Windows on the World of Raymond Plank
Founder, Apache Corp

Vol. 2015 No. 4


Following attending an Apache Corp event in Houston, its headquarters, able assistant Deborah Koehler and I had initially planned to travel to Japan, where arrangements had been made for us to meet with Ambassador Caroline Kennedy.  Having bombed Japan on numerous occasions from the air, I was interested in viewing from the ground.  However, Ambassador Kennedy, who had written an earlier warm letter, had received a number of death threats, according to the media, and as the youngest survivor of President John F. Kennedy wasn’t taking any chances.  A wise decision given the assassinations of both her father and uncle U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy.   I was also unable to see how the able Japanese optimized their agriculture, of which I take note in each country visited since founding an initiative seeking to improve the economics and the ecology of High Plains ranching and farming.

Coincidentally at about the time we were planning our trip abroad (our return destination being Minneapolis) the President and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security had gone on the air to note an increasing number of enemy threats to shopping malls, singling out Minnesota's giant Mall of America in hometown Minneapolis.  Now why do that?  Instead of an alarm, which would no doubt impact shoppers in well over five hundred stores, why not order increased security by those trained in that line of work rather than sit and crow?  Or were we seeking to divert attention from the crop of growing global thistles blooming around planet earth.  My how I wish we Americans had a practical means of vetting our presidential candidates before they were nominated to compete for the office of president who also serves as the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces.

In any event Deb Koehler and I changed our travel destination to Greece, which having one incident, turned out to be an excellent choice.


I'd like to go back some years in our history to the point at which the major U.S. housing boom collapsed.  A few words about Greece, which for some period has utilized the Euro as its sole currency; Argentina had tried it once before, using the U.S. dollar as its currency, which turned out poorly for all concerned.  Between 1981-1989 San Antonio’s mayor Cisneros spread the opinion that seventy percent of American families should own their own homes, a philosophy which took root in Washington as two U.S. government mortgage agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac gave rise to major abuse. Wall Street genius came up with malevolent mortgages being pooled into securities of indicated low risk, medium risk and high risk for which they found a ready market in Europe including Greece.  The public could invest at any level, which Greece did and realized that they had been scammed. 


As we departed Greece for the states a national vote was pending which caused the world to shutter because the Greeks stood firm that they had been had.   Where we go next, I haven’t a clue but “it ain’t pretty nor is it fatal.”


Nor was my “incident” on Santorini island in the Aegean Sea, where after a sauna, I walked to the shallow end of the pool to lower myself gingerly, but finding it slippery I fell and landed on my right temple on a rough rock, resulting in an Easter egg-sized lump, along with a plethora of scratches on my right arm.  Deb insisted we head to a hospital, to which I protested but agreed.


The first hospital did not have CAT scan equipment; a second ambulance admirably equipped hauled us to another hospital, where we found the doctors on Santorini knowledgeable, thorough and most helpful.  I was frankly surprised on an island in the Aegean Sea to find the level of care provided.  Deb emailed the CAT scan results to my Minneapolis surgeon, Dr. Chute who was delighted with the results, finding my brain in excellent condition.  Ice packs to the head, much of my face turned “Deep Purple” (an old song) down the right side of my face.


My doctor not only found the brain in fine condition, but brought his equipment to Lake of the Woods, Ontario, where we fished together, he having my records on his tablet and pronounced my condition, “excellent, perfect” for one entering his ninety-fourth year.


So, three days after departing Athens, I caught the largest Northern Pike (twenty-five to thirty pounds), which friend Dave Flynn assisted me and got into a net, while Dave himself caught the largest Walleye I’d seen for several years that same day.  David has now purchased a special scale as we plan an encore in September, following which Deb and I plan to travel to Switzerland then down the Adriatic Sea along the Italian coast.


Raymond Plank