Grandpa only made it through the third grade but he knew things. That’s what seven decades of living gets you.

When I was 16 years old I thought I knew it all. By the time I was 21, I was certain of it. I then spent the next 30 years learning. Not about how to diagram a sentence or to calculate the area of a triangle; I learned about life. I’ve learned a lot during the last three decades. I’ve also forgotten most of it.

The old cliché that with age comes wisdom, is true but it’s just as true that with age comes appreciation. You learn to appreciate things that baffled you when you were young. You begin to really understand some of the things your grandfather said. And, the things you like – though they might remain the same – are appreciated in different ways.

Here are a dozen things 30 years has taught me:

  1. I still like chocolate cake, but now I like the cake just as much as the icing.
  1. There are things you can find in a campfire that have nothing to do with heat.
  1. The only real legacy you’re guaranteed to leave is your children or your debt.
  1. What a man can do with a single shot from a bolt-action rifle can be just as impressive as what can be done with 10 shots from a semi-automatic.
  1. Don’t take fresh tomatoes, onions, and homemade fried apple turnovers for granted.
  1. A dull knife is better than no knife but a sharp knife separates man from beast.
  1. A good book can be a good friend.
  1. Brave men have died so you wouldn’t have to.
  1. The Colt Single Action Army revolver is still the greatest gun ever made.
  1. Liberty, freedom, and respect are not given. They are earned.
  1. Lies are like bullets fired; they cannot be taken back.
  1. Dogs and cats are like conservatives and liberals. A dog is ready to earn its keep, stand between you and evil, and genuinely glad for everything it has. A cat is condescending, self-righteous, and just along for the ride.


A campfire – the learning place. Circa 1977. (Pay no attention to the shotgun in my hand; I did’t know much back then.)