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”.

HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU GOT?

Got into a financial discussion today with one of my customers, once again saw that “you crazy old man” look when I brought up the fact that one day all money will disappear and the government will have its thumb on everyone and our lives, knowing everything we are doing.
Just ask many of the depositors of the Bank of Cyprus how much money they lost in 2013. Some have said, “Oh, that is Cyprus, it can’t happen here”. It has happened once it can happen again.
Slowly I see George’s book, “1984” coming true. Those of you who have never read it, maybe it is time you did. He might have gotten the year wrong, but he is getting everything else right. Stop, look, listen to what is happening all around you.
Slowly but surely money is disappearing. Direct deposit, online banking, instant payments with credit card or direct withdrawal from your account using an app on your mobile phone. All of this is “to make your life so much easier”. They (who ever they are) wanting to make things easy and instant, but in reality they are also keeping better track of what you want, how much you make, where you spend your money, how much you got. What price are we going to pay for all this “instant service” and “life made easy”? Maybe I am old school, maybe I am just that crazy, gray haired old man, but I think we do have something to be afraid of.
I am reminded of when I was deployed to Kuwait/ Iraq in 2001. I was the V Corps G3 Rear HQ Sergeants Major. After we got to Kuwait, almost everything in the section went electronic. All the functions we had plotted on a map, now done by computer. Faster, better, instant updates and less personal needed to do it. I pulled my Operations Sergeant aside and told him I wanted all units of Battalion size and large posted by hand on a map. He started in, “But SGM, we got computers now, we don’t need maps, besides there is no place for it in the TOC”. I told him the map could be in the back room but I wanted it done and updated at least once every 24hrs, no ifs ands or buts. As time went on I caught some flak from one of the Operations Officers because it was taking some extra time to up the map. I told the officer this was NCO business and I would take care of it – updates continues. So comes the end of April first of May. We are in the middle of the war and it is hotter than a popcorn fart, so hot in fact that the electronics begin to overheat and fail. The large electronic map projected on the screen for the Commanding General to see goes out because the projector gets hot. Next some of the computer screens start to fail. About that time I hear the Chief of Staff, a Colonel start to cussing up a storm because there are no graphics to see. “Sir, I got a map”. The Colonel looked at me, “What did you say SGM”? I replied, “Sir, I got a 1:100,000 map current from Battalion level and above”. With language only an Infantry officer could use I was told to get it out there. Had my Ops Sergeant with a couple soldiers get it up front and the General was as happy as a fly in a pile of horse crap.
High-tec is great, but it will fail. This past spring the mobile app used for instant payments went down for just one day, you can’t imagine the strife it caused, instantly made the news. You trust banks, maybe to a point, but not completely, just ask the people of Cyprus who had some of their saving taken away. Banks aren’t lily white, just look at Danske Bank. One of the biggest money laundering scandals in recent times. Banks and insurance companies caused the mortgage crises which led to so many home owners losing their homes. So many home owners were made loans with hardly nothing down and in the end couldn’t make the inflated payments on houses which weren’t worth the money.
Like I told my customer. “You and I can go down to the local store to buy a bag of groceries. You go to pay with your plastic, but it doesn’t work. I pay with the money I have in hand. Who do you think is going to walk out with their bag of groceries”?
When we give up the use of money, the stuff we got in our hands, we can touch, feel and trade for goods, we are giving up a piece of our freedom. This is what governments want. Once all currency is gone, the government will have one more hold on you. They will have more control over our lives. “Oh but it will be so much easier” you say. Is easy always the best way?
Stop and think about our national debt. Congress can’t even submit a balanced budget. If I ran my business the way they run the country, I would have been bankrupt long ago. Spending is about 18% higher now than two years ago. Congress continues to loan money to every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, yet they have no money to spend. Think what eventually this will do to your savings?
Yea, I may be just a crazy old man, but at least this crazy old man will have something of value to buy or trade with. As a kid, my Dad taught me the value of money, if I wanted to buy something, I must have the money first so I learned if I wanted something, first I must work to make the money to buy it. There was never an allowance, or “free” money when I was growing up. I think too many kids got “free” money growing up and now they expect it.
One thing for sure – I am so glad I am over 60yrs old and not 20 just starting out.

SUMMER TIME THINKING

Spring has sprung, fall has fell, summer is here, and it’s hotter than – not really just nice.
This year, like last I am enjoying my summer playing golf. This year is a little different, I have cut back on my work a bit, so gots lots of extra time to play. Today is the first time the wife really said something about my playing. I just let her complain, no replay. I remember what my Dad said years ago after Mom got on him about something. He just finished supper then went outside. I finished and followed, going out sitting on his pickup’s tailgate. He then invoked some words of wisdom: It is no use arguing with your mother because she is always right and your always wrong. Just let it go in one ear and out the other. So I remembered this and found life is so much better when you just let it go.
Getting my knee replaced this past winter has been great. Yea, I still got some small issues, like it aches a lot, but it is so much better than the pain I had last year. I remember sometimes coming back from work or a game of golf my knee hurt so much I couldn’t sleep without some painkillers. Now I haven’t had my knee brace on for a long time. In fact a while back my whole knee itched so bad for almost a day. Always had people tell me this was part of the healing process. Have had a couple people I know tell me it will take a year or so for it to completely settle in and I won’t notice it. That’s ok, at least it doesn’t hurt like it did before.
I almost never listen to the news anymore. I get so tired of all the B.S. and crap going on. Many times I have thought to myself, Sure am glad I am over 60yrs old and not 20 and just starting out. It seems like you can’t say anything or do anything without offending someone. I guess people have forgotten or never be taught to respect others for what they think or how they want to live. I bet it really makes for some very interesting family conversations around the Thanksgiving or Christmas table if you got a big family.
One thing I am glad for, so many years ago I had the insight to plan for my twilight years. No matter what the plan is, you got to have one. I am so glad I joined the Army Reserve and stuck it out to get a pension. With the Reserve I had two goals – 1. Stay long enough to get a pension, 2. Make the highest rank I could get so I would get a good pension. I was lucky enough to achieve both goals. I made the rank of Sergeants Major, which for pay is an E9. I have had some ask why I never got to Command Sergeant Major, well I suppose I could have, but the retirement pay for a CSM is still E9, just a lot more responsibility for the same pay, plus I would have had to stay in longer. When I got out it was time. My civilian job couldn’t stand another deployment, plus I ended up with some physical problems which would have required me to get what the army calls a “Profile”, meaning I physically couldn’t do some things. I always told myself I would never stay in with a profile. Being in a leadership position I felt I needed to lead from the front, which I tried to do all the time. The other part of my retirement plan started when I was working as a professional guide. During that time I lived where I worked so my living expenses were very small, thus I was able to save money, so I invested in land. I looked at the stock market, but I was in a position I couldn’t keep track of it, so land seemed a better deal. It would be a long term investment which has turned out great. If I could pass on one piece of advice is: it is never too early to plan for the future because no one else will plan for you.
When I got out of high school I knew I didn’t want to go for a college degree. At that time there were a lot of degree holders flipping burgers and went into debt to do that. So I went to a Vo-Tec school, learned to be a mechanic, got out and immediately went to work. I also worked with my Dad who was a carpenter. Another piece of advice my Dad gave me: “No matter how hard times get there is always a job if you want to work. You may be doing a job you don’t like, but sooner or later the good one will come. In the mean time you can eat”. I just shake my head in amazement sometimes reading about how a college degree is needed to succeed. Now don’t get me wrong, education is good and we do need people who have degrees, but it is not needed to be successful. I read so many times about all the “trades” needing apprentices to train for a job. Many of these jobs pay good money, but the problem is you got to work, get your hands dirty. If it isn’t the job many people don’t like, they won’t take it. My Dad also said, “You have to learn to work”. As a kid I thought to myself, sure one had to learn the job, but that wasn’t what he was talking about. Learning to work is: getting yourself up and ready to get to work on time, having the desire to do a good job, learning to work with others, developing a good work ethic, doing a good job even when it is the worst job you can think of.
Anyway, life is good. My cup is always half full, never half empty. Life is too short to argue and worry too much about things, just let it go. Work is good. Good for the soul and good for your health (especially if you want to eat and pay bills). Enjoy your summer!!

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.

2018 in Review

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

OLD YEAR GONE, NEW YEAR BEGINS

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

HOW I SEE LIFE

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