6 JUNE

In a few days it will be 6 June. Why is it special? – all the military types know and many civilians as well – Operation Overlord, the invasion of Europe.
A few years ago I was privileged to do a Battle Staff Ride to the Normandy Beaches. About a month before going each of us were assigned a unit to research and their part in the battle, drew the 121st Engineers. On the ride over on the bus we watched “The Longest Day”. The next morning we were standing on Omaha beach at day break, I was not prepared for the feelings I felt.
I was standing at the low water mark and looked up the beach. It was almost flat with the dunes and banks rising high above it. My first thought was, “My God, how did these guys have the guts to cross this killing field?” As I slowly walked towards the high ground I began to look: to my left was a firing bunker, but the firing ports weren’t straight forward it was at a 45 degree angle. I looked to my right and saw another one mirroring the effect – then it hit me = interlocking, grazing fire made to kill anything in range! How anyone survived I’ll never know. As I slowly went up, the slit trenches were still there and behind were the mortars. Placed along the beaches were some bigger gun emplacements as well. I learned on the beaches, aiming stakes had been set so the mortar men, machine gunners knew exactly what their ranges were. The entire beach was dialed in. I don’t have to explain the meaning of this to any of my Grunt Brothers, I know the hair on the backs of their necks will rise just thinking of this. The soldiers landed and got bogged down, but then they broke through and we know the rest. You can read this but unless you have walked that battle field you will never understand (unless you’ve been under fire as well).
Once they secured the beached then they got funneled into killing fields of fire again when trying to breach the hedge rows. It was a killer. Walking the roads, seeing the actual remains of foxholes still there, I have no words. The average age of WWII soldiers was 26, so maybe this helped them “suck it up”, draw from within and drive on. They knew they would die, but someone had to.
I have no doubt about the will and intestinal fortitude of our soldiers today, I’ve seen what they have done in Iraq and Afghanistan if let along to do the jobs they are trained to do and not restrained by our political leaders who sit on their soft chairs thousands of miles away.
Sometimes I look at our systems and think we got it all wrong. Our leaders should be military and they should be right out in front leading the men into battle. War has gotten too far away. Yea we think it is something when a guy can sit behind a joy stick in the western U.S. and kill bad guys half away around the world. I wonder how politics would be if war was once again close up and personal? If our elected officials were also required to be out front – There would be no need of term limits for Congressmen then, most would pull out in a flash.
Anyway I want to salute all my Brother Grunts who led the charge across those flat sands into the certain death many received. As I walked the green grass dotted with white stone in the cemetery above the beaches I could only look and read names.
The table is set and I raise my glass – SALUTE!

MEMORIAL DAY, 2017

My Memorial Day is over. Here in Denmark it is no holiday, but my thoughts were upon this subject today as I shod horses.
Many times while traveling on the trains in Germany I have thought many times of what some downed air crews must have thought as they looked over the German country side. Did they see what I was seeing? I was visiting a friend North East of Frankfurt once. One evening we took a walk through town and the local cemetery where I saw three Veteran graves. My friend told me every year on Memorial Day flowers are placed.
I have visited the cemetery at Normandy – a very humbling experience. While on a different Battle Staff ride I visited sites where G.I.s made last stands trying to slow down the German offensive during the Battle of the Bulge. Having to research this Battle I was very humbled to read the battle accounts and then stand on the very ground where the actions happened. I have also communicated with my cousin who was an infantryman during this battle. We had a great talk after I had been there. I told him where I’d been and he knew the area very well. I have another cousin whose husband was a POW in Germany during the war, he was also an infantryman. I feel proud to have talked with both of these great veterans before they passed on – I pay both of them homage as they were up front in the real thick of the action. I think of my family who fought for the union during the Civil war, who served in the “Silent Service”, members of the National Guard, my family veterans who have gone to Valhalla.
As I travel south from my house many times I pass a memorial alongside the road. Once I stopped and read it. It was to an aircrew whose plane crashed during WWII a few hundred meters from the spot – all were killed. Now every time I passed the place I sit in the position of attention and render the crew as snappy salute as I can. I will talk to them, “Good Day Boys, see you on the return.” On the return I will salute them again and give them a , “Take care until the next time”
Since living in Denmark, traveling throughout Europe I have seen battle grounds, grave yards, talked with retired vets (expats) – to me Memorial Day has expanded. After I came home from my war, seeing the death and destruction war causes, I have so much more respect for those vets who preceded me; those who are still in uniform putting their lives on the line for me daily; and for those who are to follow, who will protect and defend the Constitution of The United States of America.
In the political times we have now, one thing is for sure: my Brothers /Sisters – in – Arms have all sworn to do this mission, no matter their political beliefs. My only regret is I have never had the chance to be “home” for a Memorial Day and help place flags on the graves of those who have passed before me.
I STAND AND SALUTE ALL THOSE WHO HAVE PASSED BEFORE ME ON THIS DAY.

NEVER TOO LATE

This has been the story of my life – the things I want to do or enjoy have always come later in life. I guess through it all I have learned it is never too late to do something.
I wanted to join the army and fly, but 1 December, 1974 put a stop to that – I took a ricochet from a pistol in my right eye ending my flying and delaying my military career until late in life – age 26. By this time most guys have enlisted and completed eight or nine years. When I went to basic training I was called “old man” as I was the oldest in my platoon. Yet even with the late start and not getting to do what I really wanted to do I managed to have a Reserve career spanning over 22 years and I achieved the rank of Sergeants Major and now enjoy a retirement. In a way I felt a little left out as I already had a civilian career under way, but I was privileged to serve my country and contribute as I feel everyone should.
I’d been married and got divorced in 1984. After living in Pasco, Washington for a year, I moved back to Idaho and somehow got into riding saddle bronc. Here I am in my late twenties starting something which is a young man’s game (much younger than me). At my age most rough stock riders are in the second half of their career. I had a ball. I traveled to central Oregon, Northern Nevada, and many rodeos in Idaho. I didn’t make any money, but one thing I can tell you – there is nothing like coming out of the chute on that eight second ride!
I was around 30yrs old when my brother and I took a hunting trip with our horses in to the Salmon River Wilderness area in Central Idaho. While there I got offered a job as a guide and packer. On our way out my brother asked me, “You’re going to take that job aren’t you?” I replied, “You bet, this job has been offered to me and it is one most guys would give their right arm to do. Lots of guys pay to go to guide schools to get a job”. So began another episode in my life – professional guide/packer. I will have to say it was the best time of my life, so good I wrote a book about it.
Low and behold at age 36 I up and move to Denmark, half way around the world. The clincher to my move was there was an Army Reserve Command in Germany so I didn’t have to give up my long range goal of a military retirement. So here I planted roots and started a business as a farrier. Late in life I am beginning all over again. It was hard work and there were also hard times but I stayed with it and soon was able to enjoy a nice life.
My job in the army was infantry, but my war didn’t come until the end of my career. I was in year 19 when I answered the call to war. In 2003 I deployed and wouldn’t get back home for about 14 months. The worst part was I didn’t get to do what I was trained to do. I would have rather been in an infantry unit up front fighting the enemy, yet I ended up in the rear as the Rear G3 Sergeants Major of V Corps, doing a job we combat arms guys always detest, but I did my job to the best of my ability. After I moved up to Baghdad, I made contacts with an infantry platoon and was able to go out on night patrol with one of their squads. It was great, just being one of the guys, not in charge of anything, just taking care of my sector. I was out with these guys every chance I got, at minimum once a week. At age 47 I was finally getting to do what I was trained to do and enjoyed every minute.
So now I reach another late in life challenge – farrier competition. Last year I got talked into going to Las Vegas to attend the final for the World Championship of Blacksmiths. I entered the novice class, at first did I feel stupid – an old guy in this class with a bunch of young farriers, but no one said anything about it. I had a great time. I told a friend of mine I wanted to go back again this coming December so he said he would help me. I am not the best at forging. I can make shoes I need for the horses I work on, but for competition it takes lots of practice, practice. I got problems with my shoulders and arms, but it is fun and I am going to do it. I have just entered another competition in June, so I am pounding iron. Again I am entered in a lower class and will find myself against lots of younger farriers. I am having a good time and figure if I don’t do it now I may not have another chance.
We only go through life one time. If I’d put off things because I was too old, I would have missed out on so many good times in life. Yea, many times it is late in life, but at least I gave it a shot and had fun. After all, what is life if we don’t have some fun?

CHOICES AND LIFE

This morning I was watching National Geographic channel. They have a program called “Brain Games”. In this program they talk a lot about how our brain works and how we think it works – very interesting show. It got me to thinking about the choices I’ve made in life.
The other day I stopped to get a cup of coffee. When I went to pay for it, I noticed some rolls, I could buy one for a price, but I could buy 3 for another price. Well I only wanted two, so told the guy I wanted two. He then said I could get 3 for a better price. I looked at him and said I only want 2. After watching a couple episodes of “Brain Games” I’ve begun to wonder how merchants use our brains to influence us in how we buy things.
When we make a decision is it a snap decision or do we put some thought into it? According to the show, our brain tries to made logical decisions for us when we made snap choice. I don’t understand it all, but I do see the reasoning behind it. When we made a snap choice we then go into the mode of justifying the choice – better price, better deal, we need it, so on and so forth. After a period of time from making a snap choice, do you ever look at the choice and wonder was it the right choice? I have. I wonder, many times if we took a little more time to weigh out our options would we make the choices we do?
I see this with advertising as well. I’ve seen adds about borrowing money, you can get a quick loan approved within minutes, but did you get a chance to read all the fine print posted along with the add – of course not. They make the print small enough and it goes fast enough most normal people have no chance to read it and then some poor sucker gets one of these loans and gets stuck!
I am also a believer in God and if we ask He will help guide us in the choices we make. I am not saying He makes the choices for us, but I wonder if He gives us the little more logic to look at a situation and determine how to tackle the problem, buy the object, do the job? We are creatures of free will and choice. If I said I have made all the right choices in life you all would know I am a liar and blow this off. Of course I have made bad choices. But by making the bad choices I have learned the effects and also learned how to look at a situation much better. I wonder if this is the way God had helped guide me, by expanding my brain, giving me a little more reasoning and deduction of a situation. In my life’s experience I don’t ever remember important choices being done fast, it took some pondering and weighing out what I thought would be the results of my choices.
What is amazing is to look back over time and see how a choice has affects one’s life. I made the choice to become a guide for and outfitter in the Salmon River Wilderness Area in Idaho. It wasn’t a quick choice, I had a horseback ride to think it over, that along with some advice I’d received from an old guy. Putting the two together I made my choice and never been sorry about it.
Looking back over my life there’s been many forks in my road of life and thus far I can say the choices have been pretty good. Yea, I had those learning times where I know not to make choices like those again, but over all things have turned out pretty good.
If I can give you a piece of advice it would be: Keep in touch with God and ask His guidance, He won’t solve all your problems, but He will give you the choices to choose from, let you see things more clearly, it is up to you to make the right choice. If you don’t believe, well take that extra time to think about things. Just remember there are a lot of people out there who want to separate you from your money, influence you to do things, make things, or buy things that will advance their cause no matter the effects it has on you!

2016 IN REVIEW

It’s December 2016 – where did this year go? It seems only yesterday the year began. The older I get the faster time goes, or is it because I am busy and not paying too much attention to time that is quickly slips away.
January rolled in, I worked the first week and a half then I took an extended trip to visit relatives. Began in Missouri with Jene Benton and family. Was a great time. Got to see her new place and eat some of her fantastic cooking. Met Craig and family, was fun! So then I headed to San Francisco to visit Darin. Never been there before so he took me to all the places, Fisherman’s Warf, highest point in SF, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, and he took me on a boat ride across the bay. So then I rented a car and headed north. Never really been in northern California, so good chance to see it. Stopped and did the redwood thing – visited these giants and got a picture of me in the “drive through” tree. Headed on north and spent the night in southern Oregon. Next morning drove to my best friend Dan’s place where his wife Chris was home. The three of us always have a great time. They took me hiking to a waterfall, went to the coast and around. Then Dan took me to a shooting gallery where I learned I hadn’t really lost my eye as I did pretty good I thought, for someone who hadn’t shot a rifle in years!
Visited my brother’s two daughters Tabitha and Traci and their lovely families. Tabitha arranged for Traci and Gabe to come to her place and we all had fun. Tom, Tabitha’s husband , their two boys , Traci and her son went to smack a few golf balls around – what a great time. These two gals have really grown up and have such great families to be around. Visited my cousin Donna Clair, her husband Bill and two kids, Robb and deShauna. After that I hooked it on across Oregon, over the Blues and to my brother’s place in Fruitland Idaho. Was great to spend time with Larry and Sue. Visited friends around Greenleaf, Caldwell and ended my trip in Boise at Gary and Barbara’s place. Was a great trip, lots of stops, trying to get as many visits in as possible. So then it was home and back to work.
Now back to the grindstone. Work as been good. Got lots of great customers and horses to work on. So now it was to business for the summer and fall. I don’t plan time off until around the first of November because people want to use their horses. Also it is Jette’s time to go to horse shows. She ended up going to shows most of the weekends in June, July with some shows in August and September. When she is gone I take care of her horses and our two dogs. We have tried a few times to get someone to take care of our place, but it doesn’t work. Very hard to find someone who understands the word RESPONSIBILITY! We had one person who held a party in our house, the last one we thought we could trust couldn’t get out of bed to feed the horses on time, so no more. We know when one of us is home things will get taken care of right and that is very important to us.
First of September I turned in my reservation for the International Hoof Care Summit in Ohio in January 2017. After doing that a friend and fellow farrier, Tom Williams was at my house using my coal forge. We’d stopped for a bit to eat and he said he was headed to Vegas in December for the WCB finals. I said I might just take the time off to go watch. Tom then said why not go compete in the novice class, I said I was too old and such for that. He said no, it was for guys who had never competed, plus I could deduct it from my business! So Jette pips up and said why not, it would be fun! I sat there for a bit, yea, why not! So I turned in my papers and fees, booked a flight and boom, here I am sitting in the Silverton Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada!
It was a learning experience for me. I felt out of place in the novice class at 60yrs old, but everyone told me no. I felt good with some of my work, I ended up 8th place over all. My work could have been better, but this was the first time I have never worked with a striker and it was very different for me. Also I was working against the clock which I have never done before. I learned many things and now I am going home and do some work. I hope to come back next year.
With this closing I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and may your New Year be a fantastic 2017. God Bless you all and enjoy your journey down the road He has planned for you. I thank God every day for my family, friends and the life I have. I have been blessed to do the things I have done and the places I have gone. TAKE CARE.

THANKSGIVING

Here in Denmark there is no Thanksgiving Day, but there is a lot to be thankful for. I was driving home from my day’s work shoeing horses and kind of down in spirits because today was Thanksgiving Day. I thought back to the last time I really celebrated it and wow, has it been a while back!
Last time I really did Thanksgiving was 1992, at my brother’s place. I’d got up early that morning because I was use to it. I was a little surprised when I got down stairs, no one was in the kitchen, no turkey getting started. Soon Larry came down and I ask why Sue wasn’t getting it done to which he replied she was sick with the flu. So why aren’t you doing it I ask? Well he really didn’t know where to start. I ask what time dinner was planned, with his reply I stated it would be a little later. Sue had the bread dried for dressing so I got started making the dressing, then giving the old bird a good rub down with a few spices. Soon he was stuffed and in the cooker, with extra stuffing made for the large crew, Sue’s family. I ask what else I needed to do. Sue was doing the main course; others were bringing pie, salads and such, so I got to work making my pot of coffee! After my coffee break, spuds got peeled and in the pot to cook. I prepared the neck and such, in a pan to boil so they could be used for gravy. After a while the kitchen was starting to acquire the correct smell. After a period of time Sue’s family started arrive. Learning Sue was sick, they were all ready to pitch in and help. I was thankful for all the help to finish the meal. It was a Thanksgiving to remember.
Yes I got a lot to be thankful for. I got so many Brothers – in- Arms who’ve come home in a pine box: I’m still here. I’ve got many who’ve lost limbs, carry the scares of war for the rest of their lives: all I’ve lost is a few marbles (so the shrink says). I get up every morning feeling the aches and pains of my past life; thankful to feel the pain because that means I am alive!
I’ve got a great place to live, it’s not big, but if it was bigger there would be a lot more work to do. I’m thankful Jette doesn’t have to go out to work every day, she keeps the place running and in order. We have worked hard to get what we got and I am thankful for all we have, mostly warm, dry place to sleep every night and good food to eat.
I am thankful for my family. This year I had some cousins drop in for a visit – was fantastic and loved every minute of it. I am thankful for my brother’s kids whom I have visited many times and enjoy. I am thankful for my friends, few they are, the best. I don’t have to name them, they know who they are. Those who’ve stood beside me through thick and thin. Everyone who have given me moral support in the times of my life when I really needed them.
I guess for me, now a day, Thanksgiving Day is a good time for me to reflect back over the past year, remembering all the things I am truly thankful for. I am glad so many of my family and friends are with their loved ones enjoying their Thanksgiving Day dinner. As you all sit around the table today enjoying a great dinner, each other’s company, please stop and reflect over your past year and remember all the things you are truly thankful for and Thank the Lord for all the blessings He has gives us all. Actually today turned out to be a REALLY GOOD THANKSGIVING DAY!

TYNNARY & LIBERTY

Basically what Thomas Jefferson said was: “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” This is so true today. All a person has to do is stop and take an objective look at our government, who’s running it and how the people are being treated then you will understand what road we are headed down. A good example is Obama Care: if it was really good and the original backers (not necessarily Congressmen) had the good intensions of the people truly in mind would they have given the IRS the power to fine people for not taking it? This is a good example of tyranny. Let’s not forget the promises the president made which held water about as good as a sieve. Let’s not forget all the Congressmen who never read the bill but passed it anyway – we know they cared about us.
The Republican Party got a taste of the people’s meaning during this year’s primary election – for a change an outsider (non politician) got the nomination. The people spoke and those of the “Establishment” are a little set back. At first they thought it was a joke, but then Trump’s campaign began to gather speed – why? Because for a change he was telling people what they wanted to hear, not the same old campaign nose blowing, double talk we’ve heard from all the rest. Donald Trump came out and spoke to the American people like an American. He wasn’t politically correct and he didn’t care who he offended. The only way he could do this was he had his own money. The “Establishment” couldn’t buy him. For once the “Establishment” was set on its heels, and by one of its own!
Let me explain what I mean by “establishment”, referred from now on as they, them, those guys or just main stream politicians. They are the party favorites. For example look at the Bush family: they’ve been in politics for ever. They’ve got the power, money and backing of those we don’t see – the real power and those who are really running our country. They don’t necessarily need to be in politics to run politics – look at George Soros for example. One of the wealthiest guys on earth. He’s got fingers into almost every part of our government. Who runs the Federal Reserve? Don’t let the name fool you. The Fed is made up of private individuals, banker if you will. They’ve got vast wealth and holdings and have great influence on how our country is run, and the world for that matter, you don’t believe me – just look it up. Anyway now you get the idea. You think this is some tin foil had idea? No, just look around, use your head, stop and think. The Establishment wants us to think so!
So along comes Trump, who ran in those circles because his position in life, but he got tired of what was happening, so he decided to do something – like run for president. Remember this man has never held a political office and until a while back never intended to do so. He is a business man, use to making money. Yes he’s lost money, had setbacks, but he has arisen past those and made it. He has used every method he could to get there, no different than most of his fellow establishment giants who’ve made it to the top, but now Trump has gone rouge and his buddies are out to get him because he know the ropes, how to play the game, how to beat the system and this scares them because at the end of the day he says he’s going to put stoppers in those holes and seal the cracks. This will affect their bottom line and they don’t like it, but the average Joe on the street likes it very much. For once there is hope again that maybe our government can be taken back and give the people some say in what goes on.
Am I saying Trump will make the best president – who knows? I do know if anyone can he has the best chance. As he has stated in taxes for examples: he’s used all the loop holes he could and if anyone knows how and what to close them he does. Guess who doesn’t want this to happen? Yep his old friends in the Establishment! And if you can’t see Hillary Clinton is in the Establishment, then you have been living under a mushroom too long. You know he didn’t have to do this. He didn’t have to have his whole life picked apart, mud thrown in his face, his family attacked. He’s faced the full brunt not only of the opposition party but that of his own party as well – why? Because the Establishment doesn’t want him there, his is screwing up their game plan, a monkey wrench in their money making and power procedures.
We can question Trump, talk about what he stands for, but one thing we cannot attack his political career because he has none. He’s had his ups and downs in business life, but that is business. One thing I do see, as a successful business man he has been able to surround himself with people he can trust with the responsibility given them and this is the biggest thing he’s got going for himself, besides the fact he has been able to stand up and take responsibility for his actions, good or bad.
People say we are in big trouble, well yes we are, but who is to blame? We, The People are partly to blame. We elected our officials, many times with no knowledge of what they stand for or what they do. Then we re-elect these people time and again only so they can rape and plunder our resources. We’ve got a good chance to move forward right now, but we mustn’t screw away this chance. So many people wish for a third party candidate to get in, well in a way we got him. The Democrats hate him, the Republicans hate him, what more do you want? Trump was smart enough to know if he ran as a third party he would never get there, so he joined the Republicans. He already knew the Democratic ticket was fixed by the establishment.
You want to help America to start climbing out of the hole? You may not like him. He never said he was a choir boy and he never lived his life as such, but since he’s been running, he’s put Americans, the Constitution and our well being up front. Will he deliver? Good question and this also depends on how much help he gets from Congress. I say give the businessman a chance – it can’t be worse off than we already are!

POLITICAL CHOICES

One thing everyone can agree on is this year’s presidential election should be one to remember!
Lots of strife, bickering and division – kind of sounds like things around the time of our civil war. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not predicting anything or pointing any direction. I’m just saying we are a nation greatly divided. But how did we get this way to begin with. I guess the biggest part of the blame needs to go on “WE THE PEOPLE”.
Think about it, in the past, how complacent have people become about voting? When it comes time to exercise one of our most important rights the majority of Americans don’t vote. Along with this so many never do their research into those we elect and blow it off. The other problem is a majority of our politicians have betrayed us for the money, power and thinking only of themselves. Look at the position we are in now for presidential hopefuls.
The Republican party and politicians have let us down. In the past we voted them control of Congress and yet they stepped in bed with the Democrats – no difference between the two and this pissed off the Republican supporters, so what did they finally do? They send a firm and loud message to the main stream Republican party – TRUMP. Donald Trump wasn’t a politician but he got into the race anyway. During the primaries he used his own money, said what he wanted to say, wasn’t politically correct and didn’t care who’s toes he stepped on and the people loved him for it. Finally someone who wasn’t bought by political money and didn’t give a rats a$$. In the beginning no one thought he would last, but soon he picked up momentum – WHY? Because finally someone was listening to the people. When he decided to go on the Republican ticket, the RNC made him sign a letter of loyalty, if he didn’t get chosen he’d support who ever did. Now that is coming back on the RNC because they are failing to support him. I am waiting to see how the Republican convention ends up. If somehow they cheat Trump of what he has earned and the people have chosen, who knows what will happen.
The Democrats on the other hand are a different ball of wax. Democrat politicians are no different than the Republican – they have fail the voters, yet the Democrat supporters keep coming back to the “good old boy” system. They were so afraid to make a change, to send a message to their political leaders, so they just fell in line with the party . That’s how we ended up with a person like Hillary Clinton.
What get me is how a person who has such distain for the military, law and values can be in this position? If I had handled secure/sensitive material they way she has, I’d have face federal charges like others have. Her whole public career has been one big lie. Saying she was named for the first man to climb Mt. Everest (hadn’t been done when she was born), landing under fire in Bosnia in 1996 (if you see the pics and videos, no one is ducking and running), to never having classified material on her private e-mail server. And there is so much more to name it would take a book to list the lot. She claims to stand for women, yet she threatened women to silence who had affairs with her husband. She claimed when they left the White House they were broke, yet they are millionaires now. As lately, she has proven there is one law for the common people and one law for the Clintons. She told the families of 4 men killed in Libya it was caused by a video when she knew it was a lie.
So here we are on one hand we got Trump, an unknown product whom we have no idea which way he will go. On the other hand we have a habituation liar who can’t be trusted.
And to add to the mix, the current president has done more in the past few years to divide our nation than any other, and continues to keep things stirred up. He has fired race violence, torn apart our military leadership, thrown the Constitution under the bus wheels. He’s kept one campaign promise – He said he wanted to change America and he has done that.
After reading this you will think I am a firm conservative, yes I am. But more than that I am a United States Citizen FIRST! Many years ago I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, both foreign and domestic. I have never been relieved of this oath. The only way I and my Brothers/Sisters -in- Arms will be relieved of our oaths is death. I am saddened by the states of disrespect for the law we see today. How our current administration has fuelled this.
When it comes time to cast the vote, I will not vote for a know habitual liar. Do I vote for Trump? Well he’s the unknown factor and we really don’t know what will happen. One thing I do know, it’s about time for WE THE PEOPLE to unite and take back our country. If not, we will go the same way and the Roman Empire.

GROWING OLDER AND LOOKING BACK

This year I turn 60yrs old.  Many out there will scoff and say, “Hey your just a youngster.”, true, but it is a milestone in my life.  It’s also the first time in my life I’ve stopped and thought about getting old.  I guess the reason it hit me so hard was the fact I had to turn in my paper work to collect my Army Reserve pension.  As I was doing this it really stuck to me – PENSION!  I’d put in over 20yrs service in the Army Reserve to earn this right.  It was one of my long term goals.  Even when I got my 20yr letter stating I now qualified for a pension at 60yrs, it never really struck me as 60yrs old was still a long way away – lots of water under the bridge.  Now I’m finally crossing that bridge!

Growing up time was something I had lots of.  When going to school I remember the three months summer vacations.  Yea I worked most of the time, but there was always time for baseball, tennis, swimming, fishing, camping and a host of other things.  It was almost endless and as school time rolled around again in the fall I was ready for it again.  Then I advance to the grown up world.

I landed my first “real” job as a truck mechanic at J.R. Simplot company working the night shift.   Now I had to knuckle down to work schedule, but it was ok.  My Dad had taught me well the ethics of work and I’d somehow “learned how to work”.  It wasn’t just learning the job, but the self discipline, desire, responsibility and much more my Dad taught me.  These lessons have stayed with me all my life and all I can say is THANKS.  Even at this job I had plenty of time.  I’d bought my first car – ’69 Camero and a really nice Honda 750 (4) motorcycle.  I had wheels for every season and they got used!

My 20s slid by.  I got married and divorced, I’d landed a few jobs and got experience in many fields.  Then the dream job was bless upon me – professional guide.  I worked this job until I was 36 and moved to Denmark.  These years I look back upon as my golden years.  I was blessed to work, live and do what so many people only dream about.

I remember turning 30yrs old.  I’d always heard 30, wow, this was really the age.  As the day rolled around I waited – nothing really happened.  I felt no different, life didn’t change, but I did notice as I was planning things, time seemed to pick up a bit.  The back country really had an effect on time.  I’d be up working and I’d have to stop and count how many day’s I’d been there, think about which day I’d started up.  Days of the week really had no meaning.  All I had to do is remember the trip was so many days and just count.  As far as time went, I never carried a watch (still don’t).  My life was so in tune with nature I could look at the sun and tell you just about what time of day it was.  The sun came up and went down, that’s how I tracked time.

40yrs old rolled around and I found myself deployed on Operation Joint Endeavor – or Bosnia and many of you will remember (Dec 95 – Sep 96).  I’ll never forget my 40th birthday, I was looking over the Sava River running between Croatia and Bosnia.  My team, I say “my” as I was the Senior NCO of a team at Cowboy TOC.  We did the command and control for every vehicle crossing the river to and from Bosnia.  Not only did I do my share of the daily work, but I was also responsible for the health and welfare of the entire team.  Being deployed was different.   Sometimes time moved fast and other days time moved real slow.

50yrs old came.  That year I spent my birthday as a friend’s house.  He, like me was a farrier and we were getting ready to take our qualification test.  I spent the day helping him train for making shoes.  We had certain types of shoes to make and they had to be a specific size as well.  I never told him it was my birthday as it wasn’t important.  The important thing was I helped him train for his test which he passed!  A while later it was my turn to take the test and I passed mine as well.  But it was a little strange, time seemed to slip by faster now.  I’d find myself trying to juggle my work schedule to keep all my customers happy.  I’d look back and think – “I’ve been in Denmark this long?”.  It just didn’t seem possible.  It only seemed like last year I’d been working as a professional guide, but that was 14 years ago!  How could time have passed so fast.

April I will be 60yrs old and time is completely out of control!  There is no time any more.  Many times it seems like a day just started and I look at the clock in my van and it’s the end of the day – where did it go?  This past January/February I took a trip home.  I saw many people I hadn’t seen in years.  As I’d leave their place I’d think to myself, “Boy so-n-so looks old”  But then I got to thinking, “I wonder if they are saying that about me?” – I bet they did.  I’ve had time to look back at some of the things in life I’ve had a chance to do and did:  I dabbled in rodeo, saddle bronc and had a great time; drove truck for a while and got to see some country; road motorcycle all around the northwest and a few other parts and it was fun;  one winter and spring I rode a Honda CR250 playing on the flat track.  I completed over 22yrs with the Army Reserve and reached the rank of Sergeants Major – to include three deployments and assignments in many different countries.  I’ve traveled Europe and got a friend I visit every year in Portugal.  I’ve become an experienced train traveler and enjoyed the benefits.  I’ve experienced life, seen death.  I’ve been so scared that even years later it still stays with me.  I’ve been shot at, mortared, missed having my life taken by a thread.  I’ve experienced the best of people and seen the worst humans have to offer.  Much of this I’ve written about in my two book – GUIDE’S LIFE and  THOUGHTS OF A CRAZY OLD MAN.  Oh yea, almost forgot, I’m a published author (not famous and haven’t quite my day job).  I look at the friends I’ve made and to all of you – THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR GIVING OF YOURSELVES TO ME.  I just hope I’ve been able to a friend to you as well.

My life’s road has had many “Ts”, “Ys”, turns and ruts.  I’ve run into some dead ends, but never gave up.  An old guy many moons ago told me, “If there’s something in life you have a chance to do, do it.  Because there will come a time when you won’t have that chance and if you didn’t take it, you’ll look back and say – Gee, I wish I’d have done that!”  With this advice and the grace of God I’ve had a great life.  I’m on the downhill side now and still looking forward to it.  The only regret I have is I still can’t control that darn thing called TIME!

SAN FRANCISCO

What a city. I arrived on a late plane due to weather. As my plane slowly made its way to the ground I thought we were getting pretty close to the water, then runway and THUMP! Cheated death again with a good controlled crash. I’d communicated with Darin on the way and told him it was no problem for me to make my way to his place, so after getting my bag – OH, wait, another story – Can you believe it! My bag was second – NUMBER TWO (2) coming down the chute! Never happened to me before!!! Anyway back to the story – I proceeded to find BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Being a seasoned public transportation person, I had no problem finding my stop – 16th & Mission.
Climbing out of the hole and into the sunlight I found myself in San Francisco. Once in the light I began to get my map squared away with the lay of the land. As I was figuring things out a man asked me if I was lost. I looked up and told him I was getting myself orientated. He asked where I was headed and I told him. “Oh, it’s just down this way and to the right, then a few blocks to Market. We talked a bit and he wished me a Happy New Year!
I was glad I understood the meaning “Light Infantry”, so I saddled up my ruck and off I went. It’s been a while since I’ve humped a ruck and for some reason it was kind of hilly where I was, so I got warmed up good and actually was glad for the exercise as the past few days I’d had not much. I found his apartment number and he rang me in. Soon I was face to face with this old gray bearded dud (kind a like me). I’d counted up, it had been 36 years since we’d seen each other.
He got me squared away and later we went out to eat. We spent most of the evening laying out a plan of attack. So far I’ve done the Fisherman’s wharf thing. Ridden a cable car, ridden the street cars, walked on Knob Hill and visited China Town. That completed my list. The next day I got up to a beautiful sunshine morning, so we had coffee on the roof. After which we put on the LPCs (leather personal carriers) and hoofed it to the Mission Dolores. It was great. All during the walks we’ve had, Darin has been the perfect guide. I’ve learned a lot of San Francisco’s history and it’s very interesting. We circled around down by the city hall, federal building and such where I even got to see a real live big city demonstration – complete with banging drums, people shouting holding up signs, police escort to include a paddy wagon! Now I feel I’ve been to the big city!! Later on as we were walking to supper, we passed the San Francisco Mint. I asked if there was a discount day where a guy could buy double stamped seconds – Darin smiled and replied I missed it by a week – RATS, just my luck!! As we walked the streets I got so many smells from the different foods cooking in the bazillion little cafes. Darin’s planned great little places for us to eat and they are fantastic!!
Anyway as I am writing this it’s back to rain, but so what. I’ve got today and tomorrow remaining with Darin and we plan to use them with great passion. The last day Darin has rented a car so we can do some out and around things. I’m glad I made this trip. I’ve no idea when I will get the chance again. As when I was in Missouri visiting Jene, here with Darin we’ve got to talk old times and our lives in between.
I’m sure lucky to have been blessed with such a great family. Even though I don’t get to see many of them much and some of them it’s been a really long time, it’s great! There’s nothing like family and no way can they be replaced for me.