Moving Back to Georgia

We were only supposed to be in Georgia for a couple of days. It turned out to be longer. See, there was this property near Athens and it looked right for a move back to Georgia. We bought the land.

Front of the land cleared and the house is going up

There are a number of valid reasons to leave our home in North Carolina. The combined needs to get back home warrant the relocation leaving behind a house where we’ve put in renovations intended for a lifetime. Someone will end up with a dream home. If the North Carolina property were closer to Athens, Georgia we’d keep it.  The distance is simply too great to make it worthwhile.

The new home, for me, includes: amazing archery ranges, great cycling roads, and phenomenal water access to rivers and lakes. Athens is the Southern Cycling Mecca.

Athens Twilight Criterium Bicycle Race

Georgia, from what I can glean from the Internet will offer more competitive archery than where we live in New Hope (near Hertford, NC). It’s not that North Carolina doesn’t have a fair share of archery events where one can compete. It’s that many of them are so far away from where we live that it requires an overnight trip. Certainly, Georgia is another one of those larger states, but in and around Athens there is an abundance of archery competitors and tournaments to meet their needs.

Georgia Archery Association, along with Field Archery and 3D seems creates a full calendar for shooting in the deep South

To top that off there are endurance sporting events, from running to triathlon, nearly every weekend – to supplement my completion fix provided by archery.

For Brenda, my wife – a professional Yogi instructor – being near Athens offers an abundance of Yoga opportunities.  There are a number of Yoga studios within minutes of our new property.

Another major benefit will be our proximity to UGA.  Since our move to New Hope I have worn out a search for continuing education classes.  There’s just too little here to be academically satisfying.

The property we ended up buying is  minutes outside of Athens. Its just far enough to be out of congestion and enough to get into the city at the drop of a hat. The “lot” we bought is just over three acres in rural “Good Hope” (Population – 289) meaning archery ranges can be affixed. Yes, that is “Good Hope, Georgia” and we are moving from “New Hope, North Carolina.”

If all goes well the relocation will impact athletic training, hopefully to a minimal. The long term benefit to be so close to other cyclists, runners, triathletes and archers has great potential.

About a mile away from our new property in Georgia

It will be cool to shoot over in Social Circle and Snellville, GA. Since Georgia is our home, we’ll be surrounded by family and one of our two daughters. We hope to be moved back to Georgia by February 2018.

July 4th, 2017

We’re one the road and in Georgia. It’s our annual 4th of July celebration. We’ve been doing this for decades. Since I’ve been writing on this site this marks the third year where our 4th coincidenced with archery. We have a big production here at the Lake House.

Sean and River anticipating their next swim

My father-in-law, Ray, is the primary instigator of the celebration. He’s retired Army and retired ROTC teacher. The 4th is particularly meaningful to him.

To get to Georgia we stop along the drive and camp. We used to make the drive in one shot. Since we bought our Winnebago, it’s more fun to take our time and enjoy the view.

View from our campsite at Little Pee Dee

Our first stop was at Little Pee Dee Campground near Dillon, SC. This makes our third stop at that Campground. Because our trip was just before the weekend of the 4th, we had to settle for the last open campsite. It was really tight. That’s not to mean it wasn’t spacious, it was tight with trees requiring extremely careful parking of the RV.

That was tight

I needed to be perfect backing in because two trees bordered the entrance. One of them leaned in allowing just inches of clearance. Once in the space was just excellent.

Tight but no one is on top of us at Little Pee Dee in SC

In Tignal we camped at Hester’s Ferry Campground. Having a Winnebago means no one has to rent a place for the overflow of family that comes to enjoy the lake, food, and fireworks.

Hester’s Ferry campsite in GA

The trip is not a vacation from archery.  We have a field where I practice with my bow and Ray practices with his crossbow. This trip I brought a large block. There are two blocks here, both shot to pieces. The bigger block, carried here in the truck, has two sides that will stop arrows. The larger sides don’t even slow arrows.

The block was hauled to the field, balanced on a smaller block that rested on a chair. Once the paper target was attached to the old block I used a 100-foot tape measure to wheel out 50 meters. Before long the range was open for business.

In the past, I’ve said that I prefer warm weather to cold. Well, I got my wish. I think the coolest day during this trip peaked at 93°F. That’s not to too bad. We get similar temperatures on the coast of North Carolina all the time. Sure, archery practice can be a sweaty business.

Cycling, in the case of this trip, was done pretty early and the heat was not a factor. Even bike rides later in the day didn’t feel as hot as did standing still in the sun shooting. Riding a bike creates a nice breeze.

The final day of 50-meter practice here was the hottest of all – over 100°F. The forecast was for 100°F and we surpassed the prediction. Hiking to pull arrows I made sure to put my bow under the shade of a tree otherwise after an hour or so the bow gets really hot. A black aluminum bow is a great thermopile. Still as hot as it was, I’ll take it over the cold.

Got to keep this bow in the shade

We begin our trip home tomorrow. Another 4th is history. Thousands of dollars for fireworks blasted. A mess of great food was eaten. I’ve finished a short bit of writing to remind me about it in the future and I am sharing with you.

In a final note there is group of archers on western shore of Maryland who banned me from their site when I shared my 2014 4th of July post with them. To them I say, “Happy 4th of July! And may the blue rubber suction tips on your arrows always hold true.”

A Good Guy

One measure of a man’s character, is how he regards his family, and my friend, Guy, held his family in the utmost regard.

Early Army photo of CWO3 Guy Giella

A small conversation about meatloaf is a good example of his affection.   During our last visit, a couple of months ago in Georgia, I told Guy that I make the best meatloaf. He debated my claim saying, “No, Shirley (his wife) makes the world’s best meatloaf.” I told him, “We’ll see.”

Brenda, my wife, prepared the meatloaf. Then, I cooked it over several hours in a smoker. It is my opinion, that is the best way to cook meatloaf.

Shirley, I have no doubt, makes a delicious Southern style meatloaf in the same manner as did my Grandmothers, my mother, and my wife – before I started smoking them. That is, baked in the oven with a ketchup glazed across the top surface of the meat. It’s good.  However, a smoked meatloaf is, in my liberated Southern cuisine, amazing.

Hours after the challenge, of whose meatloaf is the best, mine or Shirley’s, we sat down to eat dinner. The main course smoked, glaze-free, meatloaf.

To get a fair measure for objective analysis Guy ate half the meatloaf. After the meal I asked, “So, Guy, which meatloaf is better?”

He responsed, “Well, your’s is different, but Shirley’s wins; her’s is the best.”

Shirley and Guy

There was no way, whether he believed it or not, would Guy have ever admitted any meatloaf might exceed the treat of his wife’s. He was just that kind character.

Guy passed away unexpectedly May 30th.

I’ve known Guy for 37 years, there was simply no condition where his family wasn’t number one. Whether it be meatloaf or something more relevant. This applies to wife and children.

I have always stated, you can gauge how good a job parents do easily, just take a look at the children. Guy and Shirley’s two boys are among the finest men I have ever known. Those men, Steve and Chris, have families of their own, and their children are the type people that anyone would enjoy meeting.

Chris Giella, Guy, and Steve Giella

After spending any time with Guy’s sons or grand children, you leave feeling good. All of them have a knack for making others feel good about themselves. That is a gift. A gift taught by parents, beginning with Guy and Shirley.

Shirley, Guy, Steve and the tall fella in the background Guy’s grandson and Clemson Tiger lineman, Zack Giella

I met Guy through my father-in-law, Ray. He and Guy, both retired Army, had been friends 50 years. Their camaraderie is impossible to capture in the space and time allotted.  Let’s just say, it was boundless, fraught with bickering, but connected by mutual respect and love.

This isn’t the first time Guy has been mentioned on this site. There’s are article about “Old Lions” that highlights a little about Guy and Ray. Some readers will know Guy personally, some of you don’t. But, what all should know is that Guy Giella was a real bona fide American Hero. You never know it by talkling to him.

Ray and Guy

So, here is a little I’d like to share in memory of one of those true Americans. Read this and you’ll agree that in his case the term Hero is not an over statement:

Guy was born October 6, 1939, in Mount Vernon, New York, and retired from the Army in Savannah, Georgia, in 1976 after 20 years of active service which included tours overseas in Germany, Korea and two tours in Vietnam. His duties included paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne, drill sergeant and he attended flight school in Fort Rucker, Alabama, to become a helicopter pilot in Vietnam.

He then went on to become a Rotary Wing Examiner and Supply Officer, with the 120th Aviation Company, 222nd Aviation Battalion, Fort Richardson, Alaska. His comprehensive knowledge of Army Aviation instruments and flying procedures contributed immeasurably to the operation efficiency and combat readiness of the U.S. Army. In addition, he was instrumental in developing and teaching flight techniques and doctrine for helicopter operations in an Artic environment. His outstanding performance resulted in him receiving the Meritorious Service Medal. During his career, he received these other following citations: the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal,  Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Aviator Badge, Republic of Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/ Palm. From 1983 to 2003, he was in the civil service as a helicopter flight instructor at Hunter Army Airfield.

Guy was an avid hunter and bass fisherman and passed on his love for the outdoors to his sons and grandchildren.

Guy’s affection extended to Brenda and myself, and I’m going to miss coming back to the “Lake House” in Georgia and sharing some aspect of archery, hunting or fishing with him. But his love for his children, my father-in-law, and Shirley exceeded all others.

Running, Paddleboarding and Shooting

River and I have a trail we use when running the roads becomes dull. I expect either run is fine with her. But, there does seem to be more to sniff when we’re off road. So, the day started with plenty to sniff.

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River pausing while I catch up

The “sniff and run” was followed by archery practice at 18 meters. I have changed my stance, as result of my new coach, Charlie Sneed, suggesting I give it a try. Basically, the stance is opened up a bit and my feet are more angled. It’s taking a bit of practice to get the new feel of my feet.

I’ve also been shooting strictly with a hinge release for the past couple of weeks. During 3D the footing is often so bad that I prefer a thumb release. With a thumb, if I slip a little I can control the release and not waste an arrow. I’ve shot using both hinge and thumb during 3D. Essentially, I don’t see a difference and my scores remain the same (that is not statically difference.) So, the extra security I think I get with a thumb probably isn’t real.

Before I shot this afternoon, Brenda and I took a nice paddleboard trip down Little River. As we headed out the wind was to our face so the return trip was a faster paddle. Afterwards, it was more 18-meter practice.

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First six shots of my second practices, three 9s followed by three 10s. It started better than it ended (572)

For this session I used three releases, two hinge and a thumb. Again, no difference.

An Archery Story From Carl

I received an email from my friend, Carl who lives in Virginia.  He is also a neighbor here in North Carolina.  I asked for his permission to share this and he agreed.

David, I want to share an archery story.

My son Mike and I were going to hunt Thanksgiving morning in Suffolk (about 20 minutes from home).  I called Mike at 4:30 A.M. to let him know I was on my way to meet him and he then told me he wasn’t able to go.

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Carl here in NC

Someone had gone through his truck the evening before or early morning and stolen his bow.  His bow which he loved  (Diamond Marquis)  #70 lb. left hand.  QAD rest, HHR single pin, Alpine archery quiver and Gold tip arrows, wrist release – all gone. As you know the accessories actually cost as much as the bow.  He was devastated.

We took his old #60 Parker, found an old rest, quickie quiver, and fixed sight; I had a few old arrows. He tied in a peep I had in my archery box.  He tried it out about 6:30 in his back yard at 20 yards on Thanksgiving evening.

We hunted on Friday and he killed a doe with it.  He doesn’t miss very often anyway. Crisis averted except he was still going to have to buy a new bow for his elk archery hunt to Colorado in August. Now back to the stolen bow.

Mike of course checked pawnshops etc. around the area and nothing showed up.  In the meantime he posted on face book about what happened and he had an outpouring of offers from friends and strangers to lend or give him a bow if he needed it.   In his word, he was humbled.

In the meantime I looked at craigslist time again just in case.

On January 2, l looked and to my surprise I saw a bow that looked like Mike’s.  It was left handed – (we could tell by the picture,-not a lot of those around) and it was listed as- Diamond Bow by bowtech.

We reported it to the police, nothing happened; it was still listed a week later.  I wrote an email to the police chief and within 24 hours the bow was recovered less the arrows and release.

The guy who had it lived less than a ½ mile away from Mike.  He wasn’t very bright either. The police just did a search of his phone number, got his address (he also had a police record for theft). Went to his home and said we are here for the bow. Mike just had to identify it.

A happy ending, other than having to buy a new bowstring.

(A late addition from Carl “….. a kind string maker in Maryland is making a new string at no charge.”)

Missing the Classic

For several months I’ve trained with a focus on the vertical 3-spot targeted at the Lancaster Classic. Once the event opened for registration, I signed up, nearly four months ago. After the hotels become available for booking, I secured my room. Everything was ready.

In the weeks prior to the tournament, I competed in the Carolina Classic, a warm-up for the Lancaster Classic. In that competition I shot below my average, but scored enough points to have me feeling pretty good regarding Lancaster. I was psyched and ready to roll. Then, life got in the way or to be more precise death.

For nearly three decades I had a friend that could have been the inspiration for those Bud Light commercials where the main beer drinking character is up for anything. Only in his case, my friend rarely drank beer. He did, on the other hand enjoy good Scotch. We, our wives included, had many adventures cycling, kayaking, and hiking. On two of the kayak adventures my friend hauled me out of tough binds that could have ended badly. He was a much better kayaker than me. Later, I would tell others about the white water mishaps while suggesting Larry was scheming to reduce his budget by lowering payroll – the unfortunate loss of an employee while kayaking. See, he and I worked together for a number of years.

When it came to running or swimming, Larry, my friend, was happy to watch. He and his wife Kathy frequently joined Brenda, my wife, on the sidelines of triathlons and marathons willing to cheer me on as I passed. Larry, an amateur photographer snapped dozens of race photos, which were always better than the event photographers’ pictures that sold online post-race. My favorite race photos are ones that he took.

When Brenda and I purchased our home in North Carolina we got one with plenty of room. Aside from our children and their families, we were thinking ahead toward the visits from Larry and Kathy and the escapades we’d enjoy.

Just before Larry retired, he was diagnosed with brain cancer, and an aggressive one to boot. Within a short time, Larry became another statistic. I was sad and a bit pissed off. Granted, it was selfish but his passing meant years of future quests with him wouldn’t happen. That angered me. Long before retiring we’d spoken about the living we’d do once we left the rat race. Those dreamed up adventures are still alive, but they have become solo campaigns. It is irrational but I’m still pissed about him dying. Sure, I can enjoy the memories, but it is unlikely I’ll find another person so willing to take audacious risks to live the dream.

Larry’s memorial service in Baltimore was scheduled for the 23rd of January, meaning I had to be in Baltimore on the 22nd as well. I tried to work out how to make the back and forth drive to Lancaster so that I could attend both. It was remotely possible, but really pushing travel time limits. I ended up selecting a more practical sense solution and bailed out of the Classic. (Yes, Lancaster returned the registration fee and the hotel was just as understanding.)

The archery tournament travel plan had been to arrive in Lancaster on Wednesday and leave on Sunday. There was a window where I could shoot and still make the memorial service – if everything ran perfectly. But, my focus wouldn’t be on archery. Overall, there was enough travel hassle to put this competition back into the future pile of events. In the meantime, a winter storm was on its way to Baltimore.

Larry loved the snow and cold. Once he took a 30-day kayaking trip into Alaska. If the temperature was below freezing with plenty of ice, snow and wind Larry had some plan that landed us outdoors. He introduced me to downhill skiing and cross-country skiing. To be honest, I don’t like either. Nevertheless, I’d be on the snow with him counting down to the time we’d head back indoors.

I tried to introduce him to water skiing and surfing. For perspective, Larry grew up in Utica, NY and I was raised on Tybee Island then Isle of Hope in Savannah, GA. There were plenty of middle ground activities we both enjoyed, but when it came to winter upstate NY snow fun versus Deep South summer heat activities we remained at opposing sides of the curve.

To be clear, I can deal with cold and snow. I’ve lived in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Baltimore. I’ve worked in Sweden during dark winters and spent time, of course in the winter, in Alberta, Canada. It’s been a decade since we left Pittsburgh and Cleveland (we had homes in both cities) and I’ve nearly thawed. Larry, however, would always trump my winter tales of woe by regaling his experiences in Buffalo, Rochester and Utica. Yea, buddy, you win and you can have it.

Taking him to Savannah one August, well the ‘Flip-Flop’ was on the other foot. For a while I thought he’d actually melt. I’ve never seen a man sweat that much just sitting. I was morbidly enjoying his pain – payback.

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The snowstorm in the mid-Atlantic has resulted in the postponement of Larry’s memorial service. I’ve missed both Lancaster and Larry. Larry is probably laughing his butt off at me since once again I’ve been hammered by snow.

Archery and Running with the Big Dogs

We’ve got a bit of winter bothering outdoor archery practice here in eastern North Carolina. Along the coast it’s not a bad as in the western mountains of the state. Still, it has been too cold and windy to shoot outside. The weather hasn’t had a negative impact on running, in fact, it has been great. River and her friend Coco, as always, have a blast while running with me. I have as much watching them as they seem to have with each other.

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River and Coco turn every run into a game. There’s a lesson in their pleasure.

Shooting in breezy cold conditions can be frustrating. The temperature warmed from a high of 29°F to 51°F yesterday. Today it will again be in the 50’s and tomorrow we may hit the low 60’s. But, with that warmth we are expecting rain.

The weather sent me into Elizabeth City, NC to practice on an indoor range. I try to shoot inside about once a week. Indoor lighting is very different compared natural light so I head inside to stay accustom to the dissimilarity. Usually, I’m there by 10:00 AM and have the range to myself. This week, on both occasions, I ended up shooting inside at around 2:30 PM. On those occasions, I was not alone on the range. Two small groups were already hard at practice. A set of sisters, monitored by their Mom and a young fellow with his Dad.

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My usual view of the range

This week during both of my indoor sessions on the range  there was Mom overseeing her two daughters’ practice. I asked them how was it that they weren’t in school. Mom replied her children were home schooled. Part of their educational activities included physical education. Encompassed in that course is 1 hour of archery practice every school day.

The oldest of the two girls, probably 13 or 14 was a terrific archer. Shooting a Vegas style 3-spot she rarely hit anything lower than a 9. The younger child, maybe 9 or 10, was less accomplished but clearly on her way to catching her older sister.

On the second day of indoor shooting  another family was at the range, a father and son. Where the girls were shooting “beginner bows” the Dad and his 14ish year old son had the most expensive gear. Dad told me he’d  gotten a deal on the bows. I got the whole story of their equipment acquisition, along with more information and talk than I needed or wanted.

Dad knew equipment; well Dad proclaimed he knew a lot about equipment. The father – son duo, singularly were geared with tackle that exceeded the cost of mine and the girls combined.

Dad asked me how I liked my bow and I replied, “It seems fine.” He explained how he’d, “Looked at that bow but decided against it.” From there he offered an oral dissertation of what made my bow inferior. Dad further complained that one of the world’s top archers had recently announced he’d switched from his famous brand to my inferior brand bow. Dad further doubted that the world-renowned ace archer had in fact simply picked up the new inferior bow and shot a perfect 300. Personally, if the pro was shooting a 5-spot, my guess he is had shot a 300.

Despite the substandard equipment of the other archers on the range, if I’d had to place a bet on who’d score over the others, minus me, my money would have been on the older home schooled young lady. She was clearly a better archer despite her $200.00 bow and discount arrows.

There was a major difference between the two middle schoolers. The boy, a pretty good shot, was decked out and looked like a professional. Lancaster Archery towel adorned quiver on this waist, expensive $25.00 arrows, $1600.00 bow, cap and shooting glasses. Aside him Dad was coaching him between shots. The boy would shoot, they’d hike to the target, take out a pen, mark the shots, record the count, and discuss.

The older young girl, Wal-Mart arrows (3) supported by the range’s PVC holder, no cap, long-sleeved t-shirt displaying an ad for some band, holding an inexpensive bow and conducting an on-going dialogue with her sister. The subject ‘not-archery’ was some heated debate that volleyed back and forth with too much speed and fury for me to follow. Somewhere during the deliberation the youngest sister got the hiccups and now the argument became a game of some sort – judging from the giggles. Mom sat reading the paper oblivious to her students’ verbal battle.

Aside from the vocal differences of the pairs, the equipment variances, and the boy’s ‘correct-look’ what I observed was the girls playing, having fun. The boy didn’t appear to be having as much fun. He seemed to be working hard to present a ‘look’ while the girls had fun shooting. He seemed very serious if not a bit cocky.

Part of any sport is the pleasure derived from playing. The girls weren’t stressed. They really didn’t seem to have a care and they both shot really well. The older, as I mentioned was better, the younger not far behind. The young boy, determined and serious, seemed to be working toward projecting an image and perhaps missing the point.  Or maybe his real target was on the opposite side of the range wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt. He appeared to be missing on that goal as well.

When it was time for me to leave I pulled my target in order to put it in the trash. I headed back to the bench where I’d left my coat. I’d laid my paper 3-spot on the bench. Dad came over to once again ensure I realized that my bow was inferior in every aspect of archery. I’d had a pretty good day of practice. While Dad was lecturing me I picked up my target and rather than crumble it I folded it, hoping Dad would notice all three centers were missing. I doubt he noticed and if he did he made no comment that might interrupt his criticism of the bow that so offended him.

Like running the most fun and best results seem to come when we simply enjoy what we’re doing and not worry too much about the outcome. Something River and Coco try to teach me everyday.

Lesson with Coach Sean

The rain finally eased up. It will be back, soon. Prior to the break in the rain our daughter, Heather and our grandson, Sean, drove over from Winder. We’ll be at their house for Christmas along with our son-in-law, Bill. Bill didn’t make the trip; he was occupied preparing for Santa Claus’ visit tomorrow. This meant I’d be getting a much-needed lesson in archery from Sean.

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Coach Sean suggesting I take a break from writing and shoot my bow

Sean, four years old, is an expert in many areas. Archery is one of his specialties. He recommended we go outside and shoot. A serious shooter, his equipment includes a bow with suction cup arrows that sticks to the wall. His other bow drives an arrow that, “If you shoot it hard enough it whistles,” according to the pint sized Robin Hood.

As Sean tells it, neither of his parents mind when he shoots at the walls. While I questioned the accuracy of his claim he remained firm in his position.

My last lesson with Sean was several months ago. To be accurate, my last lesson in archery. Since that lesson he has coached my running. A master coach in track his commands to, “Speed it, Granddaddy, speed it!” were relentless during that session. That exercise took place the night before a competition in Savannah, GA. My effort to comply, albeit fun at the time, left me a surprisingly sore on race day.

Today, Sean was available to provide his insight into archery. According to Sean shooting an arrow is a matter of, “Pulling it back, then letting it go.”

Our lesson, during the short cessation of rain, took place in the driveway. Sean selected a 3-spot from the collection of targets arranged on a golf cart. Getting to the golf cart is a challenge. The cart is crammed into a two-car garage that houses the cart, a Bad Boy Buggy, a Polaris Ranger, a John Deer Trail Boss, and a Polaris Magnum 325. There is little room to maneuver to reach the golf cart. Sean darted between and around the ATV’s with little effort in his retrieval of a paper target.

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The garage, a warehouse of ATVs

Using a plastic chair (a style we buy to put into hunting blinds) he instructed me to attach the 3-spot to a Block Black crossbow target. Following his approval of the target placement we backed-up to 20 yards for the action.

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Receiving instruction on my arrows

Sean described the best manner in which to hold my bow. The he provided a demonstration of arm placement where he modeled an exact archer’s form.

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Lecture on arrow placement

As I prepared to shoot, Sean standing behind me, being keen on safety, he loudly announced, “Fire in the hole” as I took aim. His demands to “Fire” were as vigorous as his pronouncement to encourage more speed from me during running sprints.

Coach finally decided I’d shot enough for one practice and that he needed to play with our dogs. With that, archery was finished for the moment and Sean’s laps through the family room, kitchen and dining room, while being chased by a dog were underway. Thankfully, the rain had re-started and I wasn’t required to do wind sprints.

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Sean and Nixie in a blur of speed

P.S.: During the above activities Brenda, my wife, and Heather, our daughter and Sean’s mother were making a quick trip to the grocery. Sean elected to stay behind with his Granddaddy, me, and Great Granddaddy, Ray.  The photo below is what happens with Mama and Grandmama return from shopping.

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No running in the house

 

In Georgia to: hunt, run, bike, kayak, and shoot 3D

Brenda and I made it to Tignall, GA. With us we brought two mountain bikes – we both ride and the land we hunt, 679 acres, has great trails for bikes. I brought two bows, my Mathews Apex 7 and Mathews ZXT, one for a tournament and one for hunting. Our two dogs, River and Nixie, of course made the trip.

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“Are we there, yet?”

Upon arrival, I unpacked, while Brenda helped her dad, Ray, prepare an early dinner. It was too late to shoot, and dark, so after dinner River and I headed out for a run.

Here the terrain is rolling hills. We’d not gone 100 yards when River tore out after deer. The deer are everywhere, here. But, my hunt objective is wild pigs. The pigs that run wild here are abundant. What I am hoping to get is a couple of small gilts, which I think are best for eating.

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Trail cam from October

The after dinner run felt great after being stuck in the truck for eight hours. A bonus was that it was not cold. A friend, Chris back in Maryland, who is an archer and runner had posted that the temperature was 28° F. It was 52°F when I ran this evening.

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We’re here for the next few weeks. I am looking forward to hunting, running, cycling and kayaking. The trip will be topped off spending Christmas with our oldest daughter and her family in Winder. Then off to Social Circle, Georgia for the Buckeye 3D tournament.

Thanksgiving with the Lain’s

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Two of my three grandchildren enjoying Disney songs.

Thanksgiving in American is a major holiday. For my non-American friends as well as those in the US who might be interested here is a bit about Thanksgiving.

Most people associate Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims. When I asked my friends and family many thought that Native Americans invited the Pilgrims (those British separatist settlers) to a feast. In fact, the Pilgrims had invited Native Americans to attend a feast, religious in nature, as a celebration of thankfulness for a good harvest. This occurred in 1621at the Plymouth Colony in what today is Massachusetts.

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Good food follows days of preparation (At out home in Easton, MD)

The earliest recorded thanksgiving services in a territory currently belonging to the United States were conducted by Spaniards in the 16th century and were routine in what became the Commonwealth of Virginia as early as 1607.

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Hiking with my youngest daughter, Candace, her husband, Jason, and their two children, Cordelia and Merric

The first US President to proclaim Thanksgiving Day was George Washington. He set the date for October 3, 1789 to celebrate. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November 1863. We Americans continue to celebrate this day every November.

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Scene at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, near Seward, Maryland

Part of this festivity involves a large meal with family and friends. Some of us enjoy sports on television like football, which follow the televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in NYC. Others run in Turkey Trot races, typically a 5K or 10K. We also volunteer at food centers to help the less fortunate enjoy a nice meal. And many of us go hunting.

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US Capitol building in Washington, DC

It is an important holiday in America. We spent this one with our youngest daughter, Candace, her husband, Jason, and their two children, Cordelia and Merric. The holiday was a mini-vacation with a number of adventures hiking in the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and visiting Washington, DC.

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Cordelia and Merric were not pleased to see litter. Their mom placed it in the trash.

If you are reading this and you are not an American, you may have a similar holiday your country. If you do then you understand a day of thankful celebration. If not, I hope this very brief explanation helps.

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Enjoying the Smithsonian

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving