WONDERING AND THOUGHTS

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

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

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

HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED

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

2020, A Different Year

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

2019 IN REVIEW

I started the year just like a one – legged man in an ass kicking contest, well not completely, just had my left knee replaced November of last year. I was lucky a customer loaned me her stationary bike, so I was doing lots of rehab at home along with going to the local gym to keep the rest of my body in shape. I attended a rehab center near me until the first of February when I got the good to go. Along with this I started some work in the shop, getting my shoe making skills back in shape, swinging the hammer. Physically my hands, arms and body got out of shape for work so needed to get back in shape. Finally my knee was in shape enough to drive, work, and do, so the first of February I started shoeing horses again. I chose the easiest, ones only needing front shoes, those needing just trimming and so I began. Yes, I lost some customers, and really in the end it was a good thing. I now have enough work to keep me busy and allow me to play a little more golf!

Spring and summer rolled around with great golf weather. Had a lot of fun whacking the little white ball. My handicap went down a few points, so guess I am getting better. Jette kept up with her horses. Between horses, Gabby and the house, Jette kept pretty busy. It is nice she doesn’t have to go out to work every day. She also keeps me straight as far as the book work end of my business goes.

This year was different as I went back to Idaho for the first time in the fall since I moved to Denmark. I had forgotten how great the fall colors are, it was beautiful to see. My brother and his wife picked me up at the Boise airport after a very long day’s flight. Thursday, we spent getting some of my business done and getting ready to leave for his kid’s place in Newberg, Oregon. Friday morning early, we departed. Even though we talk often on Skype and e-mail, we talked constantly for the next four hours until we stopped for gas and a bit to eat the west side of Pendleton, Oregon. It was a beautiful, sunny day for a drive and as we entered the Columbia River gorge, Mt. Hood was standing snow – capped, tall in the clear, blue sky. I could write a book about the visit, but I will just say I had a fantastic time with Larry’s kids and grandkids. I was really shocked how much all three of his grandkids have grown. Tabitha, Larry’s oldest daughter hosted us and Traci who lives about 15 minutes away. Traci has a new house and car, great to see her and Gabe are doing so well. I am really proud of Larry for raising two fantastic daughters, who in turn both have fantastic families to be around.

Larry and Sue went home, I rented a car, continuing to visit relatives with whom I spent a lot of time talking and catching up. We keep in contact, but it is never the same as visiting in person. After family, it was time for my best friend Dan and his wife Chris. Also had dinner with a school mate, was geat. Several time Chris would shake her head and say, “Just like having his twin brother here”. I guess it is the fact Dan and I know each other and no matter how long it is between times we see each other, we fall right in step as if we had been together all the time. I do metal work, Dan does wood work, so we hit his shop. Dan set up his lathe and got me to do a project, my first. It came out pretty good. I found lathe work is a lot like my metal work, only faster. We had a great time. Took a couple days see the sights, we went to a couple different places and really had a great time.

Drove the interstate back to Idaho, stopping in Hermiston, Oregon to visit an army buddy. We talk all the time on the net, but was good to shake hands and see the real face. Over the Blue Mountains, past La Grande and Baker City, Ontario and stopped one more time to say goodbye to Larry and Sue. After a couple hours it was to Greenleaf to visit Del, a good friend. We always have a lot to talk about. The next day Del and I visited a couple mutual friends, was good to have a good navigator as so much of the Valley has changed. It is always good to visit Greenleaf. I was a little disappointed as the School (GFA) was closed for a few days. So, it was off to Boise. The weather was great, so I couldn’t resist 18 holes of golf. Booked a tee time at the course near Star, Idaho. They put me with three other guys I never met, but we had a great time. They were great in explaining the course. I didn’t play the best, but had a great time. Sunday afternoon had dinner with a bunch of school mates living in the area. Big thanks to Becky and Karen for contacting everyone and to everyone for coming. Was fun to talk about some of the old school days and times we had together.

Monday was to my cousin’s place in Boise for a couple days. Gary and I took a drive to their place up in the mountains. It was great to see some of my old stomping grounds. After a visit with them it was on the plane and back to Denmark. I needed another week as I was not able to get to Salmon and visit all the people I know there. Work was calling and I had customer’s horses waiting for me.

That’s pretty much our year. My knee has been doing well, I do have some pain in it, but accept it will probably have some. Jette just some good news about a horse she wants to get. One more test to go and if it passes looks like she will be getting another one this spring. Spending some time in the shop and doing a few things around the house, just waiting for the good golf season to get here again. I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I refuse to be politically correct, and if this offends any of you, GREAT, get over it.

REFLECTIONS, MAKING MEMORIES

Sitting here drinking my morning coffee I get the chance to reflect on my vacation. It has been good, but I am ready to get back to work.
I talk with my brother all the time on Skype, but getting down to it, there is nothing like the real thing. It was so great to be met by him and his wife at the airport. The following day he took me to get my business done and when we got back to his house, we continued what we had done the whole day – talk. The following day we drove to his kid’s place south of Portland, Oregon, we continued to talk almost the whole way. We had a fantast weekend with his two girls and three grandsons. On Monday after the kids had gone to school, we got a few games of pinnacle in. Has been years since I played, yet didn’t take long to come back to me.
Had a great visit with cousins who have been a large part of my life. One whole day we sat in the kitchen and talked, it was 2200 that evening when we finally went to bed, yet we never talked the same subject twice. Like the rest of us, they are getting older and I wonder if I will see them again. This is the same thought I have with everyone I visited this trip. We all know there is no guarantee in life, so every time I come over, I take it special, like it is the last time I will see them, until the next.
My best friend in school, who is my best friend in life, got to spend a few days with him and his wife. It never matters how long since we have been together, we can pick up right where we left off from last time. We fall right into life as if we have never been apart. His wife continually made the statement, “Just like having a double here”. I think she never gets over the fact we are two peas in a pod.
Leaving his place, I made the trip back to Idaho on the interstate through the Columbia River Gorge, making a stop in Hermiston, Oregon. Had to visit a Brother from another mother. Those of you who have never been in the military will never understand how this family is, especially this family – we are all 11 series – INFANTRY. Even though many of us have never met, we are tied by the bond of the rifle, the fact that ties us together for the rest of our lives. It was a great time meeting a brother I had never met, then surprised to meet two more. Even though it was the first time we physically have met, we had a bond which can never be broken.
After leaving his place, the drive was fantastic, a clear day. Looking way over to the west north west, I got to see a snow – capped volcano, Mt. Hood sticking up like a guiding beacon. It was beautiful, I have never seen this before. Up over the Blue Mountains, down in to LaGrande. Looking to the mountains to my left, they were all dusted with snow. Climbing Ladd Canyon, I remembered so many times driving truck up this stretch in the snowy, slick winter having to get out and chain up. It was a beautiful day all the way past Baker City, down the Burnt River Canyon to the Snake river, into Ontario, Oregon. Had to take a brief stop to say goodbye to my brother who was getting ready to go elk hunting.
The Treasure Valley, where I grew up, but no longer a home I recognize. It has grown up so much with so many people. After a couple night with a good friend living in Greenleaf, Id, visiting friends, enjoying the great Café in Greenleaf, I went to Boise to get some business done. I drove around the valley some, just looking. Yes, I did get a game of golf in with three guys I didn’t know. They were great to guide me around the course.
One thing I loved, this is the first time since I moved to Denmark I have been back in the fall. I love the fall colors here, one thing I miss in Denmark. I was blessed with fantastic weather, clear sunny days to enjoy the beautiful colors God has blessed the Treasure Valley with. Along with the colors was the smells and sights of fall; Crisp aspens, the sugar beet factory in Nampa, corn in the fields ready for harvest, lawns filled with leaves, empty irrigation canals, the reds, yellows against the green evergreens. Yes, I took pictures, but pictures can never replace what I seen with my eyes and are now burned in my brain.
My last Sunday I drove to the Owyhee Mountains. God blessed Idaho with some of the most fantastic country on earth. My Dad introduced me to this country when I was very small and instantly fell in love with it. I have covered lots of this country horseback. Hunted much more. One has to experience it to really appreciate it. To end a great day, I was blessed to have dinner with many of my school mates. To fantastic ladies, Karen and Becky contacted those still in the Valley and we got together for Mexican food in Caldwell. It was great, lots of stories of our younger years with smiles and laughter. God has truly blessed me with these friends I went to school with. I looked around the table, not seeing the older men and women we are, but the kids of our youth because memories are strong and they never age.
Two days remaining, will spend with my cousins in Boise. When is the next time I get back – who knows. Will everyone I have seen this time still be on this earth – God knows. I am so glad for the memories I have made this trip. The friendships I have renewed. Today it is not like it was 27yrs ago when I moved away. Back then it was snail mail, today we reached “The Jetsons” age, seeing who I talk to, half a world away. Yet there is nothing like being able to see the person, shake the hand, give a hug. After our dinner Sunday we were just standing outside the restaurant, not really talking. I shook hands and hugged around, then we stood there not really wanting the moment to end. Finally, we said our goodbyes again and departed. Love you all!

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!!

COCO

When she came, she was a little ball of fur, but what we got was unexpected. Coco was to be the most independent, self-willed dog we ever had. She was never submissive to an older dog and most of all, she loved to play BALL! Shelia had her hands full keeping Coco in line, but she was a good “mom” and did her best.
From the very start Coco was hole hog when she played, ran or whatever. Coco was a very over active dog. If she was lying down, and Jette or I got up, she was up in a flash with a ball headed to the door. It wasn’t until after she was three or so, when I just moved in my chair, her head would raise up to see what was going on, I’d life my hand, palm facing her, telling her to stay. Soon she learned this and I could get up without her exploding to the door. She would chase a ball and many times end up rolling on the ground with the ball. From the beginning she was very hard on herself, never slowing down, never accept second best, and she was a talker! In her whole life she never showed any pain, as if pain was something she never felt.
When it was time to go for a walk, she was so excited she was jumping up and down, and talking. It wasn’t a bark, more a combination of a bark and a yowl. This was something she never lost. In the mornings when it was time to get up, she started, I never needed an alarm clock. She would coming running upstairs and make sure I was up. She would run down stairs and wait for me, banging away with her tail on everything. She was so happy I was up, her tail going, moving between my legs I could hardly walk. Even if I had to piss like a race horse, I had to take that time to pet her, hundred percent focused only on her. When she was satisfied, outside she’d go, and I got to pee. Coco very rarely licked me, instead if I was lying on the couch she would come up and touch her nose to mine, that was her greeting to me. She knew me and I knew her.
The ball was her lifelong joy and pleasure. No matter the time of day, she loved to play ball. If I was sitting down, she’d come set down with a ball in her mouth. One thing at the beginning I never reached down to pick a ball up, she was so lightening fast she’d nab it in a flash of light, no matter if my fingers were there or not. I learned early to step on the ball first, then she’d back off a bit. But best of all was to have two or three balls at the ready. If she had one in her mouth, she’d cover the second one with her paw, pressing so hard it was almost impossible to get it free.
Yes, Coco was the most challenging dog we ever had, but despite all the problems and such, we loved her very much. The last couple days after her passing, I have found just how empty my life is without her. No more waking me early in the mornings. No more greeting me when I come home. As I said she was very vocal, her special sounds and language – the house is silent now. She knew our routine. She knew when I was going to work. Mornings I’d play a little ball with her, she was so keyed up. All I had to say, was “Bye-bye Coco, I got to go to work”. Immediately she’d drop the ball, come smiling, wagging her tail to me so I could pet her for a while, then it was ok for me to leave. As I would drive off, I’d look back and see her laying in front of the door on her blanket watching me drive off.
I remember when Shelia passed on, Coco grew up over night. From being a puppy to “Head of the house”. For two months she was on her own, but it made no difference to her, she was a little calmer being the only dog, but her love for play and being never changed. When we got a new puppy to replace Shelia, it was a big problem – she wanted to attack her. It was a very difficult, challenging week or so. We couldn’t let both of them free at the same time. We had a divider in the house to separate them and I had to make a fence down the middle of the yard. With them on each side of their yard, she could get use to the new puppy. Finally she gave in and it was ok. I was surprise how submissive she got to Gabby – Coco turned into a puppy again. When Coco came to Gabby she’d automatically wash her face – this never stopped, she continued right to the end.
When we got Coco, Shelia was older and didn’t really play as much with her, now Coco turned into a puppy playing with Gabby. She would lay on her back and allow Gabby to be the “Aggressor”, teaching Gabby how to attack and defend in their play. At first Gabby cared nothing for a ball, but soon she learned from Coco the “Ball” was good. These two would chase each other through the house – around the chairs, under the table. Finally Coco would fall to the floor, roll on her back and allow Gabby to “attack” her at the end.
Yes in a way some of Coco still lives on in Gabby because of all the things Gabby learned from Coco. This is one thing we always liked, how the new one learned from the old one. But Gabby is the wife’s dog, she hangs on her, like Coco hung on me. I love Gabby, but I got a very big empty place I my life with Coco gone as she was my dog. Coco, you will always be missed every time I come home, getup in the mornings, get out of my chair, go out the door. You knew my life, routine, everything. You felt my love for you and gave so much, I will never forget you – even if you were a real pain in the ass. Good-bye Coco (Aug 2013 – Mar 2019), you will forever be missed, and always loved.