2019 IN REVIEW

I started the year just like a one – legged man in an ass kicking contest, well not completely, just had my left knee replaced November of last year. I was lucky a customer loaned me her stationary bike, so I was doing lots of rehab at home along with going to the local gym to keep the rest of my body in shape. I attended a rehab center near me until the first of February when I got the good to go. Along with this I started some work in the shop, getting my shoe making skills back in shape, swinging the hammer. Physically my hands, arms and body got out of shape for work so needed to get back in shape. Finally my knee was in shape enough to drive, work, and do, so the first of February I started shoeing horses again. I chose the easiest, ones only needing front shoes, those needing just trimming and so I began. Yes, I lost some customers, and really in the end it was a good thing. I now have enough work to keep me busy and allow me to play a little more golf!

Spring and summer rolled around with great golf weather. Had a lot of fun whacking the little white ball. My handicap went down a few points, so guess I am getting better. Jette kept up with her horses. Between horses, Gabby and the house, Jette kept pretty busy. It is nice she doesn’t have to go out to work every day. She also keeps me straight as far as the book work end of my business goes.

This year was different as I went back to Idaho for the first time in the fall since I moved to Denmark. I had forgotten how great the fall colors are, it was beautiful to see. My brother and his wife picked me up at the Boise airport after a very long day’s flight. Thursday, we spent getting some of my business done and getting ready to leave for his kid’s place in Newberg, Oregon. Friday morning early, we departed. Even though we talk often on Skype and e-mail, we talked constantly for the next four hours until we stopped for gas and a bit to eat the west side of Pendleton, Oregon. It was a beautiful, sunny day for a drive and as we entered the Columbia River gorge, Mt. Hood was standing snow – capped, tall in the clear, blue sky. I could write a book about the visit, but I will just say I had a fantastic time with Larry’s kids and grandkids. I was really shocked how much all three of his grandkids have grown. Tabitha, Larry’s oldest daughter hosted us and Traci who lives about 15 minutes away. Traci has a new house and car, great to see her and Gabe are doing so well. I am really proud of Larry for raising two fantastic daughters, who in turn both have fantastic families to be around.

Larry and Sue went home, I rented a car, continuing to visit relatives with whom I spent a lot of time talking and catching up. We keep in contact, but it is never the same as visiting in person. After family, it was time for my best friend Dan and his wife Chris. Also had dinner with a school mate, was geat. Several time Chris would shake her head and say, “Just like having his twin brother here”. I guess it is the fact Dan and I know each other and no matter how long it is between times we see each other, we fall right in step as if we had been together all the time. I do metal work, Dan does wood work, so we hit his shop. Dan set up his lathe and got me to do a project, my first. It came out pretty good. I found lathe work is a lot like my metal work, only faster. We had a great time. Took a couple days see the sights, we went to a couple different places and really had a great time.

Drove the interstate back to Idaho, stopping in Hermiston, Oregon to visit an army buddy. We talk all the time on the net, but was good to shake hands and see the real face. Over the Blue Mountains, past La Grande and Baker City, Ontario and stopped one more time to say goodbye to Larry and Sue. After a couple hours it was to Greenleaf to visit Del, a good friend. We always have a lot to talk about. The next day Del and I visited a couple mutual friends, was good to have a good navigator as so much of the Valley has changed. It is always good to visit Greenleaf. I was a little disappointed as the School (GFA) was closed for a few days. So, it was off to Boise. The weather was great, so I couldn’t resist 18 holes of golf. Booked a tee time at the course near Star, Idaho. They put me with three other guys I never met, but we had a great time. They were great in explaining the course. I didn’t play the best, but had a great time. Sunday afternoon had dinner with a bunch of school mates living in the area. Big thanks to Becky and Karen for contacting everyone and to everyone for coming. Was fun to talk about some of the old school days and times we had together.

Monday was to my cousin’s place in Boise for a couple days. Gary and I took a drive to their place up in the mountains. It was great to see some of my old stomping grounds. After a visit with them it was on the plane and back to Denmark. I needed another week as I was not able to get to Salmon and visit all the people I know there. Work was calling and I had customer’s horses waiting for me.

That’s pretty much our year. My knee has been doing well, I do have some pain in it, but accept it will probably have some. Jette just some good news about a horse she wants to get. One more test to go and if it passes looks like she will be getting another one this spring. Spending some time in the shop and doing a few things around the house, just waiting for the good golf season to get here again. I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I refuse to be politically correct, and if this offends any of you, GREAT, get over it.

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!

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.

COCO

When she came, she was a little ball of fur, but what we got was unexpected. Coco was to be the most independent, self-willed dog we ever had. She was never submissive to an older dog and most of all, she loved to play BALL! Shelia had her hands full keeping Coco in line, but she was a good “mom” and did her best.
From the very start Coco was hole hog when she played, ran or whatever. Coco was a very over active dog. If she was lying down, and Jette or I got up, she was up in a flash with a ball headed to the door. It wasn’t until after she was three or so, when I just moved in my chair, her head would raise up to see what was going on, I’d life my hand, palm facing her, telling her to stay. Soon she learned this and I could get up without her exploding to the door. She would chase a ball and many times end up rolling on the ground with the ball. From the beginning she was very hard on herself, never slowing down, never accept second best, and she was a talker! In her whole life she never showed any pain, as if pain was something she never felt.
When it was time to go for a walk, she was so excited she was jumping up and down, and talking. It wasn’t a bark, more a combination of a bark and a yowl. This was something she never lost. In the mornings when it was time to get up, she started, I never needed an alarm clock. She would coming running upstairs and make sure I was up. She would run down stairs and wait for me, banging away with her tail on everything. She was so happy I was up, her tail going, moving between my legs I could hardly walk. Even if I had to piss like a race horse, I had to take that time to pet her, hundred percent focused only on her. When she was satisfied, outside she’d go, and I got to pee. Coco very rarely licked me, instead if I was lying on the couch she would come up and touch her nose to mine, that was her greeting to me. She knew me and I knew her.
The ball was her lifelong joy and pleasure. No matter the time of day, she loved to play ball. If I was sitting down, she’d come set down with a ball in her mouth. One thing at the beginning I never reached down to pick a ball up, she was so lightening fast she’d nab it in a flash of light, no matter if my fingers were there or not. I learned early to step on the ball first, then she’d back off a bit. But best of all was to have two or three balls at the ready. If she had one in her mouth, she’d cover the second one with her paw, pressing so hard it was almost impossible to get it free.
Yes, Coco was the most challenging dog we ever had, but despite all the problems and such, we loved her very much. The last couple days after her passing, I have found just how empty my life is without her. No more waking me early in the mornings. No more greeting me when I come home. As I said she was very vocal, her special sounds and language – the house is silent now. She knew our routine. She knew when I was going to work. Mornings I’d play a little ball with her, she was so keyed up. All I had to say, was “Bye-bye Coco, I got to go to work”. Immediately she’d drop the ball, come smiling, wagging her tail to me so I could pet her for a while, then it was ok for me to leave. As I would drive off, I’d look back and see her laying in front of the door on her blanket watching me drive off.
I remember when Shelia passed on, Coco grew up over night. From being a puppy to “Head of the house”. For two months she was on her own, but it made no difference to her, she was a little calmer being the only dog, but her love for play and being never changed. When we got a new puppy to replace Shelia, it was a big problem – she wanted to attack her. It was a very difficult, challenging week or so. We couldn’t let both of them free at the same time. We had a divider in the house to separate them and I had to make a fence down the middle of the yard. With them on each side of their yard, she could get use to the new puppy. Finally she gave in and it was ok. I was surprise how submissive she got to Gabby – Coco turned into a puppy again. When Coco came to Gabby she’d automatically wash her face – this never stopped, she continued right to the end.
When we got Coco, Shelia was older and didn’t really play as much with her, now Coco turned into a puppy playing with Gabby. She would lay on her back and allow Gabby to be the “Aggressor”, teaching Gabby how to attack and defend in their play. At first Gabby cared nothing for a ball, but soon she learned from Coco the “Ball” was good. These two would chase each other through the house – around the chairs, under the table. Finally Coco would fall to the floor, roll on her back and allow Gabby to “attack” her at the end.
Yes in a way some of Coco still lives on in Gabby because of all the things Gabby learned from Coco. This is one thing we always liked, how the new one learned from the old one. But Gabby is the wife’s dog, she hangs on her, like Coco hung on me. I love Gabby, but I got a very big empty place I my life with Coco gone as she was my dog. Coco, you will always be missed every time I come home, getup in the mornings, get out of my chair, go out the door. You knew my life, routine, everything. You felt my love for you and gave so much, I will never forget you – even if you were a real pain in the ass. Good-bye Coco (Aug 2013 – Mar 2019), you will forever be missed, and always loved.

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.

2018 in Review

And so another year has slipped by, kind of makes a guy wonder where it all goes.
This year has been good and also different. I really got into the game of golf. If you would have told me a couple years ago I would love the game of golf I would have told you you’re crazy, but it is great. Another reason I took up golf was for the exercise. Since my knees have gotten bad and I knew replacements were needed, I needed the exercise, thus another good reason for golf. I’m not all that great, handicap is 31.5, but I am having a great time. I have also met some really great people on the course as well. In June I went to Sweden to compete in a farrier competition with a good friend, Tom Williams, who competed as well. We just happened to take our golf clubs with us and daily after the competition we hit the course for 18 holes. It was great in Sweden because it didn’t get dark until about 2300hrs, so it was fantastic.
Because of my knees I have cut down on my work. Cutting down has helped a lot. Before I cut down, many nights I’d get home and couldn’t hardly walk, it was a real chore to get up the next morning and go to work. Yes, this year, after playing 18 holes of golf my knees were sore, but it was needed as I had to keep up some good exercise, as we say, “No pain, no gain”.
Before my knee operation I took my annual trip to Portugal. I didn’t get a vacation last year because of my knees, so it was greatly needed this year. It was a good time with mixed weather. Lots of rainy days, but we also had some good weather as well. The most important thing was I had a great time with an old friend.
This knee operation has been the hardest thing I have ever faced. I never really knew what my pain threshold was until now. I’ve walked out of the mountains with broken bones in my foot, worked with broken toes, had horseshoe nails pulled through my body, kicked in the face by horse, but this is the first time my body shut down because of pain, at least that’s what the nurse told me after I passed out the morning after the operation. I’d walked up to get my breakfast and boom, out I went. Later on the nurse proceeded to chew me out for not taking enough pain killers, she then gave me some and I took a trip and never got out of bed. It’s a little over a month ago since the operation. I am now walking most of the time with no crutches, still have some problems sleeping at nights because of the aches in my knee and leg. Before the operation I was hoping for about the first of January to get back to work, but now I think it might be more to the end of January (I hope).
Jette had decided to trade off her truck for a smaller horse transport. Because of all the rules and regulations coming out, it will be much more cost effective to down size. She has also decided to down size on horses as well. I don’t know all the ins and outs of her decision but I also know we are not 30 no more and I have a feeling she wants to cut down on all the work.
Weather this year has been different. Jette said she has never seen a summer so hot and dry as we did this year. Lot of crops dried up, I know our pastures did. Many who have horses and cattle began to use their winter feed during the summer (I know we did). Lot of farmers began to slaughter their cattle early as they couldn’t feed them all winter. Will be interesting to see how things end up this coming spring. We are now into a typical winter. We had a bunch of rain this fall and now we got freezing weather. One thing I have always hated is the long, dark winter days here. It doesn’t really get daylight until the morning is about half over and it gets dark about mid afternoon. I can’t wait until 21 December passes (shortest day of the year). I think it should be a holiday and we can celebrate days are getting longer.
Our two dogs, Coco and Gaby are now sleeping, relaxed as we just got in from our morning game of ball. Being home the past month I take them out and play ball every morning, then go for a walk as the beginning of my rehab training. Jette and I have always had two dogs and love them very much (as we never had kids). They are both very different and special in their own ways.
I am wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I am not politically correct and hope I never am, so if anyone is offended, I really don’t care. You all be good and remember: It is only you who takes the step away from God, He will never step back from you. I hope you all have a great Holiday Season and the coming year if full of joy and love.

OLD YEAR GONE, NEW YEAR BEGINS

So I have once again successfully completed another vacation. Sitting here in the Lisbon airport with a few hours to kill is giving me time to reflect on the passed year. My year begins with the ending of my annual trip to vegetate in Portugal with John. It is a time of reflection, regeneration and just plain whatever. This year’s trip will have a little different meaning for me as when I return, the following Monday will go under the knife for a new left knee. Am I worried about it, apprehensive or scared – not really. I am just put out at myself for falling apart.
You see, my whole life I have been fit as a fiddle, able to do what I wanted, go where I wanted to go and such. Now I find myself acting like the “old” guys I used to see coming to my hunting camps when I was a guide. Or the old guys walking down the street. I used to, well not really think about them, but I would in the back of my mind, without thinking about it, run through my head – “Boy, sure glad I’m not that old guy.” I got out of bed this morning in my hotel room and looked at the person staring back at me and I almost didn’t recognize him. I just stood there for what seemed like hours (actually less than a minute) wondering how I had changed into this old gray bearded, fat guy, instead of what I used to be. I remember back so many years ago, an “old” guy once told me: If you see something is life you want to do, then do it because there will come a day when you won’t be able to, and if you didn’t, you’ll look back and say, I wish I’d have done that. Well most of my life I have always taken that chance, gone out on a limb and tried something different. I look back and I have had a good life. I have had many great opportunities and gone ahead with them – it has been fun.
I got paid to do things many people pay to do. Being a professional guide was good. It was a lot of work. I remember so many good times, fun times. There were also many long days, hard work. Times where it was cold, wet and I wondered if it was worth, but that thought only lasted about two seconds – even on a bad day (which there never really were).
Growing up I used to hear: Join the Navy – See the world. Well I joined the Army Reserve and have seen more places in the world than I ever thought I would. Yes, may times it wasn’t that great vacation place, but many times I got to visit history, to see where history was made, to walk in the steps of men who’d gone before me I had only read about
I have meet people from all over the world. This morning I had breakfast with a former princess of Russia – Anastasia ( we laughed about that one). She was a beautiful 24yr old gal living in Moscow who have been in Lisbon for an international web seminar. She came from a small island in the northern Pacific, attended university in Moscow, went to work for Microsoft, but now has her own business. Before her I shared a cup of coffee with a great young man from Spain who had also attended the same event. He was great to talk with. Having the chance to meet and talk with people from all over the world lets me expand my knowledge and vision.
But the thing I am most thankful for is the beginning I had. My brother and I were adopted, and the people who wanted us were the best in the world. I was give fantastic values and a direction in life. I had a great life where I learned as a very young kid what hard work was and to accept responsibility. I learned early life wasn’t always a bed of roses and I wouldn’t always get what I wanted, but I would have what I needed. So many times our wants out race our needs and when it come down to it, our needs are very small compared to what we really think. I also learned after I left home, two things I never ask God for – a place to say and something to eat. God provides this for the birds of the air, so I knew and have always had faith these two things would always be provided to me. I may not have always had the best place to stay, nor the fancy foods to eat, but I have never needed.
So now I begin a new year, and it will be interesting to see how this one turns out.

HOW I SEE LIFE

John and I just got back from our traditional “dining out”. Once again a fantastic meal, but it is more than just the food. It is a great time for us to sit, enjoy a good house wine, superb food and no dishes to do(I always do the dishes here, but don’t ever tell my wife!!)
As we ended a fantastic meal, (all meals here begin with wine, bread and olives), John and I have had some great time for reflection. Even though we grew up in two different parts of the States, we grew up the same – same values of life. Something I have come to accept, I am a citizen of the world. In other words, I make due where ever I am.
They say home is where the heart is. Idaho will always be home for me, I will always miss the mountains, rivers, hunting, fishing, friends and family, but I also accept the fact I am where I am and there are also good things here as well.
There are no mountains in Denmark, to me hunting and fishing are way below second rate, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good things in Denmark. I have found many good things and friends there. In fact some of my friendships have let me to other countries and adventures which I would have never experienced had I not moved to Denmark.
John and I were beginning our last meal at a local place we enjoy going, not because the food is great, but the owner is always full of smiles and grace(but the food is fantastic as well). It truly shows she cares about what she serves and her customers. The food is worth waiting for(we don’t have to) and I I always insist we stop there at least a couple time when I am down.
While there we get to reminisce about army meals, those of the C-rat type. John got the earlier versions than I did, even though he was in Vietnam, he got many of the Korean war era, where I was graced with Vietnam era rats. Then I will never forget the dehydrated pork patties in the first MREs issued.
When I left Idaho it was December 1992, time stopped for me – music, TV, most everything American. To prove it, in 2013 I was driving from Nampa to Caldwell. Now I know that road is straight between, but I got lost! Half way between I didn’t recognize anything – I didn’t know where I was. Finally I came to the “out skirts” of Caldwell and I knew where I was. I was a little shocked, amazed and bewildered. I truly knew I didn’t belong there. So where do I belong?
I guess that depends on where my hat is hanging. I’ve got 25 yrs in Denmark now. Is that home – good question. I don’t consider myself Danish, I still have an American passport. When I visit John in Portugal I feel at home there as well. The first year I was here to visit, John took me down and I got a “Fiscal” number, which is kind of like a residence number. Today I wouldn’t be able to get one. But I am a planner, I never leave a stone unturned. I now have another option to my life if I so choose. I know my wife would never leave Denmark, but what if something happened to her? What would I do? Good question. In life we always need to plan for the “unforeseen” , the thing which might happen but probably won’t. If we go through life thinking everything is cut in stone we will be surprised, maybe get a rude awaking we don’t want.
I guess for me I will always be flexible, able to overcome and adapt. Almost sounds like I believe in evolution??!!

VACATION REFLECTIONS AND REALITIES

It’s midday Monday, over half way into my vacation, so thought it was a good time for a little reflection – seeing how it is raining today and we can’t get out to do some of the things we planned.
It has been great. No vacation last year as I had an arthroscopic surgery on my right knee about this time last year. So I began into this long drawn out process of getting knee replacements as both needed it. I got screwed out of an operation last year because a stupid doctor has his head stuck up his third point of contact. My doctor and the surgeon who did the arthroscopic both were amazed he wouldn’t do the replacement. So after a summer of knowing pain personally, I will get the first one done this coming Monday, waiting until next winter to get the second one done.
The area here where John lives went through a fire last year. Much of the area around here he lives was burned with many families losing their homes, getting out with only the clothes on their backs. As we drove through the town of Serpins, a year later one could still see the scars remaining. Luck have it, Serpins was not destroyed, but many villages were. Serpins was lucky as much of the town is back to normal, but you can see many of the cork trees are black, yet they are hearty enough to survive, while most of the pines, and other species are standing dead, only to be later cut down for firewood or pulp. As we drove around the area I could see the surviving corks with their black bark but nice green leaves.
John was lucky, the fire burned up to within a hundred meters or so of his village, it was stopped because one of the villagers who is retired was able to call in a few favors and get enough support to stop it. It was tough as the village is on a slope and the draw below them had a chimney effect, pulling the fire towards them. He and along with many were evacuated while the wrath of the fire raged through the country side. Many who lost everything had insurance, while the majority didn’t, having to start again from virtually nothing. From what I have read and talked to the people around, it is once again all about the money involved in timber, mainly eucalyptus which is a very oily tree and every year sheds its bark leaving piles of this oily substance lying all over the forest’s floor. Large industrial forests have sprung up of eucalyptus because it is a fast growing tree and the pulp and paper industry want it for their products. It would cost vast amounts of money for the forest floor to be cleaned according to local and national laws, thus many believe the fires were not started by natural causes, read the below article: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4626896/Portuguese-fire-started-criminal-hand.html
Whether this can be proven or not, there is a lot of blindness in the government in complying to laws.
Normally I don’t get too much into political subjects in my blogs, but as it has directly affected lives of people I know and many around them, I felt I needed to say something.
Well by now the sun has started to peak out a bit, so will get out and try to do a couple things. I will be leaving this great vacation place Thursday morning, headed for Portugal, to play 18 holes of golf, if the weather is permitting. Then back to Denmark on Friday, winding up some business on Saturday and then Monday, I start to become the bionic man (I wish).

JOHN’S TV

I thought I needed to explain “TV” to some people. The first year, 2007 I was in Portugal, my friend stated his fireplace was his TV, so thus while there it is standard practice to refer to his fireplace(in the kitchen) as the TV. There are many benefits to this type of TV which the normal person will never know or experience. Thus I hope to open the eyes of many and expand your minds just a bit. So from now on when referring to TV, it is the fireplace.
First one up in the morning turns on the TV. The water pot is set on to make coffee or tea while the morning chores are done. When we are ready so is the water, no wasted time. We sit back enjoying that first cup of the day staring straight ahead into the screen.
Now let me ask you, how many you have a TV you can make your coffee on? It also provides warmth and you can get rid of your trash paper in it. Sure you need to get up once in a while to feed it, but you also got to get up to take a piss, get a drink, something to eat no matter what type of TV you are watching.
Last night for example, I cooked some great pork chops on the TV. Just before, John set the pot of taters on to boil. While we were eating had a pot of water getting warm to wash dishes. How many of you have such versatile TV?
Also we have no commercials, no ads and we don’t have to worry where the remote is, if the remote batteries go dead or if the power goes out! Yes we do have sound effects, depending on the type of wood we use in the TV depends on the noises. Really dry pine produces the old Snap, Crackle, and Pop. Eucalyptus, if not completely dry will sizzle and hiss, you can also see the water boiling out the ends. Oak lasts a long time as does chestnut. Last night we cooked chops over wet grapevine, what a fantastic flavor. See our TV is great, not like yours, which you can only turn on and off, and besides so much of the programming today is crap (oh yea, we can burn that in ours as well)
John’s TV is never out of date. It never needs a software upgrade. Yea, I guess we could get a bigger model but that is not necessary for full effect or enjoyment. We can dry clothes on our TV and even flick cigar ashes in our3s (just try that with yours).
I bet there is a lot of you who pay big money to visit a shrink! We don’t need one. Usually a couple evening with our TV and we got the problems of the world solved. Yes for this step it does good to have “qualified” friends present like, Jack, Jim, or Johnny. As of lately Jack has been present at most of our therapy sessions. Our TV somehow seems to make their presents a little more smooth. You need to give this a try sometime.
Yep, tonight after the dishes are done, we’ll turn out the lights, stoke up the TV, invite Jack for a visit and just vegetate. I’ll look over at John and ask him, “I wonder what all the common folk are doing tonight?”