So he thought about horses and they were always the right thing to think about.


Holiday Season Musings… The Norman Rockwell Christmas

I have this thought and I’ll call it the Norman Rockwell Christmas. Those paintings he made, he made for a reason. They are this stereotypical American, old fashioned Christmas, or old fashioned whatever.

So why did Rockwell paint those paintings? Well, there has to be some truth to them. I think the truth is that for an approximate 80% of all Americans, we have experienced that Christmas at some point in our lives. For some of us, it was our childhood, and for that child whose Rockwell Christmas was their childhood, we can assume that Child’s parents also had the Rockwell Christmas at that time period. It was mutual. The parent was largely responsible for giving it to the child, and consequently, providing that Christmas for the chid, they also experienced it.

The other scenario would be the child that did not experience it growing up. Maybe they came from a foster home, or alcoholic parents, or something along those lines. That person always saw the Rockwell paintings, or they saw those classic Christmas movies on television, and they always dreamed they would, or should have had that. Therefore when that person grows up, they find a way through hard work and fate, that they are able to provide that stereotypical Christmas for their children. In this case it benefits them as much as it does the children.

Now, the third scenario I can think of is the opposite. It is the child that had the Rockwell Christmas while growing up, but no longer has it. This is where I am for some reason, and its not constant. It ebbs and flows, but being at my grandma’s last night and looking at the photos of the times past and thinking about my other grandma and my family. Its just hard.

I can remember Christmas Eves at my Grandma Eddy’s house. The whole family there. All crammed into her little house. The tree would be up and she would make sure that she had a present for everyone. Uncle Lloyd would be there telling stories about how Iron City was the best beer ever. My uncle Frank would park his red Dodge pickup in the front yard. Grandma didn’t have two nickels to rub together and everyone knew it. No one wanted her buy them anything, but she always did, even if it was just a couple pair of socks from the D&K store. My cousin Billy would be there, and my Uncle Frank. There was always this rum cake she would make that was to die for. We always felt like we were getting away with something by eating it, as if we’d get drunk off the cake. The drinks were in a cooler out on the screened in porch were it was about 20 degrees, and there would always be someone out there smoking. The was that green porcelain pine tree decoration with the white snow accents and the colored bulbs on the tree branches that lit up. She always had it sitting on this old record player with the top that slid open next to where the recliner sat. There was a heater vent between the recliner and the record player, that was about one foot square, and we would always sit in front of it when the furnace kicked to have the heat blast on us.

After leaving Grandma’s we’d go to church for the late candlelight service. We’d finish by singing Silent Night a cappella by candlelight. We’d leave church and Irwin would be dead quiet. The light at the corner in town would be flashing because it was so late they shut off the actual red and green stop lights. The sidewalk would be lit up with luminaries.

The next day, we’d go to Grandma Pats. The whole family would be there. Aunt Pam and Aunt Bonnie, Uncle Ross and Ian, Colin, and Heather, Aaron and Ashely, my sister. Pap was there. We’d run and play all through the house just having a good time. That’s my Rockwell Christmas. Now, pap is gone, Billy is gone, Grandma Eddy is gone, uncle Frank is gone, Aaron never comes around. Aunt Bonnie moved to Ecuador, Ross is gone, Colin lives in Iceland, Grandma Pat is in a home, Ashley lives in Florida.

How many people out there can replace some of the names I mentioned and have this be their family’s story?


Riding Bodie in the Two Rein


Riding the BMW R1100GS to Ft Lauderdale and Back

On Sunday October 21st, Jancee and I left at 7am to meet my very good friend, Adam Patrick, at the Cheat Lake Burger King. We met at 8am and after a short breakfast, we were on our way to meet up with Tim Clemens off the Goshen exit on 79 South.

After meeting up with Tim, we were on our way. 79 to 19 south, to 77. Tim headed off to visit some friends and family in North Carolina, while we continued south. Sunday night was spent in St George South Carolina. Monday evening, we made it to Ft. Lauderdale, at the Harbor Beach Marriot, where we stayed for two days.

Wednesday afternoon, we left out of Ft Lauderdale and stayed the night in Lake City FL.

The next day we headed north to Deals Gap, and stayed at the Two Wheel Inn, a small motorcycle specific motel, which I highly recommend.

The next was the highlight of the trip. We rode the Tail of the Dragon on rt 129,and continued on to Pigeon Forge TN, and then on through Gatlinburg, and the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. From the Smokies we got on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Cherokee, and rode over 130 miles before the sun set on us. After another 2 hours of eastern TN back roads in the dark, we were in Johnson City where we spent the night.

The next day, and roughly 2700 total miles later, we arrived back home in the Laurel Highlands.

Here are a few photo highlights from the trip.



And a map of our path down and back:


Bridle Bits

From Left to Right:
Garcia Style Spade with Santa Barbara cheek and spoon mouth
EG (Eduardo Grijalva) Spade with Santa Barbara cheek and alligator mouth
Marsh Brothers (Tietjen pattern) Nevada Cheek, Mona Lisa mouth with mild tongue relief

The angle of the spoon mouth piece on on the Garcia bit has more sweep than the mouthpiece on the EG bit, and the cheeks on the Garcia pattern bit are heavier than the EG bit. Overall the Garcia bit is a great using bit that lacks the attention to detail that is found in the EG bit. However, both have their uses and applications for what would fit and work for one particular horse vs. another.

The Marsh Brother’s Tietjen pattern bit has a Nevada loose cheek made of stainless steel with a sweet iron tongue relief mouth with hooded copper roller in the Mona Lisa style. It is a light bit that is easy for horses to get along with.

Fall Photos



Riding with Pat, Deb, and Jancee