Alaska 2016

Got up this Sunday morning and wrote this for my “I Remember” book. Just needed to express some thoughts about how we are anticipating another trip to the great land of Alaska.

We leave for Alaska tomorrow. Have been packed for a week. Tied up about two dozen leaders and flies. Got the rods and reels in carry on type bags so if everything else gets lost we can start fishing right away…..Licenses have been purchased on line. Been watching hours of YouTube videos showing the places on the Kenai River that we fish.

I think back to the days that started all this addiction to fishing. It was on the Cothran’s front porch at 507 North Lake Avenue in Lakeland. One of the Cothran men had been a surveyor in Alaska in the late 40s. He would sit and tell us of his fishing adventures in Alaska and show us photos. He would also show us split bamboo fly rods.

At the age of six or seven years all I could do was dream of that great land and those beautiful fish….Lake Wire, Lake Morton, Lake Parker and Lake Bonnie were my reality at the time. My prized tackle at the time was a cane pole, corks, hooks and split shot.

As I pen this at three score and ten plus 4, well “half past fall”, in my allotted time, blessed, blessed, blessed are words that come to my mind.

“It is well with my soul” in many areas at this time and I am thankful…When that last sunset falls for me it will still be well with my soul. My physical remains, ashes, will be scattered upon the flowing waters of the Kenai River in Alaska and my spirit will fly away to something eternal and better than any fishing I have ever done.

Hope all are well, sharp hooks, tight lines to all, fish on! God Bless!

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Posted by on July 24, 2016 in Uncategorized


The Vietnam Wall, Somethings You May Not Know

I was in the Army at the time that the Vietnam War was going on.  Never went to Vietnam. Almost feel guilty that I did not get the call to go.  I feel guilty because I laid in my bunk and prayed that I would never have to go.  Someone of the 58,267 names on the wall took my place.  I want my children and grandchildren to know of some facts about Vietnam.

58,267 names are on the wall including those added in 2010.

The names are in the order of when they fell on the battle field by date.  Within each date the names are alphabetized.

Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Massachusetts was the first known casualty, June 8, 1956. His son’s name, Marine Lance Corporal, Richard B. Fitzgibbon III is on the Wall. His son was killed on September 7, 1965.

There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.

39,996, on the Wall were just 22 years old or younger.

8,283 were just 19 years old.

33,103 makes up the largest group, they were just 18 years old.

12 fallen Soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.

5 fallen Soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.

One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.

997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam.

31 sets of brothers are on the wall.

31 sets of parents lost two of their sons.

54 Soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia.

8 Women are on the Wall who fell caring for the wounded.

244 Soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the war, 153 of their names are on the Wall.

Beallsville, Ohio, population 475 lost six of their sons.

West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation, 711 West Virginians are on the Wall.

There were nine Marines from Morenci, Arizona who enlisted together in 1966 only three returned home.

Three buddies from Midvale, Utah were in Vietnam on some dark days of 1967.  In a span of 16 days all three were killed.

The highest daily casualty rate was January 31, 1968, 245 Soldiers died.

The highest monthly casualty rate was in May 1968, 2,415 Soldiers died.

There are no noble wars, just noble Warriors.  Those who create wars for selfish reasons and send sons and daughters to die are not the noble ones.

Isaiah 32:17, “Doing what is right will bring peace and rest.  When My people do that, they will stay calm.”







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Posted by on April 15, 2016 in Uncategorized


Wait Till It Is All Baked

One Sunday morning in a small Tennessee hills country church a man stood up to lead the opening prayer.  The prayer began in a most unusual way.

“Lord, I do not like buttermilk.”

“Lord, I do not like lard.”

“Lord, there just ain’t much to plain flour.”

“But, Lord when they are all mixed together and put into the oven and completely baked they are one of my favorite foods.”

“Lord help us to realize that life is like the butter milk, the lard and the flour when they stand alone as individual elements during times of trial and heart break.”

“Lord when you have baked it all it will be the most beautiful thing that we will ever experience and it will be for eternity, and all the ingredients will come together for good.”

“Thank You Lord.”

Romans 8:28 and Psalms 46:10

Received in an email, do not know who originated these thoughts but how true they are.

I am almost 75 years old, just about “baked”.  Just waiting to “Fly Away”.

Arthur “Jackie” Thomas Jackson     2016


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Posted by on April 13, 2016 in Uncategorized



There comes a time when your trust in someone is pushed to the breaking of the last thread that was once a cord of many threads.

It is a painful and stressful time when that last thread is severed.  It is also puzzling as to why that person has the ultimate mission of destroying something that you stand for and believe in.  It appears that the “offender” is constantly looking for those opportunities of criticism and ridicule that will in some way diminish in the eyes of others your capabilities and dedication to a cause.

But why?

To the offended it is a very heart breaking event when those that they have trusted and supported in their own visions and goals turn to a path of constant criticism.

This trying and discouraging time can come at all stages of life but it is most hurtful when it comes in the twilight years of the offended one.  In this three score and ten years plus of my life I have experienced this hurt and the mystery of it all……perhaps it is time to step aside and let those with motive trudge ahead.


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Posted by on April 13, 2016 in Uncategorized


Thanks Mr. Will

This “I Remember” grows more significant for me everyday as I am three years beyond my “Three Score and Ten”.

Yesterday I visited a friend who is in his 90s and approaching his last days on this earth.  He is one of the men of the greatest generation a WWII veteran.  He is a great example of starting only with a strong will and the determination to do what was right by God and his fellow man.  He as all of us has had good times, and times when his heart was broken but he carried on.

Men and women such as my friend, Mr. Will give me an example of how to live and how to die.  He has told me that he is ready to “go”.  He always asks me to pray with him before I leave.  At this time he is under Hospice care and only has a few more days.

My prayer is that as my time gets closer that I can remember the example of Mr. Will as he passes peacefully to a greater beyond than we have here on this earth.

I firmly believe that one, if not the greatest accomplishments in life, is peace while looking forward to our eternal resting place.  My prayer is that all those folks I know will have accomplished that milestone when their time comes.

Thank you, Mr. Will.





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Posted by on December 11, 2015 in Uncategorized


Coach Joe Clanton

It is Saturday morning and there is a list of things that need to be taken care of today. In addition company is coming and as always we wish to put our “best foot” forward. However, as my morning routine usually begins a look at the obituaries in my home town newspaper has a disciplined “check off”. This morning there was a obituary posted for Joe Clanton, 87 years of age.

Coach Clanton has crossed my mind hundreds if not thousands of times since my high school days. Coach Clanton was my first period Physical Education teacher for my junior and senior  years in high school.  They called it “Home Room” back then.

Coach Clanton enjoyed fishing every bit as much as I did. We would chat frequently about recent fishing trips to area lakes and phosphate pits. Coach Clanton was bursting with questions one Monday morning after my photo was in the Lakeland Ledger with a 14 pound large mouth bass that I bagged in a phosphate pit.

By the way, when I was in high school rod and reel casting was a part of the curriculum. Wonder how many high school seniors today can successfully cast a bait casting reel without getting a major back lash? Fishing has added a significant quality to my life.

Back to Coach Clanton. Each year Coach Clanton would know what my class subjects were for the next year. Twice Coach Clanton offered some suggestions to me. Coach Clanton was concerned that I was going to be carrying too heavy of a load along with my after school work at the local Kwik Chek. I had wonderful parents but they never checked what classes were scheduled for the next year. “Just do not bring home any D’s or F’s” were the words of my parents and my older sister.  The wrath of my older sister was twice as bad as mom and dad…..but I love her.

Do not know how many others that Coach Clanton checked on but I am sure I was not the only one.

Here is the point of this “I Remember”. No accomplishments in this life will leave as much lasting influence as the influence that you and I have on the life of a child. Thanks Coach!

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Posted by on November 7, 2015 in Uncategorized



We know when something is the right or wrong thing to do when it keeps us awake at night in a troubling way and has us stressed during our waking hours.

We must consider………. would I want my children, grandchildren and others that I care for repeating my intended actions?

Are all the people involved going to benefit  spiritually, physically, mentally and financially?

What will be the influence on others now and in the future when they look at the end result of what I am struggling with?

Based on past decisions and results how does this current situation compare?   “History does not repeat itself, man repeats history.”

Unless something is absolutely critical and life threatening do not make a decision until you have to make the decision.

Can this  be resolved with a short term remedy before a long term solutions are put in place?

These are some things that have been evaluated in making some serious long term decisions over the years. Buying property in Alaska has been one of the toughest long term decisions for us to make. No decision has been made because we are not the only players, our children, grand children and possibly great grand children will realize the effect of our decision.

You know the right choice has been made when it flows “easily into”, “during” and “at the end of the decision”. In many instances only time will tell. We must honestly evaluate the past decisions and results.

When I was trying to make a tough decision over 20 years ago a wise man who has now passed on gave me the following advice. “Is it morally good, is it ethical, can I afford it mentally, physically and financially?”

Prayer, wise counsel and common sense based on fact, not emotion are key factors in decision making.

Hope this might help someone who reads this some day. We all make some poor decisions from time to time. We have to live with and do our best to prevent recurrence of the “bad” and repeat the “good” and share with others so that they might avoid the “pitfalls” and benefit from the “good”.

Recall the good decisions that I made and try to repeat them, learn from the bad and do your best not to repeat the bad.

“Life is too short and eternity is too long to make intentional bad decisions for this short season called life.”

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Posted by on August 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

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