Saturday, February 10, 2024

Memories: House Mountain Hike #78, on 2-6-2011, & Target Practice, on 2-7-2015 (published 2-10-2024; article #454)


Greetings, dear reader. Thanks for stopping by. I trust that you are well. Around these parts, we are into our second day of rain. Temperatures have been seasonably mild or warm, since January 23rd, when our eight days of winter ended. (The 1/23/2024 article describes those eight days.)

This article remembers a hike, on House Mountain, and target practice, at the homeplace. It's included, under three topic sections: “family” (119th entry), “heritage” (100th entry), and “hiking” (62nd entry).

Visiting the homeplace, on Wednesday, 2/7/2024, inspired me to write. I didn't take any photographs, but I found all to be in sufficient order. The sunny and seasonably warm weather made an enjoyable day trip. I got to wondering what I'd done, without publishing any articles, about it, in Februaries gone by. I recalled at least two memorable experiences, about which I'd not written, before now. Here they are!

House Mountain Hike #78, on 2/6/2011

Thirteen years ago, on 2/6/2011, I was age 50, turning 51, in July. Our niece, the daughter of Mrs. Appalachian Irishman's younger sister, was age 23. On House Mountain, it was her eighth hike with me. It was my 78th hike. I reckon that, before or after the hike, I'd called my lifelong friend, Steve, to wish him a happy 51st birthday.

I wish that I'd published an article, about the hike. (The only article that I published, in February 2011, was "Norris Dam Park 2/26/2011 (published 2-27-2011)". It is about one of my two solo hikes, at the park, that month.) My hiking log indicates that three of us hiked together, on 2/6/2011. We hiked up the west trail, in 28 minutes, to reach the west bluff. We hiked across the ridge, heading east, to the middle bluffs and then to the east bluff. We must have hiked down and out, on the east trail. The weather was sunny. The temperature was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

The following photograph, the only one that was taken, shows our niece and me, standing at the lower middle bluff. The view looks north. The sun was setting, to the west, of course.

That's a nice view! Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I are quite proud of our niece, who is now 36 years young and doing very well. She and I still enjoy exchanging witticisms, to the chagrin of other family members.

You may be thinking, “Who was the third person? He or she must have taken the photograph!” The third person was Dr. Antonov! He and I had met, the month before, on 1/2/2011, while we were both hiking, on House Mountain. Dr. Antonov and I had hiked House Mountain together, on the Sunday afternoon, of 1/30/2011. So, this hike was his second with me (or me with him). Dr. Antonov's home country is Bulgaria. He's a few years older than me. At the time, he was living and working, in the Knoxville, Tennessee, area.

Dr. Antonov, my Bulgarian friend, has doctorate degrees, in both philosophy and nuclear physics. He is brilliantly eccentric. On House Mountain, he and I either hiked together or met each other, while hiking separately, on eleven total occasions.

Dr. Antonov and I last met, while hiking House Mountain, on the Sunday afternoon, of 12/3/2017. That was my 141st hike, on House Mountain, and my fifth hike there, since my near death experience, on 3/29/2016. (The article “I’m Still Alive - Why? (published 8/26/2016)” bemoans that day, which still lives in infamy.)

Dr. Antonov and I had met on the ridge trail. I was heading west, as he was hiking east. I remember the location well. Dr. Antonov hadn't known about the accident that almost killed me. I encapsulated the news. We talked. I agreed, to his request, to examine me. The ridge top examination, by this outstanding doctor of philosophy and nuclear physics, concluded that it would take about ten years, of ongoing recovery, before I wouldn't notice much difference. That examination formed the paradigm, for my ongoing recovery. Various medical doctors had already predicted certain limitations that I would have. By God's grace and my determination, I have overcome their preconceived limitations! This coming March the 29th will mark year eight, of my ongoing recovery. The several muscle groups, around my surgically repaired left shoulder, right knee, and right foot, still need fine tuning. I feel and move about, almost as well as I did, before the accident. I hope that, in another couple of years, I won't be able to notice much difference, especially in my right foot step. I want both feet to feel the same, while walking or hiking!

Sadly, I've lost contact with Dr. Antonov. He may have returned to Bulgaria. I will always be grateful, for his ridgeline examination! More precise that any medical doctor, his prognosis framed the patience that I still need, as I recover. I'll know, in a couple more years, how well that I will have recovered.

Target Practice, at the Homeplace, on 2/7/2015

As the “website archive” shows, I didn't publish any articles, in 2015. I could and should have. Either life, such as it was, was quite hectic, or I'd not been interesting in writing.

Stepping back nine years ago, I was age 54, turning 55 (the double nickel) in July. The date was Saturday, 2/7/2015. My 1995 Nissan pickup and I traveled to the homeplace. My youngest brother and I cleared some brush, and we cleared out, around a cherry tree, which was still standing, at the time. My brother had even climbed up that tree!

After we had cleared the brush, I fired 50 practice rounds, target shooting, with my Ruger .380 handgun. (The information is in my target shooting log, which I'd started, on 12/31/2010.) I don't think that I had my FNP 40-caliber pistol with me. The 4/13/2019 article explains how that Ruger was replaced. The 1/1/2011 article describes the New Year's Eve shooting, which started my target shooting log.

I'd taken the following photograph, at 5:51 PM, as the sun was setting. The location is the southeast corner of the property. The view looks east.

I have a good truck now, the 2006 Frontier. I miss that 1995 Nissan. He died, while saving my life, on 3/29/2016, when the uninsured 18-year-old failed to yield, to my right of way. I'd not yet taken down the target, which is visible, to the right. A fish pond, which is still stocked, is behind my truck, in the image.

My youngest brother left, before I target practiced. Later, I joined his family and him, for supper, at the Golden Dairy. It was a good day of family and heritage.


The Wednesday day trip, to the homeplace, inspired the recollection of a couple of memories, from Februaries gone by. I wish that I'd published timely articles, about both, back then. I've done so now.

As I close, my next to youngest brother, nine years younger than me, was born in February. Earlier today, he and I enjoyed a good, long phone conversation. He's doing as well as he can. My “adoptive brother-in-law,” Mike, passed, in February, seventeen years ago. The short story, of 8/5/2023, and the article, of 10/26/2023, include loving words about and conversation with Mike.

As daylight fades into dust, I'll close. It's almost suppertime. By the way, I heard recently that, if you cook a raw, unpeeled potato, with soup beans, the potato draws out what causes gas, from eating soup beans. You throw away the potato, afterward, and by no means eat it. I may have to try that, unless my “long-suffering” wife decides to do so. I know how to cook soup beans.

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