Genesis 1:31
"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (New International Version-NIV)

Truly Gods vast creation, landscape, wildlife and man is beautiful beyond description.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

In Loving Memory, March 22,2014

Today I will try my feeble attempt to write a few comment about my memories and thoughts about Jan but I have not the words nor the ability to portray my true feeling. While I was thinking about what I wanted to say an old song kept running through my mind and I could just not shake it or bring all the words into focus but the gist of the idea was "  let me tell you the ways I love you ". That was close to what I wanted to say because I loved Jan in so many ways but then I thought no what I really want to say is let me tell you the many ways I remember you and what those memories are. Many of my comments are just rambling thoughts and remembrances and not necessarily  in chronological order. You will have to overlook the quality of some of the photographs as many are 70 or so years old and many have faded in time.

On June 16, 1933 an event happened that would change my life forever and would eventually lead to new life and a new family. That event was the birth of Janive Counts to Tolbert and Anna Counts who lived in North West Arkansas between the towns of Springdale and Fayetteville, Arkansas on a small farm. Their farm was a little over a mile from Johnson, Arkansas about half way between Springdale and Fayetteville. The Counts family lived only a mile or so from me and my parents on our farm. I have no real recollection of Janive ( Jan ) until early grade school as we both attended the same community school located in Johnson, Arkansas. This was a three room school building with the first and second grade in one room; the third, fourth and fifth grade in an adjoining room; and the sixth, seventh and eighth grade in the largest room. There were three teachers. The principal Mr. F. A. Wohlford taught the higher grades.

  Photograph Of Jan 2nd From The Left In The Front Row And Her Family Outside Their Home
Jan In Very Early Grade School. I love This Photograph Of Her.

Jan In Seventh Or Eighth Grade

Jan In Front Of The Grade School We Attended. 1st And 2nd Grades Were In The Room At
The Right Side Of The Photograph. The 3rd, 4th, And 5th Grades Were In The Middle Room. The 6th, 7th, And 8th Grades Were In The Room On The Left Of The Photograph.

I certainly knew Jan at that time but I suspect at best you could say it was a situation of little boys tolerating girls who kept wanting to join in our play or occupying the swings or teeter toter's when we wanted to use them. You know boys can be so much more aggressive in play than girls. By the third or fourth grade I started noticing Jan a little more. Occasionally we would walk part of the way home together when we were in the 6th to 8th grade. I lived one mile from school and Jan a little farther but on a road toward the west of my home . When we did walk together she would leave me at a certain point and walk through the woods and fields over to her road and her house. There was an attraction between us although we never mentioned it. I guess in looking back I would call it puppy love although Jan later in life always described it as much more than that. She knew what she wanted and who she wanted. During World War II 1941 to 1945 the community was deeply involved in collection of scrap metal of all sorts and raising money to go toward the war effort. This often involved  what we called pie suppers where the women and girls in the community would bake cakes, make pies, cookie, fudge and other goodies and there would be a meeting that was always held in the largest room at the school. The pies, cakes, etc. would be auctioned off to the highest bidders. The men would try to buys their wives baked goods. Singles guys  ( high school and up ) would want to buys their girl friends baked goods.  I recall always to wanting to buy Jan's cookies, fudge or what ever she brought. Even then she was the worlds best cook. Her mother taught her well. The purpose of these pie suppers was to raise money for the war effort so the older men would keep raising the bid wanting to raise more money. That made it hard on us young guys especially like me in grade school ) because we did not have much money to spend. Most of the time they would stop bidding and let us win when they figured they had pushed us as far as they could. On occasions they would keep bidding and then finally let us have the item we were bidding on. The money you bid not only got you the girls baked item but you got an dollar equivalent war bond or war savings stamps which a few years later could be cashed in and you got your money back with interest. I always tried to get Jan's items. I can't ever recall being interested in any other girls baked items so I think that means I was not interested in any other girl. We also had a traveling motions picture show that would come to Johnson in the summer and once a week and he would set up his projector and screen on the school ground. There was a good slope along one side of the school building and the people would sit on the ground and he would attach the screen to the side of his truck and place the projector  on the level portion of the school yard. There was no charge for the movie as I recall  but he made his money selling candy and drinks. When it got real dark and he would start the movie and  I would find my way over to sit by Jan. The show always included the latest news reels, comedy series, a serial of some sort that had you coming back next week and the feature film. It was great entertainment. You know you had to be careful so as not to be teased by the other boys. I don't recall any of them showing any interest in any of the girls. I guess I knew a good thing when I saw it. I know Jan always said she did. Also by this time we would met during the day on weekends, on summer vacation and just walk through the woods. We both loved being outdoors and walking in the woods and just sitting and talking. In the fall of the year we loved to walk in the woods and look at the beautiful colored leaves. At that time of year there was a tree called a chinkapin tree and it had wonderful nuts that would fall to the ground after the first few frost. We loved to collect these nut and eat them and of course take a few home. You know I don't recall Mom ever asking me who I had been with. She would not have objected. In the winter when we had several inches of snow on the ground I would hook our tractor up to an old sled we owned and take the kids riding on the sled. Of course Jan always rode on the tractor with me. Those were wonderful times. All those wonderful days were to end soon.

They ended because later in the 1940's Jan's family moved to the town of Johnson and in 1946 my parents sold our farm and we moved to Johnson also. Gone was the woods and fields Jan and I used to roam in now we lived in a " town " of perhaps a couple of hundred. Wouldn't you know it we moved one house south of Jan's home. Jan and I were one grade apart in school. I was one grade ahead of her. After grade school we started to high school and by this time we were dating regularly. I used to joke that I could not leave the house without Jan knowing it because we lived so close and her wanting to know where I went. We were together constantly if I was not working at one of the many  jobs I had. My father owned and operated his over the road truck and trailer so he was gone most of the time so I always had the family car almost for my exclusive use so Jan and I always had transportation to go where ever and when ever we wanted. If we did not go to a movie in town or to a drive in for a burger and soft drink we would just drive around or walk around. We especially loved to go to the drive in theater. I drove a school bus my senior year in high school and when I got home I would go back to school and get Jan from band practice. During the summer months I would drive with Dad and help him. It was not uncommon for 15 or 16- year-olds to have chauffeur license at that time. In fact I drove a school bus my Jr. and Sr. year in high school. Often I would make the trips alone and I would miss Jan so much I could not wait to get home to see her. Often we would walk down to the creek about a quarter of a mile south of my house and just sit and talk. We always walked hand in hand or arm in arm. Neither of us had any interest in anyone else.
Jan In Her Fayetteville High School Band Uniform. She Played Snare Drum.
Jan And I At Lake Sequoya East Of Fayetteville, Arkansas While We Were In
 High School.
Jan At Razorback Stadium Fayetteville, Arkansas  In High School.

Jan In Her High School Prom Dress 
Jan As A Senior In High School
Jan's High School Graduation Photograph 
 We never talked of marriage but we both knew that we would marry each other at some 
point. It was just understood that we were meant for each other. We both  wanted a family 
and I wanted to have a career in the Air Force which was OK with her. I graduated
 from Fayetteville High School in 1950 and Jan graduated in 1951. Then on November 1,
1952 Jan made me the happiest person on earth by joining me in marriage.

 Jan With New Born Janice. Our first child.
Jan With Janice In The Back Yard Of My Parents House
 Jan Holding Second Daughter Joyce While Janice Sits On The Car. This Picture Was Taken
While I Was In Goose Bay Labrador And Was I Ever Glad To Get It. Joyce Was One Week 
Old When I Report On Active Duty With The U. S. Air Force And Assigned To Labrador.
Jan Relaxes In Our Apartment In Maryland ( Washington, D. C. ) 1957.
Jan In 1956 In The Play Ground Of Our Apartment Complex Called Glass Manor
Jan At Washington, D. C. Cherry Blossom Festival. She Is Holding Joyce With Janice 
Standing Beside Her. This Was One Of Her Favorite Things To Do Go See The 
Cherry Blossoms.

Jan In Washington, D. C. When She Was Pregnant With Patricia Our 3rd Daughter
Jan Holding Baby Patricia
Jan Holding Baby Jamie Our Fourth Daughter As She Reads Bedtime Story. She Read To The Girls Every Night.
Jan In Washington, D. C. Holding Baby Jamie Our 4th Daughter. This Must Have Been Christmas Because The Candle Angles Are Out. Look At The Ham With Pineapple Rings On It, The Cherry Pie, Banana Pudding, Hot Rolls And Look At The Glasses Of Milk. Jan Was The Worlds Best Cook.
Jan In Washington, D.C. Holding Baby Jamie And Patricia As Janice On the Right And 
Joyce Look On. Isn't That A Beautiful Sight. Wonderful Memories. This Photograph Shows Another Of Jan's Outstanding Characteristics And That was How Well She Kept The Girls Dressed And Their Hair Curled.

Jan made such an impact on so many people that I never knew and still, to this day, I am finding out about how she helped someone with a kind word or just a shoulder for someone to cry on or someone to talk to about a problem. Just to listen. Sometimes these are people I honestly don't recognize. That was Jan. In this connection Jan loved and served her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in many ways that most people did not see and that was the way she wanted it. Her spirituals gifts was hospitality and  she used this in so many different way.  It seemed we always had some visiting preacher or missionary visiting and staying at our home. Some when they came to our church specifically asked to stay with us rather than in a local hotel. She made you feel part of the family. She loved all sorts of music but especially gospel. One of her favorite songs was by Ann Downing, " The longer I know him the sweeter he grows " . His name is wonderful. This song is referring to Jesus Christ. She loved to read the Bible. Her favorite scripture was Psalms 91.  Another Psalms that she loved was Psalms 103

Jan was a person of prayer. I know that often when I was facing a hard decision, situation or a contentious meeting although she never knew the details of the situation but she knew I was stressed out about it she prayer about it and for me. Often I get to the meeting open up my notes and there would be a note from Jan telling me she loved me and she was praying for me. Many time when I was traveling I would open up my suitcase and there would be a note from Jan telling me she missed me, loved me and was praying for me. 

One note in particular I remember and still have say " I took an ordinary box as empty as can be. I filled it with a special gift and wrapped it carefully. But please don't ever open it. Just leave the ribbon tied and hold it tightly near your heart because my love for you is inside ". I don't know if these were Jan's original thoughts but I know she felt and meant them. Yes- That was Jan.

When one of our granddaughters was graduating Jan was asked to write a few comments for a scrap book that was being prepared to be presented to her upon graduation. This letter is quoted as follows:

Jan's Letter To A Granddaughter At High School Graduation
Jan Ready To Attend A Formal Military Christmas Party

Jan and I had a wonderful and happy marriage and she blessed me with four beautiful daughters and taught them how to live and be wonderful wives and mothers. She was the model mother and wife. I thank God daily for allowing me to have Jan as my wife. In the early years things were tough and the money was scarce but Jan made due and never complained. While assigned to Washington, D. C. I had to work part time selling children's shoes 6 P. M. to 9 P. M. Monday through Friday and 9 to 9 on Saturdays to make ends meet. This was a tough time on both of us but especially on Jan. My work as a A Special Agent with the Air Force Office Of Special Investigations often required me to work very odd hours along with the part time work. Normal investigations could be conducted during normal office hours but unfortunately crimes often happen at night and you have to respond to the incident. This left Jan with the bulk of the effort to take care of the kids. Where ever we were and under whatever conditions she made that home. This may have been in small apartments in college,  in Washington, D. C. or even in what we called our " Pattie House " off base in Japan she made it home for us. We traveled and lived all over the United States and as well as Japan and enjoyed ever minute of it together for 58 years when on March 22, 2011 her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ called her home to heaven. Words cannot express how much I miss her but I live in the assurance of knowing that some day I will join her in heaven. 

Without any doubt one of the things I like most and is the most meaningful to me is when people would refer to us as a couple they would always say here comes Bill and Jan hand in hand or they would say here comes the love birds. Yes we were the love birds because we loved each other as much as is humanly possible and beyond my ability to describe. That is my loving and thankful memory of Jan that she permitted me to go through life hand in hand with her.

Jan, I love you more than anything in this world. Bill

Jan Where She Loved To Be Outside Tending Her Flowers
Jan's Heavenly Third Birthday. 

I want to close this with the two favorite scriptures mentioned above:

PSALM 91 from the King James edition of the Bible:

"  He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the
2. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy
    shield and  buckler.
5. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day.
6. Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at
7. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh
8. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 
9. Because God hast made thee Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation.
10. There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder, the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample
      under foot.
14. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high,
      because he hath known my name.
15. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him, I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him,
      and honour him.
16. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation. "

PSALM 103 from the King James edition of the Bible:

    "Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name.
2.  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not his benefits;
3.  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4.  Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender
5.  Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's
6.  The Lord executeth righteousness and judgement for all that are oppressed.
7.  He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
8.  The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
9.   He will not always chide; neither will he keep his anger for ever.
10. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our inquiries.
11. For as the heaven is high above the earth so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
12. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
13. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.
14. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
15. As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
16. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
17. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his
      righteousness unto children's children.
18. To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.
19. The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom ruleth over all.
20. Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening
      unto the voice of his word.
21. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts, ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure
22. Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul. "

Remember as I always say God loves you and so do I.

Grandpa Bill

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Winter Olympics, 2014, Sochi,Russia

Hello everyone. It has been awhile since I have posted anything as I did not seem to have anything exciting to talk about. No that is not true There a lot of things of exciting and wonderful things. I guess I was just to lazy to do it. I do want to make a few comments about the Winter Olympics and the Paralympics from Sochi, Russia which have just receently concluded. I hope you were able to watch some of the events. I previously mentioned that I, for once, got to watch as much of the winter Olympics as I wanted because I was recovering from a hernia surgery. I love all sports and although I have never participated in winter sports I never the less enjoy watching. I know from personal experience having participated in sports at the college level on scholarship the amount of work and dedication that is required and I applaud these marvelous athletes for their dedication to their sport. In particular I applaud the Paralympics athletes, coaches, trainers and guides. Also, to be applauded are many professional teams and major corporations who support these athletes in so many different ways.

First of all you have the cross country skiers who have impairments ranging from a missing arm, legs or combinations of limbs. There are several categories of impairments. For example persons confined to a wheel chair will use a chair like apparatus sitting on skis and he will use poles just like anyone else. Normally skiers start about 30 second apart. Then there are those who are visually impaired whose impairments range from being almost totally blind to various stages of partial sight if only a few feet or those who can‘t see in front of themselves and can only see a small amount to the side. Finally there are the guides who ski with the visually impaired. These individuals have to be outstanding athletes themselves so as to be able to either keep up with their athlete or stay in front enough so as to not impede their athlete. It was amazing to see how the guides worked with their athlete. In some instances they skied in back of their athlete but in most instances they were in front of them. They were constantly turning around talking to their athlete telling them what was coming up for example a sharp curve, a uphill or a downhill stretch.  On some of the sharp curves the athlete would reach out and hold onto the guides ski pole which he would extend in back of himself and the athlete would hold onto it to help him maneuver around the curve. Because each skier has a guide no more than six skiers ski at a time. These are amazing individuals.

When you look at the athletes many of them are former military personnel who were wounded in action. One members is currently on active duty with the U. S. Army. But, there were a number of civilians whose impairment was caused by accident or natural causes or disease. Their ages ranged from 15 years old to over 40. The youngest was an individual playing ice sled hockey who is pictured later.

I love ice hockey but I especially enjoyed the ice sled hockey. These players had both arms but had no legs at all or various combinations of legs or part of legs missing. They sit on a  seat that is affixed to a single skate that has two blades a small distance apart. There is a frame that extend out in front of them to which their leg(s) are strapped. They have a short stick blade with which to strike the puck and the other end of this stick is used to help propel them along the ice. The second stick is used to help propel them. It is amazing the speed they can generate. They can plow into each at speeds up to 30 miles an hour. Depending on how they plow into the opponent it may be called a foul ( it is called T- Boning a player ). In the championship game the USA defeated the Russians 1 to 0 to earn the Gold Medal. This was the first time a team has won gold in back to back Paralympics. This team was under pressure since both the regular USA men's and women's ice hockey teams did not win gold. Considering the Russians have only been playing ice sled hockey for four years it is surprising they were able to make it to the championship game. I would say they are a force to recon with in the next Paralympics.

There is a tremendous “ Ice Warrior documentary on Team USA Sled Hockey " which can be found on PBS  and I strongly recommend you watch it. The following are a few photographs taken from the PBS web site. Check it out to learn more about Ice Sled Hockey and the players. You can also buy a DVD about the USA Team which won the gold medal 2 Olympics in a row. Go USA.

                                                       The Sled

                                                  The Stick

This end of the stick has metal points that dig into the ice to help propel the skater and help him maneuver. The other end has a blade for hitting the puck. If the officials sees a player hitting the opponent with the sharp points a foul is called. It looks like that end could cause some damage.
                                                       The Goalie Stick
The goalie only has one stick. You can see the small sharp points near the handle that  help the goalie maneuver around the goal. The goalie's glove has small points or spikes in them to help him move around in front of the goal.
This Is Brody Roybal Who Was 15 Years Old And A Sophomore In High School. He was born a congenital bilateral amputee as he does not have a femur in either leg. He plans to attend college and study finance. It is amazing how they keep their balance and right themselves when they are knocked over.

 Competition Is Fierce. Here the USA Is In A Game With Canada
I stand in amazement at these athletes considering the situation they have to deal with and I whine a little about having to recover from hernia surgery. The next time you see a person with some sort of impairment take a moment to consider how fortunate you are not to be in the same if not worse condition I know I will.

Remember as I always say God loves you and so do I.

Thankful to be alive, well and living in a free country like the USA..

Grandpa Bill

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Weather, Health, And Hope, 3/4/2014

I know most of you living from the rainy and stormy west coast, the icy and snow of the mountain out west and us here in central United States and the east coast join me in saying enough of this bad weather and let us have some warmer weather. My area is just recovering from the latest snow and ice storm and none to soon for me, I am still recovering from my hernia surgery. I had to cancel my appointment with the surgeon because if the ice. My next schedule is next week and I hope that all restrictions will be lifted. I am going stir crazy cooped up and not being able to do very much. Oh sure I make my daily trip to Walmart road conditions permitting but I have been to active all my life to just sit around and take it easy. In fact I have been inactive for so long ( at least for me ) I am finding it hard to get motivated to do the things I can do but I have been doing some ancestry research and searching through photographs I have.

But there is hope. I was out front finally bringing in the front Christmas decorations and I noticed as the snow was melting from the flower beds that the daffodils are starting to poke their heads up through the beds. That has to be a promise of better things to come. Just hang on a few more weeks.

I have signed the contract with the architect who is drawing the plans for my new first floor bedroom and full bath, and rearranged laundry/pantry. I am anxious to get that started.

Some time ago I made mention of the deer in my back yard and the photos I took and then lost the photos. Well here are a few I did get and did not accidentally erase.

Two Of Five Deer Who Came By For A Meal On This Day
It Would Help If I Were A Little Taller. This Is Rough On My Tongue
 This Is Hard Work. You Can See His Tongue Reaching For Seeds. Notice Some How He Managed To Knock The Food Tube Out Of The Center Of The Feeder.
 Beautiful 4 - Point Buck
Maybe There Is Some On The Ground. Notice In This Photograph You Can See That He Has Broken Some Points On His Antlers. I Wonder How That Happened.
 Often When He Visits He Has Several Doe With Him But This Time He Only Had  One And Here He Is Watching Her Eat At Another Feeder. In Fact He Made Her Stay At The Other Feeder And Would Not Let Her Join Him At This Feeder.
 Doe Is Eating Black Oil Sun Flower Seeds
 I Guess It Is Worth All The Work. She Has Been Eating Several Minutes.
Here She Tried To Join Him But He Drove Her Back To This Feeder
Another Beautiful Sun Set And The Hope Of Another And Brighter Day  As Seen Through The
 Gum Balls On The Gum Trees In My Front Yard.

COMMENT:  Considering the long and near record setting winter we have endured we look for a brighter day. Our Heavenly Father does not promise us another day but we have his promise that he will be with us if  he does permit us another day.  We do have his promise of a brighter day as we find this promise in the Bible. " For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. " King James, Psalms 30: verse 5. What a wonderful promise. Perhaps knowing this may be the reason early morning is my favorite time of the day.

As always remember that God loves you and so do I.

Grandpa Bill