Sunday, April 10, 2016

Joey Martin Feek


Joey Feek (born Joey Martin)on September 7, 1975 in Alexandria, Indiana) was an American country musician. Joey married Rory Feek in 2002. They gave birth to their first child, daughter Indiana Boone Feek, in February 2014. She had two stepdaughters, Hopie Feek and Hedi Feek. In 2014, Joey was diagnosed with an aggressive case of cervical cancer. Though she underwent treatment for the disease, it returned in 2015. In Oct. 2015, Rory said that Joey’s cancer was terminal and they ending all treatments. Sadly, Joey passed away at age 40 on Mar. 4, 2016.

"When I'm Gone" (3:55) Published July 12, 2012


"Headache" Joey & Rory 2:56 Published September 9, 2011


"In The Garden" Joey & Rory 2:52 Published October 15, 2013


"Play Me the Waltz of Angels" Joey & Rory 4:59 Live from the Grand Old Opry November 15, 2013


"This Songs For You" Joey & Rory 4:09 Uploaded on Sep 3, 2010


"Joey Feek Memorial Video" (4:25) Released March 13, 2016


Rory Feek Shares Thoughts at memorial service (8:09) Released March 13, 2016

Rest in Peace, Joey!

And So It Goes...

Friday, February 19, 2016

"Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima"

Photo Credit: Joe Rosenthal         

The Battle of Iwo Jima (19 February – 26 March 1945) was a major battle in which the U.S. Marines landed on and eventually captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. The American invasion, designated Operation Detachment, had the goal of capturing the entire island, including the three Japanese-controlled airfields (including the South Field and the Central Field), to provide a staging area for attacks on the Japanese main islands.[3] This five-week battle comprised some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting of the War in the Pacific of World War II. 6,821 American fighting men were killed before the Americans captured the island.

Raising the flag on Mt. Suribachi

"Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima" is a historic photograph taken on 23 February 1945 by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising an American flag atop Mount Suribachi. The photograph was extremely popular, being reprinted in thousands of publications. Later, it became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and ultimately came to be regarded as one of the most significant and recognizable images of the war, and possibly the most reproduced photograph of all time.

Iwo Jima, a recent event at the Iwo Jima Memorial in Wahington, DC.

Each year I am hired to go to Washington , DC , with the eighth grade class from Clinton , WI where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation’s capitol, and each year I take some special memories back with me. This fall's trip was especially memorable.

On the last night of our trip, we stopped at the Iwo Jima memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history -- that of the six brave soldiers raising the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan, during WW II. Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, 'Where are you guys from?'

I told him that we were from Wisconsin. “Hey, I'm a cheese head, too! Come gather around, Cheese heads, and I will tell you a story.”

(It was James Bradley who just happened to be in Washington, DC, to speak at the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good night to his dad, who had passed away. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, DC, but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night. When all had gathered around, he reverently began to speak. Here are his words that night.)

“My name is James Bradley and I'm from Antigo, Wisconsin. My dad is on that statue, and I wrote a book called “Flags of Our Fathers.” It is the story of the six boys you see behind me. Six boys raised the flag.

The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team.. They were off to play another type of game. A game called 'War.' But it didn't turn out to be a game. Harlon, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands. I don't say that to gross you out, I say that because there are people who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old - and it was so hard that the ones who did make it home never even would talk to their families about it.”

(He pointed to the statue) “You see this next guy? That's Rene Gagnon from New Hampshire. If you took Rene's helmet off at the moment this photo was taken and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph...a photograph of his girlfriend. Rene put that in there for protection because he was scared. He was 18 years old. It was just boys who won the battle of Iwo Jima. Boys, not old men.”

“The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the 'old man' because he was so old. He was already 24. When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn't say, 'Let's go kill some Japanese' or 'Let's die for our country' He knew he was talking to little boys. Instead he would say, 'You do what I say, and I'll get you home to your mothers.'”

“The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona . Ira Hayes was one of them who lived to walk off Iwo Jima. He went into the White House with my dad. President Truman told him, “You're a hero.” He told reporters, 'How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only 27 of us walked off alive?”

“So you take your class at school, 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only 27 of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes carried the pain home with him and eventually died dead drunk, face down, drowned in a very shallow puddle, at the age of 32 (ten years after this picture was taken).”

“The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop, Kentucky. A fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told me, 'Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn't get down. Then we fed them Epsom salts. Those cows crapped all night.' Yes, he was a fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19. When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother's farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. Those neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.”

“The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley, from Antigo, Wisconsin , where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews. When Walter Cronkite's producers or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say 'No, I'm sorry, sir, my dad's not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there, sir. No, we don't know when he is coming back.' My dad never fished or even went to Canada. Usually, he was sitting there right at the table eating his Campbell's soup. But we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn't want to talk to the press.”

“You see, like Ira Hayes, my dad didn't see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, 'cause they are in a photo and on a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a combat caregiver. On Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died. And when boys died on Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed, without any medication or help with the pain.”

“When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, 'I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. Did NOT come back.'“

“So that's the story about six nice young boys. Three died on Iwo Jima, and three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7,000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time.”

Suddenly, the monument wasn't just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.

Let us never forget from the Revolutionary War to the current War on Terrorism and all the wars in-between that sacrifice was made for our freedom...please pray for our troops.

Remember to pray praises for this great country of ours and also ...please pray for our troops still in murderous places around the world.

REMINDER: Every day that you can wake up free, it's going to be a great day. One thing I learned while on tour with my 8th grade students in DC that is not mentioned here is, that if you look at the statue very closely and count the number of 'hands' raising the flag, there are 13. When the man who made the statue was asked why there were 13, he simply said the 13th hand was the hand of God. Great story - worth your time - worth every American's time. Please pass it on.


Sculpture by Felix de Weldon         

And so it goes...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Faroe Islands

In the North Atlantic, halfway between Norway and Iceland, the Faroe Islands are home to more than 50,000 people. The Faroe Islands are an archipeligo between the Norwgian Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The islands are an autonomous country within the Danish Kingdom. The Danish name translates into "the island of sheep" and indeed sheep herding is one of it's life giving resources.

The rugged, treeless archipelago is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, and has been inhabited by humans (and sheep) since the early 8th century. The local economy relies heavily on fishing and maritime industry. The unique landscape and location attracts photographers with its fantastic play of light between sun, cloud, meadow, cliff, and sea.

This blog post was inspired by the video that follows. I found the song sung in the Danish native language with only a strange drum for accompaniment very intriguing. I had to learn more about the event and where it occurred. I did not learn anything about the reason for the event in 2014, but I learned a lot about the Faroe Islands.

Recommend that you view the video in "Full Screen" format.

Eivør Pálsdóttir - Trøllabundin

Posted by Andrea Nielsen on Friday, August 1, 2014


Hope you enjoyed this brief visit to the Faroe Islands as much as I did!

And so it goes...

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Advice From An Old Farmer

Posted to Facebook by Jeff Mersmann
October 2 at 8:57am.

Advice from An Old Farmer

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.
Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
Words that soak into your ears are whispered… not yelled.
Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight.
Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.
Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.
You cannot unsay a cruel word.
Every path has a few puddles.
When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
The best sermons are lived, not preached.
Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway.
Don’t judge folks by their relatives.
Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
Live a good, honorable life… Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.
Don ‘t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t bothering you none.
Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.
Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin’.
Always drink upstream from the herd.
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in.
If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.
Most times, it just gets down to common sense.

And so it goes...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I am a Seenager.

I am a Seenager. (Senior teenager)
I have everything that I wanted as a teenager, only 60 years later.
I don’t have to go to school or work.
I get an allowance (pensions).
I have my own pad.
I don’t have a curfew.
I have a driver’s licence and my own car.
I have ID that gets me into bars and the Beer Store.
The people I hang around with are not scared of getting pregnant.
And I don’t have acne.
Life is great.

And so it goes...

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Confederate Flag Controversary


It was not my intent to comment about the Confederate flag controversy but there is so much inaccurate information on various media outlets and the fact that I grew up in the South, that it is hard not to voice an opinion.

This is such an emotional issue for so many people. Whether you are black or white, from the North or South; we all have different views based on our personal experiences and, of course, our cultural differences.

Most of what we know about the Civil War; it causes and why a Nation of United States would go to war against one another we learned from history courses in high school, which were totally inadequate. Most of us assume the civil war had to do with slavery. That is a somewhat simplistic view, but not totally inaccurate.

On November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States, beating Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, John C. Breckinridge of the Southern Democrats, and John Bell of the new Constitutional Union Party. He was the first president from the Republican Party.

Take note: There were four candidates for President in the November 1860 election. The Democrats effectively split the vote which allowed Abraham Lincoln to be elected. One of his campaign pledges was to eliminate slavery. He served from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865.

His victory prompted seven southern slave states to form the Confederate States of America before he moved into the White House - no compromise or reconciliation was found regarding slavery and secession. Subsequently, on April 12, 1861, a Confederate attack on Fort Sumter inspired the North to enthusiastically rally behind the Union in a declaration of war. As the leader of the moderate faction of the Republican Party, Lincoln confronted Radical Republicans, who demanded harsher treatment of the South, War Democrats, who called for more compromise, anti-war Democrats (called Copperheads), who despised him, and irreconcilable secessionists, who plotted his assassination. Politically, Lincoln fought back by pitting his opponents against each other, by carefully planned political patronage, and by appealing to the American people with his powers of oratory. His Gettysburg Address became an iconic endorsement of the principles of nationalism, republicanism, equal rights, liberty, and democracy.

Although the Southern States claimed that the secession was a matter of States Rights (Claiming the Federal Government was infringing on States Rights by proposing to ban slavery in all states of the Confederation; in truth, the Southern States needed slaves in order to continue the Plantation style cotton plantations that were the mainstay of Southern aristocracy. Without large cotton plantations the Southern economy would crumble.

So the issue was economical, politically motivated by the rich and powerful slave owners. Those politically connected understood the necessity of continuing to support slave labor, without which the South would fail.

So yes, it was about slavery! Yet, for the average recruit in the Confederate Army it was about protecting their homeland, their property and their honor. For the average Southerner it was about the Union forces invading their homeland and they were honor bound to defend their homes and their heritage. Why else would a poor Southern farmer put his life on the line except to defend his land and his family against Northern invaders, aggressors?

The vast majority of Confederate recruits had small farms and never owned any slaves. In fact, the vast majority were opposed to owning slaves and would never consider owning slaves. Most Southern families were large, in part owing to lack of birth control, but mostly because offspring, in time, provided the cheap labor needed to produce sufficient crops to survive. Essentially, the average Southern family lived off the land consuming what they grew and selling the surplus for sufficient monies to purchase essentials that could not be grown.

Why then would the Confederate recruits sign on for a war that did not serve their interests? Loyalty to their homeland, Loyalty to their heritage and their basic freedoms, protection of their homelands, their property and their families.

Did the average Confederate foot soldier understand the issues of States Rights, Slavery and large cotton plantations? No!

But does it surprise anyone that surviving soldiers and their families of the generation that fought in the Civil War, although it was a lost cause, would take pride in their efforts to preserve their heritage, their homeland and their way of life? This is where the Southern Pride and the adoption of the Confederate Battle Flag began. It was a symbol of pride and respect. It was a symbol of loved ones lost that would never return home. It served as a symbol of the bravery shown by those that died and those that returned after a devastating loss.

It is not the official Confederate flag. It was adopted as a Battle Flag once it was determined that the official Confederate flag and the United States flag were too similar, causing confusing on the battle field as to who was friendly and who was enemy.

It was a very popular flag although a "Battle Flag" used originally only in battle. Following the end of the Civil War the Battle Flag became the symbol of a defeated nations pride in its just cause, in spite of an overwhelming defeat. The war which many thought would last only 90 days at most continued for four long years. The South, early in the war showed their ability to wage a war with dedicated troops that were capable of defeating the Union forces in battle after battle.

From the end of the Civil War until the current time, the Southern States took pride in the epic battle to win independence from the United States even though through defeat, they once again became a part of these United States of America. It was commonly known as Southern Pride!

Right or wrong, the Battle Flag of the Confederate States became a symbol of Southern pride, Southern Heritage and the Confederate Battle Flag was commonly flown in many predominate places including State Houses, flag poles through out the South and too many places to name. A number of Southern States incorporated the Battle Flag in their State flags. For a long period of time the Confederate Battle Flag was accepted as part of Southern culture for many, many years!

Unfortunately; a number of different organizations adopted the Confederate Battle Flag as a symbol to promote hate and racist philosophies. The KKK, the White Supremacists, the Nazi skin heads, and any number of lessor groups, high-jacked the Confederate Battle Flag as a symbol of hate.

We stood by and allowed this to happen! We didn't object, we didn't protest, we remained silent!

As a result of our inaction, as a result of our complacency we allowed the hate-mongers to spew their evil. We sat back and did nothing! We didn't protest, we didn't raise a hew and cry; we simply sat back and let it happen!

Personally, as a Southerner, I take pride in the Confederacy. I believe the Confederate Battle flag is a symbol of a bold campaign fought by and supported by a large segment of the Southern populace that was the epitome of bravery, loyalty, and sacrifice and a dedication to a way of life that to their way of thinking, was threatened. .

It is indeed unfortunate that we allowed the Ku Klux Klan, the White Supremacists, the Nazi skin heads, and any number of lessor groups, to adopt the Confederate Battle Flag as a symbol of hate. These groups stole our heritage! They took a symbol dedicated to Southern heritage, pride and history and turned it into something evil. A symbol today that is threatening to to African Americans. African Americans look upon the Confederate Battle flag as a symbol of "Hate". That is so unfortunate! The Rebel Flag was never intended to symbolize Hate! How did that happen?

It happened because we allowed it to happen! You, I and all the people that sat back and did nothing when the hate groups adopted it as their symbol of hate!

And so it goes...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Men's Ten Mile Record Broken


On Friday night, June 26, 2015, the Ten Mile Men's Race record at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center was broken.

The Men's Ten Mile record was last set in 1999, at 18:56:71 by Jamie Carney.

That record fell tonight, Friday, June 26, 2015, when Bobby Lea bettered that time in a spectacular bid to set a new record. The official time: 18:12.61.

Interestingly enough Bobby Lea posted this comment to his Twitter account on Thursday:
Bobby Lea
Yesterday at 12:38pm · Twitter ·

10 Mile on the schedule for tomorrow night @thevelodrome. I'm thinking it might be time to try breaking a track record!

He indicated he wanted it and I never for one minute doubted that it was within him to accomplish anything he set out to do.

This is the bike he rode to a new track record in the Ten Mile.

Photo after Bobby set the Ten Mile Track Record; Left to Right, Ali Pompa, Bobby Lea and Kelly Carr Schadler.

Congratulations Bobby Lea on setting a new Ten Mile Track record at the Valley Preferred Cycling center. I have a feeling you are going to be on the podium at the upcoming 2016 Olympic games. I am extremely pleased to have the privilege of calling you my friend.

And so it goes...

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