Monthly Archives: August 2016

Abe LincolnImagine a world without income taxes. I’m sure a lot of us would love to do just that. I don’t know what the taxes are called in other nations, but suffice it to say that the name doesn’t mean a thing…it’s still a tax, and it still has to be paid. In the United States…for many years, there was no income tax, at least not until August 5, 1861, when President Lincoln imposes the first federal income tax to help pay for the Civil War costs. The tax started when President Lincoln and Congress agreed to impose a tax of 3% on annual incomes over $800.00. I’m sure that the people were as unhappy about that as we would be today about gun control. The whole thing seemed unfair and for many unconstitutional.

The constitutionality of a federal income tax, was something President Lincoln checked into thoroughly, and I’m sure that it was the last thing he wanted to do, because that kind of thing can be income tax filingpolitical suicide, and in this case…I have to wonder if it played a part in Lincoln’s assassination, although it was said that John Wilkes Booth killed him because he disagreed with his stance on slavery.

Sometime, around March of 1861, Lincoln began to look at the government’s ability to wage a war against the South, and found that it was lacking. He sent letters to cabinet members Edward Bates, Gideon Welles, and Salmon Chase. Lincoln wanted to get their opinions as to whether or not the president had the constitutional authority to “collect [such] duties.” According to the documents, and their interpretations, which are now housed in the Library of Congress…Lincoln was very concerned about maintaining federal authority over collecting revenue from ports along the southeastern seaboard…as they might fall under the control of the Confederacy.
IRS building
The Revenue Act was broadly written to define income as gain “derived from any kind of property, or from any professional trade, employment, or vocation carried on in the United States or elsewhere or from any source whatever.” The comparable minimum tax as of 2003 would have put the minimum taxable income at about $16,000. The Income Tax went into effect, and the Civil War was funded. Then in 1871, Congress repealed Lincoln’s tax law, but in 1909, they passed the 16th Amendment, which made Income Tax a permanent tax, and the one we use today. The 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913. Sometimes, I wish they hadn’t done that, but I suppose it is necessary, though maybe not always fair.

grandpa spencer053grandpa spencer004 (2)Like most grandparents, my parents loved being grandparents. It’s not something that is hard for any grandparent to understand. Each new baby brings ever increasing joy to your heart. That is how my parents felt about their grandchildren. The babies were like a never ending source of joy, and they looked forward to each new addition with great anticipation. I know it is the same with most grandparents, but the way my parents felt about those babies showed on their faces in every picture I have ever seen of them with the babies. Each new life was a precious extension of themselves…through their daughters. It truly was a way for their line to continue on forever. It was like looking into the future for them.

Sometimes, as I look at the pictures of them with the babies, I wonder exactly what it was they were thinking. Did they see the future in the eyes of those babies? Did they marvel at the reality of that new little life, knowing that it came about through them and their children? Or did they simply wonder what this child…this new life, would become in the future? I’m certain that had a big part in it. I remember my own grandchildren as babies. I couldn’t wait for their personalities to present themselves. I wanted to know who they would become, and I have not been disappointed in any of them. I’m sure that is how my mom and dad felt too. We have a family of wonderful grandchildren, great grandchildren, and now a great great grandchild.

When we have more babies, however, Mom and Dad won’t be here to see them, and that makes me a little bit sad, because I know they would have loved to see all of their grandchildren and great grandchildren. Of course, cheryl007Dad and Lizthey will get to know them in Heaven, but oh, how they would have loved to know them here. Grandchildren are a blessing straight from God, and I know that my parents loved each and every one of them, and they couldn’t wait for the next arrival. As the new babies arrive, I know that I will find myself thinking about Mom and Dad, and feeling just a little bit sad, because…well, Mom and Dad would have so enjoyed each and every one of them. I just wish they could have been here for all of the new family members we will have in the future, both spouses and babies, because the family will go on.

Debbie & LynnFor a number of years now, my brother-in-law, Lynn Cook really didn’t want to go a lot of places. It was something I just couldn’t understand, then…but, I think I might have it figured out now. It really wasn’t that he didn’t want to go anywhere, it was about where he was going. Lynn was a truck driver for a number of years, and also served as a deputy sheriff for a number of years. I think that a big part of the problem was driving long distances, or driving much at all. Lynn, it seems had simply had his fill of driving.

Upon his retirement, suddenly, Lynn didn’t mind going places so much…provided that the destination was a camping spot in the Big Horn Mountains for Campa month or so at a time, that is. It would seem that the problem actually wasn’t the trip, but the destination. He wanted to go to one place, camp out, sit around the campfire, and just relax. In reality, I think that most of us who have worked for any length of time, can relate to that. It’s all about have your day finally be under your control.

Retirement for Lynn Cook meant that he and my sister-in-law, Debbie could go out in the mountains, shut off the phones…not that they had much reception there anyway, and just disconnect. Yep, it was about being disconnected from the hustle and bustle. Lynn, like many people who have been around noise, ringing phones, a hectic schedule, or tense moments, simply needed to find aMountain Man way to make the world go away…even if it is only for a little while. And that is something I can certainly understand.

When Lynn is camping, he feels…alive. Fresh air, beautiful scenery, a campfire, and family around him…that’s what it’s all about. Bob and I feel a lot like that when we are hiking, so I can relate to his way of disconnecting. Just being out in nature, gives a person a feeling of freedom that can’t be beat…especially if he doesn’t have to shave…because isn’t that what retirement is all about. Lynn, I hope that today has been that kind of day for you. Today is Lynn’s birthday. Happy birthday Lynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

imageimageMy nephew, Sean Mortensen is a man who loves a little friendly competition. That could be where his daughter, Jaydn gets her competitive nature. Sean loves sports…and machinery, or at least of the toy variety…but then, what man doesn’t. None I know of, anyway. Sean loves boating, snowmobiling, 4-wheeling, and motorcycle riding. He likes snow, as much as he does the summer sun. And the friends that he and my niece, Amanda Reed have, all feel the same way. Their love of competition has made for some amazingly great weekends, with amazingly great friends…mostly at Seminole Reservoir, but in the mountains too.

imageOne of the latest escapades has involved water mats. I find that particularly interesting. These mats are strong enough to stay afloat with a number of people sitting, or even running on them. The friends have decided to have water mat races, with the goal being to see who can get across the mat the fastest…without falling down, of course. Sean and his friends are pretty good at water mat racing. I’m not so sure I would be, but it looks like it would be fun to try. That is the impression I get from the pictures and from his friends, anyway. I’m sure I would be a complete klutz on those mats, however.

Sean is a great partner to Amanda, and a great dad to their daughter, Jaydn, who was born the day before his birthday, 12 years ago. Sean and Amanda bought a house a year or so ago, and they have done a lot of work on it. I think that for Sean, the coolest thing is the garage he has now, where he can work on all his toys, because after all, you can’t beat your friends in a imageimagecompetition, if your toys aren’t in tip top shape.

Sean is the kind of guy, who works hard and plays hard, and everyone who is around him and Amanda find themselves having a great time, because as their friends say, they sure know how to have a good time. And that’s what the weekend is all about, isn’t it? Great times with great friends. It doesn’t get better than that. Today is Sean’s birthday. Happy birthday Sean!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

11709663_10153403763842403_5383432000096977059_n13726692_10206769754863650_6707484723834739745_nIt’s really hard for me to believe that my grand niece, Jaydn Mortensen is twelve years old today, but she is, nevertheless. Jaydn has done a lot of living in her relatively few years. She is the only child of her parents, my niece Amanda Reed, and her significant other, Sean Mortensen, and they like giving their daughter a full life. She has never been made to feel like she is too little to be around the adults, and so, she has been four wheeling, boating, and snowmobiling with her parents and their friends. 12108709_1026749597356650_8371223382723240426_nJaydn’s family loves all kinds of outdoor sports, and so it stands to reason that Jaydn does too. I think her extensive time at Seminole Reservoir has probably turned her into a fish…so to speak. He parents spend every possible weekend at the lake, and that means lots of activities.

Sports aside though, I think that Jaydn’s true love…for now anyway…is horses. She has such a way with them. She loves to ride them and take care of them, and she isn’t afraid of them, even though last summer started off badly, when she was bucked off of a horse, breaking both of her arms. What a way to start the summer vacation. That didn’t deter her at all. Jaydn is very much into all things animal, and especially if it relates to the fair and rodeo. She has started showing horses, and is really quite good at it, to which her ribbons will attest. In her first horse showing, she took 4 Grand Champion, and 1 Reserve Champion in horse. She was also voted Outriders Princess last year, which is the best of the best…but then we knew that.

Every year, Jaydn gets better and better at the things she loves to do. I don’t know 10583861_795929897105289_1159109090271531984_n482872_538371786194436_156371790_nawhat her future goals and dreams are, and maybe she doesn’t know either, but I think she would be a great veterinarian or some other such occupation involving animals, because she simply has a way with them. She doesn’t just love horses, although, they are her true love, but she likes goats and rabbits and other animals too. I think she just has a heart for animals in general, and it’s obvious from what I’ve seen, that they love her too. Today is Jaydn’s 12th birthday. Happy birthday Jaydn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!