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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bailey's Step 1

Now in support of Bailey, I must define her addiction. She explained it this way "I am interested in Food" Now that was a bit non-committal on her part and I expressed my opinion. She continued, "I am just have a healthy girl appetite. I do not raid the frig at night, scavenge for food in dark alleys or beg on the street. So how bad can this problem be?"

Well, Here we are in Step One with denial. I feel we all will have to address this as an intervention and express our concerns to Bailey directly. Therefore, I ask all to post on this blog or facebook your observations about Bailey's problem. I can translate and provide her with an overview of her "problem".

Alas, she is too close to me and will argue me out of my underwear if I alone try to persuade her to continue in the program. This is a critical juncture, although only the start. I am setting up an email for Bailey and will send to all. While she will not be able to receive email during rehab, I will respond on her behalf and provide verbal messages to her when permitted visits.
The above photo is after 2 weeks into Bailey's treatment. Alas, she was not monitored and found in this condition. She does have a "problem". We thought it may be stimulated by food but appears to be an alcolhol problem. She has not idea we have found this failure. We may not confront her but not comply with her beggings. That smile, soft mussel and kind attention overcomes many failings.
We have changed Bailey's diet. She has nothing but high quality dog food with a taste of the wild. We are hoping this will quiet the craving for her beer and wine. Fortunately, Bailey does not smoke. We can only ask that you keep her in your prayers for the comming months. We have varied her locations in the motorhome and have hopes she will meet other dogs who can help her along her "way".

Sunday, March 14, 2010

12 Steps

"Hello, My Name is Bailey and I need help." Now I try to educate and be somewhat liberal with my pets. Bailey can run around the camp ground, hike and dine with me. She is given every opportunity to "be the best she can be"! I have tried to impress upon her that she has many, many opportunities to excel, unlike many of her breed. However, I feel I have failed.

The picture here was the decisive moment in my discovery of Bailey's problem. I had left her to guard the motor home while I briefly made my way to Grand Rivers for supplies. Upon returning, I discovered she had not only satisfied her thirst, but was quite oblivious to anyone while she dove into her habit. I think she may have reached bottom. The evidence is obvious and she did not try to deny her folly. She was in such a state, that she could not even advance upon the geese feeding within 30 ft. of her. She smelled of stale beer and could not carry on a reasonable conversation.

I have enrolled Bailey, against her protest, in a 12 step program designed for canine rehabilitation. She will be in good company as I have learned many of her breed have fallen. I am concerned in that she will be isolated from us for a few weeks while she undergoes rehab. The facility has well heated dog runs, Massage therapy, feline aversion therapy, dietary training and even a personal hygiene course. She may actually enjoy her stay at the clinic.

I will keep all posted on Bailey's recovery. I am sure you will understand she will not be able to call, email or text anyone during the therapy. It is my understanding that after a number of weeks she will be permitted a "cat" chase, a field trip to a dogie park and possibly some swim time. I know she appreciates all your best wishes and apologizes for any embarrassment she may have caused all her Friends, family and fans.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hillman Ferry Heritage Trail

Now I have had the opportunity to hike trails in the Canadian Rockies and lately the Land Between the Lakes. The past two days I have had the opportunity to explore the LBL trails with my trusty dog, Bailey.

I can recommend the series of trails in the northern portion of LBL. They are well maintained and marked. I did break the "law" and released Bailey from the leash. She can hike better than I and after all has 4 legs. She has the nose that gets her in trouble. However, she is the companion a hiker needs and enjoys. She will scout the trail and report back often. She does not talk much during the hike and is happy with water and some trail mix. What a Girl!

The Heritage Trail offers a glimpse of the communities located in the LBL prior to flooding of Kentucky and Lake Barkley. We visited the Bohanan Cemetery with family interned there from 1800's. Along the trail you can visit several sites from the Volger Family who owned the local lime business and quarries. Several family homes sites remain with chimney, cellar and wells. If you hike the Volger trail you can visit a rock beach and the old quarry site. Bailey attacked two submerged stumps and enjoyed chasing a large buck. The buck had a rear that looked like a 1959 Cadillac. Fortunately, the deer could out run Bailey and she returned to my side.

A little history here. The Volger family opened a lime quarry in the area in the 1800's and quarried stone for much construction in the era. It appears that the Hillman Ferry docked at the beach we visited. The TVA constructed a tunnel we visited in order to explore the availability of lime stone for the construction of Kentucky Dam. These artifacts are not the pyramids, but represent the heritage of the Land Between the Rivers. I did discover that 228 cemeteries are to be found in the area. A testament to the communities that existed in the area prior to the flooding of Kentucky and Lake Barkley.
If you are ever in the area, drive the Trace and camp at any of the many sites in the 1 million acres of the LBL. This is a pristine, undeveloped preserve for all of us. Watch out for the big butted deer and a small, brown dog chasing after a meal. The old man following all this action will be yours truly.
Happy trails.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ernest the Cowboy

Life turns you around many times. Walking up to a vacant, burned house I encountered a long ago acquaintance. Ernest kept pulling me into his conversation like a vortex of the unseen wind storm. Ernie tells me he was a cowboy and bronc rider. I need to let Ernie tell this story therefore;

I suffered through cancer illness, being told I had 6 months to die. Trying all treatments, continuing to visit my mortality, I was offered an experimental treatment. Being told this treatment will cure you or kill you. What a choice.

Fortunately, I survived and became disease free at the late age of 55. Now, I have been a cowboy all my life. Weighing 120 lbs. at best, I was encouraged to ride. I never had a problem handling the demands. I was a "tunnel rat" in Vietnam, qualified in jump school and was one touch guy. Cancer kick my butt.
I have not lied to my wife many times, but this time I did. I told her I had a seminar to attend now that I had retired from rodeo. I entered my rodeo for the bronc riding, paying my entry fee. The powers to be asked could I handle this and of course my response was, "I paid my entry fee".

Now, I drew a well seasoned mare for my ride in the first go around. She had a butt as wide as a jeep and knew the program. I slide onto her back, wrapped my grip and felt her lean against the shut. This is an old trick to compress your leg and put it numb. What a mare.

Out of the shut, she bucked and I followed with marking the forelegs and to the flanks, as required. But, the flanks were not there. She had disappeared from under me and I hit the dirt. The mare come down on top of me, knocking the breath out of me. Breath gone from my small body, I made it to my hands and knees. Suddenly I heard the crowd and looked up to see this mare charging to me. Finding my legs I hit the fence and vaulted to safety. Recovering my breath in the same movement may have saved my butt.

Now, guts are guts. However, the brain needed to kick in. After the 1st. go around, only 7 riders remained. Others had dislocated shoulder, broken legs and other injuries. Aha, I had a chance to finish in the money. Now, rodeo is not known for a drug problem. However, a friend offered me a pink pill to overcome my soreness. I learned to call this the don't give a s--- pill. I rode in the 2Nd go round without bucking off. However, the pain returned. I knew I had a few cracked ribs.

Finally coming to my senses, I withdrew from the event. The pain continued, so upon leaving the rodeo I visited a doc. The doc ordered all kinds of tests, including a "nuclear" medicine test. Well, I always liked Christmas but hated stringing all those multi-colored lights. The scan made me look like a Christmas tree with more lights than the national tree. The Doc indicated each hot spot was a broken bone, previous broken bone and fracture. I explained I was a rodeo rider for many years and this was not unusual. He smiled gently and asked if I had a PBR card. Of course I presented the card, proudly. Well, he planted a large "VOID" on my card, returning it to me with a smile. He indicated my riding days were over.

He was right, but to not give up easily, I submitted the card to Professional Bronc/Bull Riders Association. Evidently, they have a similar attitude to this little guy. They returned the card with a "LIFE TIME" membership.

Ernie, made my day. He is a true character in my soft days. Ernie was wounded in Vietnam, suffered many rodeo injuries and made a life in his own way. My visit with Ernie was enlightening to say the least. I can ONLY HOPE that I have the opportunity to meet more "Ernie's" in my soft days.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Soft days are hard to explain. Writing in bold best represents the splash of awareness in discovering such days. Many years of my life were spent making money, paying bills, raising children and feeding my ego. Recent days have changed, looking for "soft" days.

Mortality raises its head as those younger die from unexpected circumstances. Not the mad husband shooting the victim as he exits his lovers bedroom. Just the effects of life, with unexpected consequences. If only we all had a view to the future and rear view mirror to the past.

Soft days tend to present themselves in reverse. End of the day you discover sunset has become sunrise and you remember the day. Relish is a better description. We rarely relish a day unless it is marrying, birthing or graduating. Oh how relishing everyday could bring our lives to top of the mountain. I challenge you to find those "soft" days in your life. They will surprise you.

My soft day removes myself, shines on others and reminds me I am not important. Feeling the landing of Canadian geese on the water, the swish of the eagles above and the dragging of myself at end of the dog leash. You could miss these days if not careful. Fresh coffee, warm dog, sunrise and sounds of the world around you. The soft days treat all with respect. They only ask that you enjoy the day and pass this joy along to others. We do not need a movie, phone or ipod to experience a soft day.

Take a walk, sit and look at the clouds, feel the wind and think about enjoying the day. Enjoy the "soft" days knowing they are few.

Think about the new characters you contact each day, if lucky. Today I met a ex marine, Vietnam Vet., a pastry chef, nuclear instrument tech., retired couple waiting for a hip replacement, two Labrador Retrievers, and revisited my wife. Now, that is a "soft" day. Someday I will remember to bring a camera. However, I can lie about them without pictures.

I remind you all. Revisit you jewelry box for new adventures looking for a great story. That "soft" day will visit you. Just beware. You will become addicted to the day and spend the remaining days of your life trying to add to the collection.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hillmans Ferry Experience

Usually writing at the end of our trip experience, this attempt is the beginning. Hillmans is a new campground for us and started well. Geese honking, flying over the bay into the setting sun. How can this be bad. Backing into our site, mindful of the satellite signal, I coasted to the rear of the site for a level feel. New hosts are manning the gate, helpful but learning the computer program.

The lake level is at winter pool with more mud showing than is typical. It does give one a good view of the bottom which may help fisherman. The Canadian geese seem to love the opportunity to eat. This being our second trip this year, we are enjoying the solitude with few campers this time of year. Hillman Ferry is very crowded in the summer months with 4,000 little children riding bikes and screaming. While we do not fear the little tykes, we have been there and do not want to revisit the pain of rearing young children. We will let their parents suffer this summer while we enjoy the solitude of smaller camp grounds.

Well things are looking better at Hillman. We just extended our stay for 4 more days and may stay until end of week. Our site is good and weather predicts to be wonderful for next several days. I will commute to home for a bit of work on Tuesday but return same day to keep the Admiral and dogs company. I truly do have a bit of guilt due to Denise working and me lounging with a little work at the Lake. I will muddle through some how. She is patient with my flexible schedule.

I must not forget to encourage anyone visiting the area to try the menu at the Lite Side restaurant at Grand Rivers. Pastries and all fresh daily, breakfast casserole is to die for and the owners are most entertaining. Seems to be a liberal wife married to a grizzled ex marine. Great couple.

We fire sat tonight with a wonderful cool nite and clear, star lite sky. I see some fishing in my future while coach and dog sitting. Today was a "soft" day. My definition. These days are enjoyed more in my passing years and I will try to explain, with eloquence, in a later article.
Happy trails all.