The Curse of Opinions

“Everyone has his or her own opinion and I welcome criticism. That’s why we have freedom of expression and that’s also what I stand for – but I won’t stand for insults.” – Ilkay Gundogan

Talk to the hand because the ears aren’t listening. This seems to be the mantra of today’s society. There use to be a time in this country when two people of different opinions could partake of a little spirited debate and walk away still friends. Not so much anymore. No such thing as peaceful debate. Instead insults and juvenile name calling is more the norm.

Everyone is different. We all have different likes and dislikes. Some people like summer some like winter. There are those that prefer more government and those that prefer less. They are opinions based upon a person’s thoughts and life experiences. It doesn’t mean one is right and one is wrong.

The reality is everyone is going to have a difference of opinion. It’s a given and we as a society need to learn to accept it, learn to live with it and move on. We have to learn to agree to disagree.

“The only sin that we never forgive is a difference of opinions.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I watch with great sadness as friends and family turn their backs on each other because of their differences of opinions. I myself have been called stupid, ignorant, moron etc. because my opinion is different than theirs.

I won’t apologize for my opinions nor do I expect you to apologize for yours. I am entitled to my opinion and you yours.

I am not responsible for your happiness. I am only responsible for mine. What I am responsible for is to be kind to you and to respect your opinions. No insults or name calling and to love you as I love myself.

It is time for us to stop, take a deep breath, think about what we are doing and fix it. To bury our differences, embrace each other and seek harmony. We need to eliminate the hate that is running rampant in our society. Can it be done? I don’t know but I do know the world would be a much better place and certainly worth the effort.

Thoughts?

“Utopias are often only premature truths.” – Alphonse De Lamartine

There are those that think the inequities in our society can be easily solved through a utopian society or government. They believe Utopianism is necessary to improve the human condition. The focus of literary utopias consist of equality in economics, government and justice. It all sounds great but the reality is societies don’t have the same desires and because of this conflict it’s impossible to satisfy society as a whole. In a true utopia everyone lives in harmony.

Is a utopia achievable? In a perfect world, maybe? It would have to be a world void of the hunger for power, greed and emotions. As long as these three are alive and well I for one believe it is highly unlikely that a true utopia could ever exist.

Greater minds than mine through the years have debated if a true utopia could ever exist.

Theodor W Adorno writes: “None of the abstract concepts comes close to fulfilled utopia than that of eternal peace.”

My Take on Aging

Growing old doesn’t bother me. I know it is a given and I accept it. It’s the changes that concerns me.

Every year my hair grows grayer and my beard turns whiter. When I get out of bed in the mornings it sounds like someone poured milk on Rice Krispies.

The biggest disappointment is not being able to do the things I used to be able to do.

My strength wanes every year. Fifty pound feed sacks now feel like a hundred pounds. I easily run out of breath and my “Git” along seems to have done got up and got along all by itself. I can no longer play “pull my finger” because it is like playing Russian Roulette. The word “depends” takes on a whole new meaning. It now is known as a protective under garment. You now plan your outings around bathrooms. When I go fishing the number of steps decides where I will be fishing instead of where the fish may be hanging out. The song Gimme Three Steps is no longer about a jealous boyfriend and a man with hair colored yellow.

Growing up all I heard about was the “Golden Years” and I can tell you now the only thing Golden is my doctor’s wallet.

Finally I’ve started thinking a lot about the here after. I walk into a room thinking now what did I come in here after.

Now you have my thoughts on aging. Good thing is I am still on the right side of the dirt and hope to be for sometime yet. I just have to take it one day at a time and put on my big boy panties and say I can do this!

A Good Morning Fly Fishing

I awoke around 4:30 am. I was rrestless. I could hear the local lake calling my name but I had so much to do. I went about preparing my breakfast thinking I would get over it.

NOT! I couldn’t shake the urge to go fishing. So I loaded up and head for Lakeview Lake.

I decided to take 2 spin casts and do some tight line fishing. After catching two turtles I decided to break out the fly rod. The fly fishing bug has bit me so hard I never leave home without my fly fishing gear.

Catching a 4 inch bluegill on a fly rod can be exciting. it can feel like you have Moby Dick on the end of your line. There are a lot of skills involved that you will spend a lot of time trying to master but well worth the time.

I have found that patience is a necessity. You can’t rush your casts. You have to be very aware of your surroundings or you catch more “tree bass” than you do fish and flies aren’t cheap.

I am by no means an expert fly fisherman. I only know from experience what has worked for me. One thing I recommend is spend a lot of time fishing for pan fish in order to hone your skills. You can learn a lot from them. They are a little more forgiving than other species when it comes to fly presentation. I am sure there are those who will disagree with me but it has worked for me.

In closing if you have never tried fly fishing I encourage you to give it a try. It may not be your “cup of tea” but you won’t know until you give it a try. Good luck and good fishing.

Note: Pictures are just a few of the fish I caught that morning. I quit counting at 20.

Sacred Space

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.” – Joseph Campbell

I really never understood my overpowering compassion for the river until one day I came across this quote. I read it and the lightbulb in my head went off.

The river is my sacred space, or safe place, where I am free of societal pollution. Once I am in the presence of the river I am free to think with my mind, heart, body and soul. I have the ability to examine my own own beliefs and thoughts in great depth and to understand why I believe the way I do. I reach an understanding of who I really am and who I want to be. The revelation of what I want to accomplish in life and most importantly why becomes apparent. In this place I find a me that I can respect and love. If we can’t love ourselves what’s the point of loving at all?

With all the animosity in the world it is easy to plunge ourselves into the pit of depression which robs us of peace and happiness.

Seek your sacred space, find it and visit it frequently. The real you will soon become visible.

Released At Last

2 weeks after surgery

Today was my last visit to the doctor’s office. My surgery was on October 7. It seems to be a success. No pain except for the healing pains.

The purpose of this blog is to share my experience with my complete ankle replacement so those having the same surgery could know what to expect.

I have to admit the first 3 days after surgery was tough. I had never been in this much pain. What had I done? Am I crazy?

Finally the pain began to subside. It was at least bearable. The crutches were a nuisance. Everything I did was a chore. Nothing was easy.

When he moved me up to the walking boot life was grand. I could do a lot more. I was even graining the horses. I did some trout fishing. The day after Christmas I graduated to a regular shoe.

This presented some problems. I was having to deal with a lot of swelling. Now I had to figure out how to get my foot in the shoe. Another problem was I was unable to use those muscles for 12 weeks and they were very weak. That made it hard to walk.

I take it day by day. There is improvement every day. It could take 8 months to a year to completely heal.

Would I do it again knowing what I know now? Absolutely! The benefits outweigh the tough times after surgery.

I hope this helps those who are considering going through the surgery. it’s a tough decision. I am glad I chose surgery.

A Cold Day of Trout Fishing

Rainbow Trout caught at Giessing Lake

Fishing provides that connection with the whole living world. It gives you the opportunity of being totally immersed, turning back into yourself in a good way. A form of meditation, some form of communion with levels of yourself that are deeper than the ordinary self.” – Ted Hughes

My childhood friend David Tripp drove in from Texas for a visit. Now that only meant one thing; fishing trip. We decided to invade Engler Park in Farmington, MO and try our luck at fishing for trout in Giessing Lake.

Temp was supposed to be near 50. It would have been nice if someone would have told Mother Nature. David opted for a fly rod and I grabbed my spin cast. I tied a yellow Glo-ball/bait with a quarter ounce split shod and a bobber about 2 feet above the Glo-ball.

It started out really slow with no bites. I had been sitting there for what seemed like 3 months and couldn’t capture the interest of not one trout. Wow! I have never been skunked on this lake before. My reputation is at stake! After about 20 minutes of sitting there freezing my arse off, BAM! Trout on. The fight was on. This fish was having no part of this. I finally landed him.

First trout of the day.

I released him back into the lake, and cast my line back out. I had got my hands wet while freeing the trout back into the water. Yeah I know not real smart. It wasn’t long until I couldn’t feel my fingers and kept checking to make sure they hadn’t fell off. BAM! Number 2 was now on the end of the line and about 40 minutes later I landed number 3.

Second of the day!

As I sat on my stool the wind was showing no mercy. I had begun shivering and they could hear my teeth chattering three counties away. Earthquake! False alarm. It was just the ground moving from my shivering body. Reminded me of that song “I feel the earth move under my feet….”. My dad always said I didn’t have the sense God gave a turnip and at this point I was beginning to think he was right. Finally after what seemed like an eternity I was able to land number four.

Third one of the day!

My friend David caught three and got them to the bank where they managed to slip the hook. Good for him he didn’t have to get his hands wet releasing them.

All in all, even though I felt like I was a popsicle, it was a good day. I love to watch David work a fly rod. As I sat there in the cold my Mom’s words from when I was a young un came back to haunt me, “Now make sure you dress warm.” Why didn’t I think of that?

A Long Way To Go!

The art of healing comes from nature not from the physician. Therefore the physician must start from nature, with an open mind. “ – Paracelsus

One thing I didn’t give much consideration and I wish now I would have, is physical strength. Presently I can’t put any weight on my right foot. At 66 years old it has produced a little bit of a problem. I have to use my upper body strength to get up and down. I am managing but wear out quickly. I would recommend working on your upper body strength to make moving around and walking easier.

As far as pain I can report that it hasn’t been real bad. I talked to two people who had went through the surgery and had a battle with pain. They are healed up and life is good for them with their new ankles. My first couple days I ran around an 8 on the pain scale but stay around a 2 now. What I call the “healing itch” has started and I am treating it with Benadryl and it seems to be working fine.

Equal At Last

Today was a day for pulling maintenance on the lawn equipment I use for caring for the cemeteries I maintain during grass cutting season. As I went about my work my mind dwelled on those buried within the three cemeteries.

The three are located in Farmington, MO. K of P, Masonic and Odd Fellow cemeteries. All three are rich with history.

There are those buried there that were famous, wealthy, middle class and poor. Some of the headstones are quite ornate and some are just plain and simple. There are family plots and individuals. Some are decorated with flowers regularly, some just at holidays and some never have anything placed upon their graves.

They come from all walks of life. Athletes, politicians, veterans, wealthy businessmen and those who lived everyday normal life’s who worked hard to make both ends meet. Those buried next to people they never knew. In life they may have never really been equal but now in their final resting place they are now equal in the end.

(Note: above picture is of Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery)

MDC Once Again Under Attack!

The Missouri Conservation and Use Tax is once again under attack. ‘This money goes directly to support forest and wildlife conservation efforts. Out of every $8 of taxable goods one penny goes for conservation.

In the early 70s Missouri citizens petitioned to get the tax placed on the ballot. They succeeded, it passed and was implemented on July 1, 1977. Then in 1999 state officials attempted to divert the money collected to pay refunds to taxpayers to only have the Missouri Supreme Court rule that the money could only be used for conservation and not be considered part of the states total revenues.

When I was a child there were a lot of areas of Missouri where it was rare to see a deer or a turkey. I grew up fishing the Big River and bass fishing was mediocre.

In 1977 when the money was allocated to the MDC, things began to change. A little slow at first but soon things began to improve. Due to responsible conservation efforts game became more abundant. Hunters were allotted more tags to fill for deer and turkey. Bass fishing became more rewarding. Money started coming in from out of state hunters who wanted to take advantage of our good hunting. Out of state fisherman also traveled to Missouri to take advantage of our excellent fishing. New land was bought and more public hunting areas and river accesses were made available. New conservation areas were established. Other states began to take notice and implemented programs in their states that the MDC had created.

Now Republican Chris Dinkins of District 144 has introduced two constitutional amendments that could destroy the improvements that have been made. HJR 108 and HJR 112. She says it is in an effort to rein in the overgrown bureaucracy of the MDC and make the department more accountable to the people.

HJR 108 would give the voters the opportunity to change the Missouri Conservation Commission. Presently the commission has four members who are appointed by the governor. Her amendment would change that number to nine nonpartisan members. Voters would elect one member from the current MDC districts and the governor would appoint one member to the commission. I thought she wanted to rein in bureaucracy within the department but this would only add to it causing more bureaucratic red tape.

HJR 112, if passed by voters, would take two thirds of the money and pass it on to other areas in need. The Missouri Supreme Court has already ruled that the money could only be used for conservation and can not be considered part of the states total revenues. Lawsuits? I know the voters are voting on it but the voters passed it in the first place.

She points out that the MDC has a savings account balance of almost 100 million dollars. Sounds to me like they are being pretty responsible. Representative Dinkins that’s let me point out that a savings account is usually used for emergencies. How much of that money was contributed from the Conservation Sales and Use Tax and how much from the sale of licenses, tags, ammo, etc.? If the economy tanks the MDC could go through that money pretty quickly in an effort to keep its programs afloat. Did you ever think of that are better yet do you even care? She says the MDC continues to attack the civil liberties of this state but cites no references. If you are going to throw the sportsmen of this state under the bus at least tell us why? Since you represent Reynolds county I would be suspect it has something to do with the battle between feral hog hunters and the MDC. So your solution is to punish all sportsman of the state of Missouri?

I hope the sportsmen in this state takes a long hard look at what is going on here and the impact these two amendments will have on bird hunting, deer hunting, turkey hunting, fishing and all the other programs offered by the MDC. Are we going to stand by and let this destroy all the accomplishments the MDC has made since 1977. I for one hope not.