Gregory, who will be 65 years old in September, tells me he grew up in James Town, North Dakota. We talk about how much he loved his grandmother’s cabin on Spirit Wood Lake.
Gregory experienced absolute freedom on the crystal clear waters of Spirit Wood Lake, 18 miles north of his hometown. The emerald, sapphire and gold colors of the summer months were filled with swimming for hours on end, learning to sail and fishing with his Grandpa.
“I felt like that was my home,” Gregory says. “They had to force me to go to town. My father was concerned I wouldn’t go to college because we were having too much fun at the lake cabin. I came home after my first day of school and said, ‘When I get out of college I’m going to quit school!’”
He tells me about how the deep blue-green waters of Spirit Wood Lake were the perfect escape from each imminent school year. The natural beauty of his surroundings and a growing sense of his own independence pushed school from his boyhood thoughts.
Gregory goes on to tell me he made it through three years of pre-med studies in college, but a horrific car wreck put an end to his college career.
“I shattered the windshield with my head, and the people didn’t have insurance. I didn’t walk for a year and the doctors told me I had to accept the fact that I might never walk again for the rest of my life.”
“I didn’t accept that. I was going to find a way to walk and I did,” Gregory says.