I had a wonderful set of parents, always teaching and encouraging us to learn. None of my family had formal educations but Dad said a piece of paper doesn’t prove how intelligent someone is. It is just a marker for other people. I guess you could say he believed in Universal Learning. That means don’t focus on one profession but keep yourself open to soak in everything that lends itself to you, as long as it is good and pleasing to Our Creator. This was his philosophy and he taught it by example.

One of the most efficient ways to do this is to travel a lot. We had very little money, but when we did travel, Dad made sure we always took a ‘new’ route in order to learn something. He taught us to be inquisitive and friendly and learn about new people we met along the way, sharing life’s experiences. This made for some fascinating adventures.

When Dad was transferred from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to Eielson Air Force Base at Fairbanks, Alaska there were plenty of highways he could have taken until we entered Canada. He had made a commitment to make sure we at least drove through every state. We started down the East coast and on we went all summer long, pulling a 13-foot travel trailer.

 After going to our home state of Texas to say our good-byes, we went north through the central states. I specifically remember going through Colorado, driving up Pike’s Peak. I thought that was a high mountain, but I hadn’t seen anything yet! We spent time with friends in Kansas, Michigan, Montana and South Dakota. I distinctly remember our visit to Little Big Horn (Custer’s Last Stand) in Montana. I’m sure the museum is much more informative now, but even in 1959 it impressed me greatly.

 We visited Mt Rushmore, one of our stops along the way North. It is a magnificent place. Many years later when my youngest brother and his family took a vacation to Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, he took many pictures. Exploring is in our nature, so it was only normal for him to crawl around through the rock crevices. As he was doing so, he came upon this view of the memorial, and knowing my love for uniqueness, he brought me this picture. “George and Abe Through the Keyhole” is one of my last oil paintings before moving to Houston. It is a large 30” x 40” painting and is among the 5 stolen paintings I have not recovered. However, it is available in high-resolution Giclee scan amazingly duplicate to the original.