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August 28, 2006

Fresh Air

Itís always nice to escape the gloom and doom as reported by the media once in awhile. That is what I did last weekend with the scout troop that I lead. A 3 day weekend in the wilderness gives me the opportunity to just focus on the beautiful things around us.

The conditions of the weekend couldnít have been much better. The weather was cool in the evenings and just right during the days. There was a brief 5 minute shower early in the evening on Saturday. Other than that it was just perfect. It was great for sleeping and just sitting around the campfire.

The good Lord sure blessed us with beautiful lakes and forests in northern Minnesota. The boundary waters canoe area is where we went for this trip. There are no houses on the lakes. Once you leave the parking lot itís just about as pure as you can get. The scouts and I explored a couple of lakes, one which had Indian paintings from hundreds of years ago on the face of a cliff. Paddling through the clear water and surrounded by forest is as good as it gets when a person wants to be away from it all.

However all good things must come to an end for us working folks. It was back to the concrete jungle on Sunday. Then back to work on Monday. A new dream to get back to the wilderness has already started.

August 24, 2006

A hiking we will go

This weekend I will be camping with my Boy Scout Troop in northern Minnesota. The plans include canoeing and hiking in the Superior National Forest. I have been looking forward to this trip since we planned it in the spring.

Scouting is something that I have dedicated a good part of my life too. I still participate in scouts because I believe it is helpful in a young mans development for the future. I sincerely believe as a scout I developed strong moral values. It was scouting that taught me to work with others as well as be a leader. Due to what scouting did for me, I cannot help but want to do the same for kids today.

Net week Iíll probably have a recap of the weekend. There are a number of sites and activities waiting for us. I canít wait to fall asleep with the sounds of the loons off in the distance and be awakened in the morning by the same sounds.

August 21, 2006

O Canada

Debbie and I were in Canada from Thursday to Sunday last week. We went there to visit my daughterís in-laws and see the sites of Winnipeg. We had a great time.

One of the attractions and the reason why we chose last week to go is an event called Folkerama. Winnipeg is quite a diverse city as to the nationalities and ethnic groups that reside there. Folkerama is an event that the various groups showcase things about their culture. Each group uses some type of facility which is called a pavilion, such as a school, to feed you with foods specific to their culture and to put on a show. The show is generally dances and songs from their native lands. Our host, daughterís mother in law, did a very good job of chauffeuring us around and we were able to visit 6 pavilions in the evenings on Thursday and Friday. It was really quite fascinating and we had a great time.

During the day on Friday and Saturday we went to various other sites throughout Winnipeg. Those included the Canadian Mint, De Forks, the capital building, Assiniboine Park which all was quite interesting. We were all pretty much on the go from breakfast to late into the evenings.

Than to top it off, I ran a half marathon in a Manitoba Provincial Park by the name of Bird Hills Park. Once we knew when we were going to Winnipeg, I checked the internet to see if there would be any running events while I was there. To my good luck the Ron Melichuk Half Marathon was on Sunday August 20th.

So on Sunday morning I headed to the Park just north of Winnipeg and ran a half marathon. My finishing time, 2:03:09 was a personal best. The run was very enjoyable and the scenery was too. I am now an international runner.

We will definitely go back again.

August 13, 2006

So long good buddy

Time for me to say good bye to a trusty companion. This companion has been with me for about 26 years or so. We have spent some great moments together. I can only blame myself for losing her.

My canoe rack broke in route to bringing her home from my father-in-laws for an upcoming camping trip. When I put her up I was a bit leery about the rack. I gave it the shake test and it seemed sturdy. It wasnít a pretty sight. Seeing her all bent out of shape like that was tough on this old guy. Years ago she had survived a near fatal accident on a river run but it wasnít in the cards for her this time.

A lot of miles and time were spent in my trusty old friend. Other than the spill on the Cloquet River years ago, wasnít her fault alcohol was involved, she never dumped me. We fished hard and easy many times. We hunted together just about every year. There was never any doubt that my canoe would bring me home safe and dry.

Now I have to go out and try to find a replacement. I made a brief check tonight at a Gander Mountain store. Found out they make canoes with built in cup holders. Unbelievable! When I bought my canoe years ago it was either aluminum or fiberglass. Today canoes are made out of several types of materials. They weigh about as light as a feather to more than my old canoe. Itís going to be task but Iíll find a suitable replacement. I can only hope she lasts as long as tippy did.

Good bye old friend, I will miss you.

August 07, 2006

Thanks for the memories

One of the great pleasures as a parent was snuggling with my children when they were little. Holding one of my babies and rocking them to sleep was such a wonderful moment each and every time. Those moments are treasures that I will remember for ever.

Over the last year and half or so I have been able to relive those moments through my grandchildren. Itís just like old times when I get the opportunity to sit and snuggle with them. Just this last weekend I sat and rocked with my granddaughter until she fell asleep for the evening. Just listening to her and feeling her totally relax in my arms brought back such good memories.

I certainly am going to take advantage of my good fortune for the next few years. My children have blessed me with wonderful grandkids that I am so very thankful to have. The special moments just keep coming and I cherish them all.

August 02, 2006

Another one bites the dust

Today I am 49 years young. Damn near 5 decades old. I figure I might be close to half way based upon my grandmother who just turned 97.

I donít care much for being on the eve of the change over from one decade to another. I felt that way when I was 29 and 39 too. When someone asks my age and I reply 49 they will now say oh the big 50 is coming next. Like I didnít already know that. Maybe Iíll just beat them to the punch and say just a hair short of 50.

I will say for the most part all 49 years have been very good. I donít much remember the first 5. The next 10 are pretty much a blur. However from 15 to now I remember pretty well. That might have something to do with the fact I met my wonderful bride that year. Certainly my life made a big turn for the better that year.

As I look forward I plan on enjoying the next 50 as much as the first.