Wow, today is the last day of 2017! And it’s also the 50 anniversary of the Ice Bowl, one of the greatest games in professional football history! For those without knowledge of this legendary game, here’s what happened: The Dallas Cowboys came to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin to play the Green Bay Packers for the NFL championship for the right to go to Super Bowl II. Prior to the game, a cold front moved in, with the game time temps at -15° F (-26° C) and wind chills registered at -48° F (-44° C)! To add to the cold and wind, the turf heating system failed so the field was frozen and icy. In the final quarter with 16 seconds to go in the game, the Cowboys were ahead 17-14 with the Packers third down and goal to go when Packers quarterback Bart Starr faked a handoff and did a quarterback sneak for the touchdown, Packers lead 20-17! They made the extra point for a final score of 21-17. What a game, one that has been the subject of books and documentaries but for us Packer fans, one for the ages. By the way, it was the coldest New Year’s Eve temperature ever recorded in Green Bay, a record that still stands. Unfortunately, there won’t be any playoff games for the Packers this year but we can always watch the reruns of the Ice Bowl to renew our pride and produce some friendly trash talk with Cowboy’s fans! Here’s a few photos from our December 26, 2010 attendance when the Packers played the New York Giants and beat them 45-17. It was cold but not nearly as cold as the Ice Bowl, we had hand and foot warmers and also ingested some spirits to keep us revved up! Enough nostalgia, lets move on.
It’s a time to look back on the past year and look forward to the challenges, travel and anticipation of 2018. In this post, I share some of my favorite stories and photos from 2017, evaluate my 2017 resolutions and publicly announce my resolutions for 2018.
Before we start, a story about the cold from my youth. For the first time in many years, we spent the Christmas holidays in North Dakota where we both were born and raised. When we arrived, they were having a heat wave of sorts, in the 40’s during the day but as Christmas approached, the weather turned much colder (highs in the teens and twenties, lows in the single digits and below 0° F a couple of nights) and a couple of inches of snow fell. At daybreak Christmas Day it was -25° F, more seasonal as the folks up there explained! As a kid growing up in west central North Dakota, I recall some of these very cold days. The cows had to stay in the barn so their teats didn’t get frozen or chapped thereby making the milking chores that much harder. Then there were the sometimes frozen water pipes so water had to be carried from the well house to the barn in 5 gallon buckets, often our pants and overshoes would be frozen solid from the water splashing out of the pails. Milk cows can drink a lot of water so it took awhile to get all the livestock watered, it was our livelihood after all. Those critters have to excrete that water so that resulted in having to clean the gutter at least once a day. That was my job as I got older, first loading the wheelbarrow, then pushing it out the back of the barn onto the manure pile. After lots of trial and error (there were lots of those!) I developed a technique that worked pretty good, something that I’ve never had to use since, except the appreciation of what farmers have to do to put food on our tables. And after I left home, Dad got a mechanized barn cleaner! When milking the cows on those cold days, squeezing between the cows to attach the milk machines was one way to warm up. The only downside is that often the cow’s tail would be laying in the gutter in the excreted water so when they swished their tails one had to be on guard so one wouldn’t get hit in the face by the wet tail. Use your imagination on what that was like! Ok, moving on, probably TMI (to much information).
I’ll start with an evaluation of how I did on last years resolutions. First is my pledge to journal more often, I did better than 2016 but still not up to expectations. This year I did episodic entries in my journal especially when I documented some of my experiences so I wouldn’t forget the details. That seemed to work but I resolve to do more in 2018.
Second was my goal to walk 3,380,000 steps in 2017. Well due to some unforeseen circumstances (a couple of injuries and some unplanned housebound time last winter) I only took 2,614,113 steps, 765,887 steps short of my goal. I did get a Fitbit Great Wall badge for walking 5500 miles since I’ve had my Fitbit, so I did accomplish something! For 2018, I resolve to meet my goal of 3,000,000 steps, reduced slightly to account for an aging body!
My third goal is to continue writing this travel and photography blog. This should be easier to do, first, because it’s become a habit and second, I still have lots to say! In 2017, I wrote 52 blog posts including my 100th article on September 24. Here’s the opening paragraph of that post.
“Welcome to blog post number 100 of travelingwithtom.com. A big thanks to everyone who has followed my blog postings for the past 22 months and offered me words of encouragement and ways to improve my articles. Much to my surprise, I’ve kept this thing (blogging that is) going since November 2015. This probably the longest I’ve ever stuck with something as challenging as writing, editing and posting an article once a week. My usual experience is that I start something, stay excited for awhile, then get bored and move on to something else. This effort has been different, I think about topics and ideas all the time. So when I go out to experience the world, even though that “world” might be just down the street, I’m constantly thinking of how I can tell the story of my experience in a way that you, the readers, might find interesting. And to be honest, I’m at the age where I hear the clock of life ticking away and want to experience as much of this world as I can and share it with you while I’m still able. Well, enough of my musings and on to this celebratory post.”
As I looked over my 2017 posts, I realized that for the first couple of months I reached back into my photo archives and wrote stories from some of our past travels. You see my wife, travel partner and best friend broke her foot in late 2016 so was slowed down by one of those walking boots. We had some tentative plans to travel early in the year but her recovery slowed us down, besides she’s perfectly content to stay at home to sew and make quilts!
The following are some of my favorite blog post photos all taken in 2017.
To conclude this last post of 2017, I offer some words for thought. For the past couple of months, I’ve been making my way through a book by Karen Armstrong “Twelve Steps to A Compassionate Life.” While I’m not prepared to give a book report, I’ll offer one take away that has resonated with me; that is we have to get to know “the other” in our world. Whether its a person(s) in our circle of family and friends who look, think and act differently from us or if it’s “the other” from another ethnicity, ideology, religion or country. That’s what travel helps us do, jerks us out of selfishness and helps us to see, know and understand the other. I pledge to keep working on being more compassionate in 2018 and beyond, it’s work that is never done. Next year, I’ll report back on what I’ve done to learn about “the other.”
Happy New Year!
Until next week, travel safe.