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Category Archives: Life

Life can oft seem as though it is one constant turmoil.  We fight many battles as we walk its pathway. Our foes are many.  The worst of which is one’s self. We are our harshest critic.  From the beginning of time man has struggled with being alone.  The joys of life are amazing.  Yet having someone, the right one to share them with is the most rewarding of all.

There is no perfect life. There are no perfect couples. There are no perfect people.  Even the best of these have their battles.  You see it is the way in which we come together to work out these battles that gives us that wholeness.  Being able to accept one another’s imperfections and still cherish the love you share is the prize.

Years I spent looking and wandering through this world. Years I spent wondering and pondering if you were out there. Years I spent not truly living a life I had given up on. Then in an instant it all changed.  One smile. One hand shake. One hot day in August of 2015 my life was forevermore changed.

Yes, we argue.  Yes, we have disagreements. Yes, we don’t always see eye to eye.  In all our imperfections we find understanding. We find answers. We find one another. We find respect. We find a future. We find our life as one.  We found our love.

One gorgeously amazing woman had the keys to my heart.  One gorgeously amazing women erased the pains of the past.  One gorgeously amazing woman knows how to push me to the edge.  One gorgeously amazing woman has brought me a new focus. One gorgeously amazing woman has shown me how to live life.

That gorgeously amazing woman who brought me peace in all our imperfections is the only woman who deserves to be my wife.

Ride safe,

Ronman

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Working our way through this journey we call life is thrilling, mundane and tiresome. We find ourselves in a rut at times.  In order to escape those ruts one must take whatever measures he deems necessary. In doing so you will ruffle the feathers of others around you. In the end we are ultimately responsible for ourselves. We control the choices that we make. In doing so we control our happiness.

It has taken me many trying years to learn this valuable lesson.  Sure, we can share our happiness with other likeminded people. But those people are not required for happiness.  Once you wrap your head around this little morsel of information you can begin down such a better pathway through life.

Over the weekend I was finally able to contact an old hunting buddy. It has been between twelve and fifteen years since we’ve spoke. Honestly I cannot remember why we stopped talking other than the fact that I stopped Coon hunting. Through the years I’ve wondered if he was still following those bawling hounds around the hills and hollers of Tennessee.  Much like myself he had taken some time off.  We spent a time catching up over the phone and treeing a few. It was good.

The struggle for me has been to fill a void.  Yes, motorcycles served that purpose for many years.  Although there was always something missing that I couldn’t put a finger on. Camping and fishing have and will always be a part of who I am.  A couple years ago I started Deer hunting again.  Still something was missing. I’ve known all along what it was. I simply didn’t want to admit it. I even bought a couple of Mountain Feist and started working with them Squirrel hunting.  This only compounded the emptiness.

You see, what’s been missing for far too many years, well it is Coon hunting. Following the melody of a hound as it works the track of a Coon.  I wasn’t ready yet. I didn’t have a kennel. I didn’t have the time. I didn’t have anywhere to hunt. All of these were the excuses I told myself. All are both true and false statements.

But now, now I have a kennel. Now I realize I have as much time as my old man had to hunt. Now I understand that my old hunting partner basically only hunts the two nights a week that I could hunt. Granted I don’t have all the places to hunt that I once did.  But I do have places to hunt.  In time and with some effort I feel as though I can come up with additional places to hunt.  If not I’ll enjoy what I do have.

My journey is far from over. At least I hope it is.  We never truly know how much time we have.  Realistically I don’t have as much time as has already past. So it’s up to me to use the time that remains wisely.  My search for a hound is on.  Yes I have some Mountain Feist. Yes, I have a litter of puppies due in about a month. I’ll continue to enjoy these dogs.  But I’ll also enjoy seeking out another Coonhound to bring me back full circle to my roots.  In doing so I’ll honor the traditions passed down from my Daddy and Uncle. I’ll honor those old men who took the time to let me hunt with them. I’ll honor our Almighty Creator by soaking in the beauty of nature that He has laid before us.

This life is a continual learning process. My thirst and hunger for learning is peaked.  My classroom is the outdoors. I’m ready for school to continue.

 

Ronman

Many years I’ve had an idea in my head.  I knew what I wanted to do.  I simply had to find the right pieces.  Today I found what I thought would be the ones. I couldn’t wait to get home and start to work.  It was scalding hot with impending thunderstorms.  I gathered my tools and set about the task at hand.

 

I had barely started when this big dark cloud drifted overhead. Sure thing it let out a loud clap of thunder and started to rain.  Well that put a damper on things for now.  I gathered all my tools and brought them back into the garage. I decided to sit there and listen to the Braves game on the radio while I enjoyed the rain. Quite impressive was the lightning.  The smell of the rain is always refreshing. It reminds me of when I was a kid.  We would play in the rain as long as there was not any lightning. I can still taste the salt from my skin being washed into my mouth by the rain.

 

After a span of time I decided to step inside and watch the end of the game.  I passed the time online as I waited for the storm to pass.  Finally it was safe to go back outside and continue.  Now I had done preliminary testing to see if there was room enough for the addition.  Yes, it seems as though there is.  I continued to drill and attach the bases.  Yes, I do believe this will work.

 

You see my little project was placing some lights under the tailgate of my old Dodge.  Years ago I had done the same of a couple of trucks.  I know it’s silly but it gives me pleasure to relive some of my past.  Picture this if you will. I was wearing one of the headlamps I recently picked up. You know, like I wore Coonhunting.  Here I am sitting behind my truck out in the drive drilling and screwing these lights on.  Once I had them all mounted it was time to reattach the tailgate.

 

Everything thus far had gone rather smoothly. Well, it didn’t last. It seems that the lights mounted in the center didn’t allow enough clearance for the tailgate to be lowered completely.  Upon further inspection I found that the tailgate was curved.  That slight curve was enough to catch on those center lights.  By this time I was sopping wet with sweat.  Frustrated, I decided to call it a night.  Tomorrow I’ll see if I can adjust the location of the center lights enough to allow the tailgate to operate properly.

 

Thus, my little project is put on hold.  There was a time that I would have been rather angry.  Tonight I simply laughed at my predicament. I’ll get something figured out.  I’ll find a way to have these lights.  They will symbolize the dim glow of my past.  Being mounted on the rear of the old Dodge will remind me of where I came from.  It’s important to always remember where you’ve been.  Though not as bright as where you’re going. The dim glow is always there to remind us of where we came from.

Here we are basically a month away from the start of hunting seasons here in Tennessee.  I can’t wait for the opening of squirrel season.  I have grand visions of working my two Mountain Feists a few times a week.  I’ve seen some encouraging signs from both of them over the summer.  Not to mention what they showed me during our spring squirrel season.

 

Although it can and will be frustrating at times, I’m looking forward to seeing these two grow and mature.  Jordan being older is doing very good on general commands and obedience.  Buster on the other hand, well he’s getting there. He’s younger and hard headed.  We’re working on that.  I can certainly tell when I skip a day or two working on things.  Honestly I’m not sure who’s teaching who. One thing is certain, these little dogs show you plenty of love.  They really want you to be happy with them.

 

Along the lines of getting back to my roots I’m toying with another idea.  There was a time many years back in which I trapped.  I’m leaning toward trying my hand at this age old outdoor skill once again. Granted it will only be on a very small scale. Nothing more than a hobby undertaking at best. However it will give me another reason to enjoy more time spent in nature.  Nonetheless it will be challenging in many ways.

 

In the not too distant future it will be time for  our deer season to begin.  Looking forward to harvesting a couple this year for the freezer.  The land I have to deer hunt is very peaceful.  Not to mention it’s way out in the middle of nowhere.  The type of place in which you can look up into the night sky and feel as though you could touch the stars.  There aren’t many places left around here these days that don’t have so much light pollution that you can’t easily see the heavens at night.

 

Most people think the reward in hunting is the harvest. I disagree. The reward is the time spent in nature.  Learning from the wildlife how to better one’s own way of living. Hearing the glorious chorus of birds as the sun begins to rise over the eastern horizon. Seeing the playful nature of squirrels and they race around through and over the land via the trees. Seeing a flock of turkeys bugging on the buffet of insects provided them through nature’s food chain. Watching a bachelor group of young bucks wandering around strutting their stuff like a group of teenagers. These and oh so many more things are the rewards of hunting and spending time in nature.

 

Weather walking in a park, driving down a backroad or even flying down the interstates of this great land. We can all take a moment to enjoy the beauty of nature and the wildlife who call it home.  Look around and truly notice what’s been right before you eyes all along.

 

I’ve spent the past few days burning up the last of my vacation time for the year.  The way life is these days for me there wasn’t any big plans.  I’m not able to take any trips of substantial distance.  That’s okay with me.  I’m doing what needs to be done. The days of jumping on a motorcycle and heading off into the sunset are over.  In fact I believe my riding days are done with. That is a period of my life that gave me many wonderful memories.

 

I stopped at a little diner for some lunch yesterday.  While enjoying my meal I was thinking about the many aspects of my life.  Gradually I’m working on simplifying things.  Somewhere between the field peas, cornbread and pot roast it hit me.  Why had I not figured this out before now?  The epiphany was that I needed to live my life much the same way I went about my solo scooter rides. I have a general idea of the direction I want to head off in.  But I’ll make the decision on which direction to continue on when I come to that particular crossroad. Many times on my scooter trips I would find a hidden treasure simply by following the pull of whatever way the spirit moved me.

 

One such pull that has never left me is the pull of nature.  I grew up hunting, fishing and camping.  These are three things that both ground and recharge me.  They are things that I can certainly enjoy alone, but I can also share them with others.  Speaking of others, I think it’s high time I step away from many folks.  In doing such I’m helping remove stress and aggravation from my life.  I’ve learned that I don’t need to explain myself to others. Chances are they wouldn’t understand anyway.

 

More than likely it will take longer than I want to simplify my life.  The time frame isn’t up to anyone other than myself.  Time is a precious commodity. If someone takes it for granted they won’t be experiencing much of mine afterwords. In doing so I won’t feel pressured to do anything with anyone.  Having spent lots of time in the past reaching out to others I feel it is time to focus more on myself.  You can give and give and give and then you are give out. Once I feel I’ve reached the place I need to be internally, then it will be time to look outwardly once again.

 

The past few days have brought some surprises my way.  Some I’m still amazed about. Although totally unexpected they have helped bring a clarity to my thoughts and pondering.  Hopefully as I move forward in life I’ll be able to get the thought process flowing more freely.  I know my writing has suffered and fallen off the past couple of years.  Now I feel the fire building inside once again.  Hopefully the steam will keep the process churning.

 

Who knows what direction I’ll take next? I certainly don’t have a clue.  But I surely can’t wait to find out.

Many years I’ve spent drawing a good sharp knife across a stick of cedar.  From an early age whittling captivated me. Some folks say it’s an art form. Others say it is merely a waste of time.  For others, myself included it is soothing.  Time was that you couldn’t round a city square without seeing old men sitting on benches whittling away. Each day they made huge piles of shavings.  I’ve done this for nigh on forty  years.  All this time I’ve been missing something. That is until today.

Today was like most any other. I came in from work, tired. I had a few errands to run. Some of the ever present list of chores to take care of around the house. I stopped and did my Aunt’s grocery shopping first thing.  Next it was time to haul off the trash. I even finally remembered to take some of the cardboard boxes off to the recycle bin as well.

Once home it was too nice to go to sleep. I needed to get outside and do a little something. Believe me when I say they’ll always be something to do around here. I’ll never get caught up. Today I soaked up some much needed vitamin D. I built a little fire out back in the fire pit. Burning up some old limbs that I’d cut from a tree. Nothing big. I kept it small on purpose. In between feeding the fire I decided to spruce up the ole fire pit a little. Added some larger border to encircle the flaming embers.

Once that was completed it was time to play with my two loyal companions. Bella and Jordan. My two dogs.  It is amazing how relaxing it was simply sitting on that folding stool and watching the dogs and the fire.  I took the opportunity to do a little whittling.  That always takes me back. So many memories of sitting around a show ring watching a Friday or Saturday night Walking Horse Show.  Then there was always the Celebration in Shelbyville.

Drawing that blade from my trusty Buck knife across that stick of cedar it hit me. All those years seeing those old men on courthouse squares made sense.  They weren’t simply making little curly cues.  Even the ones who made things weren’t.  Uncle Buddy was a talented whittler. He made pliers and little wooden boxes with balls inside.  What I finally understood was that whittling is life.

Each of us receives our stick of wood. What we do with it is up to us. We can slowly draw our blade across and make tiny curly cues. We can hack away abruptly at it and shave of large jagged portions.  Either way we will dull our blades. Much like life, whittling takes time and work and a good knife to cut through it. We must take the time to hone the edge on our blade. Making it sharp enough to slice our way through the wood.

Nobody’s cedar stick is alike. Some are pretty red and smooth. Others are mixed white and red wood. Most, unless we’ve been given the best of the best will have knots. We have to decide what to do when we reach those knots. Will we turn and go the other way? Will we avoid them? Will we hone our knife and keep chipping away at it until we remove it?

Take the wood. That sweet aromatic red cedar is beautiful to both our eyes and and sense of smell.  Sometimes our cedar has that white, softer wood. Although not as aromatic and certainly not as easy to whittle, still we much slice away. Once we get through the soft,, white wood we’ll make it to the beautiful, fragrant, red cedar. The choice is ours. Do we work through it? Do we simply move on?

We can look at our life as a huge stick of cedar. Sometimes we split that huge stick to make much smaller sticks. Those smaller sticks are like periods in our life. There will be times when life is smooth. Our blade will remain sharp and swiftly move through the wood.

Other times our stick will be rough and filled with knots. Many times our blade will become dull. Many times we will want to say to hell with it and simply give up.  The choice is ours. As for myself I find it difficult to go on most times here lately. Years ago there was nothing that could stop me. As I age I take pause to hopefully make wise choices as to the path I’ll take. I don’t always choose wisely.  Thus far I’ve been able to continue. Working on that knotty part of life causes the need for me to sharpen my knife. Sometimes it seems as though it will take forever to slowly chip away at that knot. Eventually I’ll figure out a way to get that knot cut out.

Life often will be rough. Much like that knotty cedar stick. But if we can keep drawing our blades across that wood we will be rewarded. We can look at all those many curly cues lying at our feet. We can smell the sweet fragrance of our labors. Each one telling its own story. Each one a chapter in our life.  Let’s keep our knives sharp so that when we grow old we can look back at that pile of shavings and smile. Look back knowing that although it hasn’t always been easy we finally made it. We finally get to smell the fragrance and enjoy the fruits of all our labors.

Here I am nearing the end of my vacation. Not unlike the vacations of the past few years. Most of them don’t turn out the way that I have them envisioned.  However, I did enjoy some much needed relaxation and rest.

This is the time of year that I get to sit down and enjoy some special time with a few of the folks near and dear to my heart.  One of the only times of the year that I ever get the sense that I am a part of a family. Having a pretty little freckle face girl call me Uncle Ron fills me with joy. Hearing the laughter at comments I make while letting a fine meal settle reminds me of the Thanksgiving times of my youth. Memories of some of my favorite gatherings.

I hope in some small way I’ve been a part in making memories for these young ones too. Something they can hold to long after I’m gone.  These special times along with time spent with my adopted older brother are what keeps me going. Those early morning laughter filled phone calls light up my heart much like the rising sun.

There are yet other family members that I have. They have fur and four legs.  Sitting on a rock in the middle of a patch of woods today brought me much joy. The little dog that accompanied me brings me great comfort. The vision of watching her working her nose. The potential that she has bred into her. Now to unlock that potential.

My other furry four legged friend was happy to see us upon our return. A dog is always grateful to see you. Period. They give you unconditional love. There is truth to the phrase that they are man’s best friend.

Time spent alone in nature is never wasted. Opening my mind to all those hounds of my past. The memories that thirty-six year old shotgun bring.  The lessons learned through the decades of wandering the hills, hollows, bottomland and riverbanks of Tennessee are priceless. Each step is filled with memories and lessons yet to learn.

As much as the interactions I’ve had with others over the years have moulded me. These times spent alone in nature are responsible for making me the way I am.

Crisp bluebird skies gave the impression of springtime. One short breath of the frigid air reminded me of the reality of late fall.  The season in which I feel most alive.  Oddly enough I was headed to the cemetery.  Somehow feeling alive urges me to visit the grave of my Daddy.  He lives on in memories that I hold to dearly.  The site of his burial is down the hill from a spot he spent much of his time during the 50’s and 60’s.

Every visit I make to his grave puts my mind into overdrive. Days like yesterday are pleasing to me.  Days when I don’t have to be anywhere. Days in which I have time to wander and wonder.  Driving down roads that are filled with memories.  Passing through time as if they recently occurred.  These journeys are often painful. Yet it’s that pain that keeps me company.  The ever-present  reminder.

Wandering aimlessly I found myself nearing the workplace of someone near and dear to me.  After a phone conversation I learned that they had company in from out of town.  These people are family. They love me unconditionally as such. They are in the tiny elite group that I depend on.  I worked my way to their house and spent the rest of me evening there.

I’m fairly certain that it has been a couple years since I’ve seen their daughter.  She lovingly refers to me as the big brother she never wanted. We pick and pester one another like siblings do.  She fusses at her mother. Her mother sets her straight.  Her two beautiful daughters keep us entertained.  Picking and laughing and fussing. It was a fun filled night. A night I will cherish. A night of feeling like and truly being family.

Later today I will experience this yet again. I am fortunate enough to spend the evening with a lifelong friend. Someone that knows both good and bad about me. I am amazed daily that we survived our sixteenth year on this earth.  Man did we have fun.  I get to be immersed in the love of family here too. His beautiful wife and wonderful children are precious gifts that I have been blessed with.  The visiting. The food. The stories. The catching up.  The smiles of that pretty little freckle face girl. My heart will be running over with happiness.

Also today I’ll be thinking of some folks who don’t live close by. People who are extremely important and special to me. People in other states. People I don’t see near enough. People that have opened  their home to me as a refuge. Someone I call my brother. Someone I respect and love along with his wonderful girlfriend. Good people that mean more than they’ll ever know.

I think of another couple today. A couple that moved a short distance away. They mean the world to me as well. Showing me that they cared. Sticking beside me through some of the darkest times of my life. People that I am forevermore indebted to. People that accept me without question.

Finally I think of someone who has been a part of my life since junior high school. Someone that I could never replace. Someone who I don’t spend near enough time with. Simply knowing they are there is the most comforting of all. Knowing that I’m here for her no matter what. Being the on to get that phone call. Hearing the tears or the laughter. Filling me with love.

I’m truly blessed to have this small group. They each are a part of my life for a reason. They happened into my life and left their permanent  mark upon me. These people may not be blood kin, but they are more closely connected to me than almost anyone else upon this planet. They are my compass and map. They are my dousing rod. They are my whipping post. They keep my together when I can’t do it myself.

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in America. A day to be thankful. I’ve been abundantly blessed in oh so many ways throughout my life. The most valuable of blessings are these people.

 

There once was a time that vacations took planning. For months they were planned out. What would my destination be? What will I take? How will I get there?  Will I ask anyone to join me?

I’ve reached a point in life that I don’t plan out things very far ahead, if at all. Being the lone caregiver for my elderly Mother and Aunt doesn’t afford me that luxury. It seems if I try to plan things that means a certain impending cancellation.  I think it’s better to simply fly by the seat of my pants anyway.

Being on a schedule five nights a week causes me to not want any such planning when I’m off work.  Sure I’ll have a general idea of what I want to do. But if if doesn’t pan out I try not to be too pissed off about it.

Thanks to social media I’ve been able to see what’s going on at a place I once couldn’t wait to be. There were a few years that I loved trekking to West Virginia to deer hunt over the Thanksgiving week. I carry some very fond memories of those times.  There are a few other such memories as well.

I haven’t been one to participate in the month long giving of thanks in social media posts. I try to be thankful daily for the blessings I’ve received.  Honestly there have been many.  Far more than I deserve for sure.  The biggest of blessings have been a handful of people.  People that have remained my friends. People who are my family.  People who love and accept me in spite of myself.  It’s not easy doing so.

In this time of the year when the days are short and the nights are long we tend to reflect. Pulling up memories of years since past on. It’s bitter sweet. There are those we love dearly who’ve gone before. Forever leaving an emptiness within our hearts. There are those who simply don’t communicate with us anymore.  For reasons  known only to them, they come around no more. Still we hold them within our hearts. Hanging to that dangling thread of hope. Someday they will reconnect.  Never knowing if it will be so.

For all the joy, happiness and love that circles about this time of year there is also heartache and sorrow. Remember that it’s not a wonderful time for everyone.  For some it drives the knife deeper into the wounds.

Still there are new beginnings. Budding friendships. Tender relationships working their way through the fertile soil of our souls.  Giving off the glimmer of hope. Projecting the possibilities that lie before us.

So I take these few days off to rest my weary body and soul. Feeling refreshed and anew. Thinking of the ones I love both old and new. The special people who left their mark on my being. All those who took the time to shape and mold the man I’ve become.  Occasionally stumbling across yet another artisan who has just the right tool to make their mark. Strong enough to remove but a little of that rust on my outer shell.

Taking a few moments to slow down  your life to reflect and study is never a bad thing. Some do it while enjoying a good cigar or pipe. Some do it while partaking in their favorite adult beverage. Some do it while holding the warmth of a pet. Others use a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea.

Often I use such as a timer. A personal limitation to the amount of time I intend to allow myself. Perhaps I use them as a means of making myself take a certain amount of time. Making sure that it is not too little.

The subjects of these reflections are many. In doing such I have come to the realization that I cannot control everything. Those wild and wooly things are the ones that need to be set free. They will find their own pathway. They will live their own life. In time they will die their own death.

The things at hand are on my plate at the moment. Not unlike a fine meal they tempt my pallet. The flavors they exude capture my breath. Some share a wonderful bouquet. Others repulse and sicken. Each serves a purpose. A lesson to be learned.

Much the same as people. They come into and go out of our lives. The timetable is often unknown. Some exit far too soon.  Others remain far too long. Lingering as a foul oder.  All drop traces of their time. Bread crumbs used as fodder for memories.

Some have such a subtle presence yet make a profound impact upon us. Taxing our very core. Unlocking our minds to see that which is right before us. Loosening the snare encircling the tips of our tongues. The words pour out as do the contents of a wine bottle. Well aged. Albeit unappreciated by all but those with the most discerning of tastes.

Take the time to take some time. You deserve it.