Wrapping Christmas Presents: those Were The Days

Written by: Gary Wonning

The following is an excerpt from my book, Those were the Days

photo fo two people, a child and an adult looking at a sunset over the ocean

Life was a lot slower and simpler in the fifties and sixties.

Grandpa would wrap gifts such as a packet of chewing gum, using newspaper, tape, wire, glue, etc, until that packet of chewing gum was as big as or bigger than a basketball. It was pretty cool as a kid, there were a lot of gifts to unwrap, it took most of the afternoon, and when we were done, we didn’t really have much as far as cost was concerned, but we had a lot of stuff. We never realized the gifts weren’t expensive, just that there were a lot of them.

It seems he got better and better every year and the wrapping became more and more involved. Finally my brother and he got into a contest to see who could wrap the hardest gift to unwrap. I think my brother Paul finally got the last laugh, he nailed together a box with inch boards, wired it shut and taped it.

The author has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

The Vietnam Conflict

Written By: Gary Wonning

Like many my age, the Vietnam war came about during my late teenage years and I was faced with a difficult decision.

The conflict was, to say the least, controversial. I assume all wars are controversial, but this one seemed more so because many couldn’t justify a reason for going to war in a foreign distant land. Many didn’t even know where Vietnam was or had even heard of it.

The biggest case for engagement was to prevent the spread of communism. We were in the middle of the cold war and the threat of nuclear war was ever present with Russia continuously threatening our way of life and our very existence continuously.

The year before, it was discovered Russia had placed missile silos in Cuba, only ninety miles from our shores. The conflict ended one October evening after we stood up to them saying the missiles  had to be removed. many of us went to bed that evening, not sure if we would wake up in the morning.

The ultimatum had been given, the warships put in place, and we waited.

Many of us went to bed that evening, not sure if we would wake up in the morning.

Someone once told me that if we were dead and pinched oursleves we wouldn’t feel it, upon waking , I pinched myself, it hurt so I got up and went to work.

The crisis had been averted.

I was at the legal draft age and a prime target for the draft, not wanting to go to college or get married, I would soon be bound for the military.

Many questions entered my mind, did I want to serve , and if I did which branch did I want to serve in.

I didn’t really want to kill anyone, even in defence of my freedoms and my coutry.  I decided that if it came down to that , I would, but I had done that so many times in past lifetimes, I really didn’t want to do it any more. But I knew that if push came to shove and it was necessary to defend my way of life, my country and my family, there was no question I would do it.

Many went to Canada to escape the draft, that was totally out of the question and the thought only entered my mind as an after thought. There wasn’t any way that would be an option.

I finally decided that I wanted to serve my country  and the Air Froce seemed to be the best option for me.

Hence I joined the Air Force on Reserve status and began fulfilling my obligation.

As time went by, the Vietnam War heated up and it seemed more likely I  would be called to active duty.

And then it happened, in the spring of 1968, during the Tet offensive, we were called to active duty. There probably never is a good time to be called to fight in a foreign land, but I was getting married and we had bought a hosue, with only a year and a half to serve I was looking forward to getting discharged.

More contemplation, I , like most never wanted to go to war, but I decided to let it up to God, if he wanted me to serve, I would go, and began mentally preparing to serve.

I began comtemplating the reasons to defend one’s country. In the United States, we don’t fight for a King or Queen, we don’t fight to gain foreign lands for the homeland, we fight for an idea, the ideas of what America was founded on, freedom and the right of the idividual to choose the life they desire, without interference from a government.

Even if we don’t approve of our president, or what our government is doing, we fight for the sublime ideas our country was founded on.

My bags were packed and I was ready to go, when word came down three days before my departure. 

I had been deactivated, God didn’t want me to serve in that manner.

It’s best to think things  through, decide what you would do in the most extreme situation, and let God make the final decision.

The author has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

Ending My Journey In Belize

Written By: Gary Wonning

This was to be our last night in the tropical paradise called Belize, after spending two weeks studying the ancient Maya and their culture, it was time to think of returning to the good old USA. Tomorrow it would be back to Belize City, where we would board a flight for Houston and consequently our final destination, Indianapolis.

The sleeping accommodations couldn’t have been any better, the huts were modern, with screened in open air quarters and a convenient outside shower. An early morning breakfast, a short good-bye on the pier and we were on our way back to the good old USA.

It had been quite a trip.

The author has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

Synchronicity In the Modern world

Written by: Gary Wonning

I had replied to an ad in Outdoor Photography. A man living in Zambia was needing to communicate with someone in the states, film processing was difficult there and he needed someone to process film for him. I replied as it sounded like a lucrative business proposition, he even mentioned paying for my passage to Zambia for business purposes. What did I have to lose, he was going to pick up the tab?

The trip was to take place in a few months so I began to make plans and applied for a passport. When I applied for the passport, the birth certificate I had wasn’t the correct one. I didn’t realize the hospital birth certificate wasn’t a legal document, so first off, I had to apply for a new birth certificate from the county health department.

Upon receiving the correct birth certificate, I noticed my first name was spelled differently than the way I had been spelling it all my life. My name was spelled Garald on the birth certificate and I had been spelling it Gerald all these years. The funny part about it, people had always called me Garald instead of Gerald. Quite a revelation. As it turned out, later when I began to understand numerology more, the difference in spelling made a big difference in my life plan.

Evidently, the doctor had written it down wrong at my birth, and my parents weren’t even aware of the error. The original birth certificate couldn’t be changed so we decided to make my passport match my driver’s license,  no one in customs was going to see my birth certificate.

As things progressed, many unseen circumstances prevented me from traveling to Zambia. The adventure was all but forgotten.

Two years had gone by and as I sat reading the morning paper the Sunday before Thanksgiving, a travel ad caught my eye. A group trip was being planned for the two weeks after Christmas to Egypt, it was leaving on December 26th, only five weeks away, and the price was fantastic.

The ad had been placed by a professor Kennedy of Xavier University in Cincinnati and was providing the opportunity to visit Egypt during the Christmas holidays. What better way to spend New Year’s Eve, than in The land of the Pharaohs!

It went on to state it would be a twelve-day trip, visiting Cairo, Memphis, Luxor, Thebes,  Alexandria, Saqqara, and Giza, an all-inclusive trip for $999.

I had some time off after Christmas and so far had no plans. I realized this would be perfect. There isn’t much to do in Indiana this time of year, it would be a good time to travel to a warmer climate. I had been wondering whatever possessed me to take a vacation at this time of year, now I had my answer.

I immediately called and made a reservation, I was on my way to the next step of my journey to enlightenment. The next five weeks flew by, extremely busy with my work I had little time to think about the trip.

As the time approached, I  realized it takes at least six weeks to apply for and receive a passport, if I hadn’t gotten a passport when I was thinking of going to Zambia, this trip would never have materialized and I would have missed one of the great adventures of my life.

The author has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

The Lost Culture Of the American Indian

Written By: Gary Wonning

The Lost Culture Of The American Indian

The American Indian, once a proud and honorable culture has succumbed to being dependent on the government for their very existence. At one time they as a whole were very independent and had a firm relationship with their Supreme Being or Their “God”.

And as such were very close and dependent on nature and the whims of the weather. They were so in tune they knew of approaching storms, hard times and stampeding buffalo. They often foretold of coming events, not only for their own personal tribes but for mankind and the earth as well.

This is not to say they were perfect, they knew little of fertilization and thus did farm out the land and when it became too depleted to raise crops, and the game had been all taken, they would move on to more fertile ground, thereby enabling the land replenish itself. They fought wars, captured slaves and committed many of the same atrocities as modern man.

The American Indian never developed any technology and thus didn’t advance their civilization one iota over ten thousand years, they were still living much the same in Columbus’s time as they were thousands of years before. This one fact eventually lead to their downfall, being big on spirituality and short on technology can only lead to disaster.

Today we have advanced to having the most technologically advanced society the modern world has ever known. We have new innovations coming at us daily, often times so rapidly it is hard to keep up. In the process, we Americans are also losing our rich culture.

Spirituality has become non-existent, many no longer practice any form of spirituality or religious belief and many times people who are so inclined are ridiculed into submission, so they remain quiet.

The author has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

Darwin, The End of The Trail

Written By: Gary Wonning

Breaking camp at Alligator River campground, we started saying goodbyes, this would be the last day some of us would be together. I can’t believe this bus is still running. I hope it makes it to Darwin, some of the passengers have to catch a plane today and they don’t have much time to spare.

After a quick stop at the airport, the next stop was our hotel, we were flying out early the next morning and we had the rest of the afternoon off. Some in the party would continue on for another day, the tour officially ended the next day.

After checking into our room Steve and I decided to head for the beach and catch a few sunset photos.

An amazing journey into the outback of Australia

The author has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

photo, aborigine boy

Young aborigine boy dressed in ceremonial garb

The Humorous Side Of The Fire (Those Were the Days)

photo of the Cozumel beach

The beach at Cozumel

Written By: Gary Wonning

Besides the car ride home, the day did have its humorous moments. One of our neighbors, seeing the smoke from the house came down to investigate. Finding no one home, he began to take the washed clothes off the clothesline my mom had hung up before her nap. After he had all the clothes in his arms, he discovered there was nowhere to put them, so he hung them back up.

The author has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome