News from the Ranch!!!!!!!! (Ups, News from The General)

Phil getting welcomed to the Mindframe Theater at the Jukien Dubuque Film Festival. Thank you John Conway for setting up this awesome welcome. (Pict Annie?!)



There has been some talk about my recent promotion to General and I wanted to give you some details on that and some explanation going back to my promotion to Colonel years ago.  My recent upgrade to General was something totally my own idea.  If not now when?  Right?  But the upgrade to Colonel was by comparison hard fought and I wanted to describe it for you.

Back ten years ago at least My Rebecca and I were on the road north of Seattle and we stopped at a roadside fruit stand.  There wasn’t anyone there as it was honor system.  They had lots of fresh picked fruit although I can’t remember what.  We were there picking out this and that and a car rolls up and a young man on crutches comes over.  After a few minutes I witness him fall flat on the gravel.   I rush over to help.  And he starts yelling at me, “You asshole, you asshole!”   And I responded, “That’s Colonel Asshole to you!”   I back up getting between him and Rebecca.  The only thing we were ever able to figure out was that he was freshly out on his own after his injury and he wanted to function as normal.  Little did I know.  Anyway I left him with my card but I never heard from him but the promotion lived on.

So, I was happy with Colonel Asshole for quite a few years but now with all the added responsibility of my current situation a promotion is in order.  So, I have to explain that this is all in my head and requires no uniforms, paraphernalia or secret handshakes.  This does not change anything in our friendship for each other.  I just wanted to explain.

Thanks for your time.



Posted by Cris on behalf of Felipé.

Friday Post by a Super Very Special Guest!!!!

Our Super Very Special Guest writer (aka Ann) and Ron; in Astorga, obviously!

You know it was Phil who turned  Ronaldo into a Caminohead.  Phil is blessed with the capacity to help others dream big.  But before we met Phil,  we saw the movie THE WAY and as we walked out of the movie, Ron said, I’m going to do that, I am going to make that pilgrimage”.  He looked at me and I stated bluntly, ’This is your calling, not mine!”  After four years of nightly reading posts of pilgrim experiences Ron retired. He had already collected his gear and in one month, on September 1st 2016 he arrived in SJPP.  He had said repeatedly, “I don’t know why people do this more than once, Why would someone do that?”

When he returned home, he confessed “For the first few days, I couldn’t believe anyone had walked that far.”  But about a week in, he found a rhythm, and his Camino family was beginning to gel.  Many of the family were women, younger than Ron and not concerned about walking a lot of miles per day!

In 2017 we traveled to Seattle to meet up with members of his Camino Family to celebrate  Ron’s “Camino daughter’s” birthday.  A bonus for me was the opportunity to see Priscilla, who lived on Vashon Island and was a special friend from the years we lived in Haiti.  Priscilla asked if we knew about Phil, and how Phil had built a Camino on his farm, and she offered to arrange a walk with Phil. The day we met Phil and Rebecca, Priscilla, Ron, and I walked with Phil that first round, on the second round, Priscilla and I sat out while the guys walked.

We met back at the house for tapas and stories and Phil said with a sparkle in his eye, “Ron, you’re a Caminohead!”  Now I’m not sure what Phil meant by that, but I knew Ron would walk more Caminos. Easter 2018, we walked Porto to Santiago arriving on Holy Saturday and attending Easter morning mass.

That trip solidified our dream of moving to Astorga.  In May 2019 we began living our Spanish dream. I think Caminoheads dream big. I think they have big hearts for fellow pilgrims, for fellowship, and friendship.

Thank you Phil and Rebecca for creating a space to bring pilgrims together.

May the Grace of God sustain you and each pilgrim.

Dream big loves,

Ann Angert

Felipe Walking Smart-Schedule

In the era of smartphones, smartwatches, smart all, Felipé Walking Schedule has been upgraded to “smart” too (just because he wants to keep updated!)

Monday 09:00-10:00
Tuesday 16:00 – 17:00
Thursday 09:00-10:00
Sunday 16:00 – 17:00


As Phil said, he is walking 1 lap instead of the usual 3; and you may well be able to bump into other Caminoheads to walk along.

Come and walk!

Cris on behalf of Felipé (a.k.a Phil, The Boss, The General)




Recommendation from Dr. Cris: Vaccination is important to save the others’s lives (in addition to ours). If you come to walk with Phil, by being vaccinated, you are taking care of him! Thank You!!!!  (Note, this thought is my own responsibility)

News from the Ranch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“I think this is blog material” said The Boss (Picture by Cynthia S.)

Dear Caminoheads,

This is Cris reporting from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and today I have some news from the ranch to blog about! Although we are in the internet era, I sometimes trust more in the pigeons, swallows and storks to transport messages back and forth, and while communication literally “flies”, it is not at light speed!


It seems that Monday was a day full of fun at the ranch. Cynthia showed up to walk with Phil as per Felipe Walking “Smart”-Schedule and they were joined by Jen, Jim, Catherine, Dana and Charlie. There was walking, I know the corn was inspected, I imagine as well that Phil may have made use of those many hands to weed some, and I am fully sure there was chat and laughter. Cynthia captured this terrific picture, that doesn’t allow me to lie here! (THANK YOU CYNTHIA!!!)


Once I got this picture and these bits, I couldn’t help but calling my reliable swallow and ask her to take a message back to the ranch with only one word: JEALOUS!!!!!! I am glad the swallow doesn’t read (or that is what I think), as maybe she would either refuse taking the message or might change it for a “I wish I was there too <3” (You know, swallows are kinder than humans!)


Wishing we all could be there loves,


Today is a day for a blessing…

A celebration. Veranda 2019

Dear Caminoheads,

Yes. Some days call for poems, others for beauty, many for a double double-coffee with chocolate cake and lots of them for blessings… Blessings for this thing we humans do which is crossing frontiers, moving from one stage to the other, trespassing thresholds, growing from child to adolescent, etc… we are always on movement, and we certainly need blessings for the crossings, but also blessings for the stops. The stops are not only needed to recover energy, but also to appreciate what we have.

Today, is one of those days that call for a stop and a blessing. This one is one I truly love. Hope you too.


Now is the time to free the heart,
Let all intentions and worries stop,
Free the joy inside the self,
Awaken to the wonder of your life.


Open your eyes and see the friends,
Whose hearts recognize your face as kin,
Those whose kindness watchful and near,
Encouraging you to live everything here.


See the gifts the years have given,
Things your effort could never earn,
The health to enjoy who you want to be
And the mind to mirror mystery.


Joyful loves for having been seen,


Thoughts about Beauty

My (Phil’s) favorite Kelly pic from the 2014 Camino.
(photo K Burke)

Dear Caminoheads,

I don’t think that I ever told you that I have had 3 fathers, but yes, that is the case. And probably, that is also a story for another post! The important piece for today is that one of my fathers, who is Brazilian, shared this inspiring text through his WhatsApp status, and has remained in my mind the whole day… As I know the Caminoheads neighborhood is BIG on Beauty, I feel the urge to share with you all. Hopefully, this rudimentary translation by me from the Portuguese (in this case from Portugal and not Brazilian) to English keeps a bit of the beauty it has in Portuguese.

The autor is Valter Hugo Mae, who is Portuguese born in Angola, and truly influenced by Jose Saramago… this book is called “The most beautiful things in the world” (or something like that!)


     “For Beauty, it is imperative to believe. Those who do not believe are not prepared to be better than they    are. Even to appreciate reality, it is imperative to believe. My mother says that I have become a dreamer. But to change the world, I do know I have to daydream. Because only those who have given up, save dreaming for bedtime. “

Beautiful believers dreams,


Felipe News!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then we pulled out the cork with a visegrips. Always a way!
(photo W Volker)


Laissez les bon temps roulez!

This last week I graduated to Hospice Care and am no longer taking any treatment.  The Island Hospice nurse came over to the Ranch today to ask a thousand questions and find out our vision of my flying away.  So, I ask if she is ready for my vision?  So, I described it starting with that I want to pretend that I am a Civil War General passing away in his tent.  And she didn’t blink and as a matter of fact said, “ How about costumes?”  Hehe!

So we are setting up the Elk Hotel (tent) on the deck by the house to have this happen.


And also the really fantastic news that describes the other half of the Circle of Life.  Wiley and Henna are pregnant with a baby girl and scheduled for February 22.  They are so glowing right now.  My Rebecca is so in heaven.   So that is the other side of it all.  I am so amazed by the synchronization of this whole thing.


So, Happy Saint James Day!  Where would we be without this guy?




Posted by Cris on behalf of The General (aka The Boss, Phil, Felipe)

Happy Saint James Day // Santiago Apóstol

Happy St. James day to all Pilgrims wherever they may be (CSJ UK)
25th July – St. James Day //25 Julio – Santiago Apóstol
remember, you were given that name
every day along the way, remember,
you were greeted as such,
and treated as such,
and you needed no other name.
Pilgrim they called you,
again and again,
(Camino, David Whyte)

Save with stories

Terry Hershey and Felipé, September 2020.
(photo N Pendergast)

Dear Caminoheads,

In the “details about you” section in facebook, one of the things I wrote in 2011 was: “I love traveling and meeting people and listening to their stories.”

Over the years, I have reflected a lot about this gift of being worthy of the others trust, for them to share their stories with me. The Camino had a lot to do about that, because in the Camino, mostly everybody share their stories with the others.

I have always loved reading too. To me, reading is very much related to listening to stories… when I read, I feel as if I am listening to the conversation the writer has with him/herself and while I read almost about anything, the books I love the most are those that tell stories of people, or that start with a question, and definitely those that take you to a deep dive into the essence of the other, even if it is a scientific book. I also love stories or tales for children and I love listening to others reading children books. And I also love listening to conversations between people, like a podcast or an interview (it is not that I go through life meddling into the conversations of others, although it has happened occasionally, I admit!)

Maybe this is why I also love the art of sitting with my therapist, or even sitting with a challenging priest for a confession (in the old fashioned way, when you really needed to go deep inside yourself…)

I once listened to John O’Donohue saying that if you wonder how your life is going, one of the questions you should ask yourself is “when was the last time you have a great conversation, a conversation which wasn’t just two intersecting monologues?… a conversation in which you overheard yourself saying things that you never knew you knew… a conversation that continued to sing in your mind for weeks afterwards?”

In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions: 1) When did you stop dancing? 2) When did you stop singing? 3) When did you stop being enchanted by stories? 4) When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?

As pilgrims and neighbors of this blog, we may add a few others: When did you stop walking? When did you stop talking to strangers? When did you stop enjoying the tapas table/inviting a stranger to dinner?..

Where we have stopped having great (GREAT) conversations, dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, finding comfort in silence, walking, enjoying the tapas table/inviting a stranger to dinner,  is where we have experienced the loss of the wealth of our lives and minds, and most importantly, the loss of our aliveness and soul.

To close, a line that I love: “Let’s be death what takes us, not lack of imagination”.


Saving with stories Love,


News from the ranch!!!!!!!!


The most summery I found by Norman Rockwell (source: internet)


I was included in the most Norman Rockwell evening.  Wiley was playing Shortstop for the Hitmen.

Henna and I went to watch.

The wives of the guys were there and kids were running back and forth.




Posted by Cris on behalf of The Boss/Phil/Felipe