My wife Lou and I celebrated our 66th wedding anniversary this week.

That led the list of things I am thankful for this year as the annual turkey-day observance poked its head through cloudy skies above our home in Eugene, Oregon.

I might have placed the acquisition and installation of a new toilet in the master bathroom at the top of the list, but decided to move it down a notch or two.throne

I met the young woman who would become my wife during my senior year in college. We were married two years later while I attemded grad school and she taught physical ed to high school students 200 miles from my dorm. We spent weekends together.

We’ve been best friends and lovers since that Thanksgiving wedding.

I listed our four children, eight grandchildren and 11 (with another en route) great-grandchildren as No. 2. We often remark that “we didn’t realize we were populating the world” when we joined forces in Missouri.

Several years later when I was being paid $75 a week while editing two weekly newspapers in Missouri, I came home one night and said, “We should have moved west rather than return home when I mustered out of the Air Force.”

“We still can,” this adventuresome woman said. So, we sold the furniture and headed west with a 2-year-old daughter, a 6-month-old son, no job and $300. Continue reading NEW THRONE INCLUDED ON THANKSGIVING LIST


The woman who became my wife threw me into a fire during our early courtship.

We were college students seated in front of a campfire. Just the two of us. I don’t recall any more of the details except that we were alone and that I had kissed her a time or twodeanlou during earlier dates.

On this occasion my hands may have strayed but only for a second. She grabbed my arm and literally flipped me into the fire.

Two years later Lou and I were married on Thanksgiving Day. I figured that I would never forget our anniversary not knowing that Thanksgiving moves around each year.

I enjoyed telling the story that my father-in-law said after the wedding that he didn’t realize he was getting a turkey for a son-in-law on that special occasion. Actually, the story may have been truer than I cared to admit.

Lou and I got along with relatives quite well during the ensuring years because we moved 1,500 miles from our home in Missouri to Oregon. Never had an in-law problem after that.

Lou and I agreed before we married that we would never fight as man and wife. Rather, when one of us becomes upset, the other person “clams up,” says nothing. This, of course, is a signal that we need to communicate and to solve the problem, misunderstanding, etc. Then kiss and make up. Continue reading OUR COURTSHIP SURVIVED DESPITE FIERY BEGINNING



When the rain arrives each fall in Oregon, my thoughts often cross the Pacific Ocean to an island nation where inhabitants are preparing to spend warm, sunny weekends on thousands of miles of sandy beaches.

Jeffrey Masson described moving to New Zealand as “Slipping Into Paradise” in his book published in 2004. The place, he says, reminded him a bit of Hawaii — but without people.

New Zealand, which is about the size of Oregon, became the focus of my study of the Down Under region several decades ago after I discovered that several of the world’s most venomous snakes reside in Australia.

So, I moved my attention eastward across the Tasman Sea to a two-island nation where you can walk in the woods or fish along a mountain stream without encountering a snake of any kind. A kiwi — maybe — but not a snake, a centipede, a tarantula or a scorpion.

The bonus, of course, is that the seasons are reversed, which makes it possible to enjoy summer year around — if you are willing to spend a lot of time traveling 7,000 miles from my home in Eugene, Ore., to and from Auckland. Continue reading THOSE WHO FEAR SNAKES SHOULD GO TO PARADISE


The nation faces one of its greatest challenges in selecting a president after the Electoral College vote ended in a tie on Tuesday, November 8.

The chore of selecting a president fell to the House of Representatives, which failed to endorse Donald Trump, the Republican presidential

And the Senate toyed with selecting Hillary Clinton as the nation’s vice-president before offering the job to Barack Obama, who declined, saying he plans to concentrate on refining his golf game.

Meanwhile, the NRA equipped members of the Supreme Court with automatic rifles in preparation for what many experts say will be one of the court’s most challenging sessions defending the Second Amendment.

A prominent New York newspaper published a front-page investigative story about the rumor that Trump had planned to remain in Trump Tower during his presidency because the White House was too small to accommodate his portraits and his tax statements.

“You can’t make America great again by living in that dump,” a Trump supporter wrote on Twitter. Continue reading ELECTION ENDS IN TIE; PRESIDENCY IN LIMBO