Icewind’s Ramblings takes a look at the oddities in life through humor, stories, and observations on the human condition. It can cover almost anything and is seen through the eyes of a Southerner who now lives in Alaska experiencing life from a “Northern Exposure”. Laughter and a smile is the best medicine for the long dark winter nights in this wonderful world.
Southern by Birth, Alaskan by the Grace of God.
I enjoy flying, fishing, & camping.
“And as time goes by
Oh it's funny how time can make you realize
We're running out of it” – Zac Brown Band
It’s been nine months since I left Alaska and started the
“recalculation” of my life and what I thought about it at that time. With any change it starts a process of
evaluation in one’s self and in the things within your universe surrounding
Mt. Hood Oregon
As time has passed by, so have things, people, mental
orientations, passions and moments. Some have devolved and then evolved into
something greater. Originally, I started this blog, “Where’s the
Flamingo” to share the experiences as I traveled and also bring with it a
slightly humorous effect with Placido Flamingo and his experiences along the
road, my road sometimes called Life’s Highway.
Mt. Washington, British Columbia
But, as I have traveled, a more fulfilling purpose has
evolved. So now it isn’t just the experiences I have seen along the way,
it is now more of those experiences that feed the longing of a soul for peace
through expression. I’ve never been one to just focus singularly on
things, things get old. They disintegrate. However, experiences are
something that can remain. We can reach back and pull them forward, as
the mind allows, and re-live them over and over again.
Over these years, these experiences have been so rich and
full of the living experience. But sometimes the constant day to day
existence of life’s experiences can, at times, dull the pure exhilaration of
those initial moments of discovery. Not unique to me, but the complexity
of life can at times, make this happen. Then, it becomes time to
purposefully pull these experiences forward as a reminder of the type of life
that doesn’t just happen, but one that we can create.
And so, moving beyond the limitations of a singular focus to
bring those previous moments back to life . . . I answer my souls longing to
move beyond the immediacy of frustration, pain, misunderstanding or the
occasional shallowness of the human judgement to that which is greater . . . the
nature of things!
Redwood Forrests, Hwy 1 California
It is said that, “when I was a child I spoke, reasoned, and
thought as a child, but when I grew up I put away childish things.” As
this child, I remember adults saying things such as “that person needs to find
themselves”; I couldn’t relate as a child and would ponder, “Why does a person
need to find themselves when they are right there with their self . . . Ahh . .
. how life can teach you many things? It
is also said; travel until you find yourself . . . so here I am . . .
Mountain Lake, Canada
A few months ago, life allowed me to experience California
Highway 1 also called the Pacific Coast Highway which meanders along the Coast
of California by the ocean or just onshore along the magnificent redwood trees.
It’s twists and turns, elevation changes are much like life in that it is
constantly changing bringing with it new surprises, vistas, or tragedy. Its reputation, of course, supersedes what
some would call the unique experience. In reality cannot be
captured properly by a camera or other device, it has to be seen with your own
eyes to be understood the great beauty there.
Much like Alaska its beauty is far reaching. Everywhere one looks you must make multiple
stops along the way to take it all in. It is beyond such, to experience
it is to sit on the edge of the great beyond.
McWay Falls, Big Sur California
This picture is worth clicking on . . . beyond the sight of
it, what do you feel in the longing of your soul? We go to the mountains,
to the beach . . . we visit sites, we cherish our sights . . . all of these are
lovely indeed. But why do we love it . . . yes it stimulates the senses .
. . peace can come with it . . . we can see the water and it is beautiful . . .
hear the waves and the waterfall . . . smell the saltiness in the water . . . whether
it is sunny outside or not it is the same . . . we can feel the sand and the
water . . . sometimes we can even taste it all.
Big Sur, California
But, we become more aware of something else . . . being
right there within or so close to this huge mass . . . this mass that covers
3/4ths of the earth . . . the ocean,
that gives us balance . . . if you open your soul . . .and
become aware of how its longing connects you to what you are experiencing . . .
can you feel the power, this magnetism . . . the force that in many ways
balances the earth . . . can you feel it inside of yourself . . . even if that
level of awareness is not yet developed . . . can you feel inside of yourself
where it is supposed to connect . . . and how that connection draws you in to
becoming even more connected, through various modes, to what is permanent,
solid and real . . . and in becoming aware of that experience . . . we realize
what is insignificant.
The Lone Cypress, Pebble Beach California
Can we use that feeling . . . that awareness to assess the
other things to which we are connected . . . can we use it to improve the
quality of our relations with people, with our environment . . . or most
importantly . . . with ourselves . . . what is our very real solid experience
and what are we projecting on to ourselves and others?
Is our path to living what we want to live being blocked by
something that we are projecting . . . that is also something to work on . . . but,
the process has started . . . and can be used.
Driving down the coastline from Oregon can be a soul
touching experience, if we are open. Very few guard rails, no separation
between the sides of the cliffs and what is beneath several hundred to a few
thousand feet to the water . . . It is hard to sight see without stopping to
take it all into your senses. And as we
proceed, just like in life . . . we can get to a point where we at the same
level as the clouds and eventually look down upon them . . . much food for
thought on the foggy mornings along the drive.
Bixby Bridge, Hwy 1 California
I couldn’t by-pass this little one, and as nature goes, so
can we . . . if we allow ourselves to feel and accept our feelings . . . we can
evolve and grow into that place of our peace.
There are so many examples that exist along the Pacific Coast
Highway. With all the travails in our lives, what can allow us to find
peace? Compassion for others, reflecting
on the value of human life – including our own are what we each search for but
few really find.
Ahh . . . what would it be to experience rest like this –
whether awake or sleep – the ‘peace be still’ . . . to understand the place of
those things that stress us and separate us from peace . . . what is
peace? It doesn’t mean necessarily to be free from pain, regret, heart
ache, dissension, loneliness, etc. In fact, it is more aligned with
allowing those feelings to exist, but being able to make peace with them.
We each have to find what our individual peace . . . is but, somehow indeed,
that peace is still connected to others through compassion, empathy,
understanding, forgiveness, patience . . . and the list goes on.
We can realize how small we actually are compared to the
larger dynamic . . . but that requires walking the hard path . . . a friend
asked me if my blog was moving more towards a spiritual base? My reply was . . . if you read a really good
book, doesn’t it add to the quality of certain things about you?
Well, to travel the world in my time upon it and
absorb the human experience of others, to experience working in an area with no
running water, to see the implications firsthand of someone in an Alaskan
remote village turning on a faucet or flushing a toilet the first time inside
their house in their seventy years . . . of soul to soul acts of human
depravity in wars (most of which are not necessary), to sit in a temple
thousands of years old demonstrating human and spiritual devotion, to lend a
hand when someone needs it, or receive it regardless of a language or cultural
gap, to see such magnificent expressions when people focus on excellence, to
learn a tango – not the steps – but the interpreted intention of expressions of
the soul seeking comfort . . . well, certain things should change you . . . especially
if you are simultaneously seeking to calm your soul and refine your own
expressions . . . go below the surface and above the clouds . . . wishing you
and myself – PEACE during this holiday season!!
Life Observation # 178 . . . “Time heals all wounds”
Loss is a process which has to be dealt
with and no two people experience it the same way. It is a unique experience for each of us as
we look at things through various lenses and frames of mind. The loss of
someone is often painful and probably for most people more so that we may
imagine. People who say that “time heals
all wounds” don’t know what they are talking about. Time lessens the sting of loss, but the pain
never completely goes away. That doesn’t
mean you won’t experience joy and happiness again; you will. In time, you will begin enjoying the present
instead of dwelling on the past.
Since I have been on the road and didn’t
have my external drive I have gotten out of sequence in my numbering of my Life
Observations but now am back on track.
This expresses my thoughts exactly . . . Life Observation # 177 . . . Attitude
longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.
It is more important than the past, than
education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than
what other people think or say or do. It
is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a
church.... a home.
remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will
embrace for that day. We cannot change
our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We
cannot change the inevitable. The only
thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...I
am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, as I
hope it is a great day for you!
Times have been a little depressing
lately for many people in the country so I thought it would be great to give
you a couple of laughs today. It will only take a few minutes of your
time . . . about the time it takes to have a cup of coffee so take a break and
give yourself a little smile and for me every time I hear or see this it gives
me a good belly laugh.
There aren't as many classic
Thanksgiving episodes of TV shows as there are classic Christmas episodes.
But there are several we remember fondly, including this one.
It's the "Turkeys Away"
episode of WKRP in Cincinnati that originally aired on October
30, 1978. Station Manager Carlson tries to come up with a special
promotion for the station and, well, you'll see what happens.
WKRP in Cincinnati was a
sitcom by Hugh Wilson who was in sales and part time disc jockey for WQXI radio in Atlanta, Georgia in
the late 60’s and early 70’s. I think a lot of the television show was
based on the time period he spent in Atlanta.
The show was about the wacky
characters and zany antics at a dysfunctional Top-40 station . . . was a
wonderful comedy that was funny because it was rooted just enough in reality.
Back in the '70s and early '80s everyone loved WKRP because it was probably
like most people’s jobs or home, people trying hard to work through the
realities of everyday life.
“Turkeys Away” I think was loosely
based on a WQXI promotion at Lenox Square Mall in the late 60’s where several
turkeys were dropped from a helicopter over the parking lot close to the old
bowling alley in the mall. My dad who bowled there every week took us to
watch the holiday promotion before his tournament started later that
afternoon. It was a combination of funny, disbelief, and horror as the
turkeys hit several cars and bounced off the pavement. It was captured so
well in this timeless episode.
“As God is my witness, I thought
turkeys could fly.”
Another one of my favorites is this
long ago event.
Thanksgiving is the anniversary (52nd)
of a major event in American history.
This hippie guy tried to do a favor
for his friends and got arrested for it.
I’m talking . . . of course . . .
about Arlo Guthrie and his true-if-exaggerated tale about the Alice’s
On Thanksgiving 1965, Arlo Guthrie visited friend
Alice Brock and her husband at their home, a church in Great Barrington,
Massachusetts, and did them a favor by taking out their garbage. The dump was closed that day, so Guthrie and a
friend dropped the garbage off a cliff where other locals had previously
dropped trash. Guthrie was arrested the following day, and the mark on his
record miraculously kept him out of Vietnam by making him ineligible for the
This slice of Americana is
timeless in the fact that it is still funny after forty years and the issues
during that time are still relevant today.
Remember, if you want to end wars and
stuff, you gotta sing loud!
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant.
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant.
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track.
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant.
Enjoy the day, give thanks for our
many blessings and do something unexpected for someone you do not know as it
makes our world a better place.
Thanks to our military personnel both overseas and at home as
there is danger and sacrifice on both fronts. Thanks to you and your
families . . . to those in support of our men and women all over the world.
Take a few moments and remember what principles founded this
country . . . “In God We Trust”
to have moved away from those principles and slowly we are losing focus on what
has kept us a great Nation. I am super proud of being an American, but we fail our
veterans every day.
Veterans are a
symbol of what makes our nation great, and we must never forget all they have
done to ensure our freedom.
from a little known (American public) time in my life . . . Operation Lam Son 719
operation was conceived in doubt and assailed by skepticism, preceded in
Dr. Henry Kissinger speaking on Operation Lam Son 719
The following excerpt from Newsweek, 15 March 1971,
was more objective than most at the time:
“To the modern American cavalryman of the air, the plunge into
Laos has been something like an old-time charge on horseback: admirably heroic,
stunningly effective-and terribly costly. For four weeks now, American helicopter pilots
have flown through some of the heaviest flak in the history of the Indochinese
war. One-day alone last week, the Army
admitted to losing ten aircraft to the unexpectedly heavy North Vietnamese
ground fire, and there were reports from the field that the actual losses had
been much worse. As a result, the
customary bravado of the American chopper pilot was beginning to wear a bit
thin. "Two weeks ago," said
one gunship skipper, "I couldn't have told you how much time I had left to
serve in Vietnam. Now I know that I've
got 66 days to go, and I'm counting every one." Another flier added
anxiously: "The roles are reversed over there. In Vietnam, you have to hunt for the enemy. But in Laos, man, they hunt for you.”
Despite the risks, it was inevitable that U. S.
helicopters should be deeply involved in the Laotian campaign, for more than
any other artifact of war, the chopper has become the indelible symbol of the
Indochina conflict. Helicopter pilots were among the first Americans killed in
the war a decade ago, and, under President Nixon's Vietnamization program, they
will probably be among the last to leave. In the years between, the chopper's mobility
and firepower have added a radically new dimension to warfare, and the daring
young American pilots have scooped up their Silver Stars, Distinguished Flying
Crosses and Air Medals by the bushel-along with Purple Hearts. In the opinion of many military experts, the
helicopter has been the difference between a humiliating U. S. defeat in
Vietnam and whatever chance remains of attaining some more satisfactory
Lam Son 719 - JAN-MARCH 1971
Lam Son 719 was a major operation of the Army of the Republic
of South Vietnam, ARVN, into Laos from 30 Jan - 24 Mar 1971. U.S.
provided all of the aviation assets for this operation. A/101 AHB
"Comancheros" were one of the aviation units in this operation, along
with being the sole 101st Airborne aviation unit supporting the Special
Operations Group in I Corp during the month of February 1971.
The objective of Lam Son 719 was to disrupt an ongoing North
Vietnamese Army supply buildup at Tchepone, Laos. American Helicopter Units supported and
provided all transportation of ARVN troops/supplies into and out of Laos during
this operation. The US Helicopter
Crewman went against the heaviest anti-aircraft barrage incurred in the War.
The US helicopters that supported Lam Son 719 received fire
from rocket propelled grenades, enemy tanks, mortars and small arms fire. The US helicopters were regularly opposed by
NVA 23mm, 37mm, and 57mm anti-aircraft weapons along with .51 caliber machine
guns arranged to provide mutually supporting anti-aircraft fire. The enemy opposition comprised a permanent
logistical force of engineers, transportation, and anti-aircraft troops,
together with elements of five divisions that included 12 North Vietnamese
infantry regiments, a NVA tank regiment, an NVA artillery regiment, and 19 NVA
The South Vietnamese government claimed that 13,341 NVA had
been killed against 5,000 ARVN KIA/WIA. American
estimates put the ARVN losses at 10,000 which amounted to half of ARVN forces
committed to the operation.
The losses to US Helicopter Forces were 65 Helicopter Crewmen
KIA, 818 WIA, and 42 MIA. 618 US Helicopters were damaged, including 106
totally destroyed, from 30 Jan - 24 Mar 1971.
It is bittersweet that I am not in Alaska as it was so much
a part of my life these last twenty years being away from Atlanta and the
South. I think that both places and the
people there can take things for granted as we sometimes forget just how
beautiful it can be or accept without thinking all that is going on around us. It is those little things we see each day on the
way to work or driving somewhere that is in front of us but we may be too busy
to notice with all the things going on in our lives. Making a conscious effort to pay attention or
stop for a few seconds to notice the sunset, the beautiful flowers all over
town or in neighbor’s yards are all things that make our day better without us
realizing it or costing us anything other than time. Slow down and enjoy things wherever you are.
Many people in Key West or living on the beach stop most
days to watch the sun slowly drop below the water on the horizon getting a
feeling of calm satisfaction on taking the time to stop and notice the beauty
of such a simple thing. If you are lucky
you may see the “green” flash as the sun drops out of sight which is pretty neat
if you are fortunate enough to see it.
Those living in the mountains or on lakes have other beautiful things to
see, the loons on the lake or listening to a mountain stream making it’s
wonderful sounds as it moves over the rocks or drops into pools along it way to
some larger body of water.
Some of the constants from the South are how beautiful it is
in the spring when all the flowers are in bloom. Azalea bushes in shades of pink, white, and
even dark purple are all over the South and are highlighted every spring in
Augusta at The Masters golf tournament.
Bobby Jones had in mind a hard course layout, beautiful walks over stone
bridges and each hole gave a unique look with an almost indescribable beauty as
one played the course or were spectators during Masters Week. The cherry blossoms along the many walks by monuments
in Washington DC are vivid reminders of the constants in our lives in so many
places here. The monuments remind us of
our heritage, traditions and resolve as our nation had begun and continues to
be part of who we are as peoples from all walks of life.
Alaska has several as well; Halloween usually has snow on
the ground most years with children dressed up in snowmachine suits to keep
warm then covered by large costumes to go out trick or treating for candy or
other items. It always looked a little
strange and funny to me as many looked like the Sta-puff man all puffed up but
the kids seemed to not care and always enjoyed this unique way to spend
Halloween. Many children do not know any
difference in how the rest of the country does Halloween.
The beautiful drive down Turnagain Arm, one of two arms of
Cook Inlet which is one of my favorite drives in the world, easily rivals the
Pacific Coast Highway in beauty and grandeur.
The Seward Highway hugs the dramatic shorelines of Turnagain Arm,
arguably one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in America. Chugach
State Park's 3000-foot mountains jut up on your left from the water’s edge. On the right, the sprawling, sometimes
four-mile-wide flats of Turnagain Arm seem to stretch like a plain to the
opposite shores of Cook Inlet, where mammoth sloping mountains abruptly stop
their flat expanse. Each turn reveals
another scenic wonder. Beautiful
mountains line both sides of the inlet with very different looks whether it is
low or high tide or you drive north or south along the water’s shoreline.
Many times during the year there are “Bore tides” which many
suffers or wind kite riders use the twenty plus miles of flowing bore tide to
ride the waves from just outside Anchorage all the way down the Arm past McHugh
Creek Recreation Area, Beluga Point Lookout, Windy Point, Bird Point Park,
Girdwood and on down the road to Portage Valley.
Returning to the South this summer I had almost forgotten
how beautiful the fall season is here with the trees especially in the
mountains changing colors and blanketing the mountainsides with the vibrant
colors or reds, yellows, greens and a few purples. Colorful leaves falling in the neighborhoods
have made me appreciate leaf blowers and how much I had not missed doing this
needed chore every fall.
version is beautiful light fluffy snowflakes falling in this almost synchronized
rhythm depending on how much the wind is blowing. These light fluffy flakes are so soothing and
relax full watching the in front of the fireplace but quickly can become a pain
once you are outside with a shovel or snow blower trying to remove the now
heavy white beauty from your driveways or walkway around the house. It’s the trade-off between the beauty and the
work involved after a snow event but it’s all good.
Get out and enjoy this time of year with the sky so blue
against all the beautiful colors. It will make your day go a little better, a
little more serine and a lot more enjoyable.
This is something that all of us need on a daily basis, a calmer more
enjoyable time in our lives.
I wanted to go
back and write more on the fall night in north Georgia seeing the Nitty Gritty
Dirt Band once again. It uplifted my
spirit at the time and made the upcoming week of losing my Aunt Doris thirteen
days after losing my uncle a little easier as I remembered when the music can
start to heal all things.
"Circlin' Back - the Nitty
Gritty Dirt Band" tour came to the Georgia Mountain Fall Festival Celebrating
50 Years of playing great music together on Saturday night, October 1, 2016.
The weather was perfect with a slight crispness in the air, a slight smell of
wood smoke drifting by either from the nearby local area houses or the
concession but either way it gave a welcoming down home feel to the evening. Playing to a sold out crowd the
attendees ranged from grandchildren to middle age and to the bulk of the crowd,
the over 50-60 crowd.
I would guess that most were like me
who have followed the group since the late 60’s attending their concerts
whenever and wherever they played close-by.
I have seen them in Alaska, Utah, Colorado, Georgia, the Carolinas,
Florida, and Tennessee over the years.
They continue to be on my playlist as I walk on this journey called
life. They have been a great companion
as well as others since music has played a major part of my life. There are songs to build you up, comfort you,
and be a friend when you needed one and so many other things. This night was a twenty song playlist of continuous
music jamming for 2.5 hours of our favorite music.
A great night with a little music which
You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere, Dance Little
Jean, Buy for me the Rain, Tulsa Sounds Like Trouble to Me, Stand a Little
Rain, My Walking Shoes, Bluegrass Instrumental, Get Back, Honky Tonkin’, Working
Man (Nowhere to Go), Mr. Bojangles, Ripplin’ Waters, Bless the Broken Road, Beverly
Hillbillies, Harmonica Jam, Skinny Dipping/Fishin’ in the Dark, American Dream,
Jambalaya (On the Bayou), and their encore; Will the Circle Be Unbroken and The
Everyone in the crowd seemed to have
a good time, the band continued their tradition of coming out after the concert
to greet those staying to say how much they enjoyed the music, buy souvenirs,
or just say hello. The mood walking out
to the parking lots were upbeat, people talking how much fun they had and others
singing NGDB songs.
This was a much needed uplifting mood
and attitude night as music heals and makes all things better, or at least it
does for me.