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.

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”.

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.

MY RYDER CUP

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

EASTER

I received an e-mail from a cousin’s husband talking about Easter past, which got me to thinking while laying in bed, so here the first thing, the day after Easter I get to writing. Even though it is late, I still need to get it written.
One of my first memories of Easter was a few days before Mom would hard boil some eggs so my brother and I would have fun dipping them in the different colors. We’d then take turns hiding them and finding them. Living out on the farm, we didn’t have many others to do this with, so we had lots of “family” fun. Then Dad got a little short cut – he bought some chickens who would lay colored eggs. If I remember right, they came from South America.
Many times before Easter Sunday we would get kitted out with a new suit jacket, shirt and tie so come Easter Sunday we would go to church in our new clothes. Mom would usually have a new hat to go along with her new dress. It was a special time of the year, days were getting longer, weather was getting better. Usually Easter time Dad had would go to the feed store and buy about 50 chicks or so to raise through the year. Yep, it was truly a special time of the year.
After I got older, in my teens, I remember going to Lizard Butte for Easter sun rise services. Most of the time this was with a youth group from church. Lizard Butte is a large rocky outcrop, overlooking the Snake river at Marsing, Idaho. It gets its name because it looks like a resting lizard with its head reared up. Anyway, it was always a sight to behold, on a beautiful, clear morning, the sun would crack the dawn. Many times it was a little frosty, but it was a fantastic experience celebrating Easter Morning with so many others in the wide open spaces overlooking the Snake River and the majestic Owyhee Mountains behind.
We didn’t go out to eat much, but Easter dinner was different. After attending the First Christian Church in Caldwell, Idaho, Dad would take us out to dinner. After all, we were all dressed up in new clothes and why not? I don’t know if Dad phoned to make reservations or if we just went and showed up, but Pollards in Caldwell was where we always went. It was a very nice, family styled restaurant and the food was good.
I have in my later life had some memorial Easters as well. 1996 I was part of a command and control team at Cowboy TOC over the Sava River at Zuponja, Croatia. No sunrise services, just controlling convoys headed south to Bosnia during Operation Joint Endeavor. 2001 I spent Easter at the NATO Headquarters in Pristina, Kosovo during Operation Joint Guard. I remember that morning standing outside my office which was the top of a double stacked set of containers having a cup of coffee overlooking the local cemetery with lots of freshly made graves. It was also a nice morning. 2003 I did Easter services at Camp Virginia, Kuwait. I think it was the most special one I remember. We were at war and yet time was found to attend services with my Brother/Sisters –in- arms.
What’s so amazing, all these memories would not be possible except for one moment in time. The day an empty tomb was found and angles announced, “He’s not here He has risen”. We think of the Easter bunny, colored eggs and such, but true Easter is to remember not the sacrifice Jesus made for me and everyone else, but the fact He is still alive and is the way to everlasting life for all. Today I don’t attend church much, but He is with me all the time, and yes this year Easter was a fantastic, beautiful day and I am thankful for the promise it gives to me.

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.