Tripping….

Good morning.

I am pre-caffeine this morning, so I beg your pardon if this post comes out wonky. I woke to a quiet house and one thought, “I must be tripping.” It is not meant as tripping on acid or some other drug concoction, but rather dreaming of trips I have taken in the past. I am a native son of Mississippi, and in my opinion, my home state is beautiful. Mississippi is rich in history, some good and some bad. Sure, we participated in the Civil War, and we made mistakes concerning slavery. We also created Barq’s Root Bear and the Blues. Many celebrities come from here, whether they are writers, musicians, singers or actors.

Surely, I am trippin’.

As much as I love home, I like to get away from here as often as possible. My career in the military allowed me to travel extensively. To name a few places I have visited, here are a few examples: Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Austria, Spain, and Greece. There is something wonderful about visiting a place to get a sense of the people. This love of wanderlust allows one to absorb a small taste of the culture of a place. An insider’s peek of the history that is on full display for the world to see. Personally, I enjoy the food. In my opinion, if you need to judge a place’s vibe quickly, go to dinner. Everyone let’s their guard down when they are eating.

Of all the places I have visited, Ireland is perhaps my favorite trip. My family was with me, and we stayed in Killarney, at a bed and breakfast named The Deer Pasture (Glenfia Inn.) We spent a couple of days wandering around Killarney, taking in sights and talking to the locals. We took a carriage ride out to Mucross Garden and it rained the whole time.

The last day of the trip, I rented a car and started our journey around the island. The grassy pastures gave way to the ocean. As I followed the road, it led into the mountainous region and we stopped and took photos of a prison built upon a huge boulder which jutted out of the ocean. I didn’t want the trip to end prematurely, so I drove slowly on the way back to Killarney. We made our way down the mountain and as we came around the curve, a beautiful lake lay below us. The sun radiated off the glassy surface, and in the moment, it was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen.

In my mind’s eye, I can still see it. I hope I never forget it.

The value of a trip lies in the moments which stir the emotional side of the individual. The lake in Ireland enthused something deep within me and it has ingrained itself into my memories. There are other aspects of the trip which are equally as ingrained but there was something deep about the view of the lake which stirred something in my heart that I will never forget. So, if you get the opportunity to travel, take the time to enjoy it. Find something which will stay with you the rest of your life. Otherwise, what is the point?

23 January 2020

I was born in the wrong era….maybe….

 Sometimes, I feel like I was born in the wrong age. This modern, hyper-sensitive era I live in is a bit discombobulating for me. Relationships are difficult to juggle in this age, with the constant distractions and high cost of living. It is no wonder the divorce rate has skyrocketed. Then there is the war on masculinity. I feel like a Neanderthal in a world of sissified boys.

Perhaps, I was born in the wrong timeline.

There are times when I think I should have been born in the age of Vikings. Raised in a village, trained to raid and fight from the moment you are born to the last moments of your life. I even know my weapon of choice would be a battle axe.  The idiom, “live by the sword,  die by the sword” would be in full effect.

Or perhaps, I would be better suited living as a serf in service to a provincial lord. I would be raised on a farm, tilling the ground to help feed the nobles who looked down on me and my family from the castle walls. Maybe, I would be able to earn a promotion to stable hand and find security in the safety of the castle.

Mayhap, I should have been born in the Wild West. I could eke out a living as a trapper or gunfighter. I could have earned fame and fortune by helping to settle the west with my lightning fast draw, or on countless expeditions mapping the unknown. With danger lurking around every corner, it would be an exciting way to live. The constant thrill of not knowing what life had in store for me would surely take its toll on my mind and body.

There is also a high chance I could have fallen ill with TB or some other incurable (at the time) disease that weakened and destroyed the heroes of these eras. Given this tidbit of information, I am thankful to be alive in this era. Where medical practices have advanced to where it borders on the miraculous. Thank God for the progress we have made up to now.

Sure, fantasizing about growing up in harder times is fun but the realization of how difficult life was during those times quickly let’s the air out of my balloon. I’m not nearly as hard or strong as those who not only survived those times, they thrived in them.  I am reminded of the immortal words of MC Hammer…”you can’t touch this.”

To be honest, I don’t want to touch it. I am grateful to be alive today.

22 January 2020

Racoon hunting memories…

Good morning.

The sun is shining, it looks to be a beautiful day. Finally, a day without a monsoon. Yes, I am aware monsoons aren’t native to Mississippi. However, given the amount of rain the past few weeks, I am surprised the catfish aren’t climbing trees. My yard looks like one of the swamps I hunted racoons in as a young adolescent with my father.  Oh, the times we had hunting coons.

While growing up in South Mississippi, it was nothing to see multiple coons out at night. My brother, father and I would usually hunt on the weekends. We went to church on Saturday and Sunday, but after church we would pursue our hunting passion. Our dog Becky, was a Black & Tan, and shehad the coldest nose in Forrest County. It made no difference how long the trail had been cold; Becky could find it. We had a blue tick hound named Susie who could bay a treed coon like none other. Many nights they took us through the Mississippian version of a jungle, straight into the deepest parts of the swamp. This is where we met our match, in the heavyweight form of a 50-pound racoon.

I am sure some people may think I am jesting when I say the coon weighed in at 50 pounds. I’m not.

My brother and I were sitting in the back of the 1977 Datsun pickup we all crammed into when we went hunting. My dad was quietly listening as the dogs were seeking the coon’s hideaway, when all of a sudden they treed the coon. We tore into the woods in search of the dogs. In less than a hundred yards, I was in water up to my waist. Cypress knots were jutting out of the water, and Susie was trying to climb the tree to get at the coon. Both dogs had their necks craned back looking for the racoon. My dad had the light and several other men joined in shining lights looking for the coon. When all of a sudden, the coon makes an appearance at the top of the tree. The dogs went nuts. It looked like a bear, and in the darkness, you could hear muttering coming from various people.

“Boys, it looks like we treed a bear!”

“Hit the coon squaller and let’s see what happens.”

My dad blew into the squaller and the coon started down the tree. About halfway down the coon decided it would take the express way down and leaped down. It landed on Susie’s head and shoved her under the inky water.

“Boy, grab that dog and pull her head up!”

I shoved my hands under the water and felt around until I touched Susie’s collar. I grabbed and pulled. Susie broke the surface of the water, but the coon refused to let go. Becky joined the battle and soon both dogs were giving the coon/bear the what-for. After a prolonged battle in the middle of the swamp it was over. We leashed the dogs, grabbed the coon and made our way back to the truck. When we got home, we weighed the coon, it was over fifty pounds. Without a doubt, it was the biggest coon we had ever seen, I still have not seen it’s equal.

It seems like it happened only yesterday, but in reality it happened over 35 years ago. I have no idea why this memory surfaced this morning, but I’m glad it did.

Freeman

21 January 2020

Hope in the darkness…

I have been lacking in my writing. There has been plenty of worthy events to write about, but I have had a couple of events that has kept my mind elsewhere. Thus, I must make a habit of writing again. The impeachment fiasco is still in full swing. I am beyond disgusted by the behavior of both parties. Then it appears that the Commonwealth of Virginia has completely lost their minds. The unconstitutional gun ban which the Supreme Court has upheld is still in effect.

Is it not enough our rights are constantly under assault? Now it appears the Supreme Court has decided to join in the attack on the Constitution.

Exactly how much are we going to take before we correct this behavior? We can avoid another civil war by voting out the individuals who are selling out the soul of America to the highest bidder. Of course, this means the majority must be on the same page, and let’s face it…. most of us aren’t there.  The lack of border security is pushing the numbers of unregistered voters into the opposite direction. If that isn’t enough, most youth today favors socialism. So, the odds are stacked high in their favor.

I can’t explain the frustration I feel concerning these events.

Sure, I know the Lord has a plan and it is working to His will. These events and all ensuing action will be whatever the Lord has in store for us. I have a hard time accepting that my country has turned into a smaller model of a Communist regime or Socialist utopia. I have spoken at length about my military service, and the reasons I joined the Army. However, the thoughts don’t bring me enjoyment but remorse. I fought for the America I grew up in. A land where you were free to pursue your dreams, where your achievements in life depended upon your work ethic and determination. Where we were stronger together and while mistakes were made, we were proud to be Americans. Our presidents did not apologize to our enemies for actions we took to defend ourselves and allies.

That version of America doesn’t exist anymore. As gloomy as I am making it sound, there is hope. In the book of Romans 8:28 it states that all things work together for good to them that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. To maintain a positive outlook concerning the state of my country, I am going to keep this promise in mind. Nothing is hopeless when God is involved.

America is not without hope, we are just getting into position for the greatest revival the world has ever seen.

I can’t wait.

19 January 2020

An unpopular opinion…

I went to a college campus yesterday and was dismayed to find our state flag missing from the flagpole standing outside. It seems the college has no problem accepting our money but refuses to accept our history. You can make mistakes on an exam, you can even get a second chance to do it over, but you can’t learn from your mistakes in life.

Well done, your lack of spine is disturbing.

Granted, the state flag has been missing for the past two years. I have been waiting to see if the campus director was going to uphold his word.

“Where did our flag go?”

“Oh, it was ripped. We ordered a new one.”

Two years later, we still have no flag. Given that in some cases state colleges receive three times more state funds than tuition, they should be reminded of who is floating the tab. It’s not your student body, it’s the taxpayers. Here is what I would attempt to implement on my first day as governor.

“Hi! I appreciate each of you taking the time away from your duties at your university/colleges to be here today. I will keep this brief. The state flag will always be flown outside of your university/college campus. Failure to comply will see your state funds shut off. If you do not like our values here, feel free to pack up and leave. Thanks.”

Sure, it could be an overreach. Yet, these college campuses have no problem overreaching when it suits their agenda. If the state flag of Mississippi is so offensive, then don’t come to Mississippi. It’s that easy. However, we coddle those who are offended. “Oh, it’s okay. We know that lifeless banner offends you.” Tell me, when were you in chains exactly? How old are you? How much cotton have you picked in your life? Is that carpal tunnel from mashing buttons on a PlayStation controller?

Slavery in America was eradicated in mid-to late 1860’s. For those without a calculator, that is over 150 years ago. Raise your hand if you are 150+ years old. The adoption of the 13th Amendment abolished slavery. Yes, the Reconstruction Era had trouble, but we have overcome it. However, some people refuse to let go of the “bad old days” because it gets them attention. Some folk even make a good living keeping the racist vibe alive (here is looking at you Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton). Slavery is a black eye on our history, but sometimes a black eye is needed to clear our vision.

I suppose none of this rambling really matters. We have capitulated to the mob’s demand, and we have opened the door for further concessions. Apparently, you can have your history if it fits the approved narrative. If it doesn’t, your history will be removed by the screeching mob that is just around the corner.

15 January 2019

Trip (continued)

Today, my dad and brother joined me in visiting Tuscumbia, Alabama. We went to an old-fashioned general store. My brother and I pitched in to purchase my dad a new Case knife. Then it was home to cook steaks in honor of my parents achievement of spending 50 years together.

In case you are wondering that is 18,250 days together. Who says true love doesn’t exist? My parents example sets the bar very high for me. Ah well, here is to another 50 for them!

Take care.