Tuesday, June 25, 2024

God bless the USA

| July 1, 2021 12:00 AM

In a few days, we Americans will celebrate the birth of our nation, on the Fourth of July.

How fortunate we are to live in the USA, Montana and the Flathead Valley. Stand most anywhere in the Flathead and you can view north, east, south or west and you will see forested mountains filled with game animals, lakes, streams, fish, hiking trails and limitless opportunities for hiking, camping. hunting, fishing or just sniffing wild flowers.

Most importantly, those vast outdoor recreation opportunities are available to every citizen regardless of race, creed or economic status. God Bless the USA.

Over the last year, our newspapers and TV screens have been filled with stories of violent protests, riots and charges of discrimination and unequal opportunity in America. But those civil disturbances have been virtually non-existent in the Flathead or Montana. Lucky us.

Some say this past year has been an unusually difficult year for America. But old-timers like myself can recall the 1960s with much more violent anti-war and race riots. American is not perfect, but it is still the land of opportunity for anyone who is willing to roll up their sleeves, get a good education or work hard. After a hard week of work, outdoor recreation opportunities abound.

Best of all, those opportunities are available to all citizens and visitors. God Bless America.

I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. My dad’s parents were uneducated poor immigrants from Hungary. My mom’s dad’s birth home was Denmark. My dad’s formal education ended in the sixth grade. My mom’s education ended in the eighth grade.

My dad painted houses for a living and my mom was a traditional mom and homemaker. I was lucky to have a great mom. Our family did not have much in the way of extra money, but my parents had a strong American work ethic, so we always have a roof over our head and food on the table. God Bless America.

My dad taught me the value of hard work. He also had a leather strap to teach me about the consequences of not obeying. Mom taught me about the need for compassion and love. Even with a lack of much formal education, my parents prospered enough to join with an uncle to buy a lake lot and build a cabin where I spent many wonderful summers. That is where I learned to hunt and fish.

My first hunting was for bull frogs with my BB gun, in the lowland forests by our cabin. Mom fried those frog legs for dinner. Later my dad taught me how to hunt squirrels, grouse and deer. Thanks mom and dad, for raising me in the USA.

I loved the outdoors. If my dad had been a farmer or rancher, I would have been a farmer or rancher. I certainly did not want to paint houses for a living. So, I attended college and received a degree in forest management. I was the first college graduate in my family. God bless the USA.

In 1965 I met a pretty, blue-eyed blonde young lady who became my wife and the mother of our two sons. My wife, JoAnn, did not want to become a weekend widow, so she joined me in my fishing and hunting expeditions. Soon we had two sons that fished and hunted. Lucky me!

God Bless the USA.

As a young man I always dreamed of having a lake cabin. Now I have two, one in Montana and one in Minnesota. In 1972, my Forest Service job brought me to Montana which is probably the best hunting state in the USA. Many hunters dream of bagging a trophy big game species that will make the Boone and Crocket record book.

Both my wife and I have harvested record-book Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. Lucky us. God Bless the USA.

Tomorrow my wife and I leave for the end-of-the-road wilderness town of Crane Lake, Minnesota, where we will spend a week on a houseboat in the wilderness waters of the Voyageurs National Park, on the Minnesota and Canada border. We will have more than 200,000 acres of wilderness waters to explore and fish. Wow, lucky us. God Bless the USA.

This November I will go on my first guided hunt for a big bull elk. I expect to see bull elk every day and have the chance to shoot a real trophy bull. It will be a fair chase world class elk hunt. Lucky me.

So, I hope on this Fourth of July you will take time to count all the blessings of living in Montana and the USA with our boundless opportunities for hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, camping or flower sniffing.

As the old country western singer so poetically put it, God Bless the USA.