BACK IN TIME

This morning was a trip down memory lane. Last night got a call from Jonna McCabe, she has a western training stable about an hour and fifteen minutes north of me. I remember the time, many years ago she first called me. Her current farrier was no longer able to take care of business and ask if I wanted to. I told her I would drive up and we could talk about it, so we had our interview, I agreed and our working relationship began.

I don’t remember how many horses she had as the time, but there were days I felt the list was as long as my arm. Along with the western training she also had riding school, so I would also be taking over the riding school horses as well. It was a fair about of work for me to take on, plus it was way out from my usual working area. My biggest concern was giving the service I wanted to give, if they lost a shoe, something came up before a show or whatever, but I figured I could handle it. I got her address plugged into my GPS, so no matter where I was, I could always find the shortest route there (used it a few times).

I had a few individual customers who were into reining and the western world. I had attended a couple clinics in the States solely on shoeing reining/western horses so I felt I could handle the work. Along with this, I ordered a couple videos from one of the top notch western farriers so I could review things as needed, they were a great help as well. My biggest problem I soon found out was scheduling. With so many horses I needed to be there every 7-10 days. Working in with my current clients was a job. I quickly learned what to do: I got my calendar, sat down with Jonna, we worked out our schedule for an entire year! Yes, there were still a few dates to clean up, ones around shows and such, but it worked out just great. Best thing was I never took a summer vacation, it was the middle of my high season. I always waited until winter time when things were a little slower.

Sometimes the work was almost more than I could handle. One time she took on an additional trainer, so this almost added a third more horses I was required to do. I was lucky in some respects as I had set my Fridays as my optional work day, so I was able to use it as needed with her. She also had a place for me to stay, so sometimes it was a two day event. In the beginning it was before my computer days, billing was all hand written. Jonna always provided me with owners addresses and such. I would set in her kitchen writing out bills, she would hand deliver to them, worked great for me. She told me right from the start if I ever had a problem with payment just let her know. I never really had a big problem, maybe a few times she had to step in, which I promptly received my money.

Soon we were in a routine, we had my parking place (inside) worked out, work area set, so each time I arrived I opened the door, drove in, set up and ready for work. I knew the times they fed, turned horses out, so her stable help and I worked together as to not get in each other’s way. In my work area was a chalk board with a list of horses needing done. With me being there so much I soon got the horses worked into a schedule. Many times I never did all four hooves at the same time. Depending on the horses, what they did, set their schedule. Once Jonna was comfortable with my work and how I did things, I soon had a fixed schedule for each horse. In my daily calendar I would write each horse’s name, and what I did, this way I could always look back and double check each horse. This made it great for scheduling them as well as billing. Even today I still use the old fashion paper calendar to schedule. You have no idea how many customers contact me saying their telephone has messed up and they lost their appointment date. I like it also, it is so easy to review the year.

Jonna was great to work for (except when we got to butt heads once in an while). After I was set up, I went into the kitchen where she and her staff were usually having breakfast. I would grab a cup of coffee and get any special instructions (having already done a once over on the list), or if I had any questions. After coffee it was nose to the grindstone. I never looked at the clock, just worked. Sometime later I would look up and head in for a cup of coffee. If no one was there, no problem, if coffee wasn’t made no problem – I learned where the fixins were, I was expected to make coffee, especially if I took the last cup! After the day’s work, Jonna and I sat down maybe had a bite and did the billing. After I got my computer program, she then provided all customer info which made things easier. Sometimes if I received an emergency call, after doing the work, there might be supper. I remember her doing Thanksgiving (the only ones I ever had here in Denmark) dinner, she was a class act. Yes I was always on call for shows, when she had shows at her place I was there, usually spending the night nearby ( her place was real busy so I never stayed there during a show). Jonna made the statement a lot, “I got to take care of my farrier”. She understood how important my service was to her work, which in turn I gave her my best service (which I do to all my good customers).

Yes, there was some driving involved. Traffic in some places was terrible. There were a few winters the roads were really bad. Denmark, in the winter time uses lots of salt on the roads, thus they have lots of problems with black ice, the salt melts, runs off, roads are wet and then freeze back (they have yet to discover the advantages of sand, which works longer). Yet through it all I had a great working relationship with Jonna and her customers. They learned to value my opinions and trust my work.

But then I began to have problems, my body started to tell me I wasn’t a young guy any more. During the last year I worked there, I was wearing knee braces. Every time I returned home from Jonna’s, just to get to sleep it was 2-3 very strong pain pills just to get relaxed. I ended up going to the doctor’s to get looked at. I learned the cartilage in my knees was gone and needed replaced. I had orthoscopic surgery on my right knee. After the operation the doc came in, showed me some pics, revealing the bare bone in my knee. He said he might have taken care of 10% of my problem, but I required knee replacement. I got home, told my wife. At that time she said, “Don’t you think it is time to let Jonna’s place go?” She knew how much pain I was in when I got back from every appointment. I said yes. I broke the news to Jonna. It was hard to give up such a good place, good customers, but my body was telling me I wasn’t that young guy anymore and needed to slow down. I helped Jonna find a new farrier she is happy with. I was with him a day, explaining some of the horses and we worked together on many of them.

Last night I received a call, looked at the name popping up on the screen, it was Jonna. My first words were, “What the heck are you calling me for”? She laughed, expecting nothing less in the greeting. She asked how my golf was and how I was doing, then she hit me, with “Are you still shoeing horses?”, to which I replied, “When I need to.” She then explained her farrier was on vacation and had a couple horses needed quick attention due to a clinic this weekend. I am guessing she remember I kept Fridays free for emergencies and took the chance. So here I am at the coffee shop where I used to stop and read and write because I usually got here early to beat the traffic. Had a lot of time to think on the drive up. Many good memories, lots of work. Will be good to have a cup of coffee with them again. Guess the old man is up to bat, so better get to work.

NO FREE LUNCH

I may be over thinking the situation, I may be looking at the negative side of the over all picture, but I do believe in the 6 “Ps”: Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance!!!

Who ever wins the election this fall – we probably have lost. By we I mean the American People. If the Democrats/leftists win, well you can see we have lost. If the Republicans win, we have lost as well – look at the first two years of Trump in office. All the RINOs wasted two years trying to get rid of him, in house fighting and such they got nothing done. So the way I look at it, it will be the same when he gets reelected and the Republican regain the house. What concerns me and the reason I say we have lost is the economy.

Our country was already so far in debt before the Chinese Virus hit our shores and our leaders found a good excuse to ruin our booming economy. Congress then passed a five trillion dollar bail out to help the average person, yet so many jumped in and grabbed the money. If you want to look, you can go to Michael Savage’s home page and find a complete list of those who took the PPP money. Regardless of who took it, we added the additional money to our debt. Now they are planning another stimulus package which will put us ever further in debt. All you understand one thing – THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH. This has got to be paid back at some time. Until the election, or maybe just before “they” will keep the economy propped up, but I see it tanking out with in six months or so after the election (this is just my thinking from what I have read, heard). So what are we to do?? In addition to this, who will pay it back? You look at so many States, they have been held back, many of the small businesses are gone, then on top of this, so many city mayors and state leaders have let the riots tear apart, burn down so many businesses they will never recover. As this form of terrorism is let to continue, how do you expect the common person to recover when everything they have worked for is lost? Remember the government has no money!!

Here is my plan of action: Don’t trust banks. Yes, we all use them and need them, but we don’t have to trust them. 2013 the Nation Bank of Cyprus went tits up. As part of the bail out, the bank went and took a percentage of the depositor’s money, depending on how much they had in the bank. Boom over night people lost money. For me, I am keeping the minimum amount of money in the bank, the rest is cash or investment. If you got your money, they cannot take it. I have people tell me, “Oh that was Cyprus, that cannot happen here”. I learned in life, never say never. Invest> I have and will continue to invest in gold, silver, land. I get my gold and silver in different sizes/weights. This way I will have more versatility in using it. My father told me once, “There will come a time when it will take a wheelbarrow full of money to by a loaf of bread”. Watch out. The deeper in debt we are, the more they print money, the less it is worth. Just think if you have money in the bank, it looses its value and on top of that, the banks take some of it?? Land> Is something that will always be there (unless you live on the coast line). If you own land and the economy tanks, well, you will have a place you can go to live. It will always be worth something, if not money, it can be used for trading to better your situation. One can never go wrong with land. The big lesson is: don’t have all your eggs in one basket.

For me I will stay away from stocks and such. There maybe some stocks who are safe. Sure for a period of time their value will tank, but maybe in the long haul it will come back, you can decide. Electronic money like Bit Coin: Again it is just ones and zeros in a computer. Pretty worthless if electronics are down (along with credit/debit cards, instant pay on mobile phone or computer). You and I go into the market to buy our daily needs. We come to the counter to pay, you pull out your credit/debit card or electronic from your phone, the internet is down, no power to the terminals. I come behind with my cash in hand – who do you think is going to walk out with food to feed the family?? So now you walk over to the money machine, put in your card to with draw cash, you now find out your account doesn’t have as much in it as there should be due to the fact the bank took money, that is if the system is up and running and there has not been a run on the bank causing them to shut down or severely limit the amount you can get. But if you have planned ahead, got the emergency stash at home or some place you can get your hands on it, you can now feed the family and probably give yourself some breathing room to get things figured out

Just remember no one cares more about your and your family than you do, especially those we have elected to represent us in Congress. They are there for themselves, they have already proven this. If you don’t plan ahead you will be screwed. It may not be today, tomorrow or six months from now, but it is coming. – just open your eyes and think for yourself for one minute. If you can’t see there is a planned change the powers to be want to happen, then I feel sorry for you.

But hey, I am just a retired Sergeants Major who learned to “read the tea leaves”, learned to have “Plan B”, and to the best of my ability take care of the troops. On the bright side: If nothing happens, you can always look back and say, “ What a crazy old man”.

WONDERING AND THOUGHTS

1 June, it is a holiday here in Denmark so I am sitting outside, on a beautiful Monday morning with a fresh cup of coffee, just enjoying life as it slowly passes by, but before hand I took a quick peek at my schedule for Tuesday, got my knives and file sharpened, shoes loaded in the van and already to hit the road tomorrow. I have always believed in the “6 Ps” ; Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Have lived by these all my life and so far things have worked out fairly well – considering “Murphy” is always with us,

Life on the golf course this year has been very trying to say the least. It has proved to me I should have been a cook because I could slice bread real well! Those of you looking as this, raising an eyebrow wondering – I can’t hit a tee shot worth a plugged nickel, my slice is so bad sometimes I think it will come back around a hit me in the back of my head. Yesterday, after the first hole I knew I wasn’t going to need a score card to keep track of my game. I scored a whole 4 points on the first nine, 7 points on the last. I have never played so bad. Last year I was hitting great, I worked my handicap down real well last year, now this year is is going the other way and I can’t figure out why. I was playing last Friday with a usual partner, Kurt. At hole 10 he asked if I minded if he gave me some advice and proceeded to give it. I told him I have no idea what is going on so any advice he can give will be welcome. I absorbed what he told me. The next tee shot was a 300 meter shot – 100 meters out, 100 meter up, 100 meter down, but at least it was straight. I get to the next hole, wham, it was straight with good length. Then came the slice, but it wasn’t so bad. Sunday before our round I hit the driving range giving Kurt’s advice a try, once again slicing my way through the balls. As I said the round yesterday was bad, tee shots were bad, thus my attitude got bad, which lead to lack of focus, which lead to bad shots. Finally at hole 12 I am ready to tee off and I just told myself, “I don’t care” (which I really didn’t). I just came up, lined up, not taking any time to focus on the shot and wham, I hit a perfect shot. The next hole was a par 3, next was a par 4, so again I just went up, taking no time, no focus and whacked that white ball – it was a fantastic shot. The rest of the course, using my driver I did fairly good. I have come to conclude maybe I am over thinking it, over doing it to do good. I need to just relax and hit the ball. I was going to play today, but decided not to, just to stay home and relax. Tuesday. I have a regional golf match, so hopefully I can just relax and enjoy the game again.

Well the powers to be decided the China virus was a fail in getting President Trump out of office, so now another tactic is in play, organized civil violence. Reading reports, many of those arrested are not residents of the areas effected, and this makes sense. Why would normal, rational people burn and destroy their own areas? I bet many of the smaller shop owners will never come back to business after this, and it is really sad to see. Yes. there is problems with some police officers who abuse their power, but this is only human, look how many of our elected officials abuse their power. It is not confined to anyone group. When the video came out, most people were horrified, shocked at what happened. If people had come out with peaceful protest, they would find most civil Americans would fully support them, but burning, looting, beating up people – this was no reason for these type of actions, unless there is a subversive motive- and like Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s White House CoS said, “Never let a crises go to waste”. According to Emanuel, it’s not about managing a crisis—it’s about using that crisis to advance your agenda. I can guess there are those out there who have their “own agendas” and it doesn’t include the best welfare for America. Money and Power are the two things which drive many, and this is not the first time we have seen the masses stirred up to riot and destroy. Remember the last Presidential election. The biggest word and idea has been forgotten – RESPECT. Once people come back to the values our Nation was founded on and begin to once again respect each other, remembering diversity is what has made our nation great. Slowly over the years I have see our values eroded. I remember a time when prayer was part of our society, that has been taken away. One of the bases of our laws was the ten commandments, ten basic laws to live by, but this has been dictated as taboo. Soon we found the family unit was beginning to be eroded. In a speech by Ronald Reagan delivered before the Orange County Press Club in 1961, and entitled “Encroaching Control”, he alleged that, “Three months before his last visit to this country, Nikita Khrushchev said, ‘We can’t expect the American people to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find they have Communism.’” Is this what we are seeing now, the slow and planned take down of our society? If you want take the time, look out what freedoms we had a hundred years ago and what we got now. Slowly our freedoms and society are being torn down and replaced with what? No matter if I am right or wrong, that is not my purpose. My purpose is to make you stop and think for yourself. Do your own research, decided for yourself what is right or wrong. Have you ever read our Constitution? If not do so. If you really want to do some good research, start at the website of Hillsdale College (https://online.hillsdale.edu/#home). They have some very good FREE online courses, even one about the Constitution. Make up your own mind, and in the end, remember RESPECT for other’s opinions is a must, but this doesn’t mean you should let them run over you.

HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED

How times have changed. This past week I had someone ask me when did I move to Denmark. I thought for a bit and replied, “December 1992”. After answering I then calculated how long this has been – 28yrs this coming December! Then I got to wondering where all the time had gone and how things have changed.
My brother and I are very close, so when I moved to Denmark it was very hard for me not to have the access of communication with him. Phone calls were very expensive, so I limited myself to one call a month, sometimes calling him, sometimes others I needed to contact. Next was the pony express (mail). From the time I wrote a letter to Larry (brother), send it, him to receive, sit down and write, it was somewhere around 3-4 weeks for a turn-around, sometimes longer. It was better than nothing at all and so I began to write more than I ever had.
After moving to Denmark, I transferred to the 7th Army Reserve Command in Germany, my job entailed me learning how to operate a computer, so I convinced the wife we needed to buy one. We bought the latest, greatest available. It had about a 540 megabit hard drive – big for the day. I remember Windows 3.1 came on 6 discs. A couple years later we got e-mail. When sending mail, I would first prepare the message and address. Then disconnect the phone, hook up the computer, dial up the connection and send. It was superfast for the day. I evolved right along with technology. Today I just click an icon on my computer screen, connect through a wireless connection to the internet, if Larry is home, he will hear his computer ring and we can talk just like over the phone, except there is no phone cost. Better yet, if we want, I can click on a button while talking to him and it will activate a camera in my computer, transmitting a live video so we can see each other while talking. Reminds me of a cartoon I use to watch as a kid, “The Jetsons”. They were a futuristic family who when talking on their phone could watch a video screen seeing who they were talking with. At the time, this was so “out of this world”, but fact today! If we take a look, many things in our lives have changed many for the better, but sometimes I wonder if some are not so good.
When I first started to ride the train to Germany for Army Reserve, mobile phones were not so present, especially those which could connect to the net. Then, I would read a book most of the trip or just watch the country side go by. If someone sat down beside or across from me, it was not hard to strike up a conversation (if they could speak English). Today, I notice hardly no one talks with others. First thing after sitting down the smart phone or laptop computer comes out, they are instantly connected with the world and who cares about those around them. We as a whole have become disconnected with those around us while we are connected with the bigger world around us. I notice many time when the wife and I go out to eat, so many people around us, the mobile phone is sitting on the table and most can not let it go, they must pick it up every once in a while and see who has sent a message, who has posted something on one of the social sites so many watch. It is amazing to watch people sit at the same table, next to each other and yet they are so distant from each other they hardly talk to each other. I do have to state an exception: the wife and I went to a farrier friend of mine for dinner. We sat at the table and enjoyed a good meal. About half way through the meal, his girlfriend went to the kitchen to get something and also came back with her smart phone, sitting it on the table. The first time she started to look at it, my friend reached over took it stating: ”We have guests, there is no place for a phone on the table”. Inside I smiled, thinking at least someone has good sense. There is also the flip side.
Today so many people are able to work from home because they can connect with the world from their computers. This is allowing parents to spend more time at home if they have this type of job. For me, I am able to send my bills out the same day over the net instead of writing it out, spending money to send through the mail. Then if someone is late paying, I no longer have to repeat the process costing me more money, I just hit “send” and out it goes again. Churches have benefitted from the internet as well. With this Chinese virus thing going on and members are not able to attend, many have turned to “Video” church. Amazingly enough I get to attend church in Boise, Idaho. Yea, the time difference is such that I don’t get to see the live feed, but they have the sermons posted so I can watch when ever I want. We are able to make appointments, do shopping, go places on the internet. So many things have been made easier, more accessible, easier to communicate worldwide. Those who were kids in the late ‘90s will never know a world without instant communication, unless the net goes down.
Some things which will never change internet or not. Going outside on a nice warm morning, listening to the birds sing, feeling the morning warmth on your body as you enjoy the smell of a nice cup of coffee. Standing on a mountain top on a clear summer day as you slowly turn around seeing the full scope of the world presented around you – oh yea, you can see it on the internet, but you are also limited to the size of the screen, you cannot feel the sun on your body and let all your senses sample the time and place. And just the small thing of communication. Yes, you can see someone on the video, but there is still the ability of one’s senses to sample every facet of the environment around as you converse. The internet, hi-tech is great, but unless you step outside this “virtual” world and really live life, one will never really experience life.

2020, A Different Year

What a way to begin a year! Lots of people working at home, or laid off. Most of us are wondering how long this will be, and how much can we trust what we hear. Once my Dad told me, “Believe nothing you hear and half what you see and you will be alright”. Like I told my wife, I am skeptical of what all I hear, yet on the other hand I am not going to put my head on the chopping block and see if the hatchet man can miss. I take the normal precautions while I work, am out and around, yet I realize if I get it, I will get it. Not losing any sleep over it. I have looked at the positive side of the situation.
With more people sent home to work, school out, some laid off, look at the chance to have more quality family time! In the day and age of everyone going everywhere all the time, now things have been forced to slow down and be together. What a great thing. Why not make this time quality time. Think of all the things you can do with your family, the things you can teach your kids. And just some time to sit back with a cup of coffee first in the morning and listen to the birds sing. This is the best part of a spring morning. Even though there was a cool wind blowing, I sat outside this morning for the first time this year with a cup of coffee and just watched the morning, it was great!
Speaking of the situation, I just wonder in trying to save the limb, we are killing the patient? I understand the Chinese virus is something new, we need to take precautions, but in many cases is it over kill, killing our nation (the patient)? So many states have shut down when there is no real crises – many of the areas where there is low population. Many of these places, why haven’t the State governments come in and said to industry, “Come up with a plan so you can stay within limits of contact and such so you can get back to work”. So many small businesses will not be here after this is done. So many people are out of work right now, many who could be working?
This bail out Congress came up with is like putting a band-aid on an amputated limb. Giving businesses money to pay employees, is the same. Businesses are not employment centers, they are there to make money. Yes, for a little while it will help pay the on going bills, but sooner or later, that band-aid is going to get blood soaked. The bill Congress passed had so much pork barrel spending in it, it was pathetic. Everyone who voted for the bail out should be voted out of office. Where is all the money coming from – sooner or later we the people will have to pay it back. In the mean time, the money printing machines are rolling full speed, printing almost worthless money. When I was a kid, my Dad once told me, “There will come a day when you will need a wheelbarrow full of money to buy a loaf of bread”. So how does Congress usually finance this? They sell bonds, but what happens when no one wants to buy these bonds? Well our government buys them back. In other words, we are getting debt stacked on debt. I just read where the U.S. Treasury is thinking about coming out with a 50 yr bond, first time ever. There is also talk of zero or negative interest rates in the States. What this means is if we get negative interest rates, you the saver will get to pay the banks for the privilege of keeping your money. At the low rates now, at least you are not losing money, but this could turn around if negative rates come to the States.
We are now into May and things are beginning to loosen up a bit. I wonder if instead of locking everyone down, why didn’t they treat us like responsible people. Lay out the facts of the situation, tell us what we needed to do and let us carry on with our lives the way we see fit. I know business owners are not dumb, they would have found ways to make things work. What I can’t figure out is why it is safe to go to the big chain stores to shop, yet we can not be trusted to go to the park, the beach. Let some of the small business owners come up with their on solutions. Yes, people are going to die, this is one of the three facts of life which are: be born, pay taxes, and die. We have learned we need to take precautions for the older generations, those who have medical problems and such, but hey, let’s get real.
Actually, in a way I have found a bright side. Many churches have developed an online service. The Cloverdale Church of God uploads their services so their members can watch and listen. This is great for me, as the time difference I get to listen to the services on Monday mornings on my way to work. Tom, the pastor told my brother, who e-mailed me, let me know that even after this is over, they will continue to post their services online. So, I guess God does work in wonderful ways.
I guess no matter they situation we can be thankful for what we got, instead what do don’t have.

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!

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.

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.

WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE

I was taking a break this morning and got to thinking, (dangerous sometimes). Anyway got to looking back in time, thinking about what Denmark was like when I first arrived and what it is like today. A few thoughts of when I was a kid got thrown in as well.
The first obvious thing was the road in front my house. I went from living in the back country of Idaho to having a road (Nyvej) right in front of my house. When I arrived in December 1992, there wasn’t much traffic. The every once in a while car, the tractor and an occasional delivery truck, with the garbage thrown in the mix. Most country roads here in Denmark are not very wide. In order for two cars to safely pass, both must pullover to the extreme right, driving on the shoulder of the road. With that in mind, now think about the large trucks. Today Nyvej is like a freeway. Certain times of the day you don’t want to be walking or riding a bike, the traffic is unbelievable, sometime into all hours of the night.
It was very different when I first moved here, most stores were completely closed on Sundays, and only open half days on Saturday. Then about once a month was “Long Saturday” where the stores were open a few hours longer, it was something, not today. I thought this was a really great thing, giving people Sundays free, and not working long on Saturdays – gone today. Now it is all about the money. Most all stores are open seven days a week, and many are even open on holidays, just like in the States. I was disappointed to see this happen, Denmark falling to the ways of the west, and I really don’t think it is so great.
When I first moved here, the little village of Lintrup had a small grocery store, a mechanic/handyman shop. You could also mail letters and such at the store. Just outside of town was a blacksmith shop – all of this is gone today. Like many places in the States, the stores and shops in the bigger towns have taken over. There has been effects in the towns as well. In the town of Rødding there used to be a baker – it has opened and closed a number of times and now is currently closed. There was a full time butcher shop, no longer as it was. Post office long since gone, you now go to the local “OK” tank station to mail a letter or pick up a package. The local camera store is gone along with the local electric appliance shop. One of the two grocery stores is gone. As I drive around my shoeing area many of the small “Mom & Pop” stores are gone. Bakers are gone. I used to have my “usual” places I would stop to get something to drink, a snack to eat, gone. Many of the local bakers where I would stop to get fresh make morning bread, pick up a sandwich, or an afternoon snack are gone – they have been replaced with many of the gas stations which now have an oven to bake frozen, ready to cook rolls, pastries and such, and they taste like it. Many places over cook stuff, they really don’t care about the quality. Thank goodness for a local tank station near me. They get all their rolls, bread and such from a “real” baker and it tastes like it. There was a time when they got it from another place, but they went back to the baker – Thank God. I feel sorry the people have settled for second best and not supporting their local bakers and butchers, so much quality has been lost.
On the bright side, I can now find a cup of coffee first thing in the morning if I want. When I first moved here you couldn’t find a cup of coffee at 0600 if your life depended on it. Now I really don’t care. I got a thermo cup and fill it before leaving the house and many of my customers have coffee for me during the day.
I can understand many of the changes. Postal services have been cut to almost nothing because of the internet, e-mail and over-night express services. Train stations in many towns are just empty building now because most purchase tickets online, or “swipe” their card at the local machine to purchase a ticket. There was a time when you could purchase a ticket on the train, no more, you get a fine today if you get on the train without a ticket.
When I first moved here I relied on our home phone for my business, now I almost never get a call on it. Only during the weekends when I have my mobile phone set to switch to the house because I don’t answer my business phone on the weekends. The mobile phone is great, lets me instantly contact a customer letting them know of any schedule changes or them letting me know of a problem and sometimes getting a same day fix. Worst part is so many people can’t set their phone down for any time. Many times I have a customer holding a horse and still trying to message someone or talk to them. I will stop, look at them. I tell them when I am working on their horse, their phone is in the pocket. I am not talking on a phone, they are not using their phones. Mobile phones today are a necessary evil. Yet too many people, kids today are forgetting how to look someone in the eye and talk to them. They are lost if they can’t check their “status” every minute or so.
One thing I am glad for, glad I am old enough to remember how easy life was before mobile phones, knowing how to ride a bike without “fancy riding clothes”, knowing if I fell over I might get a skinned knee. Remember when a “soda pop” was something special, not many a day. Three channels on the TV and it went off at midnight, with the last thing showing was the American flag and National Anthem. The list can go on and I know many of you out there will remember as well, but like the old saying goes, “That’s water under the Bridge”.