A Little Trip Down Memory Lane

During my teenage years my family would vacation every summer for a week at a campground in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas called Many Islands. It was located on the Spring River and offered premier trout fishing.

Our first year we camped for a week in a tent. It didn’t take long to realize that this was not the best of ideas. The following years we rented a cabin with all the comforts of home.

Spring River had several springs that flowed into it. The water temperature was cold and colder. Remember this little bit of information. The shock of hitting the water would take your breath away.

Generally we would wade the water to trout fish. On this one particular morning my dad informed me he was renting a boat and trolling motor so he and I could get where the big trout hung out.

There was a concrete slab where one could pull the boat up to and tie it off. My dad had pulled the boat up to the slab and informed me he was going to show me how to tie the boat up properly.

I was thirteen and excited about my dad sharing his knowledge with me. I watched attentively as he explained the proper knot to use as he tied it off. He then instructed me to retrieve our tackle boxes and rods and reels. He began loading the boat with our gear. He took one load aboard and came back to get another load.

On this trip he set his foot on the front seat of the John boat and still had one foot on the slab. At this point the boat began to drift away from the slab. Little did I know my vocabulary was going to expand with words that if I had ever used would have ended with me getting my mouth washed out with soap.

Now you have to picture my dad with one foot in the boat and the other planted on the slab and the boat slowly backing away. The gap between the boat and slab has widened. At this point I began to wonder if at the age of thirty four if my dad could physically do the splits.

My dad is trying frantically to pull the boat back to the slab with his leg. I stood there in disbelief as I watched the knot my dad had tied begin to unravel and the boat was now free and it occurred to me my dad was now at the point of no return.

All of a sudden I was overcome with the urge to laugh. I immediately started biting my tongue and realized how much I enjoyed life. I didn’t want to be standing in front of the pearly gates at such a young age so with great determination I was able to suppress my laughter.

I watched in horror, but laughing on the inside, as the gap became too wide for my dad to maintain his balance. SPLASH!!! Did I mention how cold the water is? He rises out of the water and onto the slab with the agility of a teenager. Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes!! My vocabulary was expanding with the speed of light. His language would have made a sailor proud!

Needless to say that pretty much ended our day in the boat exploring Spring River and a trophy Trout was spared. When we got back to the cabin we had a real good laugh. Ahh the memories of growing up.

Growing Up In The 50s and 60s

As a child my “journey of life” was lived as a country boy. We always lived near small towns and both grandparents lived on farms. Common sense and respect were alive and well and a handshake meant something. Life was simple.

Following are some of the things that I remember from my childhood.

We said yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am, no ma’am and thank you. Ate fried tater sandwiches. Mom canning what we grew in the garden. Family vacations. The whole family sitting around the supper table. Collecting soda bottles and turning them in to redeem the deposit that was on them. Going Snipe hunting. Catching lightning bugs and putting them in glass jars. Experienced snipe hunting. We went fishing and hunted. We didn’t Skype or Tweet. Our social media consisted of grandpa’s pond. We said the pledge of allegiance every morning before school. We used a dictionary, encyclopedia and the library because internet service was nonexistent. If you got caught cussing you got your mouth washed out with soap. We rode in the back of a pickup. We respected the flag and stood for the National Anthem. Stores were closed on Sundays and holidays. Parents didn’t hesitate to bust our butts when we did something wrong.

It was clean honest living and a lot of the things we did aren’t even allowed any more. I don’t ever remember hearing about mass shootings. Hmm.

A Cold Blustery Night

Even though winter doesn’t officially start until December 21, old man winter showed up here in southwest Missouri with a vengeance.

As I sit here writing in my journal I can here the wind gusting outside my tiny cabin. It is blowing relentlessly across Mother Earth. It hasn’t let up all day. I pray that the homeless have secured a warm place to sleep for the night.

My mind wanders back to my grandparents who lived in a drafty old farmhouse with nothing but an old potbelly wood stove to provide them warmth. At one time the cracks in the floor were so bad that you could see the chickens gathered underneath the house to absorb the warmth of the stove as the heat escaped through the cracks. My grandparents survived many winters in that old farm house.

Feather beds were present on all the beds to help keep the occupants warm since the only stove was located in the living room. On top of the bed were many quilts to hold ones body heat for warmth. There was no inside plumbing so chamber pots were in fashion.

They didn’t get running water until I was 16 (1970). When I was twenty one (1975) my uncle and I installed an inside bathroom. I can’t ever remember them complaining about not having modern conveniences.

As I lie in bed tonight listening to the roar of the wind I am sure I will think about the winter nights I spent in the old farm house surrounded by the love of my grandparents.

My grandparents old farm house in 2017.

Update On My Eros

2013 – 2019

“Dogs die. But dogs live, too. Right up until they die, they live. They live brave beautiful lives. They protect their families. And love us, and make our lives a little brighter, and they don’t waste time being afraid of tomorrow. – Dan Gemeinhart

He will be missed deeply. Lots of good memories. Cancer is an ugly disease. RIP my good friend.

A Tough Decision

“When we adopt a dog or any pet, we know it is going to end with us having to say goodbye, but we still do it. And we do it for a very good reason: They bring so much joy and optimism and happiness. They attack every moment of every day with that attitude.” -W Bruce Cameron

My life has arrived at that very moment. My Great Pyrenees, Eros, has been diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 6. He came into my life as a pup in 2013.

He was so little and I had to help him negotiate the step up into the house. He was full of energy and joy. He bonded well with the two Australian Shepherd females.

I never thought he would attain a weight of 127 pounds. He was so small it was hard to imagine.

He loved sleeping in front of the sliding doors.

He loved the snow and had his paws full with his big sisters but he didn’t back down.

There are so many memories of our time together. He is my protector and one hell of a watch dog. He is quite intimidating to those who don’t know him. Actually he is just a big teddy bear and my own little polar bear.

“Having a dog will bless you with many of the happiest days of your life, and one of the worst.” – Unknown

He is on medication and I am taking it one day at a time. We have some time together as long as his quality of life is good. When that changes then I will make the decision for him to cross the “Rainbow Bridge”. It will be the second hardest decision I ever made in my life but I won’t let him suffer. I pray that he goes in his sleep to save him the trauma of going into a strange room and being put to sleep. If it comes to that I will be with him to the end along with his buddy Kate.

Some Thoughts on Life

“Life is a question and how we live it is our answer.” – Gary Keller

One definition of life according to Merriam Webster: The physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual.

I don’t think it makes any difference if you are born rich or poor, your life will be a product of your decisions. It is a fact that in your early years your decisions will be greatly influenced by your parents. The final decision rests squarely on your shoulders.

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” Marcus Aurelius

There are so many that try to achieve happiness through materialistic things. They think that a new 3500 square foot home or $80,000 new vehicle will be their answer to their quest for happiness and in the end happiness is nowhere to be found. We need to change our way of thinking in our pursuit of happiness.

In my humble opinion I believe we should take the time to explore ourselves and get to know what really makes us happy. What you like and don’t like in life. Feed the “likes” and change the “don’t likes”. Happiness starts within our hearts. The seed is there we just have to give it what it needs to grow.

“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.” – William James

I know I have heard many people say set your goals high and you will achieve more. I have come to believe that is the wrong decision to make. I think they should be realistic and when we reach them we can set higher goals but within reach.

As we struggle to meet unrealistic goals we start to become depressed. We lose our “belief” and begin to think “is life really worth it.” At this point it is essential to get that “belief ” back in our way of thinking.

Everyone makes bad decisions in their life. We have to learn from these. If we don’t we learn nothing from the experience. We and only we are responsible for our decisions. We also need to take responsibility even for our bad decisions. Quit putting the blame on others.

In closing I would like to say we need to resurrect “common sense” and “respect”. Most importantly we have to learn to love one another.

Note: this is just an opinion of a retired farrier concerning life. It is meant to provoke the minds of those who read it to form their own opinions.

Another Family Reunion in the Books

“The memories we make with our family is everything.” – Candace Cameron Bure

It’s official another White family reunion is under our belts. All my dad’s brothers and sisters, that are still with is we’re there. Lots of great food and trips down memory lane.

I went to the cemetery to visit the graves of family members. As I stood there I thought back to when I was a child and the Decoration Day’s of the past. Now off to visit my grandparents old farm.

As I stood there in front of my grandparents house my mind began a journey back in time. An image of the house of yesterday began emerging and the house that used to be filled with love and life was once again before me. Much different than the house that was void of both in present time.

I saw my grandpa working the truck patch with his old mule Mike. Grandma was planting marigolds in the soil he had ready for planting. She was wearing her sun bonnet and her apron was covering the dress she wore. She always said the marigolds would keep bugs out of the rest of the garden.

Then the vision of us sitting in the porch swings waiting to take our turn at cranking the handle on the ice cream maker appeared so vividly before me. It was so real I could taste it.

I revisited the Christmas celebrations that happened within the walls of the old house. I remembered sleeping in the unheated bedroom snuggled in the warmth of the featherbed with a hundred pounds of quilts covering me. I would be awakened by the aroma of fresh made coffee and the unforgettable smell of bacon frying and homemade biscuits baking. I would jump out of bed and run into the living room and stand next to the wood stove to get warm.

Life was so simple then. The only technology in the house was the rabbit ear antenna wrapped in aluminum foil to help television reception.

The old outhouse was gone. Grandma had an old tom turkey who would always lay in waiting until I made my morning visit to the outhouse and he would chase me until I reached the safety of the outhouse. As I stood there I caught myself looking over my shoulder making sure the old tom wasn’t stalking me.

The old barn is gone but my grandpa’s pond was still there overgrown with brush. All the grandkids had fished in that pond at one time or another.

The trip down memory lane was so refreshing but the real world is starting to creep back into my mind. Time to go…………..

During your celebration of Memorial Day please take the time to remember those who gave all.

All pictures are the property of Double D Acres LLC and may not be used or reproduced without permission.

No, They Are Not Just Dogs!

Kate

Eros

My dogs are family and treated like family. Yeah, I’m one of those!! If they don’t like you I probably won’t either. If you visit my house I guarantee when you leave you will have dog hair hitching a ride. I can’t imagine what life would be like without them. Kate is a 2011 model and Eros a 2012. Kate had a few problems when she was a pup. She had crystals in her urine and had hip surgery at a year old.

She slept on the couch and I slept on the floor beside her. When she was healed up she became my ride dog.

I am a retired farrier and she loved going to the barns with me. She took her riding shotgun seriously.

Then there is Eros. He was so little when he was a pup. He now ways 124 pounds.

He can be pretty intimidating. He is a big teddy bear. He is definitely a “protector”.

“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than you loves yourself.” – Josh Billings

They both have their own personalities. They are good listeners, loyal, and give unconditional love. They are always glad to see you and add joy to your life.

Now don’t get me wrong. They can get sick and leave a big mess to clean up and they can just simply be a pain in the butt. They are a huge responsibility. All in all I still say they are worth it.

Nope they aren’t just dogs. They’re family.

Kindness

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

Kindness was alive and prevalent in the 50s and 60s, I think any way. Folks now days seem to have a bur under their saddle. There is so much hostility in the world. I don’t know if it is because their undies are too tight or maybe there is a lot more stress in the world today.

The good thing about kindness is it doesn’t cost you anything. It’s free and it can make such a difference in someone’s life including yours.

There are so many simple acts of kindness that we can perform also. Smile at someone, open the door for someone, compliment someone, or just say “hi” and ask them how they are doing.

You have 30 items in your cart and the person behind you has 1. Let them go ahead of you in line.

I know people can be rude. Always remember there may be a reason for their rudeness. A family member might have died, their spouse might have left them, or they might have been hit with a medical bill they can’t afford. There are all kinds of reasons, just remember that before you judge them.

I can remember when kindness abound in the farming communities. They always helped each other. Even they have changed. With a hay shortage some years back in Texas, farmers in other states took advantage of Texas farmers and was selling them hay at over inflated prices. There were some though who out of kindness just gave them the hay to feed their animals.

We as a society need to bring kindness back into the world in epidemic proportions. Set a goal of doing 3,10 or even more acts of kindness a day. Hate can be eradicated with love and kindness. Let’s make the rest of 2019 the “Year of Kindness”.

Remember to spread the love and be kind to one another.

Unfathomable Determination

The rain has pretty much settled in for the night. I sit here with my eyes closed listening to the raindrops dancing on the tin roof creating a soothing symphony.

My mind focuses on those brave men and women, the pioneers, who settled the west. They had no idea of the challenges they would face. The only idea they had of where they were going was the tales they had in there minds put there by the adventurers who went before them.

There were stories of feast and famine. Massacres. Whole wagon trains who died and didn’t fulfill their dreams. Disease and prairie fires. Yet these people had a dream that so obsessed them they were willing to sacrifice anything and everything to follow their dream. That profound dedication my friends died with them and no longer exists in this country anymore.

I don’t know if you have ever been camping in the rain but I can tell you from experience it can be very miserable.

I sit here in the coziness of my cabin listening to the rain and I have a vision of men, women, and children huddled together under the rain fly of a wagon trying to get their nourishment so they will have the stamina to do another 10 to 20 miles beginning at dawn. One can only imagine the sore muscles they must have been nursing. Wondering how much further they have to travel. How many more river crossings and broken wagon wheels they will have to endure. Will it be their wagon that breaks this time? How many more of their possessions will they have to leave behind so they can lighten the load on the wagons so they can get them over the mountain?

With these things dancing through their minds it had to be difficult to sleep. Knowing all to well they needed to sleep so they could get the much needed rest to complete another leg of their journey.

The fingers of dawn ascend on their camp. The rain has stopped and the day promises sunshine to dry things out. They begin packing the wagons, hitching the teams and checking the wagons so they can start out once again. They have to battle the annoying suction created by the mud delivering another hardship for them to deal with.

Guts and grit kept them pushing toward their destination and failure was not an option. True representation of determination and faith. They not only needed faith in God. They had to have faith in those leading them and most of all faith in themselves. There were those who celebrated and those who endured heartbreak. So many died along those trails who never lost sight of their dream and died trying to bring their dream to reality.

People could learn a lot from these pioneers and use it in their lives to achieve their dreams. Don’t ever stop believing. They didn’t.

Spread the love and be kind to one another. It doesn’t cost you anything.