Sunday, July 3, 2016

Alaskan Gold

         How would any person, when asked, define Alaskan Gold?  The answers of course are much too numerous to even list, so why even entertain an empirical number when the answers approach infinity?  Let me share with you in a few short paragraphs what has transpired in the life of my son since 9/11/01.  As most of you know, he enlisted into the Air Force Special Operations right out of High School in 2000.  Naturally he was very good at what he did and he found himself prepared when his training was called upon.  He married and this typical military family continued to grow despite the demands made upon this particular warrior dad.  As of this writing, my son has continued to prefect the art of his trade and continually answered our country's call against this Global War on Terrorism.  What I am sharing with you is how the prayers of a faithful, Godly wife along with countless friends and family are heard by an omnipotant God.  Any random reader of my collection of short stories, stumbling across this particular blog entry will probably not fully grasp this 15 year span of time.  I still hope you will enjoy reading the treasures I discovered in city of the midnight sun from June 8 through June 15 of this year.

          I flew to Fairbanks, Alaska to spend a week with my son, Stewart, his wife Sarah and their three beautiful daughter's, Elizabeth, Katherine and Audrey.  I had not seen Elizabeth since she was 1 year of age and she is a September birthday shy of 12 years of age.  Katherine just turned 8 years of age when I first met her this past December with her Dad and ate donuts in Pineville.  What 
a beautiful child, as I sat a scant 20 or 30 minutes 
exchanging pleasantries with her dad while taking in her every move as she devoured an ├ęclair.  Oh how my son's words began to ring true as he once reminded me what I have missed.  Sometime after his family moved to Alaska, he extended an invitation for me to visit them at their home.  Of course I played it off but after this brief meeting with this sweet child, I asked if the invitation was still on the table.  I arrived in Fairbanks in the early morning hours of 9 June where Stewart picked me up.  When we arrived at his early morning home in the daylight filled hour of 0230, I was shown to my room downstairs.  It was actually Elizabeth's room which was right across the hall from Katherine's room of which they were to share during my visit.  Do you really think they were asleep knowing Poppy Rodney was coming??  They sorta "vaporized" in the room and after a quick hug,  Daddy threatened their life if they did not get back into their bedroom and go to sleep!!

           I was awake by 0700, making my way upstairs where I joined Sarah already stirring in the early morning kitchen of their spacious 
home.  She had already been informed by Katherine that she needed to get a lot of coffee because Poppy Rodney drinks a lot of coffee, remembering that was what I drank at the donut shop in Pineville back last December when we met.  While sitting at the table engaging her in conversation as she prepared breakfast, this lovely little creature appeared around the corner of the high rise counter and froze momentarily, just starring at me. She had a lamb looking hand puppet or something with the ear stuck in her mouth as she continued to stand there "taking me in," still clad in her tee shirt and panties.  I broke the ice and said, "So you must be Audrey?"  She then removed the lambs ear from her mouth and announced,
"she was this many" and held up four fingers.  Sarah told her to tell Poppy Rodney how old she was and she announced in perfect grammer, "I am 4 years old."  I fell in love.  

          Sarah sat what she called a happy face breakfast in front of me consisting of a sliced bagel coated in strawberry cream cheese and two over easy eggs stating, "Stewart gets mad when I give him a happy face plate!"  I got tickled and laughed at her statement as I began to realize I was in a mine shaft filled with the purest gold that only a few men discover once in a lifetime.  Over the next few minutes, Elizabeth and Katherine joined us and engaged me in conversation while Sarah continued to busy herself in the kitchen. My gosh, how

beautiful Elizabeth was.  So tall and skinny with the sweetest smile and eyes that searched your heart when she engaged you with conversation.  I guess Katherine claimed me as her Poppy since she knew me best.  Stewart eventually joined us around the table.  It was along about this time that I realized where I was and what I had missed for so many years.  This son I most admired, his caring wife and those girls.  He asked me to pray!  As I wrapped my hands around smaller ones, I remember saying "Thank you, God for your Grace and Blessings.  Bless this food to nourish our bodies so we may serve you."   "God," and I paused and almost choked up until I spoke the only words that were on my heart, "Thank You, Father for family, Amen!"  I felt the door open in the heart of the other man at that table.

          A week or so before I left for Alaska, Sarah surprised me with a phone call and I heard this little voice tell me, "I hope you like to hike, cause we going hiking!"  I was enthralled of course but also tickled to death as I engaged this yet to be defined, estrogen ocean of Ferguson grand girls as each one chatted with me.  They had some serious plans for Poppy Rodney and  thinking back, I think Sarah wanted to give me a heads up for what was to come.   Stewart had already warned me they would "be wild" when I first arrived but would eventually settle down.  Yet unknown to all of them, I am thinking of how soon and how quickly I 
could engage in some serious "rib biting" and "sugar snatching" without crossing any boundaries until they were comfortable with Stewart's grandpa.   Oh yes, Stewart told me that one Sunday morning a couple of weeks before I was to arrive,  Audrey came and crawled up into bed with him and Sarah where she generally submitted herself to daddy's kisses, back tickling and tummy routine.  He told me this particular morning she was having nothing of the sorts. Stewart asked her, "Audrey, what is wrong, baby?"  He said she just sighed and said, "I thought your grandpa would be here by now!"

      The first day began with a trip to the North Pole.  North Pole, Alaska of course 
and a visit to the Santa Claus House.  It had been 43 years since I had been there, and I posted a picture on facebook with me sitting on Santa's lap and said, "he actually remembered me."  Can you imagine my surprise, when someone actually asked me if he did in fact remember me?  I am sure he will remember me on my next visit in 43 years, because if you look close, I am sitting on his lap, and pushed firmly against his sizable stomach was the full imprint of my safely holstered Springfield 1911 TRP .45 cal pistol.  Santa said not a word or acted offended in the least bit by this discovery that I am certain he was aware of. Being the gentleman Santa has always been, I will not be a bit surprised if I discover a box of Personal Defense .45 cal ammo under my Christmas tree, personally signed:  From Santa, this coming Christmas.

          As the trip to Santa's house and other convenient points of interest came to an end that first day,  we settled back into the Ferguson home on Hillary Drive overlooking Fairbanks, I was given an explanation of the Lamb looking hand puppet I saw Audrey with that morning. Stewart told me she never took a pacifier but for some unknown reason, she took to this cotton hand puppet.  They said it was a poodle!  He said she simply cannot go to sleep or sleep without it. She comforts herself by entertaining one of the ears of this coveted poodle by placing it in her mouth!  I just looked at him funny when he told me they had a hundred or so of those things, explaining when one ear gets soaking wet, she replaces the wet ear with the dry ear and never misses a beat.  I couldn't help myself as I died laughing and asked Sarah about it for
clarification.  I was told they only had twenty or so which made much more sense.  She also ensured me they were washed often

          Audrey was told to get ready for bed, so as she was making her last rounds I had the chance to take a picture of her favored poodle. If you look closely, one of the ears is already wet!  I laugh so hard everytime I see this picture. Yet despite the joy of seeing this, I was also able to experience the tenderness of a loving mom as sleep overtook this precious child.  How beautiful that only the arms of a mother can comfort a child as the ending of day demands rest from even the most tender among us.  So that you might know, this particular picture was taken around the 1030 pm hour and the sun is still not below the horizon.  We were just a week or so from the Summer Solstice in Fairbanks, Alaska where the sun never sets at this time of the year.

            Most followers of my blog and short stories, especially life long friends know I served with the U.S. Army in Anchorage, Alaska in '72 and '73.  I remember on clear crisp days, "The High One" or in other native translations, "The Great One," know as Mt. Denali or to those of us in the Lower 48, Mt. McKinley, could be seen from Anchorage several hundred miles to the north.  I dreamed of this beautiful mountain many times after leaving Alaska as my life resumed in my native Louisiana.  One can not imagine how pleased I was when I was told we were going to visit Denali National Park!  What a remarkable day.  I was so hoping to see "my
Audry's Attack Eagle
 mountain" up close and personal for the first time.  After entering the park, we settled in for a picnic lunch (put together by Sarah) before our 5 mile hike.  As we sat down at a picnic table and passed out the snacks, a Sea Gull, yes, it is actually called a Mew Gull almost landed on Stewart's head seriously inquiring, "what's for lunch, dude?" I laughed as he brushed the pestering bird away and continued snacking while failing to anticipate the bird's next move.  How I wish I had my video ready on my IPhone 6. My sweet Audry was this bird's next victim!  Mom and Dad were there to protect her from harms way, although this aggressive approach along with the beating of wings literally scared her to death with its bold move on her sammich!   My stomach still cramps as I laugh myself almost sick as she shared with all of us her version of "being attacked by an Eagle."  We eventually made our way around a well constructed, easily navigable five mile hiking trail taking in the beauty of a minute part of this expansive National Park.  I was more than disappointed to know that I was not 
Sarah was the Photographer
going to be able to see Mt. Denali from where we were and to even be able to, it would be another 200 mile trip!  

          We encounter a rather large Bull Elk in the upside of the shallow river that we were walking beside and at elevation, with binoculars, Stewart and I could count as many as 14 Dall Sheep with young.  They were far beyond the range of any predator.   We eventually completed the hike with plenty of daylight left (get it?) and returned to a more civilized part of the national park.  You know, where you pay fifty bucks for a one dollar souvenir?  It was here we ordered a pizza made with Elk tails, Caribou doo, Grizzly gristle and other unidentified morsels that if you did not look at closely, was very tasteful!  Stewart and I drank a glass of home brewed urine, I mean beer while the girls entertained themselves coloring on a piece of paper while our order was being made!  We visited many shops in this particular village that included a cannabis shop.  We discovered Wolf furs upwards of $5,000 and all sorts of homemade knives, carvings, wooden dishes and other some what "Alaskan" items that were available for purchase just to prove you had been there. 

          Our return from Denali Nation Park to Fairbanks was around 200 miles, and
was even more breath taking than the ride up.  Only those who have ever visited this National Park can understand the beauty that exists.  I was able to capture a snow covered peak in the Alaskan Range with my IPhone Camera.  It was not Mt. Denali, but still beautiful.  Despite the comfort of the front passenger seat, the disturbing unrest of Ferguson Children cooped up far too long in the back of a car began to make me smile as  the "testing" of parental constraints were certainly probed to see just how far they could go with Poppy Rodney being present.  Consistency, may I add was firmly displayed, as mom didn't budge an inch in properly addressing any thought of taking advantage of this particular visiting relative!  I had to bite my tongue to keep from adding to the occasional problems I would hear from the back of Sarah's SUV.  I sure didn't wanna be put out on the side of this expansive highway as I certainly had no where to go if that happened!

          Did I mention the fact that these precious little girls were amazed with my bald head?  Audry took to me like a duck takes to water.  Not only did she like to get sugar, she actually invited me to bite her ribs.  She also likes to lick where she kisses you.  Sarah warned me, this child did not have a filter and kindly requested I not be offended by anything that might come out of her mouth.  That request tickled me.  It was positive, concrete proof Ferguson DNA was in this child's blood!  Being the first to rub my head, she announced to her
older siblings, "ooooh, it feels slicky," so the intrigue was on.  I even offered them the opportunity of drawing on my head with markers if they wanted to.  This really got the attention of Elizabeth and Katherine,  so their hands found the way to the top of my head to explore this newly offered canvas never before exploited.  Well, somewhere between their discovery of my bald head and my invitation for them to draw on it, Sarah must have cornered each of them and warned of the hazards they might encounter if they even asked me if they could actually draw on my bald head with markers.  I'm sure I will never know but a  good wash cloth and a good bar of soap would delete most of the damage.  What I could not get off, I could easily cover with my hat.  Besides, I really didn't care what anyone might think as no one knew me in Fairbanks. Besides, if anyone wanted to take issue with my grandchildren's art, I was prepared to defend their honor.  For whatever reason, a magic marker never made it to the top of my head, but the minds of these persistent children never rests while discovering other ways to take advantage of and abuse my submissive self for their pleasures.  If you have grand kids and are reading this, you know what attention i'm talking about.   That same attention a new puppy gets is very close to the way they behave with old people.  Careful not to hurt us for fear of what mom or dad might do to them?  I am not sure who toted the first wild daisy up on the deck to stick behind my ear, but it wasn't long before several adorned my seated surroundings. One ear then both ears, I refused to allow Audry to place a flower in my nose, so she settled for me holding a few in my mouth.  I figured if she could gnaw down on a poodles ear, I could handle a few wild daisies.   I am surprised super glue or something didn't appear in order for these yellow flowers to stick to my bald head. 

My visit progressed too rapidly during my short stay and the planned activities for Poppy Rodney were always interesting.  What was even more impressive to me, was the fact I was there almost two days before I dawned on me I was the only one wearing shoes in the house.  I also realized that breakfast, lunch and supper were not just a formal throw together for visitors or guests.  Sarah prepared every meal, placed it on the table, where everyone ate together.  Dishes were not left on the table, but taken to the sink where they were appropriately rinsed out and placed in the dish washer. What I found amazing is I never saw a dish in the dish washer removed.  Someone did it?  I can't recall any "assigned" responsibilities for the older girls.  I am sure there were, I just never noticed them do anything in the kitchen.  The kitchen was Sarah's Woman Cave and it was permissible to pass through with an unspoken rule hanging in the air, don't tarry too long.  I remember distinctly when they were first married, Sarah could not boil water.  I am being a little facetious when I say that she needed a recipe book to put a bowl of cereal together!  My word, the transition I observed in that 13 year span of time. My daughter-in-law has certainly come a long way baby in the culinary arts. Every thing she makes is from scratch and there is nothing she sets in front of you that is not absolutely wonderful.  One of the first things I smelled when I walked into their home was the fresh smell of something being baked.  I found out it was a Rhubarb Pie.  Want some?  Stewart got a big ole scoop of that stuff while it was still warm and I politely declined.  Rhubarb?  Wasn't quiet sure if I wanted to go there with that one or not, simply because I had never heard of that kind of pie down in my part of the South.  I finally came to realize her expanded cooking talents after sampling a small piece of that Rhubarb pie stuff.  Well, let me confess here.  Only because I was trying to be socially correct, respectful of the fact I was a guest in their home and not wanting to trespass in Sarah's woman cave is the only reason I didn't eat the rest of that pie by myself!!! 

Italian Wedding Soup which is spinach floating in a soup mixture with a thousand pasta balls the size of #2 buckshot was introduced for supper one night. Remember my socially correct manner I worked so hard on?  I was very happy  to see Stewart get up for a second helping. I smiled and said "why not, this is good."
What they didn't see, was that Katherine didn't eat all of her supper, but Sarah sure thought she did.  She asked me what my favorite desert was and after eliminating everything made with sugar, I settled with Cheese Cake.  I was then grilled with topping questions and settled on caramel topping.  Before bed time, guess what Poppy Rodney feasted on?  Made from scratch I might add. She also mentioned what had to be an "Alaskan desert" when she asked me if I had ever eaten any Moose Balls when I lived up there 43 years ago.  I just looked at her hoping we were still talking about desserts and said, "Nope, I
don't reckon I have."  Thinking back so many years, I finally told her that the only thing I remember was some reindeer sausage.  She then shared with me the way Moose Balls were made and carefully prepared before they were filled with cream cheese.  As I struggled to keep my focus on the dessert aspect of Moose Balls, I remember commenting that it would seem to be a deliberate and time consuming task to make them of which she agreed that it was.  She told me she had a friend down the hill that made them at home and sold them for profit.  Sarah did not make any herself, but her friend showed up a couple of days later with a bunch of them for us.  Yes!  They were delicious and you could not eat just one.  With that being said, I'm sure it was a head thing with me, because I could not eat two, so my total consumption was three.  Could have easily been five but I had to stand in line or bully three girls had I wanted more.

As I continued to ease into the Ferguson/Alaskan home, things that concerned me about being a stranger to these kids faded quickly.  I felt like I had always lived and been a part of their world while still thousands of miles apart.  I was able to be part of the life Stewart and Sarah made for themselves.  I also noticed how consistent, patient and determined Sarah was in keeping her home, loving her girls and support she gave her husband.  One evening Sarah was in her Woman Cave while Stewart and I were watching TV.  He got up to do something and looked at me and made a general statement.  "I'm hot."  Without hesitation, Sarah
said, "Yes your are!"  He said not a word.  Just looked at me, shook his head and rolled his eyes.  I just smiled.  Those girls love their daddy, too.  As the older girls are somewhat stand offish, little Audry doesn't hesitate to spread her affection. I was able to capture one picture that touched my heart and helped me realize my son was exactly the man I prayed he would be.    Typical girls, they push each other's buttons and aggravate each other like all siblings do. Elizabeth is clearly the eldest of the three, Katherine has established her own identity in her world and Audry is either welcomed when those two are together or she is rejected and sent away in tears.  Let me just add that she recovers quickly.  Sarah is amazingly tuned into most conversations between the girls and quick to correct any stinging or hurtful words they might say to each other. In their own little part of Alaska, the three of them spend hours with each other in and out of the woods where they have forts, bear traps and swings spotted in separate parts of their three acres.  Sarah told me that Elizabeth is very protective of Katherine at school and will be the same way with Audry.  

As I have said before, Sarah runs a good house hold and Stewart exists in the background as the enforcer of Mom's world.  No one wants that part of him, but those girls seem to worship the ground he walks on.  I never heard one voice raised in anger among any of them.  Those girls are always tattling on each other, now, and firm corrections are made often by Mom and sometimes Dad.  Sarah had the occasion for some unknown reason to me, to spank Elizabeth and Katherine for something they had done.  They came down the stairs and Elizabeth announced to me, "That didn't hurt at all," and Katherine agreed.  Well, Sarah caught wind of that statement and was quick to revisit that meeting.   There was not another word said after that second trip to mom's woodshed except from Katherine. "I don't like it when momma uses that wood spoon."   I noticed Audry
was hanging pretty close to me after this reenforcement period and I didn't quite understand until Elizabeth regained her composure and came down stairs.  I could tell something was wrong so I made a wild guess and told her that as much as I loved them, Poppy Rodney was always on mom and dad's side and I tattled, too.  Elizabeth smiled and hugged my neck and went into the yard to play.  I felt what seemed to be this heavy sigh of relief emanate from the little one sitting behind me.  It dawned on me how Sarah "caught wind" of Elizabeth and Katherine's bold statement, it didn't hurt.  The guilty little mouse realized she was just spared from a possible execution from her older sisters.  I turned around looking over my shoulder and couldn't help from taking this picture as she sat there with that "you just saved me, Poppy smile on her face!"  

          Stewart had sent me pictures of a massive Grizzly bear and a Black bear that he had killed last summer at his bear stand.  This place was up the Dalton Highway (The Ice Road) from Fairbanks and was assigned to him by the Alaska State Troopers Wildlife Enforcement Department. Although he had not hunted the spot in a couple of weeks, meaning he had not kept it baited for bear, he decided he would like to introduce his father to the excitement of the bear hunt!  I was all in.  

          We set off for the hunting grounds somewhere in the Last Frontier around 7:30 pm as we intersected the Dalton Highway.  We were headed north on this normally busy roadway when one of 10 vehicles we saw the entire trip passed us. As the driver started to turn back into the drivers lane, a mother moose decided to cross the road not seven car lengths in front of us.  The passing vehicle braked hard and swerved to avoid a major collision with the moose as she slipped in the roadway just in time to keep the car from hitting her!  Stewart was able to brake enough for her to regain her legs and continue to cross the road unharmed.  We stopped at the spot the incident occurred and on my side of the vehicle, down in a wet land environment, was baby moose while momma waited patiently down in the wet land on Stewart's side of the vehicle.  I took a few pics of momma and baby and we pulled up a hundred feet or so and stopped.  within a minutes time, momma was back on the road encouraging baby moose to join her and off they went.  I should mention that had that car struck momma, we would probably have become entangled in this massive engagement of vehicle and moose flesh. Vehicle and moose collisions are almost always fatal to the animal and often times fatal to the driver or occupants of the vehicle.  After the excitement, we continued north into Russia's own to our destination.  I was so fortunate to capture another momma moose and her twin calves on my cell phone just a few more miles north.  I use that picture today as my profile picture on facebook.

          We finally reached the location of his assigned bear hunting site around 0945 pm.  He parked the truck on the Alaskan Pipeline at Block Point N at mile marker 365.2 from the North Slope,  Stewart unloaded the four wheeler, loaded it up with supplies and encouraged me to climb on.  A mile or so down the pipe line he stopped and we packed up and headed into the woods.  we loaded ourselves with as many marshmellows, honey, syrup, sticky sweet stuff as you can imagine along with a 60 pound bag of dog food complet with chairs and a ground blind, Just before we enter the woods, Stewart stops at the trail entrance and pulls his 357 magnum from the holster pausing cautiously before he continued to his assigned spot.  I had enough sense to know why he did that and breathed a sigh of relief as I consciously felt my own 45 cal 1911 with personal defense rounds snug in the holster on my side. It was here he shared with me that humans are number 5 on the food chain.  The Polar Bear, Grizzly Bear, Black Bear and Wolf packs are the top 4.  In other words, Dad, he continued, if they decide they want to eat you, wait until they are up close and shoot them through the eyes or mouth. I certainly found that bit of information extremely encouraging.  About 50 yards
down the trail, he paused and pointed at bear scat on the well used path we were walking on.  It was here I discovered the truth about the bear question.  Yes. Bears do, do do in the woods!  Steadily down hill another couple of hundred yards we came to a spot where a 55 gallon barrel with a window hole cut into the side was cabled to a tree.  Stewart filled it up with the dog food, along with a lot of other "sweet stuff" bears rather enjoy!  He then set up a small propane burner a few feet from the cabled barrel and filled it with marsh mellows, old honey and whatever else and set the concoction on the burning flame.  While doing this we were both fighting for our lives from swarms of Alaskan mosquito's determined to void us of our live giving blood.  They were simply trying to tote us off before the big mosquitos got there.  So, during the hustle of checking the trail cam, setting up the candy store and smoke scent for bears, preparing the ground blind we were to sit in waiting for these unsuspecting bears, Stewart casually suggest I keep my eyes open.  Something about a charging bear not taking kindly to us being there sorta put the mosquito's in a distant place in the back of my head despite their pesky persistence.  

          After about :45 minutes of packing stuff in, times two trips to the four wheeler a scant 300 yards uphill from where we were, we finally established a hunting posture comfortably inside the ground blind.  Once you set up a mosquito thermo cell repellent inside of the blind, you can take off protective clothing as the mosquito's will certainly leave you alone.  Comfortable and waiting for a social
visit from some unknown bear, Stewart continues my bear education.  They know we are here, Dad.  They smell that stuff a mile away and they smell us too.  My concern is they have used the trail (remember the scat?) and could come in from behind us.  That would not be good because the bear would have the advantage of surprise on us.  He told me the black bear he killed last year was coming up a tree after him and he shot her between his feet looking down on her.  That Grizzly we killed here a week or two later was 1200 hundred pounds.  Three of us were sitting in tree stands when he came and and looked at us one time and went back to the barrel of goodies.  Grizzly's cant climb, but they are powerful enough to just knock the tree we were in over.   Took us 6 hours to get that giant bear from here up to the pipeline.  All of this information was processing through my head when I asked him where his hunting rifle was.  I knew it was in the truck and just figured he had packed it down from the four wheeler.  He casually replied he left it in the truck.  If a black bear came in we could take it with his pistol.  Grizzly might be more of a challenge though. I remained calm and collected.  There was absolutely no panic on my part but my 45 found its way out of my holster because it felt more comfortable on my lap.  He had told me before I ever flew up that I need to be in shape because if a big Grizz did come into the perimeter we may have to vacate rapidly.  Looking at him and that silly smile when he said that made him realize he had a better chance of getting fresh chicken crap from between his toes quicker than he could get rid of me. 

         Midnight came and turned into 2 am as it never got dark in the land of the midnight sun.  We eventually decided to "break camp" and seek other adventures of the great north.  We did not have to pack out the dog food and other bundles of goodies that found itself into the  barrel as bait.  With that in mind, I figured we could collect what was remaining and make one trip back to the four wheeler.  That second trek up the scat laden trail took its toll on this 65 year old so I did not want to do it a fourth time.  Stewart loaded me up and he bore the burden of what remained and up the trail we started.  I will not mention that I could not breath.  Nor will I tell anyone I could not feel my legs or body functioning.  There was no pain as I simply could not breath.  Had Mr. Grizzly, Black Bear, Wolf or Ground Squirrel wanted to take me, I would simply have disappeared from this world.  No possible way am I ever going to admit that I was totally unable to even call Stewart's name to slow down and wait for me.  I was beyond exhaustion as all I could do was suck in air to help me sustain what little life remained.  I had every
intention of jokingly telling Stewart that I would never do to my daddy what he was doing to his but the words or any word would not come out of my mouth!  I just thought I was in a little bit of shape, NOT, but what I did find out was I had a pretty dang good heart!  So as we returned from the bear pit, stored equipment into his truck, loaded the four wheeler, we killed as many mosquito's as we could just for the hell of it before getting into the truck.  As we sat there a few short moments in the early morning light, he looks at me with that smile that I remembered as a child and asked, "Dad, have you ever seen the Yukon River? Makes the Mississippi look like a mud puddle."  I took this picture as we started the truck and turned north yet once again.  I guess because the sun never went down, my bio-clock had not told me I was running on 24 hrs no sleep.

I guess some day I will finish this story...   Procrastination or old age?  Probably a whole bunch of both...

Friday, January 8, 2016

Rod's Reflections for the Entire Year of 2016

I would seem remiss if I did not continue my collection of cogitative reflections as at any moment, something could play across my mind.  It took until the 8th day of the new year to tranquilize enough thoughts important enough for me to place in a collective format that I might enjoy reading in some distant place at some given time.  After all, I think my "reflections" for 2015 actually ended with my last post on December 2nd, as nothing really "bookmarked" in my head the rest of the year.  And at my age, what good does staying up until midnight really do for me except bite into my personal sleep time?  So let me see how this year goes.  I'll try to encourage myself to write these postscripts of sorts to myself as this year progresses...  After all, I will be 65 in just a scant few days and it may not be many days longer until I may need to read something to remind myself  that some of the things I may have written down, actually happened.  In the Month of May, I realized my blogging collection was slowing way down, so I changed the name to Rod's Reflections for the Entire Year of 2016.   P.S.  It Starts with the Month of January...  Scroll to the bottom for the most recent post.  It isn't that far down.   

January 2016

          I am guilty of surfing the pages of Facebook on a regular basis.  I have been known to run across things that leave a serious impression on me. This is the month I am to began the 6th year of my 7th decade as an American.  Having reached this age, I have personally witnessed, as well as experienced, the slow decline of this once great America which we are no longer.  I could share hours on this subject and touch on the "so many" why's but let us remember it was our parents that allowed someone elected on their behalf to kick God out of our school systems.  The family structure soon followed as more children were born to unwed mothers than those that were married.  And the Church?  The majority of them supported these unwed mothers with showers and blessings.  So slipped the third institution instrumental in my early development. 

          Oh yeah, that continued with my generation's approval too.  I cannot just blame my parents now. They may have allowed Satan himself into every home in this country as a television set but it was us Baby Boomers that embraced it and set it up as a roll model for our children!

          So as I fast forward through memories of the Spring, Summer and Fall of my life, I can sit with a handful of collected wisdom in the Winter of my life and understand why we have become who we are today.  Think about this, Chris Kyle is called a racist murderer after saving the lives of countless warriors that wore our country's flag, yet in the same breath, these progressives call Bowe Bergdahl a hero! Speaking of that flag, remember the debate that swept our country about our colors being worn as a swim suit, shirt or improperly displayed, while it was perfectly "okay" for anyone to burn and trample on these colors in protest of what exactly?  Some of you may remember my July 4, 2015 post of the American Flag Shirt I purchased and wore that day.  Was it un-american for me to do that?  Find the post and read it. And so the question about this photograph is being passed around today as un-american.  Here is the picture and here is my response:

           This photograph is absolutely, profoundly, solid American. That child will know one day how fortunate he/she is to have been born American and to be wrapped in the colors the world emulates with the Field of Honor surrounding the baby's head.  This baby, our future and the world's hope, is being supported in the representative arms of every person that shed their blood for our freedom.  This Marine's promise to this child's tomorrow speaks loudly, "I am the sword that stands in harms way for you!" What greater love??  That is the America I grew up in.  People that would give their today for my tomorrow. 

Posted January 8 from my afternoon home


          A bright Wednesday morning. The center of our solar system remains constant as my side off the earth turns her face to this source of life. Rotating on her axis ever so slightly, yet consistently, each day gives us more light which stimulates the daffodil to come forth and promise us Spring. Already the Tulip Magnolia's have displayed their soft blooms so often covered in fading seasonal frost. I ponder life often times. The fragility of such balanced with time. I look at my river and see change. Consistent as the stars we exist in yet different still. Close enough to touch yet still far enough to remain who she really is. A part of life. Giving only what is needed and sometimes desired. You know, that balance of need and want we as humans always battle? Yet her own identifying message. I too am consistent. Silent, constantly moving, deep and very cold. Maybe that is why I spend less time here beside her most mornings. There is change. In both of us actually. At least in our passing we know each other are safe and content inside of our designed universe.

Posted February 10 at 0645 from beside the Red River

          Well folkses, my heart almost stopped this morning and that sick nauseating feeling of revulsion overtook me. As I was taking my 15-year-old granddaughter to high school this morning, we stopped at McDonald's for a quick before school snack. She selects a single hash brown and a caramel cold coffee latte (?) and we are again off to the re-learning camp.  As this short trip unfolded, I thought I would ask her a question. Baby, if you could vote today, who would you vote for. Immediately she hits me with three names. Bernie Sanders, Trump and Cruz.  I remained calm and encouraged her on. She didn't say much about Trump, Cruz or any other candidate,  but she did tell me if she had to vote today, it would be for Bernie Sanders. I did well keeping my composure and actually kept my car in the correct lane of travel when I asked why, and listened for her reason. Sanders will give me a free college education which will allow me to make a lot of money and he said, he would take care of our veterans. We pull up to school and I have managed to maintain my composure.  No melt down.  I ask her how much is a lot of money? $10,000 a year, she said. I felt a heart beat of hope but then realized she had no concept of what "how much" really was or maybe, just maybe, this institute of higher learning or re-education center had already conditioned her into this "sharing the wealth" mentality. So, as she prepared to get out of the car, I asked her to look at three things and get back with me. Capitalism, socialism and communism. As a quick reminder, I sent her off with this thought. Capitalism gives you the chance to make $50,000 a year (a number I picked much higher than her anticipated $10k) while you give five of your friends a $10,000 dollar a year job. Socialism allows you to keep $5,000 of your $10,000 and gives the other to your friends enabling them to stay home and watch TV or play video games, whatever they chose while you work. Communism on the other hand,  takes all of your money and gives you what you need to get by, like housing, public transportation and food. I asked her to look into that and she said, "Okay, Poppy," and got out of the car. I'm still sick to my stomach.  And yes.  This is happening on my watch.  Like waiting for someone to die so they can move in with their momma...  

Posted February16 from my morning office


          And February faded with this years 29th day as did the entire month of March.  I was reminded I had a few days remaining to share my thoughts with my blog, yet nothing seemed to move me into that moment.  Maybe the days of the blog and short stories taps its fingers in discernment as the sun sets on the season I enjoyed so much?  Who holds that key?  So many things to say and share.  Who am I?  Does anyone really know?  I often wonder if I know who I am.


          Sometime tomorrow our new stainless fridge will take the place of its predecessor that existed in that spot for 18 years +\-. What surprised me was that Linda managed to paint the wall red when we repainted that area 4 years ago! 18 years... Linda found stuff in that thing we had to specially package and send as hazardous waste to the Center for Disease Control just to see if the contents could be disposed of in a proper landfill. Imagine that. Oh well. We haven't killed a grandkid yet and most of them that have blessed this house found the good stuff to munch on at the bottom of that refrigerator as it watched them grow up and me grow older.

Posted April 17 from my afternoon home

          What a beautiful Sunday evening. I am sitting on my patio under a comfortable, overcast, post sunset as a light breeze teases the tender new leaves of the large red oak beside my house. A Whip-O-Will sings her familiar melody across the pipeline as another three pounds of Cajun shrimp comforts my hunger. The amphibian choral ensemble picks up its performance as a momentary break in the overcast sky gives me a glimpse of a beautiful waxing gibbous moon as Jupiter smiled at me over her right shoulder. What could be a more settling definition for contentment?

Posted April 17 from my evening Patio


          Today was just another Friday. I had made my mail pick up for city hall and had returned to my code enforcement unit to spot check a few places that I had addressed earlier in the week. As I proceeded down our typically normal city streets, I slowed somewhat as I observed an older couple (remember i'm 65) stopped on a sidewalk adjacent the street I was driving. The elderly gentleman was supporting himself on two of those older metal crutches that you slip your hands through before gripping the handle while the crutches then form a solid embrace around your forearms giving you stability. For some reason I focused on the aluminum frame wraped around his left forearm as his short sleeved shirt and overalls clad back was to me. Kneeling before him with one, possibly both of her knees on the hard sidewalk was an equally aged woman, I assumed was his wife of many years. I noticed her long dress and grey hair as the picture of both of them froze in my mind. His head was bowed as if in prayer as he was looking down at his helper. Helpless was he, yet able she was as she knelt before him to simply tie a shoe lace... As quickly as I saw them I had passed them as I turned at the next intersection continuing my purpose. Yet here I sit in my late afternoon home with a picture of that moment in time still plesantly dancing in my mind. As I continue to polish this picture in my mind, the words, He gave him a helper continued to echo in my mind, so just a few minutes ago, I googled it. This is what I found in the book of Genesis. God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." How much more could that picture frozen in my mind be more perfectly defined. I don't reckon any Friday is just another Friday if you just allow yourself to see the picture... Yes... They are all around us...

Posted May 20 from my evening Home


         Look close. I am a generous man. This is nothing more than the remaining bone of my supper time pork chop. I deliberately stirred up a thriving red ant bed in my back yard as I dropped it onto their mounded dwelling in the midst of my St Augustine grass as I left for choir practice around 1740 this afternoon. As I settled on my patio to take in the sounds of a once blistering and now fading day around to 2010 hour, I checked to see if my generous "manna" was appreciated. Enlarge and look closely. The ants are in a glutinous stupor and I realized this has to be a Christian colony. Those certainly ain't Muslim ants on dat poke chop!

I simply could not help this post.  Tomorrow morning, I will go out there and urinate on their fattened, gloated asses and kill off their queen with my excess uric acid and not lose a moments rest. How dare any of their kind bite any human in their indifference, especially my innocent grand children!  They must know I am superior for this time being even knowing at some distant time their species will feast on what remains of my earthly temple.  Again they will know I am superior remembering my moments of kindness yet once again realizing that as they feast upon my carrion, the embalming fluid that remains, will add thousands more of their numbers to the darkened depths they fed only to return to dust with what is left to time.

Posted June 29 from my afternoon home.


          So with the meeting between Bill and Loretta, I was not as surprised as I was disgusted when Comey came out and said the FBI was not going to prosecute Hilliary.  So, despite the fact that she did have several violations of federal law against her along with numerous misleading statements we as the conservative public recognize as lying and Comey recognized as perjury, she walks away unscathed and accepted by the liberal public as the rightful aire to the presidency. Well folkses,  Heah be da deal. Me thinks everything and I mean EVERYTHING has already been set into motion  to guarantee a Hilliary transition into the white house.  Barry has violated the constitution and smothered us with executive orders his entire stay in office all of which will expedite this transition as not one voice of opposition was raised by those the majority of us elected to do just that!  Now, here is my prediction.  What you won't see, if by honest chance Donald Trump wins the election, is his transition into the white house. Federal agencies, if you have not been paying attention, from homeland through the Hoover group to include the already tested BLM are prepared to enforce a total sweep toward a new USSA or United Socialist States of America.  Okay, you're all ready to laugh and dismiss me to a total right wing nut case.  Go ahead, but despite the secular left leaning media's attempt to feed all of us the propaganda this administration wants us to hear, some things are placed on our plates that we just ignore.  Such as the fact that all General Officers of our armed forces that we expected would defend the Constitution of the United States against enemies foreign and domestic have been fired or retired. Every thing is in place. If you feel slightly bruised from this "slap?" You wait. Hilliary, if she absolutely has to,  will mark her time if the Republicans keep the house and senate in this coming November election. Give her two years, and the life we have all known will be all hers to do what she wishes as she has already publically said she would appoint a disbarred lawyer to the Supreme Court!  Remember his name?  Barack Hussein Obama?   Do not forget now, Donald Trump has already revealed to us the TRUE COLORS of the Senate and House Republicans as some of these elites have openly endorsed Hilliary.  We have heard conservative pundits refer to these Republican lifers as RINO's and without doubt,  will join forces with the Progressive Democrat Party to become an elite sort of politburo as they have already sold their soul to gain the world.

          So here is my conclusion?  If Trump wins, the oppression will begin immediately.  Black Lives Matter, active LGBT groups, Islamic terrorist cells or ISIS radicals, millennial activist on college campuses all over this country will start the riot, loot and burn routine and Barry will simply put this country under Marshal Law.  I didn't even mention major cities that are controlled by gangs, did I? Anyway, when this happens, our president will not have to step down from the presidency.  You see, ole  Barry ain't giving the white house to no one but Hilliary.  Now, if  Hillairy wins, and according to the media she will, we will slowly be stripped of our freedoms over the next two to four years.  Israel will all but be forgotten and without the help of the United States will find her hands full with every muslim country in the middle east.  In the 21 Century you will see Ahab and Jezebel and the prophets of baal all over again folkses,.  Now maybe those fatalist amongst us will say it is time for our Lord to return and He will put a stop to this.  Two quick points here from a non-biblical scholar.  No one knows the time of His return and secondly, our God's time table has a whole bunch to do with his chosen people, Israel.  In the meantime imagine the appointed successor of Hilliary and Bill?  None other that Chelsea Hubble Clinton her majesty.  Well, maybe the last is a little far reaching but I suspect it is time for people to start dying unexpectedly from suicides, plane crashes, car accidents or armed robberies... I mean seriously, haven't we seen this already with these two?  Absolutely.  They are above the law of this once Godly country.  

          One parting thought.  The last time I ever saw this country this divided was Professor History's account of our Civil War.  Both the Union North and Confederate South believed that Jehovah God was on their side.  This was what President Lincoln was responding to, when asked, "Mr. President, do you believe that God is on your side?"  And his response to the reporter was historic.  "Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right."  With that said, the division that exist in this country now is not questionable.  There are the people of God and the Godless.  Oh, and by the way, I did not misspell Hilliary.  The word liar truly applies to this person and name. 

Posted on my Blog Only, July 6, 2016

          A friend of mine posted an email she received from her brother a few days back and I was disappointed that I could not "share" the contents on my wall. I asked if she could email the contents and she agreed. This is part of a sermon I believe that the Reverand Franklin Graham delivered at somepoint central to this existing time and I felt like sharing with the few people that still had my newsfeed posting on their wall. So much truth. This time from a biblical scholar. What think ye?
Time is like a river. You cannot touch the water twice, because
the flow that has passed will never pass again.

           Franklin Graham was speaking at the First Baptist
Church in Jacksonville, Florida in January, 2015, when he said America
will not come back.  He wrote: The American dream ended on November 6th, 2012 in
Ohio. The second term of Barack Obama has been the final nail in the coffin for the legacy of the white Christian males who discovered, explored, pioneered, settled and developed the greatest republic in the history of mankind.

          A coalition of blacks, Latinos, feminists, gays, government workers, union members, environmental extremists, the media, Hollywood, uninformed young people, the "forever needy," the chronically unemployed, illegal aliens and other "fellow travelers" have ended Norman Rockwell's America. You will never again out-vote these people. It will take individual acts of defiance and massive displays of civil disobedience to get back the rights we have allowed them to take away. It will take zealots, not moderates and shy, not reach-across-the-aisle RINOs to right this ship and restore our beloved country to its former status.

           People like me are completely politically irrelevant, and I will probably never again be able to legally comment on or concern myself with the aforementioned coalition which has surrendered
our culture, our heritage and our traditions without a shot being fired.  The cocker spaniel is off the front porch, the pit bull is in the backyard.   The American Constitution has been replaced with
Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" and the likes of Chicago shyster David Axelrod along with international socialist George Soros have been pulling the strings on their beige puppet and have brought us Act 2 of the New World Order.

           The curtain will come down but the damage has been done, the   story has been told. Those who come after us will once again have to risk their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor
to bring back the Republic that this generation has timidly frittered away due to white guilt and political correctness...

           If you have the forsight to pass this on, please do. If not, I understand. We were not willing to risk our lives to save what the prayers of God fearing me asked for and received from an Almighty Creator.  I am not talking about you. I am talking about us.   Collectively.   Like Reverend Graham said in his last paragraph. It will be those who come after our time has gone, that will once again, have to risk their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to bring back the Republic that this generation has timidly frittered away due to white guild and political correctness..

Just saying.

Posted July 20 from my home

          Tremendously disappointed in Cruz. He was in my top four from the very beginning.. I understand the disgusting joust of political positioning and feel that any canidate that seeks the office of president should be able to rise above the garbage after it is dumped and move on. He folded. He redefined everything I had hoped he was and still could have been in his defeat. Ted Cruz has proven he was in and is still in this political position for personal gain. Not as a representative of you and I, but himself. He has defined himself as the RINO he has always been and is now positioning himself to be part of the progressive democratic and RINO elements of both the house and senate that very easily could become the ruling politburo under the continued presidency of Obama if Trump wins outright, or if Hilliary wins and dismantles the Constitu;tion of the United States as she has promised to do. Continued presidency of Obama? Yes. If Trump wins, regardless of by how much or how little, this country is going to explode from coast to coast and he will declare marshal law. And we just saw Mr. Cruz position himself to be among the ruling socialist as all of thiis unfolds before us.

Posted July 23 from my afternoon home

           Facebook is teasing me with a new bio feed update window.  I actually thought I would engage their request and typed away. After compiling what I thought to be a different twist to my personality, I found that I could not update the "new bio," so I copied it onto here. So here is what my new bio would read had the "add a new bio," allowed me to print:

           Sitting at my kitchen breakfast bar on the last day of July, I find myself  one of many seasoned senior citizen's of a once great, but rapidly declining country. Like many of us, I have allowed my lips to remain silent and my actions civil while at the same time, being led a very long way from where I actually belonged.  See, in my heart I saw what was happening, but to keep peace like law abiding citizens do, I found myself adjusting to changing social mores that grated against my moral boundaries.  So now, when I am forced to drink the cool-aide, I am positive I will resist to the best of my physical abilities and transform back into the mold I came from. I am a white Christian male who sins but knows that Christ is my intercessor with Jehovah. I was born and raised in the solid south  where I learned that a firearm was part of my heritage! I proudly became a Democrat when I turned 18 the same day I registered for the draft.  Thanks to old Jimmy Carter, I became a Republican in 1973 when I returned to Louisiana as a US Army veteran. As of this posting, I have seriously considered becoming part of the conservative Independent Party because the 2016 Presidential contest opened my eyes helping me to realize my treasured Republican party has begun to sip the cool-aide of progressiveness and is no longer as conservative as it once was! So who am I then? Well, it appears I fit my own governments definition of a domestic terrorist. Go figure.

Posted July 31, from my late evening home


          The dog days of August struggled through its designated time on the calendar.  Uncomfortable heat, humid afternoons accented with accumulating heat cells that could drop two inches of rain in 15 minutes and be gone.  As with last month, I did not hear the first song from my Mockingbird.  I guess like me they sought the solace of cooler places and saved their energy for gathering food.  I do miss their comfort in song during these testing days knowing they are still present as they reveal themselves to me occasionally as the move across my visual.  The too know the fall equinox cometh.   As for me?  There was nothing of significance to share except for that stupid Sciatic Nerve Viper that bit me.  Oh my word.  Maybe shingles would be more tolerable??  Oh yeah, forgot.  I had that vaccination.  Besides,  I an the only one that reads this anyway. 


          Birthday wish to my niece, Tracy Borden Whitaker in Kansas.  My dearest Tracy. Life, like time, moves forward. Nothing makes it go faster, while at the same time, the same Source that controls the day and night, never slows it down. Not so true in the hearts, mind and life of His most treasured creations. As children, it took, it seemed, a lifetime for Christmas to ever get here. We could not wait to be in the first grade, 6th grade, a teen ager, get our drivers licenses and what ever else we wanted. Just took so long for us and we were so impatient for things to happen, we wished our life away. Now here we are. Let's just you and I say, at this age in our life. Isn't it amazing now that we have wished our life away how everything comes and goes so fast now. Wasn't it just yesterday we were still in the spring of our life?   Wasn't it just yesterday we looked forward to Thanksgiving dinner at Maw Maw and Pap Paws house? Wasn't it just yesterday I actually had this birthday, yet it was a year ago? Who is this person I am looking at in this mirror? Where has time gone now that it is moving so fast? I reckon you need to let me know when you figure it out. Being the 20 some years ahead of you, I have more or less accepted the fast pace life has taken. In fact, I became so consumed in living it I overlook simple things like a birthday. Like I did yours. Well, I didn't overlook it, I just did not take the time to post on your timeline a simple, Happy Birthday, Tracy... Why? I was busy and that time evaporated so quickly. Thought of you now... But we always "think" of others... Thinking of others gives you and I a peace in our head and it helps "resolve" our intentions of communication. Doesn't do a thing for the person we were thinking about though, does it? So, with having said all of that, allow me to tell you Happy Birthday for all of those I actually missed and especially for the one I just missed last year and yesterday. I love you, sweet niece and despite time vacating a void within us and between so many we think about, never doubt that I love you. I doubt not your love for me as well. After all, we are family. For a short time here, which is just an eye blink between the two eternities we are currently existing in. Go figures. Wipe the tears and smile. There is still life to live!

 And of course, her beautiful response.

          What a sweet and thoughtful birthday sentiment. I thank you, love you, and appreciate you and your taking the time to read this. Wipe my tears? Well.. I haven't been crying much lately and I have "thought" of you. (lol!) Yes, it's all going by too fast so there is nothing left to do but hurry up and live it. Right? I had a great birthday. About 4 days of joy, then a real life struggle reared its ugly head again. Thank God it will pass fast too. Though the rough times seem to stand still, there is an advantage to the ticking clock with hands that only more forward. The sad and bad stuff will be over soon enough as the good. Always remember that part. I love you, Uncle Rod. Love, Tracy

Posted September14 from my early morning office



          Has been a while since I've sat by my rivers edge in the predawn hours of a new day. A firm wind from the south extends the highlighted colors of America's iconic symbol, reminding me of the very reason we should celebrate thanksgiving everyday. It was just this past July conservative voices of all spiritual denominations across this country lifted our voices in a unison plea for Jehovah God to hold true to his written word. "If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."   It was around the 4th of July that this verse from God's Holy Word was lifted to Him in a plea from all of us to help save this country from the coming election a short four (4) months away.  Sides have never been more politically divided along party lines since State Rights plunged brother against brother in the Civil War.  This time is was not slavery, taxation or anything else that could or would divide us.  This time it boiled down to Conservatism vs Liberalism;  Capitalism vs Socialism; Republican vs Progressive Democrat; Black vs Asian vs Hispanic vs White; Christian vs Agnostic vs Islam.  And yes, for awhile most of us "humbled ourselves"  and "prayed" while we "sought His face," for a while...  As I pondered this verse over and over in my mind on this windy morning, my river simply confirmed in this early morning hour that if Our God did in fact hear our prayers as evidenced by so many of us that gloat on the outcome of the political landscape today, then it is OUR turn.  We must Turn From Our Wicked Ways! If you humbled yourself and prayed to Our God while seeking His face, then it is YOUR turn to do exactly that.  How Stand ye on His request of us/you?

Posted November 28 from my early morning River.