January 7, 2015


I am snug and warm in a motel room in Oneonta, New York, and I will be here until Friday morning, courtesy of friends, Thein & Phuoc Tran. Monday night in Otego, as it was rapidly getting dark, and colder, I went behind a church building to pitch my tent against a wall out of the wind and on blacktop instead of the wet ground. An advantage to a freestanding tent. Just after I had fallen asleep, about 10:30 PM, someone said, “Hey, you okay in there?” It was a New York State Trooper who said someone had called on me being there. The trooper was way cool! He stooped down to the tent so I wouldn’t have to come out of my sleeping bag. He told me it was 11 degrees and dropping. I handed him my card for identification and he said, “Wow, this is really great, can I keep this card?” He told me if it got too cold for me, to just dial 911 and they would come and get me to take me somewhere warm. He also told me he would check on me periodically during the night. About 30 minutes later, two young men walked up to my tent and one said, “Hey man, we’re sorry we called the law on you. We’re just not used to seeing a tent in the church parking lot.” I laughed and told them it was fine. Then one said, you think you could forgive us if we let you sleep inside that warm building tonight and gave you some of my dad’s famous split pea and ham soup while it’s still hot?” And I immediately said, “You are hereby forgiven!” And the three of us headed for the door! I slept on the floor of an office and the hot soup was wonderful!

Last night I had a very special treat, my dear friend, Dale Ernst, who once lived in Vero Beach, and his friend, Dan, drove about 70 miles from the Utica, NY, area. I hadn’t seen my friend in a few years, we had an awesome time for a few hours. As always, we laughed a lot! In my mind, good friends are sacred. I’m blessed with a huge number of friends. Friends are an excellent reason to LOVE LIFE. Be very thankful for your friends.

“A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?” ~ Kahlil Gibran