Morning Spent With a Friend

My childhood friend Mark had contacted me about doing some fishing. His sister-in-law had given us permission to fish her private lake.

We agreed on meeting at 8 a.m.. Unfortunately the weather man was forecasting a very hot day. Believe it or not he actually got it right. The heat forced us to give it up by 11 a.m..

Fortunately in that 3 hours the bass and panfish did a great job of keeping us busy. We opted on our fly fishing gear and it was a good choice I thought. We managed to catch several nice size pan fish and a few small bass.

I chose a yellow popper and Mark chose a popper like fly I believe he called “perch assassin”. The fish liked them both. Now if you have never fly fished before I am here to tell you that even a small fish feels like you hung Moby Dick.

All in all it was a good morning even with the heat. Good company, peace and quiet and a lot of action. We are already planning another fishing adventure. Maybe some all night catfishing.

Gone But Not Forgotte

My best friend and me.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings

On January 1, 2011 a wonderful Australian Shepherd was born. Little did I know how much she would change my life and bring so much joy to me. She unfortunately had a rough start in life. She was plagued with crystals in her urine that caused immense pain and at a year old she would have hip dysplasia surgery.

After surgery.

She was comfortable on the couch so this would be her hospital bed. I slept on the floor beside her until she was able to get on and off the couch by herself. She would try to chew her stitches and I refused to force her to wear the cursed collar so I improvised.

She adapted well to the shorts.

I was a farrier and Kate became my ride dog. We were together everyday and became quite inseparable. She loved going with me and took her job at riding shotgun very seriously.

Kate riding shotgun.
Kate with me on the job.

Kate was very well behaved and loved to take walks.

I think she is trying to tell me something.

I have never owned a dog as loving as Kate. She had to constantly be by my side and if she wasn’t she kept an eye on me to make sure I didn’t slip off without her.

My constant companion.
In the Christmas spirit.

I have had several dogs over the course of 60 plus years but none of them touched me like Kate did. I was her human. She was a great listener and after a rough day she always managed to make me smile and lift my spirits.

Then the fateful day of a vet visit, x-rays showed her lungs were filled with tumors and there was no cure. I was devastated and my whole world came falling down around me. I couldn’t imagine my life without her in it. She was my everything and more. I know there are those of you rolling your eyes and saying she is just a dog and to you I say you have never recognized nor appreciated the unconditional love of a dog. She was family. She filled me with joy and happiness.

Kate the puppy.
Her last day riding shotgun.

On Friday morning (Jan 24, 2020) I had to go into town. That morning she clung to me more than usual. When I opened the door she almost knocked me down to get to the truck. She was going with me come hell or high water. I had to help her into the truck and when we returned I had to help her out.

I had an appointment on Tuesday to have her euthanized to end her suffering. Little did I know but I think Kate did, that that would be her last ride and our last day together. We spent that day together and I cooked her a porterhouse steak for dinner. It was a good day.

She awoke me in the wee hours of Saturday morning, Jan 25 gasping for air. What happened then was down right ugly and heartbreaking. She fought hard and I felt so helpless. At 1:26 a.m. her fight was over. I had lost my best friend. At least her suffering was over.

Kate on her last day with me. RIP

Many won’t understand the devastation of losing a dog because they have not really understood the unconditional love they possess. The loss of Kate left a huge hole in my heart. I still come home looking for her to greet me. I am pretty much a loner by choice and I very rarely get lonely and when I do it is because of the void she left in my life. I will never forget her and the joy she brought me.

Meddlin’ Kate Jan 1, 2011 – Jan 25, 2020

Life Is Precious

“I hope I can be like the autumn leaf, who looked at the sky and lived. And when it was time to leave, gracefully it knew life was a gift.” – Dodinsky

We live in such a fast paced world today. Always on the move. No time to enjoy life. We have became a society of instant gratification.

So many people take others for granted and even life itself. We assume that when the sun rises tomorrow everything will be the same. Will it?

We are so busy that we don’t take the time to reach out to friends and family to just hear their voice or to see how they are doing. There is no guarantee that they will enjoy tomorrow. There is no guarantee that any of us will see the next sunrise.

How many times have you entertained the idea of calling them or sending a note or card and you didn’t do it? Then a couple weeks later you hear that death has knocked upon their door.

Life is precious. Friendship is a gift. Celebrate life every day and give thanks that you were given another day to enjoy life, friends and family. Don’t take anything or anyone for granted.

Get up early and watch the sunrise or at the end of the day sit, be still and watch the sun set. Stop! Slow down! Take the time to enjoy your life, family and friends. Tomorrow may be to late.

Gone But Never Forgotten

Meddlin’ Kate

January 1, 2011

January 25, 2020

The picture at the top was taken Friday morning on our way into town. I had no idea it would be our last ride together. Somehow I think she knew it was.

Poor Kate was a victim of bad breeding. She had hip dysplasia and when she reached a year old surgery was performed. She recovered well. As a pup she suffered from crystals in her urine. They were quite painful.

This picture was after we brought her home from surgery. She slept on the couch after surgery and I slept on the floor beside her.

There are so many memories. I have never felt alone in my life but today I for the first time feel alone. RIP my precious girl.

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.

Social Media; the Good, Bad, and the Ugly

“The more social media we have, the more we think we are connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other.” – JR

Today as I was brush hogging pastures the topic of Social Media (SM) bounced around in my brain cells. How powerful is SM and how many people realize how powerful it is?

So many have the mentality that it must be true because I saw it on the internet. Personally I view the internet as a communication tool.

A bit in the horses mouth is a tool used by the rider to communicate to the horse. If used correctly it is a good thing but if used incorrectly it can hurt the horses mouth making it difficult to get the bit in the horses mouth the next time the rider wants to ride. This also applies to SM.

It is used to spread lies and some use it as a bullying tool. How do you stop it? That my friend is a $64 question.

I did a search on SM etiquette and at Moneycrashers.com I found an article written by Brian Martucci outlining what he thinks is proper etiquette.

1) Don’t mix business and pleasure.

2) Use caution posting and tagging photos.

3) Be self-centered in small doses.

4) Understand that your sense of humor

isn’t universal.

5) Don’t be reactive.

6) Avoid over-sharing.

7) Build a legacy for the future.

8). Don’t misrepresent yourself.

9). Don’t drink and tweet.

10). Understand each platform’s best

practices.

I was able to find some statistical data about Facebook.

1. 1.15 billion mobile daily active users.

2). 2.38 billion monthly active users.

3). 1.56 billion people log onto FB daily.

4). 1.74 billion mobile active users.

Ten million, on average, use the “Like” and share buttons.

307 million Europeans are on FB.

25 to 34 is the most common age demographic.

5 new profiles are created every second.

76% of women and 66% of males are FB users.

Highest traffic occurs midweek between 1pm to 3 pm.

83 million fake profiles.

300 million photo uploads per day.

20 minutes is the average time folks spend on FB.

Now let that all sink in.

SM brings old friends together and can destroy current friendships. Many people will say and post things that they would not have done face to face.

SM can be used for so many things and you can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what is real news and fake news. Be careful how you use SM because it can come back and bite you in the arse. Stop, think about the consequences and use care before you hit that button.

Christmas 2018

I sit here in the midst of a “Winter Storm Warning” where they are predicting 6 to 9 inches of snow with some areas getting a foot. I am as excited as a child on Christmas Eve. Yes I am a “snow bunny “.

Sitting here looking out the window enjoying my Baileys and coffee watching the snow fall my mind wanders back to Christmas 2018.

This is a Cook It All manufactured by the Lodge company. It is made of cast iron and I have wanted one ever since I saw it. You can bake, stir fry, grill and so many more possibilities.

What makes this so unique is that I received it from a “Secret Santa”. It was delivered to my front door. It took me by surprise because I hadn’t ordered it. I opened the invoice and all it said was to deliver 1 Cook It All to my address and it has the address of Lodge where it shipped from. Then there is a two word note ” Merry Christmas”.

I still don’t know who sent it and who ever you are I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I absolutely love it. Thank you.

The second surprise was a gift from David Tripp and his lady friend, who I consider a very dear friend. It has opened my eyes to what a good cup of coffee tastes like.

Now every morning I have this ritual where I fill the grinder with coffee beans and grind them fresh every morning. It has taken my morning coffee experience to a whole new level.

Maybe 2019 will be a good year after all.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate you. Remember to spread the love and to be kind.

Friendship Explored

“The strong bond of friendship is not always a balanced equation; friendship is not always about giving and taking in equal shares.  Instead, friendship is grounded in a feeling that you know exactly who will be there for you when you need something, no matter what or when.” – Simon Sinek

Close your eyes.  I want you to think of your friends.  Bounce them off your mind and think of where you met them.  How long have you known them?  Out of all of them who is your BFF?  Do you do a good job of staying in touch with them?  Does your BFF live across the country or across the street?  How often do you get together with old friends?    Most importantly remember that distance is no excuse.  I know I have let that be an excuse myself.  As far as distance; it is only as far as we let it be.

“A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere.  Before him, I may think aloud.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson “Friendship”

“Two elements that go to the composition of friendship, each so sovereign, that I can detect no superiority in either, no reason why either should be first named.”   Truth and Tenderness, according to Emerson.

As I meander down the back roads of my life I have been lucky enough to forge a few friendships along the way.  I have seen friends turn their backs on each other, throw each other under the bus,  and much more.  Have you ever felt you were getting cheated by a friend?  That they just don’t give as much as you do to the friendship.  Then you really need to take a long hard look at yourself.

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” – Thomas Aquinas

Then we have the fair weather friends.  You know the one that is there when everything is ok and you don’t need anything.  The friend that is always looking for a handout.  Let us not forget the one that stabs you in the back every chance they can.

I know I covered all these things in a blog I wrote a while back.  I decided to revisit friendship because I just don’t feel that folks really know what friendship involves.  I am not talking about a friend as in an acquaintance.  I am talking the BFF.  The kind of friend that you don’t keep track of who bought the last time.  The friend that needs a kidney and you are a match so the search is over.  The friend that mows your grass because you were laid up in the hospital.   The friend that you share your closely guarded deer sausage with.  The friend that you go read Emerson or Thoreau too every day not even knowing if they can hear you.

“True” friendship is to be cherished.  That kind of friendship is a gift.  Don’t abuse it.  Don’t take it for granted.  I see so many people who use “friendship” so loosely and lightly.  When is the last time you saw your “bestie”?  Can you remember?  Folks I would just like to point out that  there is no guarantee that your friend is going to “rise and shine” in the morning or for  a matter of fact, yourself.   You haven’t heard from your BFF, but YOU called last time and it is their time to call now.  Really?  Is this how you treat friendship?  Pick up the phone and call them.  I promise no one will put you on a hit list or in jail.  Warning: Tomorrow may never come.

Thanks for reading.  I appreciate it immensely.  Spread the love.

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The Joy of Friendship

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Long time friend David Tripp

“The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.” – Hubert Humphrey

David and I met in the second grade and thanks to FB we reconnected.  David is a retired educator and a profound artist and writer.  He now lives in Texas and when he comes to Missouri to visit family we always try to get together and chew the fat.  We try to plan a fishing trip once a year and this past week we managed to get some fishing in.

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Rock of David

There is a rock formation on the Big River up river from the Leadwood Access that David wanted to see.  I had sent him a picture of it some time ago and he did a plein air water color of it that I was very impressed with so I named it the Rock of David.  He finally got to see it Friday with his own eyes and rumor is there will be another plein air watercolor of it in the future.

Since we went to view the Rock of David we decided to get some fishing time in.  The river was low so we pulled the boat up on a gravel bar in the middle of the river and did some wading.  We caught several fish, panfish, David caught some smallies and I caught a spotted bass.  Some of the perch were the size of our hands.  We both thought the day felt like a fall day.

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It was a good day.   We talked about the town of High Ridge that we grew up in.  remembered classmates and wondered what happened to some of them.  Discussed teachers and sports.  Laughed.  There was also a lot of quiet time so we could take a walk down memory lane alone.  We shared war stories and discussed books. We solved all the world’s problems.

“Friendship is the fruit which the year should bear; it lends its fragrance to the flowers, and its in vain if we get only a large crop of apples without it.” – Henry David Thoreau

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Big River

“Life is like the river, sometimes it sweeps you gently along and sometimes the rapids come out of nowhere.” – Emma Smith

It is always fun to share the beauty of this part of the river.  I don’t think David was disappointed.  This stretch of the river has never failed to mesmerize me every time I pass through it.

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Big River


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Big River

As the sun began to sink into the western horizon I realized that this perfect day was about to come to an end.  I realized how lucky I was to have a friend like David.  As I watched the sun as it light seemed to make its final escape from the river the realization that the day was about to end, I realized just how we sometime overlook the importance of a good friend.  To think a liberal and conservative spent the day together and didn’t kill each other.  Thanks for reading my blog.  I hope you enjoyed the photos of the Big River.  The beauty of it is stunning and it is easy to get lost in it.   Remember to be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.

 

 

 

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