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September 7, 2005

A short time ago, Laura and I made an unspoken pledge that we would at least limit our upcoming travels to areas we have not previously visited. That's what you do when age becomes a growing factor of concern, and that's the direction we selected. That rules out some places we had planned to tour, but life is too precious and too uncertain when things begin to go wrong.

So when an opportunity came along that enabled us to see at least a small part of the beautiful upper Northwest of this wonderful county, we jumped at the chance. It was one of the great experiences of our personal travelogues. Lasted only a short time, but that was what we needed, even if it afforded only a quickie look at some of Nature’s greatest accomplishments. It also helped us learn a bit about some of the great unknowns still existing in the U.S. You think we have a unique history? Take a look at the background of that part of the U.S.A. That area is truly rich in a ribald and exciting beginning. The Western movies of a few generations ago completely missed the point in telling the story. I guess you really needed to be there to grasp it all.

Making it all the more impressive was the friendly nature of the small crowd that traveled with us. Virtually all of them were strangers, but each was a close friend right from the start. We first learned that when we were leaving the "search" area at the Oklahoma City airport. Some of our personal baubles (important stuff, really) were left behind. A retired gentleman in our group, a man I did not know, recognized it as my stuff and dutifully brought it to me, just as I was about ready to forget the whole thing. A few days later, that gentleman died unexpectedly and I was very touched, although we had known one another only a few hours. And so it went. All of them were good friends by the time we returned to our favorite little Oklahoma city.

And so it went, and continues today. We won't altogether quit traveling, because there's too much left to see, but we will welcome all new opportunities to make good friends, and to remember to thank them just for being there.