Monthly Archives: December 2014

Little HelperRon (12) and Barry (2)Bob’s nephew, Barry Schulenberg’s dad has never been a part of his life, but that does not mean that Barry lacked the male influence in his life. His earliest and greatest male role model was his grandpa, my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg. Barry was determined to be just like his grandpa, and in most ways, I think that is exactly what he did. Barry is a hard working man, who can be counted on to be right there when you need him. One of his favorite things to do with his grandpa was to split wood. Grandpa would set him up on a log, and Barry ran the splitter while Grandpa loaded it. Barry was always careful not to get carried away, but rather always waited until his grandpa said to push the hydraulic lever bringing the blade to the wood, splitting it. He would gladly sit there all day helping his grandpa. There was nothing he would rather do. I reality, Barry was more of a son to my father-in-law, than he was a grandson.

Barry’s uncles Bob, Ron, and even Lynn, when he was in town, were another source of male role models for him. They never had a problem taking Barry under their wing and showing him the ropes. Oh, there were the little issues that anyone has with a little kid, but in reality, there were probably fewer of those that most little boys are a part of. For the most part, Barry was like a little grown up man from the very start. He just didn’t care about playing quite a much as other kids did…because he was too busy being the little helper. Barry’s Uncle Ron was probably his first friend. Since they lived in the same house, and Ron was only ten years older than Barry, so while he may not have wanted to always play with his little nephew, he was willing to do so quite a bit, and that has made them very close over the years. They still spend time helping each other with the multiple projects each has…from cutting wood to car care. They even manage to find a little bit of time sometimes to go out and play on their 4 wheelers…and that’s amazing!!

Barry and his Uncle Bob have a slightly different relationship. While they often help each other out with just about any project they are working on, their most common time to see each other is Wednesday morning for breakfast. This has become a tradition for them. It is a time for uncle and nephew to stay connected. It is a special time for both of them, even though they would not probably put such a mushy label on things. The one thing I find most amazing, however, is that as much time as these two spend together, somehow no one has ever taken a picture of the two of them together!! Crazy!! I guess it isn’t about the proof you have of their friendship, but rather about the friendship itself. And, I’m here to tell you that Bob and Barry share a wonderful friendship that will last a lifetime.

Much like his grandpa, Barry is a bit of a workaholic, but he does manage to get out of town for frequent trips Here, let me show you how it is doneBobwith his wife Kelli, and her mom, Mary Wages. The girls have benefitted quite well from having Barry around, because they like to take trips, see lots of places, and attend concerts, and so does Barry. You remember the saying…all work and no play, makes Johnny a very dull boy. Well, Barry is not a dull boy, but he does manage to get a lot of work in there too. Today is Barry’s birthday. Barry, I hope you will take a little bit of time out of your busy life to play some too, after all, if you can’t take some time off on your birthday, when can you? Happy birthday Barry!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

2625 (2)What does it take to make a great relationship? I’m sure the answer to that question varies from person to person, and depends on the type of relationship, but when it comes to the relationship between a father and his son, the best way to measure the greatness of that relationship…is with time spent together. Of course, laughter and fun are very important parts of that, but life isn’t always about fun and laughter. Much of life is about work, and about helping each other. It was in that aspect of life that my husband, Bob and his dad, Walt Schulenberg found themselves spending many hours over the years. My father-in-law could easily be categorized as a workaholic, and he trained his son to be the same. These men would go to work and spent 8 to 10 hours on the clock, doing physical labor. Then they would come home and spend another 2 to 4 hours working on some project at home. To them, it didn’t seem like work, but rather an enjoyable pastime. I don’t think most of us would feel exactly the same way about the work done around the home, and many people don’t about their jobs either, but that is the mentality of a workaholic. Work is fun…somehow.

If you wanted to find either one of these men, the best place to look was in the garage. Even if they weren’t working on a car, they were back and forth from what they were working on to the garage, because that was where all the tools were. And I’m here to tell you that between Bob, his dad, his brother, and his nephew…those guys had projects!! There were times that they came in from the garage and fell asleep in the chair from sheer exhaustion…and it was all their choice!! No one was making them do all these things. Sure, as mechanics, they helped out their friends, and those jobs come when they do, because you can’t plan a breakdown, but these guys had to squeeze those jobs in between all their own stuff and the planed jobs they do for people. It’s almost like they didn’t have time for a holiday. In fact, the only way to get Bob not to spend part of his day working on some project was to take him out of town.

Be that as it may, with all the projects Bob and his dad, and later his brother and nephew did together, their relationship was a very strong one. I suppose it really is a situation of the family that works together, stays together. I know that isn’t how the saying goes, but it really is the truth. Families working together toward a common goal, sharing the same hopes and dreams, and if their hopes and dreams are different that 36scan0061 (4)the others, they respect the right of each individual to have their own hopes and dreams. And they will do whatever it takes to help them achieve their goals. I think that is one of the things that always kept Bob and his dad close. Bob and I did not have to chose to live the same kind of life as his parents. They just wanted us to do was to be happy. I have to say that while Bob is different from his dad in many ways, he is also much the same…at least in all the areas that matter…such as responsibility, dedication, devotion, and the depth of his love, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more than that.

Pat NevilleYears ago when my girls were young, the school systems…at least in the Casper area, had a program whereby the kids were checked for symptoms of Streptococcus bacteria, or as we knew it…Strep Throat. Since I was not working outside the home, I volunteered to help with that program. That was where I first met the mother, Pat Neville, of my dear friend, Becky Neville Osborne. Pat taught me the ropes, and we worked together in that program for eight years. Pat has gone on to be with the Lord now, but the friendship that blossomed with her daughter, from her own childhood, has continued through the years, and continues to bless my life every day.

When Pat was teaching me the ropes of the throat culture program, I really didn’t know much about the Streptococcus bacteria, nor about how it had affected my grandmother, Anna Schumacher Spencer many years earlier. Streptococcus bacteria, is the same bacteria that causes Rheumatic fever, and years ago, that was a very dangerous disease. When Strep Throat is not treated with Penicillin to kill the bacteria, the bacteria just continues to run rampant in the system. Rheumatic fever is caused by a combination of bacterial infection and immune system overreaction, and it almost always follows a strep throat infection, which is an infection of the respiratory tract caused by bacteria of the Streptococcus family. The reason for throat cultures in the schools is that children are far more likely to get strep throat than adults…these days Becky Nevilleanyway. Years ago, it was anybody’s guess.

While my grandmother was living in Casper, Wyoming where my aunts, Laura and Ruth were living at the time, she contracted Strep Throat, and probably didn’t even know it. Then it turned to Rheumatic Fever. Unchecked, Rheumatic Fever can cause heart problems, which was common in children years ago, but is much less common now due to the routine use of antibiotics. In fact, I don’t believe routine throat cultures are performed in the schools anymore. Strep Throat still exists, but now people have to go to their doctor to be swabbed.

Rheumatic Fever is most common in children under 15 years of age, but it can affect adults too…as was the case with my grandmother. As was the case with my grandmother, Streptococcus bacteria can attack the joints. It can also attack the central nervous system, brain and spinal cord, as well as the heart. In the heart the disease affects the inner lining of the heart, including the heart valves, which is known as endocarditis, the muscle of the heart, which is known as myocarditis, or the covering of the heart, which is known as pericarditis.

Sometimes, the body reacts with a huge immune system reaction to the affected areas. The immune system becomes so active that it attacks the affected tissues too. In the joints, this results in a temporary arthritis. In the heart, permanent damage to the heart valves can occur, also increasing the risk of heart problems in later Anna Louise Spencerlife. Rheumatic fever can also cause problems in the nervous system, but these are usually reversible.

I do know that my grandmother spent her final years confined to a wheelchair, but I always thought it was because she had Rheumatoid Arthritis. Now I wonder if it was because of Rheumatic Fever. I also know that My great grandmother and uncle here sick with something that ended up causing temporary arthritis, so possibly they had it too. I guess I may never know for sure, but I do know that sometimes I wonder if the practice of taking throat cultures should have been stopped. It seems to me that it did a lot of people a lot of good, and probably saved a lives too.

Little JessiAs often happens with little girls who are the first born, my niece, Jessi Sawdon was…well, a little bit bossy. She thought, from the very beginning, that she was as much in charge as her parents were. She was independent, she was three…and she was going on twenty. In the very early years of Jessi’s life, her mother discovered that she was going to be a bit of a challenge. When told to do things, Jessi would often argue with her parents. Since her dad worked, and her mom did not, it was usually her mom, my sister, Allyn Hadlock who found herself on the losing side of an argument with a stubborn three year old. When their child is argumentative, most parents try to use creative ways to get around the problem…because, lets face it, no one really likes to spank their child, and my sister is pretty soft hearted anyway. After trying everything from reasoning with Jessi, to arguing back with Jessi, Allyn finally decided to try a little bit different approach. The results were comical.

The next time the arguing started over a task Jessi was asked to perform, such as picking up her toys, Allyn finally said, “I’m the mom…you’re the baby.” Well she quickly found out just how clever and quick her little girl was, when Jessi began to argue with that…saying, “I’n da mom!!” Allyn quickly answered, “No, I’m the mom.” That argument only fueled the fire more, and Jessi said, a little more forcefully this time, “No, I’n da mom!!” Jessi in Grandpa's BootsObviously this strategy was getting them nowhere. I mean, what do you say to that. You can argue back and forth all day, but the toys are still going to be on the floor…and Jessi always had a mind of her own, so she would continue to argue if necessary. And to add to the problem, Allyn was having a very hard time keeping a straight face. Jessi was so serious about all this. I really think she thought this was something that could be negotiated…like being the mom was an elected office, and she was going to beat the incumbent on this election.

Through the years some things have changed, but not everything. Jessi is a grown adult, and married to the love of her life. She knows that being the mom is not an elected office, and she understands that her mom will always be her mom. Nevertheless, Jessi still has a tendency to be a bit bossy, and that information came to me directly from her mom. Her family understands Jessi’s ways, and most of the time her bossiness isn’t a problem, but once in a while they have to straighten her out a little bit, and when that happens, Jessi is taken back to her three year old self, when she hears, “You’re not the mom” from her mom or siblings. It is something they do laugh about these days, because it is a cute way of saying, “Jessi, we are all adults here, and you are not the boss of us.” The age old comment of “You’re not the mom” is not usually followed with a three year old comment of “I’n da mom!!” But, once in a while when everyone is in the right mood, you might hear that comment from someone. Either way, they all end up laughing about the whole thing, and really, that is what the comments are all Laughing It Upintended to bring about anyway, so everyone is happy.

As I said, Jessi is married now, and while they do not have children yet, I think it is her husband, Jason’s best interest that he be informed now, so there is no doubt about it in the future. Whether he likes it or not, in Jessi’s house, Jason does not get to be the mom. Jessi has been waiting for the day…all her life…when she will get to be the one arguing with her little three year old daughter over who gets to be the mom. Jason will simply have to settle for being the dad, because between them…this is not negotiable!! Today is Jessi’s birthday. Jessi, try not to argue too much…ok. Happy birthday Jessi!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Pearl Harbor IIAs the 73rd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor dawns, I have to wonder why it is that the United States always feels that the other side must attack us first, and only then can we attack them. I know this is not always the case, but it seems like that is often the case. We try to be the peacemakers, and going to war is never something that we take lightly. Killing people is a horrible step to take. So, we always give warning after warning before we finally move, and even then it is usually too late to be the first to strike. I understand that the one who strikes first often looks like the bad guy, but it also seems like so often we are given much advance warning that a strike is eminent, and yet we wait…usually until after the attack happened and many people are dead, and the rest of us, while really angry, are too busy picking up the pieces to think about an immediate retaliatory strike.

That was exactly where the United States found itself on December 7, 1941. We had warned Japan over and over, and with the Hull Note came the final warning. Even the fact that we knew that they would not comply, and we were in essence declaring war on Japan, we trusted them to move slowly…hoping for them to have a change of heart or something. They, on the other hand, acted almost immediately…or at least as immediate as they could back in 1941. They sent their strike force toward Pearl Harbor, while also sending a decoy strike force toward Thailand, in an effort to throw us off. Convinced that Japan was planning an attack on Thailand, President Roosevelt sent Emperor Hirohito a telegram, requesting that “for the sake of humanity,” the emperor intervene “to prevent further death and destruction in the world.” We were trying to be the peacemakers.

After sending the telegram, President Roosevelt was enjoying his stamp collection with his personal advisor, Harry Hopkins, and they were discussing the Japanese refusal to honor the Hull Note. Hopkins suggested that America should strike first, but President Roosevelt insisted that we could not do that. In reality, it was already to late for us to strike first. The Japanese were already on their way to attack Pearl Harbor, and a significant portion of the Pacific Fleet was there, anchored like sitting ducks, waiting for the attack. The ambush would take out 18 U.S. ships. Those destroyed, sunk, or capsized were the Arizona, Virginia, California, Nevada, and West Virginia. More than 180 planes were destroyed on the ground and another 150 were damaged, leaving only 43 planes operational. The American casualties totaled more than 3,400, with more than 2,400 killed…1,000 on the Arizona alone. The Japanese lost fewer than 100 men.

It seems to me that it is so often the side that strikes first…swiftly and with the element of surprise…that fares the best in the end. The side who was unaware, or didn’t heed the warning signs was slaughtered. We have one of the greatest military forces on the face of the earth here in America, so should we really ever be taken by surprise like that? I don’t think we should. I believe that if the strongman gets so sure of his might that he forgets the need to be watchful and wise, then when he least expects it, the strongman is caught unaware, and can be taken…even if his might should have prevented it. The United States has long been that strongman, and yet it seems that because of our hesitation to strike first, we are attacked over and over without warning. Then and only then, it seems, will we attack them in retaliation.

It is a dilemma I suppose, and maybe that was where President Roosevelt was coming from. We are the bad Pearl Harborguys with the world if we attack first, and we are the bad guys with our own nation if we do not attack first. And, to top it off our intelligence isn’t always as reliable as it needs to be, so sometimes, such as on December the 7th, 1941, we are caught off guard, and completely by surprise, when we trusted an enemy to be as honorable as we try to be, and they feel no such obligation to honor. I guess that while we don’t like it when we are attacked without provocation, we must nevertheless, do the honorable thing, and not attack just because we anticipate an attack on us. If we were to do that, we would be no different than the nations we have to go to war with because they have invaded some other nation. Still, it is so hard to always be the nation that does the right thing, when we really don’t trust our enemies…because we know better.

094aYears ago, long before refrigeration was safe to use, most people had a more primitive way to keep foods fresh or frozen. I say that this was before refrigeration was safe to use, because mechanical refrigeration was actually invented in 1748 by William Cullen and was demonstrated at the University of Glasgow. This version was not used for any practical purpose, however. In 1805, an American inventor named Oliver Evans designed the first refrigeration machine, and the first person to make a practical refrigerating machine was Jacob Perkins in 1834, using Ether in a vapor compression cycle. American physician, John Gorrie, built a refrigerator based on Oliver Evans’ design in 1844 which he used to make ice to cool the air for his yellow fever patients. German engineer Carl von Linden, patented not a refrigerator but the process of liquefying gas in 1876 that is part of basic refrigeration technology. Refrigerators in the late 1800s and up until 1929 used toxic gasses, such as ammonia, methyl chloride, and sulfur dioxide as refrigerants, which were responsible for several fatal accidents in the 1920s. I suppose the cost and the dangers of these early models were the main reasons that people continued to used the old fashioned version.

The old fashioned way to keep foods fresh or frozen, involved using ice and snow, which they would bring in from the mountains, or use what was on the ground, if it was available. They would dig a cellar in the ground, 087aand line it with wood or straw. Then they packed it with snow and ice, and the food was placed in the cellar. It was this type of refrigeration system that my grandparents, Allen and Anna Spencer, were using at the time my Aunt Laura Fredrick was a very little girl in about 1913. My grandparents were living in a wooded area in northern Minnesota near American Falls. Grandpa was working in the lumber business at that time.

According to my Uncle Bill Spencer, who was their second child, the cellar was probably not needed much in the long winter months, because the house stayed pretty cold up there anyway. I’m sure that they had wood for a fire, but then again, I suppose that everything they burned, was something that could not bring in money. Also, they lived in a log cabin, that was apparently not very well built, or at least the spaces in between the logs were not really well packed with mud to keep the cold winter air on the outside of the house, where it belonged.

I’m not sure how far the cellar was from the house, because, I can’t see the house in the picture, so it might have been a little way from the house, or the picture might have been taken from the house. Either way, getting food from the cellar was a bit of a process, because you don’t want to upset the cooling process by removing the straw too often, as it was part of what kept the ice and snow from melting.

059aI can’t say when my grandparents got their first real refrigerator, but I expect that like many people of that time, they were a little bit leery of the early refrigerators, after hearing about people dying because the gasses leaked out of the unit. I suppose it was the price people paid to be able to use some of the early inventions, but many people felt that the price was too high, so they waited until these new fangled gadgets were proven safe before they took a chance on them. And, I’m sure that like any new thing, they were pretty expensive early on too. The cellar would work just fine for now, and therefore, that is what my grandparents were using at that time in our family history. These days, we would be shocked at such a method of keeping food fresh.

USS LexingtonTop of the USS LexingtonWhile Bob and I were in Texas on vacation in April of 2006, we had the wonderful opportunity to visit the USS Lexington…The Blue Ghost. This ship has a long and interesting history, and one I didn’t really know all that much about when I visited the ship. The ship we saw is not the original USS Lexington, but rather the one that replaced the original. The USS Lexington that we saw has an amazing history too…it is, in fact, a legend that was named for the American Revolution’s Battle of Lexington. On December 5, 1941, the original USS Lexington, which was one of the two largest aircraft carriers the United States had during World War II, was making its way across the Pacific in order to carry a squadron of dive bombers to defend Midway Island from an anticipated Japanese attack. The attack they anticipated did occur, but not where it had been expected. The attack was lodged on Pearl Harbor instead. The USS Lexington turned around and headed for Pearl Harbor, arriving on December 13th. That Lexington was later sunk.

In early May, the first USS Lexington returned to the South Pacific to assist the USS Yorktown to fight against the Japanese offensive in the Coral Sea. On May 7th and 8th of 1942 planes from the USS Lexington helped sink the small Japanese aircraft carrier Shoho and participated in attacks on the large carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku. But, she was a major target of Japanese carrier planes and received two torpedo and three bomb hits. Initially, it appeared that the damage control efforts were successful, but she was racked by gasoline explosions early on the afternoon of May 8th. The fires were out of control, and it was clear that the Lexington was breathing her last breath. The ship was abandoned by her crew and it sunk. It was the first US aircraft carrier to be lost in World War II.

The second Lexington began its journey into fame on February 17, 1943, and it would serve longer and set more records than any other carrier in US Naval history. Originally to be named the Cabot, the name was changed after the sinking of the original Lexington in the Coral Sea. The Lexington became a part of the Fifth Fleet at Pearl Harbor. The ship took part in nearly every major operation in the Pacific Theater, serving 21 months in combat. It was here that the Lexington became famous in her own right. The Japanese radio station, the Tokyo Rose was always spreading rumors and propaganda. The station declared the Lexington sunk at least four times, but was proven wrong at the next battle, when the Lexington returned to the fight. I guess it must have been in an effort to save face that the Tokyo Rose dubbed the Lexington The Blue Ghost, indicating that it was a ghost ship returning to haunt the Japanese again and again. All the hard work paid off in the end though. The Lexington participated in the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and the Battle of the Philippine Sea. She received the Presidential Unit Citation and 11 Battle Stars during her service in World War II, and she was the first battleship into Tokyo Harbor for the Japanese peace treaty signing.

By the time we visited the second USS Lexington, she had been a museum since October of 1992. The ship had been decommissioned in August of 1990, after serving as a training ship for naval aviators in Pensacola, Florida since 1962. She was moved to her permanent location in Corpus Christi, Texas in January of 1992. We had the wonderful opportunity to explore the ship to our hearts’ content while we were there. It was quite interesting to us. I didn’t know much about how things were on a ship, but I found myself amazed over and over again. The way the crew lived, seemed so archaic to me, but I suppose that anyone who has ever served on a ship would tell me that it was all very normal. Finding your way around seemed so difficult to me, and I know we would have been lost repeatedly, had they not marked the directions with arrows on the floor and walls. It was hard to imagine just what being on board this ship in the midst of a battle must have felt. I don’t think anyone goes to war without a measure of fear. Nevertheless, there was no going back for the men, and later, women who uss-lexingtonFlight Deck of the USS Lexingtonserved on the Lexington. The Lexington was the first aircraft carrier to have women stationed on board. These men and women served courageously and honorably, some giving their lives on the Lexington fighting the battles that were laid out before her. Knowing the history of this great ship leaves me with an entirely new perspective about what an awesome ship it was, and it makes me glad I had the opportunity to tour the USS Lexington.

Aunt JeanetteShirleyIn times past, many people sent out Christmas cards. It was simply a part of the season. You always had to make sure you got them in the mail as early as possible, or they didn’t arrive in time for Christmas. As a young newlywed, I tried really hard to get that tradition started, but it seemed like I always got cards from people that I didn’t expect and then they didn’t get one from me, or the time to mail them was long gone before I could even wrap my mind around the fact that the Christmas season was once again upon us. Most often, it was all I could do to get my Christmas shopping done…much less send out Christmas cards. It just seemed a lost cause, and like most lost causes, it went the way of the wind early on in my marriage. With two kids to take care of, there just didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day for such an extra.

Christmas cards used to be something most people did. It was tradition, passed on from parent to child. My Aunt Jeanette Byer has always had her act together on the Christmas card thing, and every year…like clock work, I get a card from her right about this time. Yes, it came yesterday, so that is what prompted this story. When I get her card, and think about just how sweet she is to always think of me and so many other people at this time of year, I start to think that I really should send her a card back, and if I ever got that done, Aunt Jeanette would probably faint, because it has not happened at this point. I also got one from my cousin, Shirley Cameron last year, and of course, it was too late to send one back by then, but it did show me just how sweet my cousin, grandpa spencer125_edited (6)DadShirley is, and it is my hope that she knows just how much I love her, even in the absence of a Christmas card.

As the years have gone by, I have started receiving fewer and fewer Christmas cards, and while it could be because I never get any sent out, I have a feeling that fewer and fewer people send them out anymore. With the closer connections we have through Facebook, and the ability to send out e-cards, I think the practice of sending out Christmas cards is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Modern technology has a way of doing that, and while modern technology is vital to our way of life, maybe it is a little bit sad to see traditions like letters and Christmas cards go by the wayside. I know my Uncle Bill Spencer would feel that way, because he loved letters. He wanted the handwriting of the individual to have as a keepsake for all time. I can understand that now, where I could not before. Every time I see Uncle Bill’s handwriting, I know it instantly. I have seen it so often that it is as much him as he is. That is a tribute to the amount of writing he did on the family history all these years.

My dad loved Christmastime. As a Christian, it marks the birth of our Lord and Saviour, so it is a day that is important to us. I know that every time I see my dad’s handwriting, it makes my heart jump a little bit. It is like a connection to him that lives on here, even though he lives in Heaven now. For that love of handwriting, I have to thank my Uncle Bill, because it was he who first pointed out its importance. I came across a Christmas card sent home to Uncle Bill, from my dad during World War II, while he was in training in Salt Lake City, Utah. img059img060It was among the things that my grandmother kept, and then gave back to him later on, and while the only handwriting on it is simply my dad’s name, I know that the card was among the things that were dear to his brother’s heart, because it was sent to him from his brother, Allen Spencer, who was spending Christmas far from family in 1943. I’m sure that it was a lonely time for both of them, because they were very close, and it was a way for my dad to reach out across the miles and let his brother know, that he loved him. I guess that is really what Christmas cards, or any other cards are all about. Christmas is simply a season for showing your love, whether you mail a card, write a letter, send an e-card, or make an announcement on Facebook. It’s all about showing your love.

Uncle Larry, Grandpa Byer and Uncle Wayne go hunting.You have heard that for everything there is a season, and that is true in so many ways. One that I doubt if you ever thought about, is the seasons for things we do. Now this isn’t going to be a serious story about philosophical things, but rather it will follow a little bit different path. Typically, for most men, there is football season, baseball season, basketball season, and hunting season, with a few others thrown in there for some people. In times past, most women would have left this to the men, but that has changed, as there are probably an almost equal amount of women that like to do these things too.

As to the season for hunting…which I think just got over…but since my husband and I don’t hunt, I can’t say for sure. I do know that for years my parents went hunting, and I can remember the wild meat…cooked to perfection by my mom. It was so good. Not everyone can cook wild meat to make it not taste gamey, but she could. They went hunting with my grandparents, and I know that my uncles did too. imageEspecially as young men. I doubt if my aunts went, as girls anyway, but I could be wrong on that. I do know that a lot of my cousins hunt…both male and female cousins, so it is something that runs in our family on both sides. Lots of the girls like to go hunting with their husbands, but the thing I find especially endearing are the girls who like to go hunting with their dads, such as my cousin, Jamie Patsie, who was not deterred when her husband Kevin couldn’t go hunting with her. She just talked to her dad, Terry Limmer, and the two of them made a day of it. That is such a cool thing too, because it gave them some father/daughter time.

The little girls in the family maybe can’t go hunting with their dads yet, but that certainly didn’t stop Meadow Nordquist from going out to see what her dad, Aron had shot, and even taking the opportunity to pose for a victory shot with him. She was very excited about her dad’s conquest. I think her sister, Addie was a little put off by the idea of sitting on a dead animal, so she would have none of this whole “picture with her dad’s conquest” thing. I suppose the time will come when she will think differently about that. It may be with her husband, and then her dad though. Time will tell on that, but little Aron & Meadow NordquistMeadow was very excited to see what her dad had shot…and I’m sure they will all enjoy the meat.

Like every other season, hunting has a season, and when that season is over, it’s over. I’m sure it is something everyone hates to have happen…especially if their hunt was not successful, but it is inevitable nevertheless. So, all I can say to that is that it is a good thing that football season is still going on, and basketball season will follow, and baseball after that. Before they know it, hunting season will be upon them again, and they will be back out there looking for the best buck. That’s just the way it is…to everything there is a season.

Follow My LeaderDogs are such amazing animals. They sense things that we don’t. As a kid, I read a book called, “Follow My Leader” in which a boy, blinded by a firecracker finds a way to achieve independence with the help of a guide dog. I read that book as a child, but it has stayed with me throughout the years. In all reality, I am more of a cat person, and I know what all my dog loving friends would say to that, but that is the way I am. I had a dog as a child, and I can tell you that King was the best dog that ever lived, and I loved him very much. I just can’t say that I, personally, have ever seen a dog that I could feel that way about since. Neverthess, I have seen dogs that were truly amazing, and those would be the working dogs.

In the book I mentioned, a boy blinded by a firecracker, who thought his life was over, finds a true friend to be his eyes…and finds his way back to a full life again. Seeing-eye dogs are so amazing, and to me they are inspiring. Maybe it was the book I read, or maybe I could just envision how lives could be greatly improved by seeing-eye and other working dogs.

We have had two working dogs in our family. My husband Bob’s cousin, Sandy Kountz had a dog that was able to detect seizures before they occurred. That is one of the latest uses of working dogs, and one that in my opinion has been a huge help to a lot of people. Having been around seizures several times in my lifetime, I can tell you that if there is a way to stop them before they happen, that is by far the best plan. These dogs can bring peace of mind for people struggling with uncontrolled seizures.

All these dogs were amazing at what they were trained to do, and I don’t mean to discount any of them, but I know of another amazing dog, who had no training at all. This dog’s name was Brownie, and I don’t know if it was a male or female, because I never knew this dog. I only knew of Brownie. Brownie was a dog that belonged to my in-laws. They had Brownie when their oldest three children were little. My sister-in-law, Marlyce Schulenberg was developmentally disabled, and she was the oldest child, so she didn’t have older siblings to watch over her when she was outside playing. That’s where Brownie came in. Nobody ever had to Marlyce & friendtell Brownie to keep an eye on Marlyce. Brownie instinctively knew that Marlyce needed someone to watch out for her, and Brownie decided to be that guardian.

The instant Marlyce was headed to the door to go outside, Brownie was right there, and that dog kept her out of more than one scrape according to my father-in-law. Brownie was her guardian angel. Marlyce was a little girl who wanted to be independent, just like her younger sister, Debbie and younger brother, Bob, but she was different than they were, and without Brownie, she would have felt that difference very much. I am so thankful to Brownie, who was instinctively the self appointed guardian for my sister-in-law, so her life could be as full of fun as her siblings’ lives.

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