great in support. Guess the best part is for the first time since I have been living here she fixed breakfast for me. Not a real breakfast, just the Danish type, but who am I to complain. Probably the best for me, as if I’d had a real breakfast every morning I’d have gotten real fat! Even now she still does it for me, so no complaints here!
After the New Year, I started riding out with another farrier a couple days a week, just to get out of the house (I think Jette was glad as well). Twice a week to the rehab center plus the stationary bike one of my fantastic customers loaned me, I put myself to work. As the old saying goes, “No pain, no gain”, I must have gained a whole lot. Having our riding hall was great as well. During rainy weather I was able to get out and walk without getting soaked. January I also got access to my shop to train up my hands, arms and muscles for work. Then came the first of Feb – back to work.
It was tough the first few horses and I am so thankful to my customers for being very understanding. I also want to thank all the other farriers who supported me and cared for my customer’s horses. Everyone I have been out to has been so supportive and glad I am back. I enjoy getting back to work on their horses, we talk, have some coffee and a general good time while I am working.
Yea, I have lost some customers. Some have taken on the farrier they had do their horse, well that’s their choice and I respect it. What I don’t respect is the fact some have refused my calls, text messages and such. I don’t know what is so hard about telling me they took someone else – people.
Best of all I have been able to hit the golf course again, started out doing a few swings and such. This past Friday I did my first 18 holes, the longest I have walked since the operation. Yea I was pooped, in fact I was kind of struggling through the back nine, but I wanted to complete it. I played probably the worst game I ever played, but a good score wasn’t the goal. Goal was completing the course. My body was so sore afterwards, but I was surprised my knee wasn’t swollen more than normal. In two weeks my course opens up and I know I will be struggling as it is pretty hilly, but looking forward to it. Saturday a friend and I played around a nine hole course. It was flat and not as long as a regular 18 hole course so we went around twice. I actually played pretty good.
By no means am I to full speed but I am gaining every day. I will be increasing my work as time goes along as well as my golf game. Best thing is spring is just about here, longer, warmer days to play more golf. My rehab instructor told me golf was a great sport to play as it is one where I can go at my own speed. I am also looking forward to the point in time when all the pain and swelling are gone. I was told before the operation it could last six to eight month afterwards, so I am still ignoring the pain. Best part is everyone I have talked to say after the first few months they are so glad to have had the operation. This is the time I am looking forward to.

YA EVER JUST WONDER?

Do you ever wonder “Why”? Being down here in Portugal, my mind has had ample time to vegetate. I have thought back on many things – for instance: Why do we need to know how long ago and why the universe started?
On the boob tube there’s a program on the National Geographic channel I watch about this subject. “They” tells us many millions of billions of years ago all of a sudden there was this BOOM, the big bang which started the world. From what I gather there are lots of people who have been given lots of money to figure this out, but what for? Why is this information important to you or me? I mean, who could really give a rats behind how the world started?
Now I grew up in the church, I have faith in God and I believe God is responsible for the creation of the world and everything here in. In accepting this, people don’t have to spend so much money, hire so many people to figure out how the universe started, we just accept it for fact. Now if you read Genesis 1:1 and 2, King James version, it reads: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
To me this sounds like the beginning of the universe and we didn’t have to spend so much money to find this out. The thing with we people our thinking is so limited. We think in terms of time, and guess what? – God is not limited.
I wonder if the high powered guys learning about the big bang ever wondered if it was God who allowed the “big band” to create the world. Ask any of them they can’t tell you where the big bang came from. Ask any of them if they believe in Newton’s third law of Motion – For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So tell me what was the action which caused the big bang? I bet they will look at you with a blank stare, not knowing how to answer it.
I remember as a kid being taught God created the world and everything in six days and He rested on the seventh. So tell me, how long is a day to God? We really don’t know. Ya think it might be something like a hundred millions of our human years?
We can’t deny the existence of the dinosaurs, we got the bones and such to prove them and how many millions of years old are they, When the Bible was written back in those days, they didn’t know how to explain many of the things we look at today and are able to explain through science.
The other thing science can’t explain is “How did life start?”. Well it just started they will say. They will talk about the spark of life, but where did this spark come from? I like how they explain how water came to earth by comets and such, yes this is practical. I have seen how they explain how the planets were formed, water came to the earth (evolution), but where did the spark of life come from? Where did the seeds for plants come from? Here we got them stumped.
I guess what I am getting to is: the more science tries to prove the start of the universe, our planet and lives, the more they are proving God did what the Bible said he did. All you got to do is point out Newton’s third law, and ask them what caused the big bang – after all, in their own thinking, nothing just happens.

TIME MACHINE

The fire was crackling due to the pine wood burning. Dinner dishes done, and now am kicked back with a glass of wine, not thinking, just looking at the shadows dancing around the kitchen caused by the flames of the fireplace. Later on as I got up, I realized what the fireplace was and what had just happened – it is a time machine and I had just come back from a trip in the past.
I found myself, a ten year old kid sitting on a Ford tractor mowing hay. I just heard a clunking sound, so stopped the engine, put the mower in neutral, and hopped off to inspect the sickle which moved back and forth against the fixed teeth to cut the grass. Yep, one was missing, so I started back to see if I could find it. After a search and coming up empty handed I went to the tool box which was bolted to the rear wheel fender, pulled out a new blade, two rivets and a couple hammers. Getting the sickle positioned just right, I set the new blade in place, inserting a rivet. I placed one hammer on the bottom to support it and slowly began to tap the top with the round face of the ball peen hammer. I was careful not to tighten too much to begin with so I could get the second rivet started. After both were lightly secured in the holes, I then increased my strokes to tighten the rivets. Back up on the tractor, starting the engine, putting the mower in gear, I once again started cutting hay.
I next found myself much older, teenager. It was a cool cloudy morning, and I was walking in a bent over crouching position, approaching a ditch bank. Looking to my left I could see my brother Larry was also in this position I am holding a Winchester Model 42, 410 pump shotgun. Larry has a double barrel 16 gauge – we are jump shooting ducks. We don’t talk to each other because we don’t have to. We have hunted with each other for so long we know what each other is going to do. Larry is right handed, I am left, so there was never any problem carrying our shotguns in a safe manner. I am set, I look at Larry, he nods his head and up we go, shotguns shouldered and at the ready. The canal explodes, greenheads fighting to flee, but with two blasts from each of us, we see four ducks plummet to the ground.
The sun is shining and the wind is blowing in my face. Looking forward I can see the long straight stretch of the Jordan Valley Highway begging me to open up my 1974, 750cc Honda. Starting down the hill I crank the throttle wide open. As the bike leaped forward I feel a set of arms grip me even tighter – oh, yeah, almost forgot I had a gal on back. I’d met this classy gal at work and got the nerve to ask her out for a ride. As we both worked the midnight shift at Simplot, even on a work day we could still take the fifty mile right to Jordan Valley for dinner and make it back before work time. I could tell she was snug up tight with her head looking over my shoulder. We reached the bottom of the hill and the bike was still increasing speed, glancing at the gauge I could see we were doing a 120 miles per hour, what a rush. Inspecting the road ahead, no cars approaching us, but there was this large black object in the road and I wondered what it was. We were moving so fast, my thoughts were only in split seconds. I kept looking at it, all of a sudden I realized what it was, a golden eagle! Holy Crap – and in nothing flat we are on it. As we approached the eagle leaped into the air. We were too close, I braced for impact, my heart was pounding so hard I thought it was coming out of my chest. Just then I see its wing tips brush my windshield. The adrenalin is flowing, I can feel my whole body shaking. I know if I have to stop and put my legs down to steady my bike they will collapse. I am once again breathing, looking at the speedometer I am now doing 60. What a rush.
I am standing in the “Rat” boat. It’s a jet boat, powered by a 454 hp Ford engine. My left hand is on the throttle, the “stick” is in my right. I look to my right and see Judy, standing with her feet braced holding on with both hands. We are headed up the main Salmon River, approaching Rainier Rapids! This was my very first time to run this part of the river. Al Giles, who was driving the lead boat had stopped earlier, I pulled alongside, he jumped in, Judy hopped out and he now guided me though the rapids. We stopped at the bottom, Al pointing out the rocks and the path I need to take. He took control and ran it a couple times, then it was my turn. Coming back to Al’s boat at the bottom of the rapids, he jumped out and Judy hopped back in. “Are you sure you want to ride with me”, I ask her. She just smiled and shook her head yeah. Hammer down the “Rat” boat jumps forward and I got the path in my sights. At this water level there is a giant wave with a curl on top I have to go over. This wave is alive and always slightly changing, so I need to hit it just right in order to clear it without getting soaked. As I reach about three quarters up the wave, it changed, I get it wrong. The bow of my boat disappears as the curler crashes down on the bow deck of my boat. Even though we got a windshield, Judy and I are both soaked. The control stick is almost ripped out of my right hand and I fight to keep the boat straight in the wave, as Al said this was the most important thing – get sideways and the boat gets swaped. I ram the throttle all the way forward and we fly over the top, too much power. The jet comes out of the water, momentarily losing some forward movement this allows the boat to slam down in the water, once again soaking the two of us. As I approach the slack water above the rapids everyone in Al’s boat are laughing at me and Judy. Yep, we look like two drowned rats, but we made it.
I reach down with my right hand, lift the glass of golden liquid to my lips – Jack. Looking at the fire, I wonder where the time machine will take me next.

GOLF AND HUNTING

I finally figured out why I like golf so much – it is so much like hunting you wouldn’t believe it!
Who else gets up early before daylight to get to their favorite spot? This morning I had a tee time for 0800, so I got to the golf course about an hour early to warm up, it was blacker than all get out. Pulling in I was thinking I’d be the only one there, yet there was already a vehicle parked. After parking I got out walked to the club house to get my score card and used the latrine, coming out I noticed another vehicle was parked as well and now two guy were walking up with their golf carts in tow. I figured they had the tee time ahead of me, wrong, they were 30 minutes ahead of me, litterly the crack of dawn. It was at that moment I realized hunting was the same as golf. Yep, early, first thing in the morning is the best time to start a game of golf, just like hunting, ya got to get there early,
In both skill with the weapons is essential whether it be a rifle or a club. The object of both is to make the precise shot on the animal or getting your ball in the hole. Making a clean shot is imperative, like getting the ball in the hole in the least number of strokes possible. Completing this mission of each is enthralled with similar tasks. Let’s look at golf from a hunter’s prospective.
Your game (objective) is a few hundred meters in front of you – the hole. You have spotted the flag or know where it is by the map you have studied – it is now time for the stock. In hunting you study the terrain and lay out a route to your prey. In golf it is the same before you tee off, hoping to get the ball going in the right direction, planning where you want to place your ball and then begin the tracking (hitting the ball) process. Sometimes you hit your ball a little off to one side or the other, getting into the rough (long grass), maybe into a hedge row, trees or whatever – here’s where the trailing and tracking skills come in. You know about where the ball landed, so now you look for clues, trails in the grass, marks on the ground, patches of white sticking out. With great hunter tracking skills you find the once thought lost ball thus saving yourself penalty strokes, or you have re-acquired your game, the hole. The stalk to your game is treacherous, filled with obstacles, sand traps, water, ditches, trees, all designed and put in your way to make you fail. I the golfer am pitting my skills against the course as I did the animal in the hunt.
As I am slowly planning my approach to the hole (the game), I am assessing which club I must use, how hard I must hit it, which direction according to wind, slope of the ground, is it dry or wet. Even with the best planed hit of the ball, everything can go wrong, I can fail to rotate my body, watch the ball, slightly move my body up or down causing me to dig too deep in the ground or hitting the top of the ball. This is like sighting the rifle: relax, breath, aim and squeeze the trigger – even doing all those right, did I judge the wind and angle correctly? Did I judge the movement of the animal correctly according to the loaded ammunition I am using?
I make my final assault on the green, I’ve judged the wind, correct direction, power of my stroke for the golf club selected and plop the ball goes on the green, but the hunt isn’t over. Even in the final moments of the hunt the elk can smell you, see you, sense you, and even through no fault of your own rely in his natural survival senses bolt back into the brush leaving you high and dry – thus the green is the final survival skill of the hole: what is the slope, is it wet or dry, has it just been cut and rolled, is it fast or slow, all these things the hole is using against me to insure I don’t get my ball sunk under the prescribed number of hits. But like the hunter if I have judged everything correctly, had good shots throughout the course, read the elements correctly I will achieve my goal – the hole under the prescribed number of strokes.
And you know the best part? After a round of golf I can sit down and have a beer, but of course after a hunt I did have meat for the freezer – which I must say, I don’t think a golf ball tastes good.

6 JUNE

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!

MEMORIAL DAY, 2017

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.

2016 IN REVIEW

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.

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!