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Pictures Scrolling Across the Computer Screen

TBUTLER

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When my computer feels neglected it starts running through my photo files. One by one, pictures from our life and travels pop up on the screen. Some pictures fade in and out, others come in pairs. After a while they switch from color to black and white so I'm seeing them in a completely new way. They remind me of the rich life Louise and I have. Clearly, we are not wealthy in the conventional sense. Our bank account would not impress anyone. Still in so many ways, we are in the current vernacular, 1%'ers.

I'm certain that the number of people who have lived in a motor home for any length of time amounts to less than 1% of the population. Even in today's mobile world, the number of people who have traveled to all states in the US is less than 1% of the population. Not only have we traveled all over the US, we have lived in our home while doing this. Spending a week or even a few days living in a location is so much different than flying in, staying in a motel and flying back home.

Speaking of flying, my pilot's license also puts me in the 1% category and Louise has shared much of that flying with me. Many of my pictures are from our flights. I have pictures looking up at Denali, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Ranier, Death Valley, the Florida Keys and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. There are pictures of deserts, rivers and lakes, crops, plains, glaciers and so many other beautiful places. Each picture reminds me of another adventure, experiences and people we've met. All that said, there is nothing like the feeling of lifting off from the ground into the air and experiencing the freedom of flight. With no roads to follow, the possibilities are limitless.

Louise and I were able to retire at an early age. We worked another job for several years beyond our retirement then gave up full time work at age 55. Looking back on this now, from the age of 65 and still not being eligible for full Social Security, I really appreciate the years of travel when I was physically able to take on some of the adventures we did. To retire at such an early age probably puts us in the 1% category again.

I wrote this several months ago as you might suspect. I still feel like I'm in the 1% category. I recently gave blood for the umteenth time and after shoulder surgery and knee replacements on both knees I'm back on the tennis court. I bowled a 200+ game last week and got a 96 (I broke 100) on a golf course we've played for several years, so life is good.

The last few months I have devoted my time to getting certified as a Texas Master Naturalist. The certification requires 30 hours of class time (generally in 3 hour chunks) and 10 hours of field trips. A final 40 hours of volunteer time is required before you get your certification. After that, you can work with the parks and nature centers in the area as a volunteer on a regular basis. Needless to say, my time has been at a premium. I have completed all the requirements for graduation. Still, there are intersting field trips and classes. Tomorrow, Monday, I'll take a cactus field trip. I've seen tons of cactus in the last 11 years but there is always something to be learned.

Meanwhile, I'm consumed by homeowner responsibilites that I haven't had for years. It's just a mobile home on a small lot but there are endless projects to be tackled. I'm battling the spring bloom of weeds in the lawn and beyond. I spent the day attending to the drainage system, gutters, downspouts, etc. We'll depart for the summer in six weeks and there are plenty of things that have to be done to get the house ready. Then there is the list for the motor home. It has been sitting in "storage" next to our house, for almost six months so I'll have to turn my attention to getting it ready for a summer of travel. I can't wait to get her rolling and leave the house in the rear view mirror. It promises to be a great summer.

We are planning to take our grandsons on a trip through Nebraska and South Dakota. Fun you say? Yes, there are numerous palentological sites (boys and dinosaurs, mammoths and other ancient creatures) in both states as well as the historical and scenic sites. We're hoping to get them to the annual Volksmarch at the Crazy Horse monument near Custer, SD. Our two oldest grandaughers are overdue for a trip to the Kentucky Horse Park and some stops in Indiana including a great candy store and the Children's Museum in Indianapolis. After that, we're off to enjoy ourselves, heading for a long delayed destination, the Olympic Penninsula of Washington. We may stray into Canada to visit friends on Vancouver Island if time allows. We have two young grandaughters in California to visit. Then we'll return to take care of Louise's mother in Denver while Louise's sister celebrates her husband's retirement on a cruise. That is small payment for their care of Mom in their home for the last 9 years. Our final journey will be back to home in south Texas sometime in October.

If you own a motorhome, the possibilities are endless. Life is much better when you can travel at will.



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