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For those of you who have followed this blog for a time now, you know I haven’t been posting very much the past two or three years.  Many things have contributed to this. I won’t bother you with the details of such.  Suffice it to say that the least of which certainly wasn’t a loss of inspiration.  Alas, I haven’t given up on Rides Roads and Ronman.  Thank you for not giving up as well.

Throughout this period I have been searching for what was missing.  The main inspiration for many years was motorcycles and the trips and sights along the way. That period in my life is over. However, I have finally realized what the next period should be going forward.  Hold your horses. I’m not ready to reveal anything yet.  It’s all still in the works.  Suffice it to say that I do feel I’ve found the piece to the puzzle that I’ve been missing for this portion of my life.

Stay tuned and hopefully before too much longer I’ll be able to share more news with you.

 

Ronman

Life has been a winding twisting road of late. Granted that can be fun at times. There are other  times when it simply wears you down. Ups and downs. Slowly I’m picking my way through the boondoggle. One thing is certain. This is an education. Life isn’t always a pleasant learning experience either. The school of hard knocks is filled with none other than hard knocks.

This year has had a turbulent start. Recovering from surgery was no cake walk. That took much longer than I ever anticipated.  We also had plenty of winter weather.  That added up to an additional week out of work. However, I am happy that the company shuts us down on days such as this. All this time off helped me reflect and ponder on my life and my future.  I’ve started making changes, yet there are more to come.

Someday I surely hope to be able to look back upon things and glean some happiness.

Ronman

What’s with this stuff that they call country music these days? It’s certainly not country. It’s not rap. Its crap. All of it sounds the same.  I think this stuff needs to have a name.  I say we call it Honky Hip Hop. What say ye? Personally, the part that irks me the most is that people are trying to pass this off as country music.

You know, there is plenty of room for any type of music that you enjoy.  I don’t like all music, obviously. Take people like Cross Canadian Ragweed, Joe Ely, Chris Knight and others.  They obviously have country influences. Yet they aren’t country artists.  They are Americana artists.  This is what I’m talking about.

Over the past few months I’ve been listening to regular broadcast radio. Saying it has been an ear opening experience would be an understatement. I know that people are trying to reach out to new audiences. But come on. Don’t forget who brought you. Let Country Music keep being Country Music.

I think Shooter Jennings had it right when he sang Put The O Back In Country.

Ronman

One thing is certain. We cannot stop time.  Time keeps going no matter what we do. Once again we’ve run through another year.  Another 365 days are but a memory. Along with time there is also change.  Change in seasons. Change in weather. Change is styles. Change in relationships.

This past year has been refreshing and rejuvenating  in many ways.  I’ve enjoyed getting more involved in my dogs.  So much so that I raised a litter of pups.  I enjoyed messing with and learning about  the Treeing Mountain Feists.  It has taught me many lessons and helped me through some difficult times.  Most of all it has made me realize that I needed to get back into coonhunting and working with Bluetick Coonhounds.

The time spent in search of another Bluetick hound has brought me new friendships. I’ve learned about and embraced new technology.  I’ve been able to get back in touch with friends that I haven’t seen in many years.  My health has improved. My mindset has improved. My entire outlook on life has improved.  I have a focus and a drive that has been absent from my life for far too long.  I have a new respect for the good in people.  I’ve been able to get to know, love and admire some folks that I barely knew as well as new people that I’d never known.  Strong bonds have been made.

The year brought loss as well.  The death of my former father-in-law opened some old wounds.  Because of the respect I had for this man I went to the funeral home.  Hearing from my estranged daughter gave me a brief glimmer of hope that she had softened her heart and wanted me to be in her life.  Unfortunately those embers were quickly put out.  Once again her actions and lack of action proved her true feelings.  It was brought to my attention that she had commented about me on social media. Reading her words crushed my soul. Reading them also brought forth the fact that she is a drama queen and putting on a performance for her friends.

The days of blaming her actions on how she has been brainwashed by her mother and her family are over. She has reached adulthood. Her actions are her responsibility. I have reached out countless times through the years.  My calls, texts, notes and letters go unanswered.  At some point I’ve done all that I can do.  I’m well beyond that point.  She has shown me nothing but contempt and proving that she doesn’t care about me or want me in her life.

Having surgery at the end of the year has been a truly humbling experience.  I want to again express my gratitude for all the well wishes, prayers and acts of kindness on my behalf. This has been something I’m not used to.  Unfortunately some people only want to do things the way they want to do them.  They may ask what they can do to help, yet when you tell them they don’t want to do that.  Unfortunately this has brought the end to some friendships. But I suspect the friends ships had run their course already anyway.  This was simply the means to end them.

Time to buckle down and hold on for the ride.  This big ole wheel keeps turning round and round.  Let’s all hang on for the ride.

Ronman

I wanted to take a few minutes tonight and bring everyone up to speed on my recent surgery.  Tuesday evening my gallbladder was surgically removed.  I must say that the staff at Stonecrest Medical Center in Smyrna treated me exceptionally well.  They were all very kind to me.  Dr. Larson explained everything to me before the procedure and took the time afterwords to answer any and all questions that I had.

As those of you who know me already understand, I don’t like much fuss being made about me.  So for the next couple weeks or so I’ll be in the recovery process.  That being said I really don’t want or need folks doting about me.  I do appreciate everyone’s concern and well wishes. Unfortunately there are some folks who just don’t get it when you say you simply want to be left alone.  In doing so their actions have brought about my reaction.  Let’s just say that I will be going forward in life without their company in the future.

I’m sore as would be expected. However I can tell that I am improving daily. I expect this improvement to continue.  My body lets me know rather quickly that I need to slow down.

Once again I want to thank everyone for the calls, notes, prayers and well wishes.  They are all greatly appreciated.

Thank y’all,

Ronman

IMG_1634Looking forward to many happy times with my new buddy Chigger.

Years of searching and indecision have come to an end.  Excuses as to why I shouldn’t. Reasons as to why I should. Hundreds if not thousands of I would but. This one would probably be okay, except. I really don’t have the time, because. All these along with thousand of other excuses have come to an end.

Along the way I’ve learned many things.  Lessons both difficult and fun. Finding out things buried deep within myself. Taking me as far back into my memory as I’ve ever journeyed. Many prayers and tearful questions have brought me to this.  There have been people who’ve turned their back on me. Most for their own personal reasons. Some for unknown reasons.  In fact I’ve had to turn away from people as well.  A select few could possible be welcomed back.

Conversations with strangers have brought back memories.  Reminders of wonderful people, places and times. Speaking to who I am.  Telling myself what I needed to do.  Knowing the answer yet not wanting to listen to my heart.  It has always been the answer throughout my life.  The teamwork required of man and beast.  The challenge of both terrain and darkness willingly accepted. The elements mother nature throws your way. The game and it’s many tactics and tricks in which it tries to outwit man and hound.

At long last I am once again a full fledged coonhunter.  That’s who I am. That’s what I am.  Joined with the breed of hound I so love.  How many steps have I followed a Bluetick coonhound? How many more will I take? I doubt I could enumerate those steps.  I wouldn’t dare try.

My health, my heart and my  mind will all be better  because of this. Once again my weary soul will be rejuvenated by the glorious song of a Bluetick coonhound chasing a wily old coon through the hills, hollows and bottomland of my beloved Tennessee.

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.

 

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