Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tune Up

The old body is kinda like an automobile and has to be tuned up once in awhile. Both the wife and I are finding out that this getting old is not really so golden. Without any gory descriptions I will only say that the wife is going to have to have about a foot of her intestines removed. With this news facing us I learned that I have a tumor on my Kidney and will most likely lose it. My condition seemed to be the most urgent according to the experts so the wife postponed her scheduled surgery so that I can recover from mine first to care for her. Since all these problems popped up in November and no surgery for my Kidney is scheduled until February one can't help but wonder just how urgent this could really be.
On top of all that I have to have another surgery on my mastoid of the right ear again. This has been repaired three times and now the fix that was done six years ago has come lose and bleeding has sent me to the ER. This will have to wait for me get over the Kidney thing.
Here's hoping 2012 will be better for everyone. The whole world is in really bad shape these days and it will take a strong faith to lift us all from the strife. With all my health issues I have so much to be thankful for and will never give up trying to make this country a place to be proud of, God Bless The USA.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

So Proudly We Served

These three sailors from Pagosa Springs are proud to be called "Veterans". All three eagerly volunteered upon completion of their high school education. Although there are no glorious heroic war stories to be told, each would have gladly laid down their life to protect this country.
Their stories all started in 1953 with Ron and friends enlisting in the Navy. Ron was a natural leader and selected as Honor Man of his training company in San Diego Calif. After completion of his training he attended electrician school and served aboard two wooden hull minesweepers, a tug boat in Guam, and an aircraft carrier "The USS Ranger". After twelve years Ron was forced into early retirement after losing a leg in an accident. Today He is still very much a Navy man as he attends to functions in the Local American Legion Post.
Jerry followed in the footsteps of his older sibling two years later and after completing basic training in Great Lakes, he attended machinist mate school and served the remainder of his enlistment aboard and oil tanker. The USS Caliente participated in "Operation Redwing" in evaluation of Atomic Weapons in the Pacific. Jerry passed away in 2008 after a long battle with COPD.
Billy left high school a year short of completion and followed his older siblings along with an old family friend Richard Walter. Upon completion of basic training in Great Lakes he was assigned duty aboard the USS Reaper where his brother Ron was already stationed. A rare thing for two siblings to be aboard the same ship, this lasted until a crisis in Lebanon forced a separation. Billy attended culinary school in San Diego and became the ships cook, a real delight to the older brother who always had a hefty appetite.
As November 11th rolls around each year the old sailors left will proudly display old glory and stand at attention to salute her, then bow our heads and thank God for the young men and women who have taken our place to defend freedom.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Diversified and Proud

Looking back over the makeup of my family tree, I can see that we are well rounded and very diversified with one common "A" running through our blood. There is a wide diversity in our religious beliefs, political affiliations, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, income brackets, sports, etc. but one thing that binds us as one unit is our belief in a supreme being, love for one another and the big "A" AMERICAN. Each one of us in our own way will defend the foundation this great country was created for, and rights for all to be free to worship, speak, or love whom ever they choose.
Political debates are a healthy thing for this country; support and decent will follow every rally and after all is said the people of this country will make a choice for a leader. If we are to survive another 200 yrs of democracy we must set aside our dislikes and support the government chosen to lead this nation of diversified people. If it appears that the wrong choice has been made then the remedies is at the ballet box, not rallying with profanity laced signs, racial bigotry, and violence.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Remembering events like 9/11 or Dec.7,1941 should only strengthen our resolve to punish those who wish to harm our Nation. On these anniversaries it seems so easy to join hands and relive the anguish for a day or two but how quickly we close our fist to one another.
I must say that for me the period following such tragedies has weakened my faith in unity of this great country. There has always been political discord witch only strengthens a democracy but the elections following 9/11 have brought to surface all the bigotry,prejudice, and hatred that this country has tried to overcome for decades. The separation of economical classes has been widened with the middle class slowly becoming extinct. Every attempt to help the poor has been halted by wealthy politicians and corporations because of the hatred of our President even though elected by the people. Every natural disaster, financial crisis, or major event has been blamed on one man, one can only wonder WHY?
We still have the most patriotic military of any Nation and those men and women still protect
our rights to sit here and squabble over who is to blame for the mess we are in. Seems to me the least we could do is put aside our bigotry, open our fist and solve our fiscal problems.
On the morning of 9/11 I will be in Church praying for God's guidance, forgiveness, peace and for all the souls lost on that tragic day ten years ago along with all the brave men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
May God Bless America

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Music From Yesterday

Sometimes when I start reminiscing, the old mind drifts back to a time when Song Lyrics were understandable and the stories they told somehow were a reflection of ones own life. Growing up in Pagosa Springs Colorado, we didn't have television to capture our imagination so the old Philco radio put me to sleep many nights listening to country music from Del Rio Texas. When television arrived the "Ed Sullivan Show" gave us a glimpse into the pop music and then "The Grand Ole Opry" came along and all the country songs we lived in our mind came to life. The artist of the time dressed in such colorful clothes and the female artist didn't have to show skin to prove they were ladies. With today's technology now I can visibly watch all those glorious memories, tap my toes and sing along, thanks to a thing called "you tube".

Pagosa Springs now is bringing back some of the good old country sounds through the Bluegrass Festivals there. There are many musicians that like to gather there under the pine trees on a hill side near the famous Hot Springs. I haven't had the opportunity to attend these celebrations but through the wonder of the computer age I can enjoy them by clicking onto a web site called "All Things Pagosa". Anyone who loves the outdoors, mountain air and country music should plan a vacation trip to this friendly little town in Colorado.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Where Are We Going

Where is this country headed anyway?
This question has been asked by each generation since the founding fathers signed that historic document called the constitution of the United States Of America.
Looking back over the past 70 yrs that I have been fortunate to live in this great democracy I have seen it go through changes and wondered how we have survived. Our fore fathers sought a country of free will but I often wonder just how free did they really mean. America is loosing its stand in the world as a country of high moral standards.
Even the English language has taken on a meaning of its own and Websters dictionary can no longer be the source for interpretation of defining the meaning of a word. There was time as a youngster in school I learned that the word gay meant a feeling of happiness and never refereed to as ones sexual preference. Marriage was a union of man and woman as described in every holy manuscript written.
The right to bear arms when the document was written was needed to allow states to form militias,and hunt for food, not to allow any one who so desired to stock pile weapons to destroy their fellow man.
Freedom of speech and press was never intended for distribution of porn, slander, or profanity
or foul language yet this is becoming second nature to our children.
I too am guilty of becoming a member of a corrupt society but I hope as I near the time when I shall be called to answer to a higher authority, I can be deemed a remorseful soul and forgiven my transgressions.
I am one of the lucky ones, my years left on this earth are becoming fewer and only the ones I leave behind will have to decide whether to continue to stray from the teachings of our religious leaders or stand up for morality.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Welcome Summer 2011

Here it is the first full day of summer and soon we will all be celebrating Independence day in some fashion. My times of hitting the road and traveling to my favorite retreat, the place I grew up in Colorado have diminished severely.
Reaching a milestone in marriage I attempted to rekindle the youth in my blood by taking my better half to see a show in sin city Vegas. Cruising along the highway and trying to keep up with traffic while listening to tunes from the past, I noticed a strange image pop up near the speed odometer. "Check Engine" message gave a chill that went down my spine. Here I am in the desert a hundred miles from my destination, do I stop and call for a tow or try to continue to the city? Thanks to today's technology I was able to phone ahead to a dealership and winged my way into their service department. The folks there were very nice and shuttled us to our hotel and retrieved us when the repair was done.
Although the cost of repair depleted my playing funds, the "Jersey Boys" show was fantastic and is a pleasant memory to last a lifetime.
I was also pleased to see Old Glory so proudly displayed through out the Palazzo Resort.
This time of years always brings back memories of the July 4th celebration in Pagosa Springs Colorado. If any of the readers of this blog have the time to venture there this time of year you will surely enjoy a patriotic and with some of the most beautiful landscapes America has to offer.
I'm sure that folks my age will remember some of the comic book hero's of the 50's, one of mine was a cowboy whose story originated right there in Pagosa, my home town, "Red Ryder." I always looked forward to attending the Red Ryder parade and Rodeo and my family often participated in making the floats for that parade. Even today as years have passed my older brother is very active in the American Legion and can be seen in uniform in some function of the parade.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Salute

Having just hung old glory out on this Memorial Day, its time to pause and give thanks to all who have served this great nation as our protectors of freedom. There are no longer ships like the USS Reaper which I so proudly served on during the cold war but the Iron Men of these wooden ships kept our shores safe with very little recognition. During the Vietnam war some of these old ladies were upgraded and saw lots of action.
Although I never served in a war zone and organizations like the American Legion do not consider my time served as worthy of membership, my heart still swells with pride when citizens salute me as a veteran.
My veteran hero has always been my older brother, I was lucky to have served on the same ship with him for a period of time. Ron has continued to dedicate his live for his fellow servicemen by volunteering with the local chapter of American Legion of Pagosa Springs Colorado. He continues to see that every veteran of that region is recognized when laid to rest in the local cemetery and every grave is located and properly marked.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Looking Back

Wondering if anyone reads this blog? Seems that I am forever recreating stories from the past and trying to paint pictures from memory to share. Without photos of Pagosa's past to reference my recollections, it would be very hard to appreciate the stories.
There is one very vivid memory of one of the landmarks I would love to see a photo of. Back in the 1950's there was one of the hottest Honky Tonks in the area just a few miles from downtown Pagosa Springs. "Pine Grove Inn" on Saturday nights would be the place to be if one liked dancing, drinking, or fighting. So popular was this place that it acquired the nick name of "Bloody Bucket"from all the scuffles in the parking lot. I can attest to this, as I too became a victim of the brutality there.
"Pine Grove" was located about six miles east of Pagosa Spings, this land has since been developed and no sign of what used to be remains. This land also was once one of the largest cattle ranches in the area "Stevens Ranch" which was sold and now is becoming a little city of its own, leaving the downtown Pagosa Springs a thing of the past.
Another Saturday night adventure for those who liked to dance but found Pine Grove a little too rough could always venture out to the old Bales School House. This was an old abandoned one room school house with plenty of floor space to cut a rug. Local musicians would furnish the music, wife's would bring food and of course the men would gather outside to sample each others home made wine. One of the finest wines were made of wild berries that grew in mountains called choke cherry's, this berry also was a favorite of the bears.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Missing The Seasons

Todays weather pattern across the nation reminds me of winters when I thought the sun would never appear again. I was always anxious for spring to bring out that glorious sight of the sun breaking through the clouds. Oh, how I would be so glad not to hear that crunch of snow under those overshoes sending chills up my spine. Being a normal weather complainer, it wouldn't be long before the snow would be melting
and then one would be knee deep in gooey mud. In my day there was no such thing gas clothes dryers so our Levis hung out on a clothes line to dry and had to be laid over an open oven door to thaw before we could dress for school. Of course the daily morning chores meant that the first one up had to build a fire in the kitchen stove with wood and coal.
Residents and visitors to that winter wonderland of Pagosa Springs with ever changing weather are lucky to live in the 21st century with all the modern gadgets. Snow tires and four wheel drives diminishes the challenge of driving those country roads and if one gets lost there is always a GPS. The old long johns with a trap door in back have been replaced with thermal underwear and overshoes with steel clasps are seldom seen anymore. Oh how I wish my dad would have had a snow blower, but I guess the old shovel didn't do me any harm.
These new digital cameras really bring out the true beauty of landscape, the old point and shoot black and white kodaks took a good eye and steady hand to get the perfect shot so there wasn't a lot memories captured like today.
If anyone reads this and longs for a memorial vacation be it summer, winter or fall I don't think they will find a more beautiful area in this great country to visit. Just be prepared with charged batteries in the camera and ready for any weather change.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bring Back Morality

I often wonder just where my generation failed when it came to teaching our off springs the meaning of self respect, to honor their parents, the reward of dignified employment to know the difference between use and abuse. With the world as a whole in so much turmoil of wars, poverty, famine, storms, why would any person try so hard to take advantage of elderly poor parents. In my own family there are some who believe that parents, no matter how old, sick or frail they become somehow have the means to provide for children well into the golden years themselves.
Each of us as we age look for the day when all we have to worry about is our own health and happiness. Love is a very emotional burden, yet the bond of love that binds a family together can sometimes be the very thing that destroys a relationship.
Every parent tries to provide all the worldly goods to their children that was never within their reach during their youth. Sometimes this seems to make the relationship strong until one day a crisis arises and the so called money tree no longer produces good fruit. When such things happen and the children feel cast off they soon retaliate by doing and saying things they know will destroy the root of the family tree.
Looking for a cure to such relationship illness can bring on a nervous break down but really there is no cure. One must find the strength to cope with such heartaches through divine guidance and learn to say NO with conviction.
Children who become adults and find the need to call their parents foul names, continue to move in and out at will, expecting the care they recieved as infants, will one day answer to a higher power than those they abuse. I firmly believe those who disreguard the ten commandants like "Honor Thy Mother and Father" will forever suffer on earth and beyond.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I'm A Country Song

life is truly a Country Song, I have always thought this to be true but today when I read Musical Mondays posted on my daughters blog these old eyes began to fill will tears. It takes a sentimental gesture like this to make a father realize that just maybe he had a little influence in the path of life his children may choose.

Merle Haggard has such a gift of telling a story with heartfelt emotions, one can close the eyes and be transported to a place and time so reminiscent of days gone by. The song "A Farmers Daughter" reminds me so much of watching my three daughters grow up after loosing their Mother just before Christmas. Another song "If We Make It Though December" is another one that I have a tearful time getting through.

Trying to fill the shoes of a wonderful Wife and Mother was the most difficult task I have ever undertaken. We had so many ups and downs, at times it seemed useless to try and get back up after being knocked down, but God was always on our side.

Time keeps marching on and music tries to change with the evolution, each generation that comes along have their favorite lyric, beat, or as to days young people say their own Rap. Even the country music of today has changed from the genre that artist like Merle Haggard leaves to the history of my generation. I too enjoy all type of Music, can't understand the Rap stuff so don't listen to it but I relate to big band, jazz, etc. When I want to drift back in time and reminisce of time gone by both good and bad I'll put on Merle, Ray Price, or Willie.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Social What??

I just can't seem to get the hang of this modern age method of communication. Thought I'd give that thing called facebook a try, seemed like a good way to visit with friends and family I seldom see. Things were going great, genealogy information and family photos were being shared, stories being told of good times past and present.
Like a flash and a touch of a keyboard this friendly social website suddenly became a battle ground of profanity & name slandering. Family roots were being ripped out like a storm of the century. For what ever reason written hateful words published for the whole world to see has resulted in a son disowning his Mother, a husband and wife filing for divorce, a father trying to console a daughter with a broken heart, diabetes, and numerous health issues, extended family searching for way to help financially.
When a woman gives her life to a husband and son for 23 years, giving every once of energy in her body to maintain a home while ignoring her own health one would expect just a little show of gratitude. Being a father, I have always believed that a husband should be the backbone of a family unit which includes providing medical insurance for a spouse or child. Watching my flesh and blood deteriorate with life threatening disease while all material wishes were granted to her husband and son breaks this old heart.
Only my faith in God will keep me strong and as long as I have breath in this old body I will do everything in my power to keep my children safe, healthy, and immune from being hurt in any fashion.