(Me and my steely gray steed are known for our closing kicks. Don’t believe us? Just ask us. / Photo by Kelly Sears)

I vividly remember the day when the delivery men brought our first television set to the house. I stood on the front porch and watched intently as they unloaded the big, bulky, console version and carefully carried it from the truck in the drive way all the way to the living room and set it into place.

I paid closed attention as the technical wizards of yesterday carefully tilted the big machine toward the ground and they cut off the cardboard box. I peered into the dark space like a child into outer space, and focused hard as the men unloaded the most magical machine ever invented and scooted it into the corner of the room.

The big picture tube protruded from behind. The antenna ears had to be “fiddled with” to get the signal. And, then, the fuzzy horizontal lines started to flicker, as if the clouds on a dark and dreary night parted and revealed — for the first time — the North Star.

The TV set started to come to life. Spitting. Sputtering. Flickering. Flashing. Until a picture started to form. A face started to appear. And, a voice could be heard. And, then the pictures started to move. I stood there in absolute amazement, staring into that box to see the black & white images dance across the screen.

It didn’t take me long to develop my list of favorite shows to watch. I wrote them down in the TV Guide. And, I never missed an episode. Every week, at the allotted time, I would scoot my rug right up to the edge of the wonder box and wait until “my show” to appear. Then, when it did, I was rest on every segment, and every word.

One of my most favorite was the “Roy and Dale Rogers Show.” The husband and wife team had their Western TV series. They solved a few issues and problems. They made sure the good guys won. Nearly every show, they would break into song and look lovingly into each other’s eyes as they made their way along life’s trails and tribulations. Roy always was atop his steady steed — Trigger. A golden palomino. A team of righteousness. A team of triumphant.

And, as the 30-minute show would come to an end each and every week, I would sing along with my TV hero:

“Some trails are happy ones,

“Others are blue…

“It’s the way your ride that counts,

“Here’s a happy one for you…

“Happy trails to you,…

“Until we meet again…

“Happy trails to you…

“Keep smiling until then…

“Who cares about the clouds when we’re together…

“Just sing a song, and bring the sunny weather…

“Happy trails to you…

“Until we meet again.”

Those lyrics were ever bit as comforting as a glass of milk and hot chocolate chip cookies. Those words and that melody were ever bit as soothing as the docile tones of your favorite recording artist. That memory resonated and stuck, just like a hair in a biscuit. Forever.

And, little did I know, some 58 or 59 years later, that song would ring in my ears and play in my heart — again.

On Friday, our little band of traveling warriors made our way from Vik, Iceland over to a farm nearby, and got to ride our version of Trigger, and cut our modern version of the “Roy and Dale Rogers Show.”

On Friday, we picked out our own little steed from a collection of Icelandic horses. We mounted up, and headed off into the deepest green fields of grass and clover.

On Friday, we guided our newest friends over and through the most clean and clear waters and streams that meandered their way from the glaciers to the ocean. All us — horse and man alike — splashed like little kids in the stream of life.

We saw sheep that would suddenly stop nibbling at their grassy salads, and look at us as if we had both invaded their space, and certainly didn’t look like we belonged either on horses or in their countryside.

We saw cows, whose blatters were so full of nature’s greatest juice that it seemed as if they might burst from the collection milk shakes.

We saw farmers plying their trades, and children doing their chores.

And, we strolled on.

Quietly.

Strongly.

Steadily.

Beautifully.

The farm leader on his horse led the caravan. The rest of us, all on horseback, in single file.

There was “Uncle Bill,” who looks so much like Steve Asmussen that they could be brothers. Horsemanship with a calm confidence.

Next, there was Greg Schell. Never the patient one, Greg — wearing a hat that is more befitting a bee-keeper than a man of Roy Rogers fame — immediately steers his steed to the outside and moves up the ranks. Early ripe, early rotten. That’s a old saying of my dad’s. Greg has never understood that logic.

Then there is Ronda Schell. She settles in for the ride. Smoothly. Graciously. Gracefully.

There’s Kelly Sears, the best horseman in this group, by far. Perfectly placed in the saddle, as if born to ride, she guides over the hills and dales in perfect unison with her mount.

And, then there is my beautiful wife Leigh Ann — who somehow has chosen the most raucous of the colts to join our group. With the reins drooped over his withers, and figuring that he has no parental guidance at all, the little bay prances off in a one direction and then wheels on a dime and heads in another. After the first 30 minutes, he suddenly decides he has had enough of the family time and turns to head home.

Leigh Ann, never comfortable in the saddle, looks as if she has just swallowed a puffin. A good horse trip is never complete without a colic-like hiccup or two along the way.

This was surely to be ours.

Thank God there was a guide in the rear of our pack, too. There to help in case of a need.

And, in this case, there was a need.

After a few minutes of coaxing and convincing, Leigh Ann and her horse rejoined us and we continued on our mission. Up the side of the hill. Up the mountain. Across the green, green grass of somebody’s home. Over another bubbling creek of water so pure.

Until we saw it. A mountainous water fall coming right out of the heavens and churning right towards our feet.

Our horses, never fearing and never stopping, carry us right to the water’s edge. Where we dismount, and head the rest of the way on foot — to capture yet another Kodiak moment in the recesses of our minds.

All I could think about were the words, that rang through my mind and soul.

This real life, high-definition, color-filled motion picture took me all the way back to that old, flickering black & white TV:

“Some trails are happy ones,

“Others are blue…

“It’s the way your ride that counts,

“Here’s a happy one for you…

“Happy trails to you,…

“Until we meet again…

“Happy trails to you…

“Keep smiling until then…

“Who cares about the clouds when we’re together…

“Just sing a song, and bring the sunny weather…

“Happy trails to you…

“Until we meet again.”

I knew right then and there that Roy and Dale were singing and sending down their manta from heaven to a boy — now 63 years old — on the back of an Icelandic horse.

I knew right then and there that some trails are happy ones — and this was surely one.

I knew right then and there that it’s the way your ride that counts, and here’s a happy one for both me and my friends.

I knew right then and there that “Happy Trails” do exist.

For me.

And, for you.

I knew right then and there, until we meet again — whenever it may be — that there will be and should be “Happy Trails.”

I knew right then and there that I was right where I was supposed to be.

I knew right then and there that my life was right where it should be.

I knew right then and there, that my life was a “Happy Trail.”

Thanks to my family.

Thanks to my friends.

Thanks to my gracious God.

Thanks to my new friends from Iceland.