Follow Your Destiny

December 19, 2018

I have lately been Totally Engrossed in Andrew Robert’s latest book “Walking With Destiny”…a biography on Winston Churchill which the NY Times says “the Best single-volume biography of Churchill yet written”….


I Always hated having to read history at St Albans…but now cannot get enough…even tho I have just started… it is a 1100 paged book…hard to read in bed…. have read probably 100 books this year…..


What set me on this journey was being a gay man an interest in homosexuality during WWII…and then WWI….


my father once said that a man tried to climb into his upper bunk  (Dad was in Army Intelligence travelling in a railroad car through France to Austria…to eventually  personally be responsible for capturing Ernst Kaltenbrunner (Number 2 in the Gestapo…after Henrich Himmler) way up in the Austrian Alps in a hunter’s cabin as Ernst with his armed body guards  was trying to escape to Italy…which Dad did …with a group of Army guys…having to plod through deep snows .. he found out where Ernst’s was from his mistress (Gissela) who had given birth to their twins…Dad took us up to this hut twice in the 50’s and 60’s…it is quite a hike in summer)


oh back to the army guy trying to climb into his bunk on that train….he merely said he kicked him off the bunk…no negative comments about gay men…..


which was Very unusual for most men back in the 60’s….as we were always placed in derision or scorn…it stunned me years later after I had realized I was “gay” that he accepted it…


I also have been following Colin Brady on Instagram (colinobrady) as he alone drags his sled across the Antartic to attempt to be the first man to walk alone with NO assistance to get to the South Pole and then cross the ice sheet to get to the other side…today he was on day 47 and he says “I had my worst day today…I went to battle with my personal demons…I stepped out (of my tent) into the madness…it was brutal….blowing snow, sub zero temps and zero visibility..I fell hard 5 times in the first hour….my mind was ripping me apart…I closed my eyes and meditated ….one way I would find my way out of this…calmed and with renewed resolved  (I pushed on)…the storm ..never got any better…in fact it got progressively worse….I calmed the storm in my mind and (was able) to knock out 21.5 miles…A Great day all thing considered”


Colin would be someone Dad would be best friends with…as Dad always took the challenge of the physically impossible  and laughed at death (to the rest of us in the family’s horror)…he would literally Laugh in the hardest most difficult situations…as he did at the one canoe trip my dear sister Daidie and I went on… the Arctic Watershed down the Fond du Lac River to Lake Athabasca….500 miles in Northern Canada where we were flown in by private plane onto a lake..left for 30 days to accomplish this feat…before the Canadian mounties would come look for us (this is before cell phones)


I have just been rereading dear Father’s log…and he does not mention my sister …. when we hit the first rock at the top of a rapids as the sun was blinding us due to setting…(which it really Never does up there in the Summer)…how my sister said she had HAD it and would walk down….


we had lost all of out packs due to the canoe filling up totally with water..she was having her period…she was able to stumble on the moss to shore being eaten by mosquitoes….as Dad held the canoe back from being sucked down the river and I bailed….and once bailed we sailed down this like log shoot…to a calm pond below to see some of our packs floating…the others lost for good…. it took Daidie an hour to show up mosquito bitten ..swearing….and this was the Beginning of our trip


I think this is when I TOTALLY began to appreciate and  love my sister….she was 21 and I was 17 and Dad was 48


I can see Dad now…as we tried to get comfortable in the tent after a freeze dried dinner rations…(IMPOSSIBLE..except one was so so physically tired)…as mosquitoes droned outside on the tent…the sun never setting…


Dad would take out his front tooth to sleep…(he had lost it in the head of a Canadian Native who was swimming with him over a falls when he was a counselor at Camp Owakanzee (sp?)


he would recount our adventures and then laugh wildly at the challenges of the day….and how he just could not wait for what would occur on the next day….


Dad, Churchill, and today Colin O Brady have followed their Destiny….


We All have it within us..some do not pursue it which is OK…


Those who follow their Destiny …well They are the ONLY ones who will ever Know How rewarding it is…..

4 Responses to “Follow Your Destiny”

  1. jan said

    Rob, you have THE most amazing adventures. Thank you for sharing them. (btw, the other night I saw “They Shall Not Grow Old”, Peter Jackson’s wonderful documentary on what WWI was like for the British soldiers. I think you would really like it. It is supposed to go wide-release Jan. 11). Happy holidays to you, Rob, and a lovely New Year! (are any of your feathered friends still about? Just curious if they’ve given up on Chez Rob)

    • Rob said

      Thanks Jan!!! Yes I am eagerly looking forward to “They Shall Not Grow Old”….having read a lot about it in the NYT…and yes my feather friends are still around….they stopped trying to fill in the pond with sand when they found out that a natural spring kept pushing more water into it as they tried to pump it dry….I stopped feeding the ducks when the summer weather ended…will go back to feed them when the babies get born in the spring….Happy Holidays to you and a Wonderful New Year!!!

      • jan said

        oh, I am so glad you knew about it, Rob, and hope you’ll share what you think after you’ve seen it. Encouraging that the pond is being left as is and that the ducks are still around. Will also look forward to more Duck Duck No Goose stories in the spring. Happy happy holidays back at you and *see* you in 2 0 1 9!

  2. Jay Gusick said

    Oh my gosh, Robby. Somehow I’d missed this essay… LOVED IT!

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