OLD YEAR GONE, NEW YEAR BEGINS

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

HOW I SEE LIFE

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

YA EVER JUST WONDER?

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

VACATION REFLECTIONS AND REALITIES

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

JOHN’S TV

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

TIME MACHINE

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

STATE OF MIND

Inserting the key into the lock silently I thanked John for leaving it. The rusty gate hinge gave its familiar drawn out squeaky greeting as I entered the “Consulate” as it is known to all of us who visit John since his move to Portugal in 2006. I have only missed one year coming to this, my place of retreat, cleansing of my soul, my mind, what I call my sanctuary.
I work hard all year long, dealing with each problem as it arises(both home and work), hopefully in a matter which will let people (and the wife) know I really care about the situation I am currently in and trying to resolve. Like everyone I need my vacation to just get away to forget the worries and care of life , to regenerate that spark inside so I can continue one more year. I didn’t get that last year and by the middle of this summer I could feel I had over extended and just needed to get away. John had informed me he would not be home upon my arrival, so had arranged for a friend Dave to pick me up. As I approached the inner double door, I noticed the wood stack on the left was gone, about time I thought, thinking back to how many years ago John and I had cut and stacked it there. Going through the door I looked to the right and smiled, yes the forge and bellows. What a magnificent pair they are. I have spend many relaxing hours with this pair as I reached over and gently patted the top of his anvil. Looking to the left the Danish Ensign still hangs on the front of his ceiling high cabinets. Even though the sun is shining it is very dark in here and I instantly know why, looking up as I enter the open inter court area I see a year’s growth of grape vines still doing their job of providing shade. I’ve never been here in the heat of the summer, but I understand how important these vines are to the Consulate for shade and keeping it cool. The upper deck had two sides covered, the inner court where I am is topped and the open front side is also covered with vines. John has trained them up the back wall of the area as well. There are two sources for these vines, one being in a dirt spot next to the south wall, these vines are the ones covering the inner courtyard. The other source comes from the kitchen! When John moved in this old grape vine was growing in a dirt patch on the back wall, so he provided it a place to continue to grow and built his kitchen around it. He has an opening for it to go outside, and had trained it to the top deck, patio, northwest wall. Yes they give lots of grapes and most people here in Portugal press their own wine. John doesn’t he just wants the shade, so the grapes go to the neighbors, who in return give him some of the “fruit of the vine” later on.
Just before I turn to my left, approaching the rock stair case leading to the upper room, I gaze upon the large stone slab covering the ground to my right. Affixed to the kitchen wall are two headstones, one for Jessica and the other for Conan. Jessica was John’s bulldog who moved from Denmark to Portugal with John. She was very special and I can’t tell you how much he loved this little girl. I could see the effect on John the year I came down after she died, very noticeable. He swore he’d never get another one, yet the following year I was introduced to Conan, he was a special guy as well (also English Bulldog). Now they are gone, he just has a cat. Much easier for John to take care of, but just not the same.
At the top of the staircase Istep on the stone surface leading to the room. I set my day pack down and open the door and am greeted with the slight rush of warm air as I enter. Looking to my right the shutters are open letting the warm fall sun in. I can smell the room had been closed for some time, so I set my gear down at the foot of the bed, go over and allow some of the great fresh fall air in. As I open the window I breathe deeply, put my hands on the window sill and look out over the view – mountains. The one thing Denmark doesn’t have I really miss. These aren’t Idaho mountains, but they fill the void.
After stowing my gear I head back down to the kitchen. I might add John’s kitchen is special. It is a completely separate room from the rest of the house. The first year I was here, it was a three sided room, completely open facing the south. Along the back wall from left to right is the fridge, gas stove and cabinet. Assorted cast iron skillets and pots hand from hooks on the roof beams. Above the stove coming out of the rock wall is his grape vine’s main trunk heading out its own little special window. Before I arrived the second year, John had a wooden wall built for the kitchen. This is special as it is panels hinged together so they could open and fold back against the rock structure. When fully closed a door is incorporated in this very ingenious design so if he wanted he could leave it open, then in the winter rainy months it can be closed up, snug as a bug in a rug.
I did the first natural thing when entering a kitchen, I opened the fridge, low and behold the lower shelf was full of beer bottles. He knows I enjoy nice cool one, so he had a few chilling for me. I reach in and grabbed one. As these are not twist off, I looked over the table and found the church key hanging in its proper place, with a quick movement the top was off. As John wasn’t home, there was only one place to go – the top deck, so I headed out side, back the way I entered. After closing the squeaky gate and a few steps up the street, I turned to my right, climbing the rock stairs. Oh, a new gate at the top. Going through it I turned immediately to my right, opened another new gate and stepped up onto the deck. Looking around I spied an old canvas deck chair folded up laying on the table. Sitting my beer down I proceeded to erect this canvas wonder and placed it in the sun. Ah, yea as I sat down. Propping my feet up on the railing I gazed out over the Portuguese landscape. Way down I can hear some vehicles on the road. I can hear a couple motorcycles on some mountain dirt road. I look up and see a few birds flying. I got my warm vest on as there is a slight breeze blowing . To my left I see the Idaho State flag is flying in honor of my arrival. To my right the Danish flag is flying as should be for the “Southern Danish Consulate”. I secure my beer from the table and take a long draw, afterwards just resting it on my waste between both hands I close my eyes and feel the warm sun on my face. Yes – vacation, I can now relax.

GOLF AND HUNTING

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

COMPARING U.S.A. TO DENMARK

Well I spent the day hearing about the follow video, so when I got home I had to view it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSFfTG42Jl8
After listening to it, and have been living in Denmark for the past 25yrs I felt I needed to write something about it so here it goes:
When I first got my business going (farrier) I soon got some clients who had lost their jobs and began to collect what we call “unemployment”, ok, but to my shock and amazement I learned at that time unemployment benefits continued up to four years!! I was shocked. I was also shocked when many of the people who were collecting told me, “Why should I go to work when I can stay at home and collect almost as much”? Last I heard the Danish government has cut this back as they could no longer afford 4years, it is at 2 years now(last I checked). I have seen so many people abuse the system and it is easy here to do. There are a lot of people working here, good honest people doing an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. There are many Danes who have values and uphold what they think is right, I have to add this so you don’t think there isn’t.
But shall we flip the coin.
Since I left, the United States has become a welfare country. More and more people are sticking their hand out to get all they can get from the government as they have learned they can get paid for doing nothing. When I was a kid, it was really a low blow to have to be on food stamps, receive welfare or such. But today it is growing to be the norm to be on some kind of government handout. There is no shame in it today. In fact just the opposite, so many feel the government owes them! When I was a kid there was a newly elected Democratic President who in one of his speeches he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country?” Today he would not even fit into the Democratic party.
So back to the video. Yes in Denmark we pay taxes, lots of taxes. Yea there are services for those taxes, but like another world leader (Margaret Thatcher) said, “ The trouble with socialism is eventually you run out of other people’s money”. I see that now. It is the little things at first. Here a while back I noticed many of the road side rest stops have had the toilets, picnic tables and trash cans taken out, this is so they can save money by not providing the service. This tells me money is getting tight and local governments are trying to save money. Denmark has a cradle to grave care system. Suppose to take care of all your medical needs, needs in retirement and such paid for. You pay for these services in your taxes. Now much of the home care is being cut down. I have a customer who is a home care worker and every time I shoe her horse, I have to listen to an hour and a half of how services, which these elderly people have paid for, are now being cut or discontinued.
Yes education is free and like in the States everyone wants to go to the university, get a degree, which is for free. Like in the States many of the “trades” are suffering from not enough young people wanting to get their hands dirty, they want the office jobs. Like in the States many don’t understand the trades, welders, plumbers, electricians, mechanics and such are very good jobs, it’s just you got to work hard and get dirty.
Growing up in the States when the chimney needed cleaning out, you either did it or you hired someone to do it. You decided when your septic tank needed cleaned out, not here in Denmark. Firms are on contract with the local governments to do these for you, you no longer have to think about what you need to do, oh yea, this is part of your taxes. Everything is taxes as much as possible. We have our own water well, yet we pay a tax on the water, then we pay another tax on the waste water coming out of our septic tank. And get this – there is even a church tax here!! Once I found out about this I figured out the “separation of church and state”. I always enjoy how so many want to compare Denmark with the States – it can’t be done. At the end of FY 2018 the gross US federal government debt is estimated to be $21.48 trillion, according to the FY19 Federal Budget. Different reports puts the cost of single payer health care at between 1-3 trillion dollars a year, and this is just for health care. If the country is already so deep in debt, where is the money coming from? Guess we’ll just have to raise the taxes a bit more. Today so many want so much for free, they seem to forget that nothing in life is for free, it has to be paid for by someone somewhere. Oh by the way, this is Denmark’s national debt converted to dollars: $124,850873,000 (debt clock: https://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/denmark
No system is perfect. I have lived under two different systems. There is good and bad with both. So before we take what is said in the video at the beginning of this post, we need to reexamine ourselves and maybe once again bring up that phrase a newly elected President so many years ago put forth.

ARE THEY YOUNGER OR AM I OLDER

I was sitting in the dentist’s chair this morning looking at this very young gal who claimed to be the dentist. I wasn’t really listening to what she was saying, rather I was thinking, Holy cow, she is so young, how can she really know what she is doing?, yet she was very professional and did good.
The other morning I stopped in a place to get a cup of coffee and spend my telephone time reading a bit, having a cup of coffee and enjoying my morning. I was greeted by what seemed like a very young, smiley guy. As I placed my order I wondered why this kid wasn’t in school. With coffee in hand, walking away I thought, “ I wonder just how old he is”? Then I began to look at myself.
When I began to shoe horses here in Denmark I was 36, still had a full head of hair. I got a couple customers I picked up then and still do their horses today. One in particular I remember she had one kid in arm and the other one in a carriage. Today both these gals have grown into young, good looking ladies in their twenties. And it only seems like just yesterday they were about a foot and a half long!!
I would be driving down the road and come up behind a car just putting along, seemingly in no big hurry to get anywhere. As I would pass the car I would glance at the driver, yep look at that old guy in the hat. I wonder if he really knows what he is doing? Today as I drive down the road, not really in a big hurry to get anywhere, thinking about if I will have time to squeeze in a few holes of golf, cars zip around me in a big hurry. As I glance at the driver I seen them looking at me sometimes. I bet they are thinking: Look at that old, gray bearded guy in the hat. I wonder if he really knows what he is doing?
Where did the time go? I look back and it has gone by so fast. 2018 just got a start and we are already one fourth of the way through March! How did the time get by me so fast? I remember so many years ago an “old guy” once told me: If you get the chance in life to do something, do it, because there will come a time in your life when you won’t be able to do it, and you don’t want to think, “Gee why didn’t I do that”! I have taken lots of chances in life and done a lot of things, gone a lot of places and glad I did. I’ve had people sometimes think I was crazy for the chances I’ve taken or the things I have done, but looking back now I have had a fun life.
I remember once during my professional guide life I thought to myself, “Gee, I am getting paid to do what other people are paying to do”. Hunting, fishing, floating the Salmon River, driving jet boats, living in the wilderness area. I can look back on all those experiences and smile. I look back on my life so far enjoy it. I have had some people tell me they can’t believe I have done the things I have done – I really don’t care what other people think, I know what I have done and where I have been. I am thankful for the adventures I have taken and the fact God has been watching over me because sometimes I could have been in deep trouble out there by myself.
In moving to Denmark I gave up the best job I ever had in my life, but other doors opened to me and I’ve gone places and done things I never would have if I had remained in Idaho. I see and know so many people who are afraid to step out and take a chance. Remember, sometimes those golden opportunities only knock once at your door and if you don’t take them you will have to settle for second best. Even at my age now I am still getting new chances and opportunities which I will continue to take advantage of. Don’t be one of those who is afraid to take a chance. Yes I have had failures, but they were also something. Physically now I can’t do a lot of things I did earlier, but I still got the memories and I can’t say, “I wonder what it would have been like if I had done that”!