“Started Small & Just Got Lucky – Living With The Curse Of A Curious Mind” is an autobiographical/historical account of consulting nutritionist Kenneth Eng’s 50-year career. The book debuts in September. Eng is the benefactor of the Dr. Kenneth & Caroline McDonald Eng Foundation, which he established in memory of his late wife Caroline. The $2 million foundation funds cow-calf efficiency research at the University of Nebraska, Oklahoma State University and Texas A&M University (TAMU).

The research results are presented annually in a public symposium, which this year will be hosted by TAMU on Sept. 18-19 at Embassy Suites – San Antonio Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX. Order a book or learn more about the symposium that will focus on improvements of beef cow efficiency and profitability by intensive and semi-confined production systems.

Chapter 19 – A Traveling Man (The Curse of a Curious Mind)

I’ve always been a curious person with a lot of stamina. Add that to my desire to see new country, and you have a natural-born “traveling man.” I started traveling on business in the early ’60s and traveled constantly for 50 years. I suspect my air travel would total 4-5 million miles. I’ve probably stayed in hotels and motels over 8,000 nights. With this much travel, it’s not surprising there are a lot of stories to tell. The following are a few of the more exciting or humorous ones.

As a kid I was fascinated by history, geography and travel. However, in reality, we seldom ventured beyond a 50-mile radius of our farm. My travels took place in my dreams, the one-room country school or in the kitchen at night with Mom and Dad where we studied maps, and history books while dreaming of places we’d like to see. I might have majored in history or geography in college, but couldn’t figure out what to do with those degrees.

I was able to send Mom and Dad on several trips including a cruise to Alaska—a place Dad had always wanted to visit. Dad also was able to see my California ranch before he died of cancer at the relatively young age of 72. He had a good life but cancer was eating him up so it was time for the final bell to ring.

Mother traveled with me occasionally, and while she liked my friends, she would remark that they were interesting but some seemed a little wild. I told her that’s why they’re interesting. She was never sure I had a real job because I didn’t have a normal office, a regular schedule or a boss. Once she was flying back to Nebraska seated next to a young fellow who worked for a large feed company. They began talking and he said, “Are you Dr. Eng’s mother?” When she answered “Yes,” he told her that he would give anything in the world to have a job like mine. He later told me that she responded, “I appreciate that, but could you tell me what he does?”

Until I was 18, the only out-of-state trips we took were once to the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota and once to Estes Park, CO. We also made a couple of trips back to Illinois to visit Mom’s relatives. My cousin, Sally, and her husband, Willis, still live south of Decatur, IL, when they’re not wintering in Florida. Cousin Sally is an excellent writer and has written a great book entitled “Lessons Learned from Common Sense” that I highly recommend. Our Illinois relatives and friends would visit each fall during pheasant season. Because Illinois had been spared the ravages of the Dust Bowl and they could afford a yearly trip, I thought they were rich.

Not only did I seldom venture beyond Nebraska, I didn’t get to Omaha or Lincoln until I was 13. We didn’t travel far, but we wore out the roads within a 50-mile radius of home. When I started college at Wayne State in Nebraska, it expanded my horizons a bit more. Yankton, SD, became a favorite out-of-town party spot where the legal beer drinking age was 18.