Monthly Archives: May 2011

When my mother was young, she and her 8 brothers and sisters helped out with chores around the house. Dishes were a big undertaking with 11 people in the family, so every day, after supper, Grandma would wash the dishes, and the children would dry them and put them away.

Many times there would be a lot of conversation going on, but as with any group of kids, sometimes arguing seemed the order of the day. One day in particular, the arguing became rather heated, and Grandma had simply had enough of it, so she yelled over the arguing, “Alright, that is enough!! I don’t want to hear another peep out of you kids!!”

Well, my grandmother was a tiny little woman of only 5′, in her tall days, but one thing I can tell you from personal experience…you didn’t mess with Grandma! Sometimes small packages can carry a big boom! And that is exactly how it was with my grandma, so when she told her kids to knock it off, they knew that she meant business.

Still, in every crowd there is one person who figures that life is about taking chances. So, as all the children stood there working quietly, my Aunt Deloris, Aunt Dee as we called her, assessed the situation and made a decision. She quietly said, “Peep.” Well, you can imagine that the other children assumed that she was in BIG trouble, but Grandma, try as she might, couldn’t help herself. She burst out laughing. Of course, everyone else started laughing too, and the argument was over.

Nevertheless, Grandma had a dilemma, and I don’t know if it started as a result of that argument or not, but Grandma decided that a good way to stop an argument before it started…at least while doing the dishes, was to have a sing-along. She figured that singing children weren’t arguing children. Thus, was born what I will call the Dish-Along.

When my girls were little, Bob and I wanted to start bowling. We started looking for a babysitter. I volunteered at the girls’ grade school doing throat cultures, and had seen a girl there who I knew to be the daughter of a man Bob worked with, and they just happened to live out in the country, just about a mile from our house, so it seemed ideal.

Molly was a little young, just in 6th grade, but she had 2 little sisters, Kelly and Jenny, so she was somewhat experienced, and her family lived close by, so if anything went wrong, help would come quickly. The decision was made. We asked her, and she agreed. She would babysit every Monday night, and assorted other days, when we needed her.

My first instincts about Molly were correct. She had some experience…lots of experience. She must have been a great help to her mom and dad, with her little sisters, because she knew what little girls would want to do. She played outside with them when the weather was nice, and inside when it wasn’t. At Christmastime, she would bring paper, glue, and glitter; and the kids would make us pictures to hang up for the holidays. And the best news, she never left us a mess. She even washed the dishes. The house was spotless when we came home. I was stunned, to say the very least! Where do you find a babysitter like that? Almost nowhere!! We were so completely blessed by Molly!!

But, more important than the blessing Molly was to Bob and me, was the blessing she was to our girls. They dearly loved Molly, and couldn’t wait to have her come to babysit the next time. There were never tears when we left, there were smiling waves goodbye. We left our house, knowing that it and more importantly, our children were in great hands.

As the years went by, and our girls no longer needed a babysitter, Molly would go on to college and marriage. She moved to Iowa, and has children of her own. While I haven’t seen her in many years now, I am in touch with her family and hopefully her soon as well, on Facebook. While she has a life of her own now, I hope she knows that we will always have a soft spot in our hearts for the best babysitter we ever had!

When my grandchildren, Christopher, Shai, and Caalab were little, my daughter Amy stayed home with her kids and babysat Christopher for her sister. It was such a blessing, because Corrie and I would come over at lunchtime and have lunch with them. Corrie was able to spend precious time with Christopher, and I was able to spend precious time with my kids and grandkids…at least the ones we had then. Joshua would join our family later on.

Amy’s house was a lively place those days. The kids kept her running and there was never a dull moment. I’m sure she was exhausted many times, but I hope she knows what a blessing she was to Corrie, Kevin, and me. The knowledge that the children were happy and well cared for, as well as loved, brings a peace of mind that cannot be matched. And most daycares do not allow parents to stop by for lunch, as it disrupts their day, and the children can get cranky when the parent leaves, but, while he hated to see his mommy go, Christopher was fine, because he was with his Aunty Amy, and his cousins.

Don’t get me wrong, there were the normal fights and competitions during the day, but because of the close surroundings, a close friendship grew. Since Christopher was 1 day older than Shai, they had spent all their lives together, and would do so until they started grade school. First, in Amy’s care until she needed to work full time. Then in their next sitter, Dani’s care, and finally the pre-school/daycare they would go to before grade school began. Theirs would be a friendship to last a lifetime. And when Caalab came along, they would work very hard to be big helpers to Amy, even though they were only 17 months older than he was.

The kids got personalized care from Amy, because she had just the two, then three. She would not babysit Joshua, because she went to work before he arrived. I feel a little sad for him, because he did not have that special time with his Aunty Amy like Christopher did. She taught the kids things, played games, trained them in walking, pottying, and talking, although she might regret that part sometimes. Amy played a big part in those kids early lives, and I was always glad.

The days the kids spent together with Amy were filled with giggles and laughs, and a few tears, but she would kiss the boo boos and stop the fights, and get things back into fun mode very quickly. Whenever I was there, I could tell that the kids were so happy and blessed. I wish I could tell you about everything they did during those days, but unfortunately I didn’t get to see that part of the day like Amy did. I just know that the babies grew into happy children, and we knew that they spent every day in the company of friends.

Awwww, here it comes…Summer vacation. School is out, the days are warm, the kids get to sleep in, play, swim, ride bikes. The days of freedom are upon us…or at least upon our kids. And don’t we all wish we could be those kids again. No responsibilities, no jobs, no schedule. Just freedom!!

I remember waking up at…oh noon. It was already warm, so we would head outside to enjoy the day. I loved the warmth, and so sunbathing was definitely on my agenda. Swimming was the next thing I wanted to do. Every weekday afternoon, we would walk up to Kelly Walsh High School, to the swimming pool. We would walk down Third to Huber, down to 8th, down to Sally Ln, which by the way and oddly, I’m sure, is where I now live, across the footbridge to Forest, up to 12th and on to Kelly Walsh. After swimming, we would head home for something to snack on. Yep, what a great way to spend the day.

That was many years ago, and I find myself thinking just how much the kids of today will miss the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. My grandchildren can’t wait to grow up. Sure, they enjoy the summer days, but it seems like all they want is to be done with school. I can understand that, especially as summer approaches, but when they just want high school to be over, I have to think that they don’t know the freedom they will be losing at that point. As they move into adulthood, they will now have jobs and families. Responsibilities replace freedoms. But, they don’t seem to care. All I can say to them is slow down, and enjoy the ride. Your days of freedom won’t last forever.

When my grandparents were married, on December 24, 1927, our country was in a recession, and money was scarce. My grandfather had a matching set of Sixguns that he loved, but he loved Grandma more, so he sold those guns to get enough money to pay for the wedding costs and get Grandma a ring. He was never able to get them back, but always felt that he got the better end of the deal.

Since times were tough, Grandpa decided to forego a wedding ring for himself so that Grandma could have one. He wanted a wife and family more than a ring. His instincts were good too since they were married 52 years before Grandpa went home to be with the Lord. Their marriage was blessed with 9 children, and countless grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren.

One day, years later, when their second child, my Aunt Virginia, was 8 to 10 years old, all the children were playing outside. Aunt Virginia went exploring at the side of the house, between Grandma and Grandpa’s house and Great Grandma’s house, where there was a flower garden. She looked down, and there in the garden was a man’s wedding ring. It must have been dug up during garden work. Excitedly, she picked it up and ran into the house to show it to her parents.

Grandpa looked at it and told her it was a beautiful ring. He put it on his hand, and looked at it. Then he took it off and gave it back to Aunt Virginia. She said, “Daddy, you should keep it.” He said he couldn’t, but she insisted, and that is how my grandfather got his wedding band from his daughter. Aunt Virginia was so pleased to be able to give her dad the wedding ring he had never had and would not be able to buy for himself, as there were too many other things that his paycheck was needed for. And Grandpa was so pleased that she wanted him to have such a beautiful ring. He wore the ring proudly for the rest of his life. And everyone in his family was very please that he had been blessed with the ring.

Sometimes, life hands us an opportunity. Our future can depend on what we do with that opportunity. It can be especially difficult to see what is right in front of us when we are teenagers, but sometimes, a teenager proves that they are different from the rest…they are truly unique.

Jessi began her career when she was a teenager. My sister, Cheryl’s legal office needed a file clerk/runner. Jessi was offered the job, and she immediately stepped up to the plate. She worked hard to do a good job, and make her aunt, as well as the rest of her family, proud of her.

Jessi has a great personality, and she is always happy. She has a way of bringing that happiness into every area of her life. I’m quite sure she added a little sunshine to the office when she came in to work each day.

Since she was still in high school when she started working there, she started out as part time, but as time went on, she began talking about going into the legal profession as a career. We were all very surprised that she would want to do that, but it has proven to be the perfect niche for her.

Jessi and Cheryl no longer work in the same office, as they have both moved on to different law firms, and each has found the perfect place for them. Jessi has been blessed to find a boss who likes her work well enough to get her the training she needs to move her career forward, and then announces to the whole city in the paper when she has a new accomplishment. Everyone should be so blessed in the area of bosses, don’t you agree? But then, if Jessi had not been mature enough in high school to see the opportunity that was placed in front of her, she would not be where she is today.

When my niece Lindsay was a little girl she told everyone in the family that she was going to be a fire fighter when she grew up. It was a dream that sounded much like a lot of other kids, but she would prove to be different.

After high school, she went to school to major in Fire Science. While it was a bit of a surprise, we were all very proud of her. She did very well, and was hired for two summers running to work for the Forest Service as a fire fighter in the Black Hills of South Dakota. After receiving her Associates Degree in Fire Science, Lindsay did change her mind about fire fighting.

In true Lindsay style, she would prove herself, by being accepted to a program that is very hard to get into. Her Bachelor’s Degree would be in Kinesiology and Health Promotion, which is the study of movement, with an emphasis on disease prevention through exercise, and how exercise affects diseases and how to live healthy lifestyles. With this degree, she has a variety of fields that she can go into, including physical therapy, which is the field that she would receive an internship in at Wyoming Medical Center. I know she will do very well. And yes Lindsay, I had a ulterior motive for all my questions, but I was also very interested. In the Fall, Lindsay will attend South Dakota State University to obtain her Masters Degree.

Lindsay has always been a girl with a magnetic personality. You are just drawn to her. She has never met a stranger, just a friend she doesn’t know yet. And she has the ability to succeed at whatever she sets her hand to. I know that no matter where your journey takes you, Lindsay, your life will be filled with much happiness and great success. As you start down the next road on your journey, I feel a little sad that the next years will keep you further from home, and while I am very happy for you, I am sad for…me.

When my mom and her brothers and sisters were young, making fudge was one of their biggest treats. They would make it as often as they could. One day my mom and Aunt Bonnie wanted to make fudge, but they didn’t have enough cocoa for it. So, they decided to borrow some.

Mom and Aunt Bonnie walked down to the Lattimer’s house. The girls asked to borrow some cocoa, and Mrs Lattimer invited them in for a few minutes. So, after a short visit, the girls started down the street with their cocoa in hand. On the way, they would walk past the Ford’s house, who were the next door neighbors to the Lattimers. Mr Ford was a police officer in Casper.

There was a big tree that stood near the street between the Lattimer and Ford homes. As the girls walked under the tree, my Uncle Larry and Uncle Wayne jumped out of the tree yelling, in an effort to scare the girls. Well, as you might have guessed their “attack” worked perfectly and the girls proceeded to scream at the top of their lungs. Mr Ford, being a police officer, came running outside to see what was going on…fully expecting to encounter a murder in progress, I’m sure. Well, when he found the two brothers scaring the daylights out of their sisters, he seriously thought about beating the daylights out of the boys…and in those days, you could do that, so I’m sure the boys were rethinking the wisdom of their little plan.

Mr Ford scolded them and sent them home. The fudge was made, but I have to wonder if the boys were allowed to have any of it. My mom tells me that while the boys escaped the beating from Mr Ford, they did get a severe talking to when they got home.

Mom tells me, however, that for all their mischief, the boys did have a few redeeming qualities. One time when mom had gone to the little store around the corner from their house, with her brothers, she saw a set of salt and pepper shakers that looked like deer. She commented on how beautiful they were. Then the three of them moved on. The boys, however, got together and bought those salt and pepper shakers and gave them to my mom. She said it was such a touching thing to do, that it still brings tears of joy to her eyes.

Yes, boys will be boys, and the pranks they pull can make you want to wring their necks, but sometimes the things they do can be so sweet, that it makes up for a lot of their…well, other qualities.

It is the culmination of 13 years of schooling…the final rite of passage where school is concerned…graduation. It is a day of joy, tempered with a little sadness. Friends you spent so much time with will now be going their own ways and doing their own things. You won’t see them as much and some you may not ever see again. It is a wonderful time with so many beginnings and opportunities to come. You leave high school filled with hope for your future.

Today, my last niece graduates, and we are so very proud of you, Lacey! Today, you begin a new chapter in your very own book…the book of your life, but I remember the day when you arrived. The teeny little girl who would one day grow up to look so much like her mom, that it’s like looking at a picture of your mom sometimes. You were a shy little girl, but as you have grown, that shyness has given way to the confidence of womanhood, and I know that you are going to have a wonderful future.

I remember watching you grow, and the close friendship that you shared with Siara. At family gatherings you two could always be found tucked into a corner of the couch, sharing little secret dreams, thoughts, and ideas. I’m sure that like most kids, there were a few antics in the making in those secret moments you shared, but you were both good little girls, who have turned out very well.

Today it begins…the rest of your life, and I know that where ever you go and whatever you do, you will be a blessing to those around you and the pride of your parents and grandparents. So, today is the ceremony, and one last blast with friends, and that’s it. Your school days are behind you. I’m very excited for you as you go into the future, but a little bit sad that the little girl you were, is gone. Congratulations Lacey!! We love you!!

Today I went to my niece’s graduation party. There were a number of small children at the party, and a good time was had by all. In particular, there was a incident in which one of the small children, Zackary, was being held down, and tickled by two adults. As they gave him a moment to breathe, another niece, Jessi said to her boyfriend Jason, who was one of the adults tickling him, along with her sister Kellie, that when it came to tickling, you must show no mercy.

Well, that got me to thinking about another child, who was very ticklish…my sister, Caryl. She was always quite a giggly kid. She had a laugh that was infectious, but it was not her laugh that really got my sisters and me laughing…it was the tickle torture!!! Caryl was so ticklish that it is something none of us will ever forget. After performing the tickle torture on Caryl several times, we had given the attack that name. And the name was fitting, because it truly was torture for her, but we did it in the spirit of fun.

Caryl had to be one of the most ticklish people in the entire world, and she would scream and kick and laugh, but it was so funny that we just couldn’t get enough of the tickle torture. We would all get in on it. We held her down and tickled her until tears rolled down her face and she was begging us to stop. I suppose that was mean of us, but it was just so funny…and she did survive it, after all.

And because my sisters and I were, horribly mean, we would often descend on Caryl without warning. She would start begging us not to even before we got started. But, it wasn’t our fault, it was Caryl’s, because she was so funny…and we were, after all, just kids.

As I said, Caryl did survive our torture, and has grown into a wonderful woman. She became a Respiratory Therapist and works in the Cardiopulmonary Department at Memorial Hospital of Carbon County. She still has a great sense of humor and yes, she is still very ticklish. I like to think my sisters and I played a small part in the lovely woman she became, but I seriously doubt if she would say that the woman she became was due to the tickle torture.