The Perfect Cup of Coffee…..

Life must be good when one of your primary focuses these days is the pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee. The world of coffee has become terribly complicated in the years since Mike Mulholland and I roamed the roads in Lafayette County stirring up trouble in our patrol cars night and day. When time permitted, we would adjourn to Branson’s MFA restaurant at the junction of I-70 and M-13 where we would count coup while enjoying a cup of stout, black coffee. Our tastes were not particularly refined and our ability to discriminate between good coffee and bad coffee had more to do with the temperature of the brew and whether it was comprised of a fresh pot or the bottom of a glass carafe, aged just enough to make it suitable to treat fenceposts, thus delaying their inevitable destruction by Mother Nature.

Back in the day, we relied upon a simple aluminum percolator to brew up a few cups of joe at home. Sure, the real aficionados might have had an electric pot, but on a trooper’s salary in those days, the five dollar percolator worked just fine. These pots were a necessity on the last days of the month, as coffee constituted an offer of gratitude to the trooper on duty as he relayed our paychecks to each off duty officer in the zone. Coffee was one of the many adhesives that bonded officers who depended upon one another in the inevitable life or death situations that surfaced in our lives. So it was in the day; home, an all night truck stop or a favorite eatery was the source of the black blood called coffee. Have times ever changed!

Our coffee bar at home is a focal point in our dining room. Gone is the percolator and in it’s place we now have an ultra-modern pod coffee maker, an ingenious device that makes a perfectly consistent cup of about any kind of coffee you might want. It is boringly predictable, with each cup being the same exact temperature and strength. On the other side of our bar resides a equally efficient expresso machine, capable of delivering an expresso or a nice frothed brew, also heated to exactly the right temperature and strength. This little jewel also relies on cute and inordinately expensive little pods for the essence of the drink. We also own a milk frother, in the event we need to concoct a specialty brew. To feed our coffee addiction, we stock many flavors and strengths of coffees for these devices, I suppose to cater to the tastes of those who might visit us with infinitely more refined tastes than I have. To be honest, I miss the good old days of inconsistent coffee with pedigrees long lost in the grinding process in some obscure coffee grinding warehouse. To this end, we have adopted a couple of the latest brewing processes, both relatively inexpensive and surprisingly good. Enter the “pour over” and “french press” methods of coffee making. What is happening to us?

The folks who market coffee and coffee products are unashamed capitalists out to exploit one of America’s greatest sanctioned addictions. May the force be with them. We recently acquired a small, glass, pour over device that simply rests on your coffee cup with a paper filter pressed into it. You heat your water in yet another recently acquired water heater that will heat and hold your water at a pre-selected temperature and you simply pour this water over the selected grounds. The water is delivered via a cleverly designed little, goose necked, spout on the heater. The coffee is said to be smoother and more robust using this method. I am sure it is, but remember that I also enjoyed the black nectar of truck stops out of a seldom cleaned drip maker behind the counter, poured by a sleepy eyed waitress in the middle of the night. (It could be that truck stop waitresses had a knack for taking your mind off of the swill they were pouring…..). My point is this. This coffee is good, damned good, but I am having trouble discriminating between it and other coffees brewed with less detail than is offered by the “pour over” method. Enter the french press. Yes, we also acquired one of these, that is said to further enhance the coffee by delivering the true flavor of the grind by pressing out the finer flavors buried deep in the grounds. We’ll see. So far, the one advantage of the pour over method is the simplicity of brewing a very good cup of coffee in a relatively unsophisticated way, in the Airstream after a night of deep sleep in some far away place.

The photographs accompanying this piece are representative of our deep addiction to coffee. It is good that health care scientists have now decreed that coffee, in any amount, is beneficial to longevity. I should be around awhile. In the furtherance of my quest for eternal youth (a fantasy easily destroyed by a glance in the mirror) I am enjoying my second cup of pour over as I write. I think I just detected a subtle essential oil, coaxed out of my grounds by the clever manipulation of precisely heated water over the grind. On the other hand, it tastes a lot like other coffees……each cup the new, perfect cup of coffee.

Today’s favorite is Royal Rum Pecan, ground by, and I am not kidding here, the Mystic Monk Monastery located in a mountain valley in Wyoming. Their coffees are unbelievably good, so aromatic and easy on the palate. They lend themselves to a gentle pour over, thus preserving their delicate balance and full potential. I have no idea whether or not I believe this, but, in my next life, I am going to be a coffee salesman. It just might be my second calling!

The Airstream Thing….

Sharon and I entered the world of RV travel just about two years ago. I have a long standing aversion to camping, honed by a testy year in Vietnam, communing with nature and a million or so guys doing their damndest to kill me. I prefer clean sheets, air-conditioning and a lazy evening watching the Cardinals on the tube. To break the monotony, I will occasionally stroll into the kitchen for a salted caramel and a beverage. So it was with trepidation that I agreed to give the RV thing a try, figuring that at least I would see a little more of America, with some guarantee that I could retire after a days travel with an acceptable level of comfort. In today’s world of RV travel, believe me when I say, camping it isn’t!

With both of us unwilling to risk a huge capital outlay without first testing the water, we began with a relatively small but excellent RV built by the Grand Design Company near Goshen, Indiana. It was a terrific trailer, well made, economical and offering the conveniences we had established as a minimum. We shopped like Eva Gabor on a shoe buying junket, climbing in and on virtually everything on the market before this selection. Along the way, we were very favorably impressed with the silver bullets manufactured by Airstream, beautiful trailers that reflected true excellence in their sturdiness and use of space. They were expensive however, and neither of us were sure this adventure would be to our liking, and it would be catastrophic to risk a major investment in something that occupied space in a storage facility with little use.

We loved RV travel from the first day we hit the road. The people we have met along the way are some of the nicest folks you will meet anywhere, and are from every imaginable walk of life. They are helpful, honest and considerate. I have enjoyed conversations with career public defenders, aerospace engineers and a couple of inner city Cleveland police officers who kept me entertained for hours in an Amish park in Ohio! Our trailer seemed to do very well on the abominable roads we sometimes found ourselves on, and provided a climate controlled environment to rest in after a day strolling through civil war battlefields absorbing history. The air conditioning was adequate, but barely so on scorchers, and was extraordinarily loud. The towing characteristics left a little to be desired as it was a tall unit with wind resistance being very noticeable. We were still drawn to the Airstream and finally sold our Grand design and began a search for the Airstream of our dreams.

After a national search, we wrote a contract on a 2017, 28′ rear twin Airstream at Bill Thomas Campers in Wentzville, Mo. We have never looked back. Just this past week we stopped at the “mother ship” or Airstream factory in Jackson Center, Ohio where I went on a tour of the plant. The tour did not disappoint! Aside from the expense of building an all aluminum trailer, on an aluminum support structure that is totally aluminum lined, the expense associated with producing these trailers is very evident. The exterior walls are riveted with buck rivets requiring two workmen, one inside the shell, the other outside the shell. The interior rivets are blind riveted, better known as “pop” rivets . There is a lot of aluminum in an Airstream and the assembly is very labor intensive. Every cabinet is made from scratch in their cabinet shops, all out of plywood such as seen in residential construction. The appliances are the industry standard. Everything in an Airstream comes in through the door, while other manufacturers often erect the walls around a finished interior. The aluminum panels are laser cut on huge plasma cutters and the rivet holes are match drilled thus insuring proper fit when panels are joined. These trailers are very well insulated with a proprietary, brown insulation that resists moisture and is installed in bats resembling the pink stuff we are familiar with. The rivet patterns resemble the patterns used in aircraft manufacture, thus insuring maximum structural integrity. The windows are all glass, protected by plexiglass screens that fold up and out of the way when visibility outside is desired. Airstream, and recently some other manufacturers, rely on ducted air-conditioning which is significantly quieter and more efficient. This assembly line hums, turning out 100 or so Airstreams a week, all pre-sold! Recently, Airstream has acquired a fiberglass manufacturer of small units, added Airstream quality, and in it’s first year of operation has pre-sold the entire years production! This little trailer, called a “Nest” rolls out of the plant with a price tag of just over 40 thousand.

When considering Airstream, we attached particular significance to the potential for resale. In this regard, airstream is legendary, with the various models retaining the highest resale value in the industry. The tow-ability of an Airstream is also legendary, with minimal wind resistance and an all aluminum under pan which further enhances the aerodynamics. The fit and finish in an Airstream is the industry standard in towable trailers, a standard that adds expense in the production phase. If there is a downside, other than expense, it is that comparable length units produced by other manufacturers, often have slide out rooms which greatly increase the square footage in the trailers. Airstream, after abandoning the concept some years ago, intends to again begin production of trailers with slide outs in the near future. Predictably, the workers and staff at the company headquarters are exceedingly accommodating and very pleasant to visit with. I enjoyed talking with line workers when I could escape the attention of the tour guide, in an effort to further understand the techniques that go into production. These men and women are true craftsmen.

As a final note, Airstreams have to be built with tremendous structural integrity, especially those that are delivered to the west of Jackson Center, thus crossing I-70 in Indiana. This poor excuse for a wagon trail would shake the dents out of an anvil. We came home on US-36 as I have vowed to avoid I-70 at any cost. That is the beautiful aspect of RV travel, as we rolled through gorgeous farm country and tidy little towns the entire journey.

RV production is at an all time high in America, and quality runs the gamut from abysmal to excellent across a broad number of manufacturers. If you are considering this pastime, give Airstream a look. You will not be disappointed!

Why Ordinary People Needed Charles Krauthammer……

Every journalist in America will offer commentary about the void left with the death of Charles Krauthammer. I sincerely hope they were able to convey their admiration to him prior to his passing, as we in America are fond of praising folks when they can no longer benefit from the praise that all folks need from time to time. My point here is that I am not Brokaw, Wallace or Bret Baier, the voices of America, rather an I am an ordinary guy who deeply respected Charles and his mastery of effective communication. I am struck by the reality that we have lost this man when we need him more than ever.

There are a number of reasons that we needed this gentle man. At the top of my list is his unflappable calm, even when righteous indignation was boiling within him. He would occasionally utter a mildly profane expletive, carefully timed and always appropriately placed in his commentary. With our political leadership, of every persuasion, hurling profanities and insults right and left, Charles could offer a point quietly and far more effectively by simply backing the point with reason and a beguiling sort of calmness. This calmness, presumably, is the result of a computer like quickness to dissect an issue and expound on it at length. This attribute played nicely with ordinary people who most often take considerably more time to process the information at hand.

Charles Krauthammer had no spin in him. He was an advocate for the truth, no matter where the facts took him. How many newscasts leave us wondering where the truth is? Ordinary Americans need those precious few individuals who are moved by clean, factual information that needs no more qualification than a simple “Krauthammer said….”. The media, today, is an unmitigated disaster comprised of lies, spin and agendas. Charles stood in sharp contrast to most of the talking heads we see today, who apparently believe we listen to and trust them. We don’t. With rare exception, when a commentator is finished, we scratch our heads at their outright lack of regard for our ability to digest their offerings, looking for the glimmer of truth that is often hidden deep in their pronouncements. Not so with Charles, who prided himself on the truth as the foundation of his messaging. Simply put, Charles was an honest man, who pushed an unvarnished message with nearly righteous overtones.

Americans love a winner. When life dealt Charles it’s harshest terms, he soldiered on. He understood the profound impact of the devastating injury that left him paralyzed, looked it in the face and beat the hell out of it by turning this adversity into opportunity. We deeply admire people who can, as the saying goes, “make lemonade out of lemons”. His commitment to maximizing his purpose on the face of this earth is both refreshing and encouraging to ordinary Americans who must deal with adversity daily. Charles, by virtue of his intellect and accomplishments, feared little in life. Perhaps these qualities were the genesis of his fearless assault, always with class, on anyone who needed to be called out for their deviation from the truth. Charles Krauthammer was a winner worthy of the admiration of folks from every conceivable walk of life. People who have earned this respect are in short supply……..

Ordinary people are in awe of folks who are bold enough to offer an opinion in the public venue and smile knowingly when challenged by those who do not agree with them. It was my custom when watching Charles, sitting on a panel of journalists, to sit up and listen carefully when a fellow panelist would challenge him. The challenger had to know they were going to be met with reason, fact and a soft rebuttal that would carry the point. Charles did not respond with anger, was never defensive and would graciously concede a point if it was cloaked in sincerity and truth. He was also content to let his point hang, knowing that he was on firm ground and most likely would be affirmed in the days to come.

As a final note, Charles understood the incredible power of American politicians. He once remarked the Department of Justice would see a snowstorm in hell before Hillary Clinton would be prosecuted. Charles would look you squarely in the eye and tell you, with absolute confidence, her immunity from prosecution emanated from her political stature and had nothing to do with her presumed innocence or guilt. Americans need to hear from people who understand this incredible power and can break this axiom down into terms we can wrap our arms around.

Charles Krauthammer was a great communicator, perhaps one of the greatest in many generations. His credibility was virtually unassailable and few in the public eye can say that. Ordinary people, like me, needed Charles to sort it all out. His passing has relegated the conveyance of truth to those left to carry on. My guess is that few will ever be able to do so with his integrity and wit. One of our hero’s is gone, you can believe that.

The Magic of Fathers…..

I was up early today, fumbling around the coffee maker and trying to make as little noise as possible to keep from waking Sharon, Tazzy and our weekend house guest, a border collie who answers to Colt. One of our favorite eateries, First Watch, is celebrating Father’s Day by offering all the bacon a dad can eat and we will need to be early. I am guessing that free bacon will draw more than a few dads to the table! We all have fathers, evidenced by our very existence, and dads, for the most part, are influential in ways we don’t often give conscious thought to. I lost my father at a relatively young age yet still am influenced by his presence and wisdom, albeit from the grave these days. What is this magic that surrounds fathers? Let’s have a look.

Dads bring a unique perspective to their children, shaped by their presence from birth to today in their world. They watch us grow up, smiling at our successes and sorrowing at our failures. How they respond to their children is shaped by a special understanding of what makes their children what they are. Dads tend to want greater success for us than they, themselves, enjoyed in life. As dads age, we tend to measure our success by the success of our kids, smiling broadly when they push through a challenge and standing by to help manage failure.

Dads bring worldly experience to the table. An old Zone Sergeant, Bob Plymell, was fond of saying that “Bought’n learning is the best learning of all”. He, of course, was speaking of experience. Dad’s have been there before us and can bring much wisdom to the situation at hand. To be sure, our dad’s may not bring the technical know how to the table, but they can be counted on to understand the impact of our decisions on our future and as they relate to those around us.

Fathers can be counted upon to bring candor into our lives. They are not influenced by the delicate dance of pretentiousness that permeates our lives these days. Political correctness is refreshingly absent when we seek their advice and perspective. Their motivations, again, are centered around their children’s success and the avoidance of failure. When the inevitable failure occurs, they will be the first to strip the sugar coating from the matter at hand, and yet see the silver lining in the failure. They do this with not so much as a hint of Pollyanna in their counsel. How good is that?

Fathers are professional mentors. It is interesting that most mentoring failures are the result of the child’s rejection of the advice and direction provided by dad. Equally interesting is that when these failures occur, dads will be there to pick up the pieces. (We recognize the maddening, stubborn nature of our children is the result of heredity!). Dads have a very deep appreciation for the motivations of people, as mentoring often involves the dispensing of advice and counsel relative to the people in their children’s lives. Some of us are especially fortunate to assume the mentoring role to children that have followed us professionally in their chosen career. Mentors have a way of selling the unvarnished truth to our charges. A primary obligation of a father is to insure the phrase “I wish that I would not have done that” is a seldom used concept in our children’s lives. Dads are professional managers of regret!

If you are still able to enjoy the presence of your father in your life, do yourself a favor and take advantage of what he can bring to the table. All he will ask in return is a simple thank you now and again. Dads love the occasional phone call asking about some aspect of life and are willing to immediately make your problem their problem. My heart goes out to those who have lost their father or, perhaps, have never known their father from the beginning. To those dads that are perusing my thoughts, thanks for pursuing the awesome responsibility that fathering brings. Unlike many things in life, being a dad is not a temporary gig!

Happy Father’s Day! I hear rashers of bacon calling………….

The Amazing Hotdog…….

Today, Sharon and I were discussing lunch at one of the plethora of good eateries located in and around Springfield when Sharon had an epiphany. We hopped in the car and drove a few blocks to the nearest Kum & Go for one of America’s great, all time meals; a hotdog, chips and cold drink. It was the perfect, quick delicacy on a sweltering afternoon. It is time we give the lowly hotdog the recognition it so richly deserves.

Haters will be incensed with my reasoning. There have been any number of effective, and if the truth be known, totally ineffective diets published in the last ten years. Most of these “healthy” regimens involve a form of the Mediterranean diet, namely green, leafy vegetables, olive oil, nuts and fruit. It is blasphemous to devour red meat and absolutely suicidal to consider any processed meat such as bacon, lunch meat or…..gasp…hot dogs. Is it fair to give such short shrift to the great culinary equalizer? Have we forgotten that President Roosevelt served hotdogs to King George VI at a picnic in 1939? History has recorded the fact that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin enjoyed hotdogs while they were en route to the moon. Rumor has it that even Haile Pomroy, the author of the best selling “Metabolic Diet” was seen at a baseball game with a handful of popcorn and a fat, juicy Ball Park hotdog, lavishly smothered in mustard. I am not sure where I heard this, or even if I actually did hear it…..but it seems entirely plausible!

Hotdogs are a foodies delight. There is no fuss or extra effort required to spear one of these delicacies with a green stick and hold it over a hastily gathered pile of burning driftwood on the banks of a float stream. A little ash and grit easily transports us back to those childhood days when clans gathered to enjoy the shade and discuss the latest family shenanigans. Hotdogs are the blank canvasses of the culinary world. Like ’em blackened, no problem. Who hasn’t stared incredulously at a so called “Chicago” style dog, smothered in kraut, jalapeños, mustard, dill seed and catsup? It is a rare person, indeed, who hasn’t made a meal out of hotdogs carefully split longways, delicately sautéed, served along side a heaping helping of Mac and Cheese. A couple of hotdogs, quartered and tossed into a pot of baked beans has been a staple menu item in any number of households dating back to the Great Depression. Only gastronomical purists can resist the aroma and taste of a fat Herbrew National hotdog, lightly sautéed and smothered in a favorite chili recipe. Adventurous? Toss a handfull of Vidalia onions on this masterpiece and a teaspoon of spicy mustard. Now you’re talking!

Hotdogs and baseball are synonymous. In America we consume approximately 10,651 hotdogs per game. A big number, to be sure, but it pales in comparison to the 20 billion or so hotdogs we consume annually, which works out to just about 70 hotdogs per person! A baseball game without a hotdog….unimaginable! A hotdog only serves to amplify the complexity of a favorite beer, another match made in heaven. While I am tossing numbers out there, Costco sells over 100 million hotdogs annually, easily 4 times the total for Major League Baseball, and has not raised the price of their premium dogs since 1985. Even more amazing is the fact that Costco, renowned for processing their meat products from hoof to display case, makes their own dogs.

Purists will turn away when you scarf your next hotdog. They will worry about the ingredients in your savory delicacy, and show no reaction to your preference of a Nathan’s over a Ballpark, or a Ballpark over a Hebrew National or the granddaddy of dogs, Oscar Meyer.

So, the next time you clutch an all beef wiener in a soft bun, anticipating that first bite of this salty delicacy, your smirk will tell the world that you just don’t give a damn what they think.

How good is that!

About Memorial Day….

Memorial Day is a day we set aside in remembrance of those men and women who have died in the service of our country while members of the Armed Forces. This seems simple enough, on it’s face, but have you ever really considered the implications associated with dying in combat? Probably not, so I thought I would offer an observation or two about this business.

Since this country’s founding in 1776, America has been at war an astounding 90 or so percent of the time! A careful look at our history reveals that we have never gone a decade without a war, declared or not. The socio-economic reasoning that goes into the decision to fight is complex and scholars are sharply divided on the causes and benefits of war. Suffice to say, there appears to be little reason to expect this history to change direction in the foreseeable future. Armed conflict is a part of our culture, and as such, results in the deaths of combatants on both sides of the fight. It is these combatants that we recognize on this special day of remembrance.

General S.L.A Marshall, one of America’s preeminent military leaders, observed during WWII, that during hard combat, only 15 to 20 percent of our troops fired directly at an exposed enemy soldier. Instead, our soldiers preferred the use of key weapons that could kill indiscriminately such as flame throwers, machine guns and the like. The percentage of troops firing directly on an exposed enemy combatant rose dramatically when a superior, close at hand, ordered the firing. Human behaviorists attribute this phenomenon to the incredible fear that human beings in combat feel when first engaging the enemy. This fear is courtesy of the fore-brain that distinguishes us as humans. This fear is then replaced with reasoning from the mid-brain, that causes us to reflexively resist the concept of killing another human being. General Marshall’s observations, first viewed with skepticism, have been confirmed by virtually every study since being revealed. Coincidently, early FBI studies of police combat shooting engagements seemed to confirm these findings. It was clear that behavioral modification would be necessary to overcome this tendency to not kill directly. Our military adapted quickly and the numbers began an evolution of significant proportions.

As a result of training modifications, the numbers of soldiers who fired directly at an enemy combatant increased to better than 50% during the Korean War and an incredible 95% of troops involved in ground fighting in Vietnam. Once again, coincidently, the rates of engagement among our police officers also saw a dramatic increase, presumably as a result of modifications in training designed to set aside the mental exercises that tended to preclude lethal force against another human being. (As a side note, the increase in numbers of soldiers directly and lethally engaging an enemy soldier in Vietnam is marked by a correspondingly significant increase in the numbers of PTSD afflicted soldiers coming out of that war. This is presumably the result of over-riding the human tendency to avoid killing our own species.). Those who seek to destroy us have also evolved in the mechanics of killing, make no mistake.

How does this impact our day of remembrance? While there are a number of conclusions that can be drawn from this overview, the following observations are all but guaranteed. America is quite likely to be perpetually involved in a war of sorts somewhere. Wars always produce casualties thus providing generation upon generation of Americans who will die in the name of our great country, and be honored on Memorial Day. Although the mechanics of warfare have evolved tremendously with the introduction of unmanned drones and lethality from great distances, boots on the ground will always be necessary to protect the gains made in combat. Shooting directly at another human being is a very big deal, unless you are a sociopath, and will impact your psyche for the rest of your life. It takes excellent training and unbelievable courage to engage another human being in a competition that is sure to result in the death of one of you. We are the greatest nation in the history of this earth, because men and women have risen to the occasion and risked their very existence to guarantee our continued success.

As cruel, cold and seemingly calculated that it may seem, there is a very high probability that many more Americans will die protecting our life and culture in a world where our influence, wealth and military might is the envy of virtually every other country in existence. Were it not for the grace of the Almighty, every one of us who has served on a battlefield might today simply be a name on a stone or plaque someplace in our land.

May God richly bless those who have died in the interest of America, and may we never forget them.

“A Mans Got To Know His Limitations……..”

Detective Harry Callahan, AKA Clint Eastwood uttered these iconic words in the movie “Magnum Force” upon discovering a bomb in a mailbox. Certainly, in the real world, it is an excellent philosophy, a violation of which often results in an unnecessary failure ranging from simply embarrassing to catastrophic. In an effort to avoid violating this simple premise, I am forced to acknowledge that in an activity that I love, I have reached a practical limitation.

I love to fish. For the past 50 or so years, I rarely passed on an opportunity to slather on sunscreen and hop in a boat for an hour, day or week of fishing. I have enjoyed the urgency of bass and crappie tournaments as well as the relaxed atmosphere of laughing and lying while simply catching a limit of freezer fare to get us through a winter. I have found that acquaintances share strengths while true friends share weaknesses and there is something cathartic about a day on the water with a trusted friend. In addition to the art of fishing, I also enjoy blasting across one of Missouri’s beautiful, often tree choked reservoirs in search of that perfect little niche or pocket far up a creek that may hold the fish of the day. Arguably, I am obsessed with a need for speed, and the marvel of today’s high performance bass boats is one way to assuage this passion. This passion, however, requires two functioning hands and feet. This is where the wheels are coming off. Let me explain.

I am plagued with inflammatory osteoarthritis. This malady is especially aggravating in both of my feet and hands, particularly my thumbs. To complicate things, I have a disc that is all but gone in my lower back. Launching and loading a bass boat requires some degree of dexterity, unless you enjoy ramp diving! Launching is not too bad, as your friend simply backs you down and you float off the trailer. Retrieving the boat requires not just driving onto the trailer, but hitching to the winch strap and cranking the boat onto the bow roller. After a day of teasing my thumbs with a rod and the intricate dance with one foot on the trolling motor pedestal, I am down for the count. These simple acts are further complicated by dropping and retrieving the trolling motor, dozens of times each trip. One thumb has been surgically corrected and the other is scheduled for late this year. Did I mention the pounding you take as you scoot across a choppy lake? Pain takes the fun out of just about anything…..

I am not complaining. Thankfully, I also love to stand in a trout stream and float a river or creek in a canoe! An occasional trip to a farm pond and a day of bank fishing is also rewarding. I am not giving up altogether, but it is time to sell my beloved bass boat, and at least some of the thousands of dollars in rods, tackle and equipment that are a part of the bass boat experience. (Amazingly, as I was bent over the live-well, retrieving fish, on the last day we were on Truman Lake, a very nice couple approached the boat to see our fish. They were in the market to buy a boat, and it appears they will soon have the opportunity to enjoy this boat as I have the last 8 years. They will not be disappointed.)

Limitations abound as we age. While I hope to catch a boat ride with a friend someday in the future, it won’t be at the helm, rather in the back of the boat, content to let someone else handle the piloting chores. When my hands and feet begin their chorus of “enough” I will be content to sit back and enjoy the sights and sound of the lake. Actually, I am okay with this limitation, as I have had many good years and great experiences in a boat. My task, at this point, is to keep old “Arthur” from placing yet another limitation on me…..such as the Harley. A good friend of mine also struggles with Arthur and his thumbs. We have discussed this affliction on a number of occasions. Try a day without your thumbs… will soon get the point here.

A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. (I have no earthly idea who coined this saying.) I am steeling myself for the day, soon to come, when I watch my bass boat disappear from sight behind someone else’s tow vehicle…another chapter closed. A limitation realized. It won’t be easy…….