Monthly Archives: January 2016

imageWherever there is snow, you can bet there will be a snowman. Maybe not in every yard, but in many of them. I’m not sure who first has the idea to make a snowman, but once it got started, it caught on quickly. Now it is simply a winter tradition, and if the littlest ones are too little, their parents will build it fir them or assist in building it if need be.

The building of the first snowman is unknown, but Bob Eckstein, author of The History of the Snowman documented snowmen back to medieval times. He researched paintings in European museums, art galleries, and libraries. The earliest documentation he found was a marginal illustration from a work titled Book of Hours from 1380, found in Koninklijke Bibliotheek, in The Hague. Who knew that snowmen went back that far.
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When it comes to the tallest snowman, we would have to clarify the 122 feet 1 inch snowman, was actually a snow woman. She was built in 2008 in Bethel, Maine, and was named in honor of Olympia Snowe, a United States Senator representing the state of Maine. In 2015, a man from the Wisconsin was noted for making a large snowman 22 feet tall and with a base 12 feet wide. Still, the average snowman stands between three and six feet tall, because that is the height that the average builder takes the time to do. There are several ways to build a snowman, and in fact the styles can be very creative, or total disasters, depending on the abilities of the builder. Some people are even snowman artists. Their snowmen look like actual sculptures.
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As kids, my sisters and I have built more snowmen than we can count. Some turned out great and others, not so much. I don’t recall seeing a lot of pictures of our snowmen, but we came across one of my sister, Cheryl Masterson building one that I’m sure our dad must have helped with. I suppose that milestones like building your first snowman didn’t exactly fall into place the same category as those first steps or high school graduation, but it is still a first. Unfortunately, like most of the lesser firsts, there isn’t usually as much documentation as the subsequent children come along. Or it could be that little firsts like snowmen just don’t seem all that important when you have multiple children. They are just another winter tradition.

10407911_10203193600120923_7982612019505201129_nMy nephew, Allen Beach, spent six years in the Navy as a corpsman…his last assignment in Japan, where he met his wife Gaby, who is also a corpsman in the Navy. Allen proposed to Gaby on a trip to Bali, Indonesia, and the rest is history, at least as far as their marriage is concerned. As far as their life…well, that is still ahead of them and remains to be seen. Gaby is stationed in Washington DC now, and they are having a great time exploring all the sights Washington DC has to offer, and just being a married couple. They are both fitness enthusiasts, and love to workout, so I’m sure their exploring includes jogging or walking the area, especially with their dog.

Allen is out of the Navy now, and has decided that he wants to go into 10392300_10201565760025938_7291546995852056157_nhospital administration. It is a good calling, that will take some time in college, but Allen is up for the challenge. Allen attends Maryland State University, and as with anything he puts his mind to, he is enjoying getting back into his studies and planning for his future career. Of course, they don’t know where his career, or Gaby’s for that matter, will take them, because hospital administrators don’t necessarily leave their post in the area you currently live in. I’m sure that doesn’t make a lot of difference to Allen and Gaby, because the main reason they joined the Navy was to see the world, and since they love to travel, moving to new places would be pretty exciting for them. They will simply embrace the new place and start exploring the possibilities of the new place. Now that he is out of the Navy, Allen has decided to grow a beard too, and he’s very pleased with the result. A beard is something that he wasn’t allowed to do in the Navy, if I’m not mistaken. I’m sure getting out and having the ability to grow a beard now, made it that much more of a draw after years of having to be clean shaven all the time.
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Allen has always loved the idea of making guitars, and now he has started making one from scratch. I’m not sure if it is done yet, but hopefully, when it is, he will post it for the rest of us to see. Allen also has a flair for photography, and takes great pictures. During their travels, we have been treated to his amazing pictures of the exciting places they have been and the things they have done. Because of their love of travel, and my sister, Caryl Reed and her husband Mike’s love of travel and spending time with their family, they are all planning to go on their second cruise this April. I know they will all have a great time on their next travel adventure. Today is Allen’s birthday. Happy birthday Allen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Tiny Mom 2With our mom, Collene Byer Spencer spending her birthday in Heaven this year, my sisters, our families, and I have had much time to reflect on the years of our lives, our loving parents, and sadly the loss of our parents. These past nine years have held more twinges of sadness and loss that we ever expected or wanted to feel. We know where our parents are, of course, and that makes the pain of their loss easier to bear, but there is still an emptiness that fills our hearts and lives, because they are not with us here on Earth anymore. Last night’s New Years Eve party went pretty much as we expected it to go. We were able to push back our feelings pretty well, until midnight, when our traditional Happy New Year hugs took place, and our Happy Birthday Mom song didn’t, because it couldn’t. We could barely talk with the lump in our throats, much less sing Happy Birthday, when she wasn’t there. Nevertheless, she was in our hearts and our thoughts, as was our dad, Allen Spencer. They will live there always, until we see them again.

Since Mom’s passing, we have been going through their things, and especially pictures. We have been overjoyed by some of the old pictures that had never been developed. I especially found the ones of Mom’s birthday in 1964, when our youngest sister, Allyn Hadlock was almost one year old, to be an amazing find. 11 Mom and her girlsThere we were, all Mom’s daughters, gathered around her, as she held her birthday cake. Dad always treated her like a queen, and us as his little princesses. For Mom, that meant things like a two day party for her birthday, simply because it fell on New Years Day. At our house, New Years Day was as big a celebration as New Years Eve was…because Dad’s queen was born that day, and it was just icing on the cake that it was also a national holiday.

Those birthdays, when we were children, were most likely the most precious ones for our parents, because we didn’t work yet, had no boyfriends, and no place else we had to be. They were family days, to be cherished and remembered always. Now that they both live in Heaven, those cherished pictures, and the memories they provide, are even more precious than they were when we were little. It’s a funny thing, time. What you took for granted as children, now stands out as some of the best days of your life. I know that for my sisters and me, nothing could have been sweeter than just one more New Years Eve party with our parents, and of course, that statement would continue to dominate our thoughts for the rest of our lives, because we would love to have just one more moment with our parents, and one more, and one more. It is never enough, nor could it ever be. That is what makes us so thankful for the eternity to come, when we will all be together again, forever and ever, in Heaven, where sadness does not exist and every face wears a smile.
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The echoes of New Years Eve parties past, birthday parties past, and…just lives now past, will always linger in our thoughts and hearts. We can’t go back to those times, except in our own memory files, and I suppose that is what makes all these pictures so precious. They are the memories of the wonderful life our parents gave us, and of the things we are grateful for as this new year, the first with no parents on Earth begins. The legacy of all they gave us will always be with us, as will their memories. Today would have been Mom’s 80th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Mom!! I know this day, like all others in Heaven will be filled with wonder, joy, and love beyond our wildest imaginations. We love and miss you very much!!

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