Monthly Archives: June 2013
After my story a couple of days ago, on logging in the old days, my cousin, Elmer told me a story that our grandma told him years ago. I didn’t know that some of my mom’s family was also in logging. They were loggers in Cascade, Idaho, which is a beautiful area. In figuring the time frame, I would expect that my Great Uncle Herman was a logger in the 1940’s or so. Logging may be something that can be done year round these days, but back then it was more a seasonal thing, and required that the men who worked there find other work in the off season.
According to the Grandma, who is Great Uncle Herman’s sister, he had been hired to dig graves in the off season. The ground there is rocky, and in the winter, the ground gets frozen and really hard. Digging graves under those conditions would be quite difficult. Uncle Herman’s boss told him to use a little bit of dynamite to loosen the soil a little bit. I don’t think my uncle had ever been around dynamite much…nor have I, but Elmer figured that a quarter of a stick would have been enough. He didn’t know for sure how much dynamite Uncle Herman used, but apparently the resulting hole was big enough to bury half of the townspeople. The good news was that somehow he didn’t hit any graves in the area, because no body parts were unearthed…thankfully, because I can’t imagine what a scene like that would do to a person.
The pictures that immediately came to my mind when I heard this story is the look that must have appeared on my uncle’s face when he saw what the dynamite had done. I also thought about the noise the blast made, and the fact that this mistake was not going to be able to be kept to himself. Not only would his boss know about it, but the whole town was going to know about it. Of course, Uncle Herman lost his job that day, and went on to do other off season work…probably a lot less exciting, but maybe less dangerous for everyone concerned. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that every time that incident came up in Uncle Herman’s mind or in the conversation that was going on, he couldn’t help but laugh at the very absurdity of the situation. I know Elmer and I have laughed about it repeatedly since we heard the story.
Fishing is a favorite pass time for many people, and most of them will tell you that they find it to be very relaxing. Nevertheless, not everyone who goes fishing, especially for the first time finds it fun or relaxing. I am not one of those people who loves to fish, and I find it boring, not relaxing, and yes, I have fished before. I don’t like worms and I have no intention of stabbing one with a fish hook, much less removing its carcass from said hook in the event of not catching any fish.
My grand niece, Kaytlyn would fall into the category of those girls who agree with my thoughts on fishing. When told that she was going to get to fish, she thought it was a great idea, but I think maybe that was before she knew what fishing was. It all sounded like fun, and maybe she wanted something new to do, but when reality hit her, and she figured out that these aren’t little plastic fish that don’t move…well, all she wanted to do was get away, and her mom had her trapped. There was no way out. Believe me Kaytlyn, I feel your pain on that one. There is nothing worse that being trapped and far to close to something creepy, whether it is a fish, spider, or moth, it makes no difference. Things that are alive and not human should stay in their own space, and I’ll stay in mine.
I’m not alone in my feelings about fishing. There are lots of other girly girls like me who just can’t stomach it. Oh we might go fishing if we are forced, but don’t expect us to bate our own hook or remove the fish that are caught. And by the way, keep that slippery, wet, wiggly fish away from me. I don’t want to touch it. Fish should only be found on a plate, fully cooked or in an aquarium. And, I have a feeling that Kaytlyn might fall into that same category, but only time will tell. She may be just like her sister, and really enjoy fishing. We will have to see.
Jala likes to fish, although I don’t know if she bates her own hook or not. Either way, she doesn’t seem to have much problem with them, and in fact wears a smile while she is fishing. Maybe she will be able to help her little sister get over the fear she seems to have concerning fish. Maybe…in time she will be able to help Kaytlyn, but for now, as far as Kaytlyn is concerned, all she wants is out of there, because her motto is…”I don’t think I like fishing after all!!”
For a number of years some of my dad’s family worked in the lumber business like so many other people from the area near International Falls, Minnesota and northern Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Much of the lumber was then sent to the Sawmill and Paper mill in International Falls. The year was somewhere around 1912, and the equipment used was not like what is used in the lumber business of today. After the logs were dragged or “skidded” to the railroad, they were loaded on to the rail cars by a Yarder. A Yarder was a machine that traveled on railroads knows as “dummy lines” to the site where the logs were to be loaded. These machines appeared to be large and cumbersome, they were in reality, workhorses that could handle big jobs. Once the logs were hooked to the cables, the log could be skidded at a rate of 1000 feet per minute…making work around the machines, rather dangerous. Once the log was near the rail car, men and machines had to work together using cables and poles to load the logs onto the railroad car. Once again, this put the men in harm’s way. If a log slipped, it was very likely that it was going to hit someone, resulting in death or at the very least, serious injury.
I’m not sure what my dad’s family member’s jobs were in that industry, but that would have been around the time they were working in that industry. Logging has always been a dangerous industry to be in anyway, due to the large trees falling. You can’t always predict exactly where they are going to fall, although they know more about that these days than they used to. Still, the thought of a log being pulled from one point to another at the rate of 1,000 feet a minute and having someone in the way of that…makes me cringe!!
When I was watching some of the old home movies from Bob’s family, I saw that some of them were in that same industry for a time. There was a stark difference in the way trees were moved from place to place. The Harvester was able to go up into the area where the trees were being cut, and bring them down to the loader. The loader being on wheels, with a Diesel engine, was them able to lift the logs onto the trucks, without the need to “skid” them closer. No one needed to be around to work cables or anything else to get the logs on the truck. It made for a much safer situation for everyone concerned. Of course, every invention that we now had, came from a need seen by someone in the past, so I guess we have those loggers in the old days to thank for the safer conditions we now have. I’m just thankful that my ancestors lived through the time they spent in that industry.
There’s just something about watching old home movies…I mean the really old ones…from when you were kids, that is not only funny, but enlightening. While watching some old home movies from Bob’s family, one thing that I have noticed is that there are lots of people who don’t know how to act when they are being filmed. Some of them get nervous or embarrassed. They try to hide from the camera. Some people even get mad about being filmed, and what I found really funny about that is that one of those people who got mad, was Bob’s sister, Jennifer!! And she was only about 3 years old at the time. Even at that young age, she didn’t like being filmed, and she was clearly telling the person behind the camera just that. She tried to go in the house, but couldn’t open the door, so she turned around and started shaking her finger at the camera, and the look on her face clearly told the story…”I am not in the mood to have you film me!!”
Brenda, on the other hand, at just 1 year old, didn’t mind being filmed at all, because she was just too busy learning to walk. She toddles toward the camera with a great big smile on her face. Clearly she has no idea that she is being filmed. All she knows is that she love the camera’s operator. Like all kids who are learning to walk, Brenda takes a few unsteady steps and the plops down on the ground. The she gets back up and tries it again. At one point, Jennifer who has decided that helping her sister is more important than not wanting to be filmed, decides to help her little sister learn the walking ropes. She is learning that being filmed isn’t so bad after all, because she smiles and even poses for the camera.
A little later in the movies, the youngest child, Bob’s brother, Ron arrives. Everyone is so excited about having a baby in the family again, and everyone wants to hold him. He is passed back and forth from sibling to sibling, being a good sport about it all. Maybe that is where he got the nickname he carried for all the years I have known him…Sport. I suppose, being the youngest child, and having four older sisters, one might have to be a good sport just to survive, because as we all know, big sisters can be very bossy.
The children aren’t the only ones who don’t know exactly how to take the whole filming event either. Moms and dads, aunts and uncles, and even grandparents, dodge the camera, tying to hide behind anything form the house to the clothesline pole, and one person even slapped at the person trying to get her into the picture. How funny that these days we take self portraits with our cell phones, and when someone is filming a video, we start everything from posing to dancing to making faces. I guess we have come a long way since those early old home movies days.
Brian, who is the 14 month old son of my cousin, Alicia and her husband, Jordan, is a curious little boy, not unlike most boys his age. I am always amazed at the things that catch the eye of little kids. Things we adults would most likely never notice, seem somehow special and interesting to them. Add to that, the fact that Brian is a boy, and you will find that the things that will interest him will be the bug, worm, or as in Brian’s case…the toad.
While taking in some fresh air and sunshine in their back yard, Brian came upon his first toad. He pointed at it and said, “Mom! This?” Either he was asking her what it was, or wanted her to look at it, and it doesn’t really matter, because it is just the beginning of his boyhood curiosity, and this is a question Alicia will hear over and over again. I told Alicia that her days of finding toads and other such friends in her son’s pants pocket were probably not too far off. It does make me thankful that I had daughters, although my grandsons broke me in on the various items in their pockets and in their hands. Some, I would rather not think about!!!
As I looked at the picture of the toad, my mind went back to when I was a kid. I remember hunting for toads too. And I remember having one that was in a box, but I am quite certain that I would never have picked up that toad, so maybe one of my male cousins put it in the box for me, or maybe my memory is of looking at a toad in a box that belonged to one of my male cousins. Whatever my memory of the toad was, I do remember touching the toad…briefly. Its skin was rough and scratchy. I also remember thinking that it was odd that the toad didn’t try to get away from my touch…almost like they enjoy that touch, like a cat does.
Little Brian is just beginning his years of curiosity about the animal kingdom, and it is my guess that he will have many more memories of that type than I ever did, since I tried very hard to stay as far away from bugs and amphibians as I could. If Brian is the boy I expect that he will be, he will try to be around them much of his young life…until he discovers girls, that is.
Today marks the first time in my life that I don’t have a dad to celebrate Father’s Day with. After my dad passed away in 2007, I still had my father-in-law that we celebrated Father’s Day with. Nevertheless, it was very lonely, because I missed my dad. And yet, I was blessed in that I still had my father-in-law. Now, those days are over, and I feel very sad again. And when I think of how my sisters-in-law and brother-in law and my husband must be feeling, my heart aches for them, because this is their dad and they have never had to deal with those feelings before…the emptiness that only comes from the loss of a parent. I feel sad for my sisters too, because we know that the death of your parent is not something you ever get over. You simply have to go on with life…because time marches on.
Still, today is Father’s Day, and in our hearts we will all celebrate the men who were our dads. The fact that they live in Heaven now, in no way diminishes the blessing they were to us in their lifetimes. We were so very blessed to have them in our lives for those years that we had them. We were very blessed that they each lived to be over 83 years old…long lives each one. We were very blessed that each of them had sound minds right to the end. They gave us their wisdom through the last conversations we had with them. So many of the elderly have had their minds and memories stolen from them by dementia, so this was a blessing beyond measure for us, and one I wish everyone could have.
My dad and my father-in-law were both hard working men. Their families came first in all things. They would give you the shirt off their backs if you needed it, because they both walked in love. We were so blessed to have witnessed the kindness they showed to those around them. It sometimes amazes me just how very much alike they were in so many ways. How I came to be so blessed in that way…overwhelms me. I was blessed beyond measure by the two dads God placed in my life, and my heart acutely feels the pain of their passing to this day. I know that it will feel that way until I see them both again in Heaven…a day I look forward to with much anticipation. Happy Father’s Day in Heaven to my two dads. I love and miss you both very much.
My grand nephew, James has become quite the ladies’ man, and now that he is turning 16, I’m sure that will only get worse…for his mom, my niece, Toni, who would much rather have her young man stay a boy for a while longer, I’m sure. Unfortunately for Toni, there just isn’t anything you can do about your kids growing up, and James is one of those men who would have to be classified as tall, dark, and handsome, and we have always thought he looked a little bit like Elvis, so most likely that is what always catches the eye of the girls in the area. It is a fact of life.
It seems like just yesterday that James was born. He was such a cute little boy, with lots of dark hair. He was a quiet boy, but that didn’t mean that his sense of humor didn’t shine forth. James likes being funny, in a subtle way. He’s not like the class clown or anything, but instead, his antics are designed to make people notice that he is goofy and then laugh with him. Although, every once in a while, James will go on a streak, and do something totally crazy, like ride on a pony ride…I didn’t think those even existed anymore…did you?
It seems like with every baby that was due in June, my mom would hope for them to arrive on her dad’s birthday…June 15th. While some have come close, none actually made Mom’s perfect arrival date, until James came on the scene. I wish he could have known his great great grandpa, but that was not to be, since he would have been 104 at the time James was born. Nevertheless, James reminds me a little bit of my Grandpa…mostly in the way he is built…tall and slender, and maybe in his personality…both of them being quiet men and all. So my mom finally got her wish for the June babies in our family. One finally arrived on the right day…June 15th, the birthday that James shares with his great great grandpa. Today is James’ 16th birthday. Happy birthday James!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
If you were to ask Garrett what he likes to do, you would probably find that his ideas of fun would fall squarely in the area of guy stuff. Garrett likes just about everything from golf, to hunting, to big trucks, and of course, Garrett loves sports of all kinds…and always has. Yes, I am aware that lots of girls like those things too, but to me they will always remain guy things…or maybe guy things that girls do too, sometimes.
Garrett also has a funny side. He loves to joke around, and especially to tease his sisters, Michelle and Lacey, and is sure to be the one goofing off at the exact moment that a picture is snapped. Anyone who knows Garrett has personally witnessed his goofy side, because it is simply not something Garrett can hide. It just bubbles out of him. One minute he might be serious, and the next he is busy making everyone laugh. When you think about it, that is a really great way to be.
These day’s Garrett is a grown up, with a job and all…not that a job changes the way he is. It’s not about whether or not Garrett is funny or whether or not he has a job though, in this case, its about what the job is. I thought about the fact that Garrett is a welder. That is what my dad was, and Garrett’s job reminds me that in many ways he is his grandpa’s grandson. Dad could be quite a cut up too. There are many things about Garrett that tend to remind me of my Dad. Mostly, I suppose it is a group of things. Mostly things that you can’t put your finger on separately, they just add up to a similarity, and that is an ok thing. I like the way many traits pass down from generation to generation and from ancestors to generations of the future. It somehow gives us a sense of belonging to someone…of belonging to a family, and really, that is what makes us who we are. Bloodlines, DNA, and simply imitation of those we love.
Today is Garrett’s birthday. It’s hard to believe that you aren’t a kid anymore…especially when you are being a cut up, but I am proud of the man you have become. I hope you have a wonderful day. Happy birthday Garrett!! We love you!!
I have always thought that my Aunt Virginia was glamorous. It wasn’t that she lead a rich type of life or was a model or anything, I just thought she could have been. She was always beautiful, and dressed in pretty clothes. Even in a simple pair of shorts, she managed to look glamorous. I guess that as a little girl, you could say I always kind of wanted to be just like my Aunt Virginia. Of course, little girls always have people they look up to, but we have to make our own lives.
Aunt Virginia is my mom’s older sister. She is the second born of my grandparents’ nine children. I’m sure that was a very big responsibility. In any family, the older kids help with the younger kids. That said, you can imagine the experience Aunt Virginia had when it came to babies, and little kids. She helped with seven younger siblings. I was also the second born, but I only helped with three younger sisters. Nevertheless, I had plenty of experience, and when it came time for me to have my own kids…well, lets just say I knew how to handle babies, as well as little kids. I’d been around it all my life.
As I said, Aunt Virginia was my mom’s older sister, and I’m sure she watched out for her whenever she could. As kids get older, their siblings become friends. That was also the case for my mom and my Aunt Virginia. In fact, they were such good friends, that it was Aunt Virginia who introduced my mom to my dad. Now, you might be thinking that was a very nice thing for her to do, and I would have to agree with you on that one. I mean, when you think about it, without my Aunt Virginia, where would my sisters and I be. I suppose you could say that my mother still would have had children, whether she married my dad or not, but those kids would not have been me or my sisters. I guess you could say that we very much owe our lives to Aunt Virginia.
Today is Aunt Virginia’s birthday. I can’t think of a better time to tell her thank you for introducing my parents, so we could be her nieces. I can’t think of a nicer way to become someone’s niece. Happy birthday Aunt Virginia!! I hope you have a wonderful day!! We love you very much!!
This picture of my cousin Shirley, was taken in the 70’s. The focus isn’t great, but you can easily see how pretty Shirley is. This picture has stayed in my memory files for many years. It was taken at my parents’ house in about 1979 or so. I’m not sure why this picture has stayed in my memory, but a few months ago, I saw a picture that had been in a album of my dad’s, and this picture immediately came to mind. I was amazed at how much Shirley looked like this ancestor…whoever she was. I do know that she is from my dad’s side of the family, so she is related to Shirley, as well as my sisters and me. That would explain the similarity between the two faces.
I was, nevertheless quite surprised at the similarity between these two relatives. I guess we usually are when someone looks so much like someone else, and that someone could be 100 years older or more. It’s like time doesn’t mean anything, and relative closeness doesn’t mean anything. It’s all about DNA and bloodlines. That’s what makes us the people we are…or at least, the people we look like. To me, that is so amazing. How could things like DNA, which is too small to even be seen, affect the people we will become, in such a big way? Even though Scientists now know about DNA, they still don’t know exactly how it works, because there are lots of relatives in our family, and yet, not all the people in our family look alike.
I guess that is something we will never fully understand in this lifetime, but we do know that DNA can be used to trace our ancestors…with complete accuracy. That is something we can’t do perfectly…even with the wide range of resources we have these days…at least not without the help of DNA. Nevertheless, we have pictures, and memories, and records that have been kept…and with those we can go quite a long way toward knowing about our ancestors. The rest will have to wait.
Today is Shirley’s birthday. I am glad that the Internet and Facebook, two other resources we have now, have reconnected our lives. You are so important us. We were out of touch for too long. DNA and bloodlines have made us family…who we are has made us friends. Happy birthday Shirley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!