Stories from Life’s roadways



It always makes me nervous getting on an elevator with people at a Medical Center because you never know who is contagious and who isn’t.

Four people are waiting with me to board the elevator at Harris Medical Center. There is a lady who is obviously pregnant, a young man with a severe acne condition, a gentleman with a blue coloring to his skin, suggesting some type of heart condition and a young lady who doesn’t appear to be ill. Me, I’m going to see my dentist for my annual check up.

No one got off the elevator at the second or third floor but as it passed the third floor it gave a jerk and slowed to a stop. Everyone in the elevator looked around nervously and the young man started pushing buttons on the control panel.

The young woman started to cry saying “This can’t be happening. I can’t be here. I have to get out! Let me out, Help!”

The pregnant lady was starting to show signs of panic and the older gentleman was not looking good. His skin color had gone to grey.

I said in a quiet voice, “Ladies and Gentlemen please remain calm. We will get through this together and everything will be alright.”

“I would like you to look at me for a moment. Watch my face and listen to what I have to say. I am going to talk to you and as I do I would like you to reach out and place your hands on top of mine.”

I turned to the young lady and ask her to place her hands on mine and look into my eyes as I spoke to her. I explained to her there is a mental switch in our brain that we can turn on that will produce energy. That energy will then absorb all our anxieties and fears. It is a matter of concentration to visualize the switch and mentally turn it on.

Each person in turn placed their hands on mine as I explained how they could control their fears and stress simply by using the switch within their brain.

After I had talked to them each individually I asked them to take the hand of the person standing next to them, making a circle so they could share their energy with their neighbor.

When the elevator finally came back on and reached the fourth floor a fireman opened the door and asked if everyone was alright.

We looked at him and said “Yes, we’re fine.”

As they left the elevator they each thanked me and said they would continue to use the technique throughout their lives.

The fireman looked at me and said “What did you do? That’s the calmest group of stranded people I’ve ever seen.”

“Oh nothing, just a little bit of hypnosis can go a long way.” I replied.



paintings along life’s Roadways


Rebirth of Yellowstone

The rebirth of Yellowstone

The fire raced over the land burning everything in its path. The flames fueled the wind which carried the fire across the rivers and streams. The inferno was so severe it sterilized the ground killing every living plant which got in its path, leaving behind smoking skeletons of the trees, seared ground and bare rock.

Mother Nature has a way of bringing things back to life. The burned trees which litter the ground begin to decay providing nutrients to the soil. Seeds are scattered by the squirrels, birds and wind. Deer, elk and buffalo forage on the grass and brush that didn’t burn and leave seeds in their dropping as they travel through the burned area. In a couple of years grass starts to appear, the brush begins to grow back and small trees sprout up. The streams and rivers run clear. It is a slow process but given time the land will heal its self.



Paintings along life’s roadways



I walk among the trees on a carpet of needles and leaves. I hear the rustling of the wind moving through the branches above, the chirp of a bird and the silence. Here there is no sound of civilization, no human sounds. In this place the forest needs no other sounds, just silence.

I’m reminded of the great cathedrals of Europe where everyone whispers in awe at what they see before them. The trees are awe inspiring in their own right as they reach for the heavens blocking out the sky. These trees were here before the first settlers set foot in this country.

There is evidence of fires. A tree has fallen because its trunk was damaged. There are signs of wildlife where squirrels have been foraging for seeds and on the path hoof prints of deer that have gone before me.

I follow the path wandering aimlessly through the trees and I wonder where it’s leading me. Although the trees are tall they can’t block out the sun completely and it shines down through the trees lighting up the path, welcoming me onward.


J.R. Reynolds

Paintings Along Lifes Road Ways


Yaquina Light House

On the coast of Oregon overlooking the Pacific Ocean stands a monument to time and the perseverance of our fellow Americans.
The Yaquina Lighthouse was constructed in 1871 to help sailors navigate the rocky shoals along the Pacific Coast. Its height of 91 feet helped to guided many a ship to safety and in return it endured the foulest of weather, howling winds in excess of 120 mph carrying sea water battered the lighthouse, along with snow, ice and rain. The lighthouse stood its ground and endured.
Even when it’s no longer needed and has been replaced by technology it still stands as a sentinel watching over the Pacific Coast.
As I sit and listen to the waves breaking against the rocks below the lighthouse and the call of the gulls as they wing their way over head I can’t help but feel a calm as if the lighthouse is still watching over me offering its protection as it has done for the last 150 years. The sun is slowly setting into the ocean and as it dips down suddenly the lighthouse comes alive. The beacon at the top of the lighthouse is once again aglow from the setting sun. It is as if the lighthouse is saying even though I am no longer needed I am still here waiting!


The Firehole River


Life is great. I am on the Firehole River inside Yellowstone National Park in water up to my thighs fly fishing for the elusive trout which frequent this stretch of river. The water is cold from the snow melt, but the river is fed also from hot springs here and there long it length. If I get to cold I find a hot spring and warm back up.
The sun is shining and the temperature is in the high 80’s. There is a late mayfly hatch in progress and the fish are feeding.
I haven’t seen another human on the river. The only other creatures are three buffalo and some ground squirrels that have their colonies along the river bank. They come out and sit on the bank and laugh at me every time I miss a fish.
Earlier in the day my wife drove me into the Park to one of the meadows that borders the Firehole and dropped me off to fish. She and her sister were going to take the kids down to the Firehole Gorge where the locals from West Yellowstone go swimming. I am going to fish down to the gorge and meet up with them about 4:00.
Everywhere I go I take a camera and record things around me. I’m always looking for unique photos. I climb up on the bank and prop the camera up so it is looking at the river and the buffalo grazing on the opposite shore. I want to get a picture of me fishing with the buffalo behind me. I adjust the camera and set the timer then hurry back down to the river and start casting. I immediately hook on to a nice trout. Several minutes later I release the fish back into the river and go to retrieve my camera. Unfortunately the camera took the picture before the fish hooked up.
I always carry a backpack which holds my fishing gear, a pair of binoculars, first aid kit, an extra knife, the lenses for my camera and my lunch. Since I’m already out of the water I decide to sit down on the bank and take a few pictures of the buffalo, the river and the squirrels while I eat my lunch.
Now it could have been the soothing sounds of the river flowing by, or it might have been the gentle wind in the trees along the top of the hill and I have heard it explained that the more food you put into your stomach the more it pulls your eyelids shut, regardless I fell asleep. It was so peaceful lying on the grass next to the river, I probably would be there still if a car hadn’t stopped and let their youngsters come down to throw rocks in the river.
The sun was at the top of the trees on the hill across the river which tells me I’m late getting to the gorge. I gathered up my fly rod, backpack and hang my camera around my neck. My watch says I have 30 minutes to get to the Gorge. If I follow the river, the distance is about three and a half miles. If I cut straight across country it’s about a mile and a half. The problem is if I cut across country and am late getting to them they might decide to come looking for me and they will be following the river back to here. I guess I had better not be late.
I waded across the river and skirted the buffalo who were taking a nap in the tall grass. At the top of the hill was a stand of Douglas fir trees so I headed straight for them since they were in the direction that I needed to go.
Normally I am cautious when I’m in the back country because you never know what you might come across. The bear are out and the buffalo are extremely dangerous if you get to close to one. The moose will run you down and strike at you with their front feet.
I had a friend in Alaska who got out of his car to chase a moose off the road. The Moose got between him and his car and charged him. They found him about two hours later 15 feet up a tree waiting for someone to come and chase the moose away.
The meadows along the Firehole are favorite feeding grounds for elk. Anyone who has seen a Bull in the rut in the fall knows how dangerous they can be.
I was in a hurry and when I got to the trees I didn’t slow down I barged right in and literally ran into a herd of cow elk with their young calves. When I came to a stop I was standing in the middle of eight or ten elk. I was so close to them I could reach out and touch them. They were behind me, in front of me, all four sides of me.
First thought was cows and calves, bad! Cows will protect their calves from danger. I stood very still watching them. I think the elk were as surprised to have me there as I was to be there. The cows didn’t seem upset they just stared back at me. Next thought was what a great photo op. I slowly brought my camera up so I could look through the lens and all I could see was hair. I had my 85mm to 305mm telephoto lens on my camera and I was too close to them to get any pictures. There was no way I was going to get my backpack off and another lens out without upsetting the elk. Since no one was concerned with me being there I stood very quietly and watched them. It was an Elk nursery, mothers taking care of their kids. Finally I had to go so I slowly backed away and got clear of them.
I ran most of the way to the gorge. Even though I was in a hurry I did not rush into any more patches of trees. I made it to the gorge right at four o’ clock. Everyone was waiting to go get something to eat. My wife asked me as I put my stuff in the trunk of the car, “Did you have a good day?”
I looked at her and replied, “One of my best days yet. I’m here with you and I caught fish. I even met a few new friends today, so yes it has been a good day

Following the Path of memories.

This morning as I was fixing breakfast for my wife I got to thinking how the world has changed over the last 50 years. In the early years I was away from my family and friends traveling on the highways of life. My family never knew where I was at and they only had a vague idea of what I was doing. They would hear on the TV or radio of earthquakes or floods in the areas where I was supposed to be at but they had no way of knowing if I was ok or not. In my case the communications where I was at would be knocked out and the only way to get messages in or out of the area was by ham radio operators who would relay messages from northern Alaska down through Canada and into the United States.
After the Chena river flooded the valley that the city of Fairbanks Alaska set in and water was 10 feet deep in the downtown area, radio operators were able to get a message to my family that I was ok and would call when communications was restored.
I remember one time in southern Arizona down along the Mexican border I was pulled over by the State Police and was told to call my family in Oregon. It seems I had not talked to them in several weeks and they were concerned about me.
Things got better in the mid 70’s when I got a mobile phone installed in my vehicle. I could stay in touch with my wife and my office through a mobile operator. It would work whereever there were radio towers to let me transmit. In the back country of Montana Wyoming and Utah it was spotty at best. When blizzards hit and I was stranded out away from civilization or an avalanche had closed the road coming out from a drilling rig the radio was worthless. Some times it would be days before anyone heard from me.
Then came the cell phones and if you live near a good sized town you had service but if you were on the Navaho Reservation or somewhere in the backcountry of the Jicarilla Apache Reservation in the New Mexico, Utah or Colorado region cell phones were useless.
This morning I was in correspondence with a friend in South Africa and I communicated with my family in Oregon. I know what is happening in my nieces and nephews lives from Canada to Texas on a daily basis and my own children communicate with me every day and I never have to leave my house to go to Montana, or Oregon, England, Spain or anywhere I have a wish to go.
I have learned more about my near and distant family in the last five years than all of the previous 45 years and they have finally got to know a little more about the real me and not the rumors that have been floating around for all those years.

Walking Life’s highways one day at a time

This morning I awoke as the sun was welcoming a new day. I lay in bed and wondered where my travels would take me to day. Will I go out to the coast of Oregon and spend time at the Yaquina lighthouse or maybe go to the outer banks off the coast of North Carolina.  I’m sure that my cardiologist would approve of either one, since I can do them from a seat in my office.

A couple of weeks ago we had 70 mph winds come through and tore the roof off my studio and office behind my house. It also took the roof off a small horse barn and 1/3 of the roof off the big barn.

When the roofs flew away they took the power lines with them and then Mother Nature deposited an inch and a half of rain on my roofless office and studio. That was on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday I spent the day surveying the damage, taking pictures and trying to get through to my insurance agent. The weather channel is predicting another sever storm coming through on Saturday which will be accompanied by additional heavy rains. Stress level near the top of the chart.

Thursday arrived bright and sunny along with my three daughters and two of their husband/ boyfriend. Over the next two and a half days we reinforced the rafters on the studio / office and installed a new roof. The last nail was driven 15 minutes before the rains started on Saturday afternoon.. What a crew!

I have a defibulator implanted in my chest to assist my heart if it should need help as I’ve had six heart attacks to date. The Doctors at the hospital 20 miles away can monitor my heart  through a machine which sets beside my bed. Once a week they run tests while I’m sleeping and  they didn’t like what the results showed. They called me and told me to report to my cardiologist the next morning. With everything that was going on in my life I was on the border of another major heart attack.

My Doctor has informed me that I’m  not to climb any ladders or drive any nails. I am not to rebuild any barns. I am to relax and take a vacation until the first of May. So each morning I wake up and decide where I would like to go each day. I am currently painting a picture of the Yaquina Lighthouse on the coast of Oregon and I am working on a novel about the Outer Banks off the coast of North Carolina. In northern Nevada I am working with one of the people in another story to  build airplanes from scratch in the 1930’s.

My doctor may have shut me down physically for a little while, but I still have the ability to travel along life’s highway in my mind and put my stories down on paper and on canvas with paint.

Life’s Road


Another first step on the road of Life.

This is my first attempt at writing a blog, so laugh with me when I make mistakes and forgive me as I learn where I am going with this .

I  have always been a storyteller and as I traveled down Life’s highways I met a lot of people who gave me material for more stories. so the idea and concept for this blog is to put some of my stories in writing and to maybe show some of the things I find interesting about life.

Along the way I found that I could carve as I sat and told my stories, so I became a woodcarver too. Now I’m not saying I’m a good wood carver, but I do still have five fingers on each hand and I will admit they carry more than their share of scars. It is interesting how the words flow from our mouths when we have something else to keep us occupied, like carving. If you get two people or more together and  they start carving there is no hope for the truth.

I spent a lot of my life in the back country of America chasing the elusive fish, deer, elk and a couple of times a bear or two then one day I came to the realization the animals were smarter than I, so I put up my guns and picked up a camera. From then on when I traveled through the back country of the western United States I kept track of my adventures with pictures Now in later years I am going back through my pictures and painting them on canvas. I find as I paint the memories come back. I can almost smell the sun warming up the fir trees and I can hear the babbling of the water as it flows down the brook. I see the hole where the elusive trout is hiding behind that rock in the stream and I wonder if I should paint him leaping after a mayfly.

Today I am painting a beaver pond that I came across in the high country of the Wasatch Range in eastern Utah along the Wyoming border. A interesting little pond surrounded by a grove of Aspens turning yellow in the fall sunlight and a bull moose standing knee deep in the water of the pond eating. The sun was shining on the orange and yellow leaves turning the hills to gold. I sat and watched the scene until a storm rolled in and the snow began to fall. When I left I took a second picture from the same location of the first photo except in the second picture everything was grey, dark and forbidden. By the time I got back to camp there was six inches of snow on the ground.

As I paint this picture I have both photographs setting side by side on my desk and I realize how life is like these pictures. You can be on top of the world with the sun shining and the birds singing, along comes a strong breeze and changes your perspective and if you aren’t careful it will show you the dark side of life. The thing to remember is it is a passing phase. If you will be patience the sun will come back out and life continues down the road.