George Washington was not just our first president, but he was also an incredibly intelligent man. Normally, when George Washington spoke, people listened. Maybe his leadership was a big part of what made our system of government work so well, but there was one thing that everyone decided to ignore…his warnings about political parties. George Washington was against them, you see. He wasn’t just against one side of the political party system. He was against having political parties at all. He was so adamantly against them, that he remained nonpartisan throughout his entire presidency.
In his farewell address, President Washington said the following about partisan politics, “It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus, the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.” Any of this sound familiar? Of course, it does. It is exactly what we have going on today.
I agree with President Washington, who worried that political parties would become too powerful, rob the people of their control over their own government, and distract everyone from what they should really be focusing on. In today’s political arena, that is exactly what is going on. People are being indited as a way of weaponizing politics. If someone doesn’t agree with the other party, or can’t be controlled, they are very likely to be politically ostracized and attacked. Since George Washington spoke those words, 250 years have passed, and there are people saying that they don’t trust either political party. I am one of those. I suppose some people would wonder how we would elect our leaders. To them, I say, “How about electing them on their merits!!” There are people out there who will simply vote for the party they are affiliated with, no matter what their candidate stands for. They vote the way they vote, simply because the candidate they choose is from their party. What a horrible mistake that is. Isn’t it time that we find out what our candidates really stand for, and then vote our conscience? Isn’t it time we hold our politicians accountable for their actions? I think it is, but then we would have to find a way to get the correct information, and we already know that we can’t trust the media!! But that is another story.
Recently, I took a trip to Ferndale, Washington to visit my daughter, Amy Royce, her husband, Travis, and kids Shai and Caalab. While I was there, Amy, Shai, and I took a side trip to Lopez Island. Amy had been looking for things to do while I was there, when she came across Spencer Spit. A spit is a narrow coastal land formation that is tied to the coast at one end. Spits frequently form where the coast abruptly changes direction and often occur across the tidal mouth of a large river, where the tide meets the stream.
Spencer Spit was of particular interest to me, because it was owned by a Spencer family, up until 1967 anyway. It was then that Raymond Spencer who decided to sell the land to the state of Washington to be a park. The area had been owned off and on by the Troxell and Spencer families since the 1880s, but the details are a bit sketchy. The two families apparently traded the land back an forth for a while. In 1886, the Spencer family took possession of the land, and it was there that their son Raymond was born a year later. In 1888, Franklin Troxell came to the land and received a land grant under the Homestead Act. He built the house that stood until 1979. He also built a stone and timber shed in the early 1950s. Those structures still stand today. There was also a guest house built out on the spit where friends and family stayed. It was later torn down. A picnic shelter stands in its place now.
From 1918 to about 1922, Ramond Spencer captained a kelp harvester ship in the waters around Lopez Island, called Harvester King. They harvested kelp for the Kelp Plant. Then in 1922, the ship was reconfigured to ferry cars. It was the first ferry to serve the San Juan Islands, but after one season, it was decided that the ship was not really suited to the job of ferry boat. The ride was just too rough, so it was beached in Olympia until she was ultimately scrapped. Apparently while kelp is used to make fertilizer today, it was not as successful back then. I guess that Harvester King was simply ahead of her time. Maybe if she had been built a few decades later, she would still be operating today.
While my husband, Bob and I were in the Black Hills last week, we were having breakfast at the Hill City Cafe, when we overheard a waitress telling another table the story of how the Hill City High School came to have Smokey Bear as their mascot and be renamed the Hill City Rangers. I had no idea that anyone used Smokey Bear as their mascot, nor did I know that no other school was allowed to do so. That caught my interest, so we listened to the story, and then I had to research it further to get the whole story. And quite a story it is.
It all started around noon on July 10, 1939, with one of the worst forest fires in the history of the Black Hills. It was located just ten miles northwest of Hill City, and that’s too close for any wildfire to be to a city. Overnight, the fire burned through six of those ten miles, jumped the Mystic Road, the C.B. and Q. Railway, and was headed directly for Hill City. These are areas my husband, Bob and I have hiked, and hearing about the fire raging through them really hits home for me. The C.B. and Q Railway (Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad) was later abandoned and became the Mickelson Trail, which I have hiked from end to end, twice!! Not in one trip, but over about 10 years, one section at a time. The whole area is a place I love, and to think of it burning…well, it tears at my heart.
By noon on July 11, 1939, the fire was within three miles of town. That was when the wind changed and carried the fire further North and East. Still, Hill City and other towns were not safe, winds shift all the time, and the fire had to be stopped. The weather that year had been hot and very dry, unlike this year, plus a high wind repeatedly “crowned” the fire. The firefighters were in constant danger. They had already called in all of the Civilian Conservation Corps boys in the area, who had been immediately put on the fire, and now the forest rangers called for more help. You know that the situation is desperate, when they call for untrained volunteers. Shockingly, one of the first crews to respond was a group of 25 schoolboys from Hill City. These were high school kids…kids!! The crew of 25 included the entire basketball squad, one eighth grader, and several boys who had recently attended or graduated from the Hill City High School. Their foreman was Charles Hare, President of the Board of Education. This whole story of bravery and selflessness brings tears to my eyes and puts a lump in my throat.
The inferno raged throughout July 11th and into July 12th and utilized over four thousand firefighters, laboring together to bring the fire under control. The fire often isolated the crews, who went without food and water for a number of hours. Heat, smoke, and the danger of being trapped hampered the firefighters, but the blaze was brought under control on July 12th. The people of Hill City had spent many anxious hours watching the smoke and direction of the fire. Many had packed their belongings and were ready to move, but the order to abandon the town was never given. The schoolboys crew from Hill City was at the fire every day. The US Forest Service was so grateful to them that they were later recognized by officials as one of the best crews!! The McVey Fire burned over 20,000 acres.
To get back to the story the waitress was so proudly telling, “The name ‘Rangers’ was given to them in honor of their good record. Because of the work of these schoolboys back in 1939, Hill City Schools became the ONLY school district in the United States to have the privilege of using ‘Smokey Bear’ as its mascot. The school colors are Green and Gold which also represent the National Forest Service Theme, and Hill City is the ONLY school with the honorable privilege of having their graduation ceremonies held at Mount Rushmore. The staff, students and teams representing Hill City Schools hope to continue the traditions of the splendid group of men that our boys so ably assisted, The United States Forest Rangers.” It’s a proud tradition to own, and an awesome goal to reach for. I’m sure they will be able to achieve their goal, and as an annual “tourist” in the area, who loves the Black Hills, I want to thank all the brave firefighters in the Black Hills-Hill City area…past, present, and future (one of which was my niece, Lindsay Moore, for a summer) for all their hard work keeping the area safe, and mostly for their bravery.
Since the earliest beginnings of Israel, the Arab community has been protesting its existence and trying to remove it from the face of the Earth. I don’t particularly understand what their problem uis. Given the tiny size of Israel compared to the vastness of the Arab nations, why is it so hard to allow them to live in peace? It is, of course a Holy War situation that is unlikely to go away for as long as time continues.
Israel had been a nation way, way back, but when they were taken into captivity, they were scattered to many nations. Once they were freed, they traveled to Israel (I think most people know the Exodus story). Of course, their existence was fought over again and again, finally leading up to the Holocaust. When World War II ended, many of the Jewish people again moved to and populated the Israeli land, but it wasn’t until May 14, 1948, that David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel. United States President Harry S Truman recognized the new nation on the same day. Since that time, there have been multiple wars and continuing conflicts that have threatened the existence of the Israeli state.
One such war was the Six-Day War, also called June War or Third Arab-Israeli War or Naksah. It was a short-lived war that took place from June 5, 1967 to June 10, 1967. It was the third of the Arab-Israeli wars. The first took place almost immediately after they were declared a state. The Israeli people have learned to fight for survival all their lives, vowing never to allow another Holocaust to be carried out. Israel’s decisive victory in the Six-Day War included the capture of the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, Old City of Jerusalem, and Golan Heights. Of course, things didn’t end there. The fact that these territories belonged to Israel has been a major point of contention in the Arab-Israeli conflict sin that time.
The Six-Day War had precursors, as most wars do. Prior to the start of the war, the Palestinian guerrilla groups based in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan randomly began attacking Israel, basically lobbing missiles at them, leading to costly Israeli reprisals. Then, in November 1966 an Israeli strike on the village of Al-Sam in the Jordanian West Bank left 18 dead and 54 wounded, and during an air battle with Syria in April 1967, the Israeli Air Force shot down six Syrian MiG fighter jets. Soviet intelligence reports in May claimed that Israel was planning a campaign against Syria, and although these claims were inaccurate, the accusations further heightened tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
During this time, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser had come under sharp criticism for his refusing to become involved with Syria and Jordan against Israel. He was accused of hiding behind the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) stationed at Egypt’s border with Israel in the Sinai. Under pressure, he moved to unambiguously demonstrate support for Syria on May 14, 1967. Nasser mobilized Egyptian forces in the Sinai on May 18, 1967 and formally requested the removal of the UNEF stationed there. On May 22, 1967, he closed the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping, thus instituting an effective blockade of the port city of Elat in southern Israel. On May 30, 1967, King Hussein of Jordan arrived in Cairo to sign a mutual defense pact with Egypt, placing Jordanian forces under Egyptian command. Iraq joined the alliance shortly thereafter.
As Israel became aware of the mobilization of its Arab neighbors, early on the morning of June 5, 1967, Israel took preemptive action and staged an air assault that destroyed more than 90 percent Egypt’s air force on the tarmac. A similar air assault incapacitated the Syrian air force. Without cover from the air, the Egyptian army was left vulnerable to attack. The domination in this war became apparent right away, and within three days the Israelis had achieved an overwhelming victory on the ground, capturing the Gaza Strip and all of the Sinai Peninsula up to the east bank of the Suez Canal.
Israel warned Jordan’s King Hussein to stay out of the conflict, but they disregarded the warning, and eastern front was also opened on June 5, 1967, when Jordanian forces began shelling West Jerusalem only to face a crushing Israeli counterattack. On June 7, 1967, Israeli forces drove Jordanian forces out of East Jerusalem and most of the West Bank. By June 10, 1967, the war was over and Israel was the obvious winner. It seems to me that the Arab nations should heed the warnings of history, and leave Israel alone, but I suppose that is unlikely. Nevertheless, Israeli land belongs to the Jewish people by the promise of God and they would do well to let it go.
As I was sitting in church yesterday morning, waiting for the service to begin, I looked around me at the people in the room. Most of them I have known for years…them and their parents. Then, I realized how many of the parents are no longer with us. It has happened over time…one here and one there, until suddenly, my generation was the new patriarch and matriarch generation in the church…the elders if you will.
I felt a wave of sadness, as I thought about my parents, and the parents of so many others who have gone home. Of course, the sadness was accompanied by the joy for each of them, who were now living every day in the presence of God. How glorious that must be!! They left this Earth, as well as their children and grandchildren, hoping that they had given us the training we would need to go forward in life and follow God in the way we had been trained. They left this Earth standing on the promise in Proverbs 22:6, that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The people around me had all come up the way I had…going to church with our parents, and so the promise held true.
While I was happy that the people around me, were there to carry on their parents’ legacy of raising their own children in the church, I was sorry that so many of our parents and mentors were no longer there with us. Nevertheless, while we aren’t all queens like Esther was, the verse in Esther, 4:14 holds true, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” It occurred to me that while our parents were no longer with us, the truth was that this wasn’t their time in life…it is ours. We were born for this era, and it is up to us to carry on now. It is up to us to make our parents proud of the people we have become, the people they raised. I left church after the service, feeling a little melancholy, but also a little encouraged, because the people around me, who are carrying on with what their parents taught them, are making their parents proud…we all are. And while this era will have its own issues, the fact remains that each era has its own troubles, as the Bible clearly states in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Our parents carried their day, and now it is up to each of us to carry ours, until our era is up, and then, prayerfully, we have trained up the next generation of warriors to take up the tasks of carrying their day.
In December of 2006, some 10,000 US researchers signed a statement protesting about political interference in the scientific process. In other words, the politicians were manipulating the scientific outcomes of research in order to sell their own agenda to the people. The statement, which included the backing of 52 Nobel Laureates, demanded a restoration of scientific integrity in government policy. These scientists were tired of being forced to have their research line up with the outcome that the government wanted. According to the American Union of Concerned Scientists, their research data is being misrepresented for political reasons. The statement claims that scientists working for federal agencies have been asked to change data to fit policy initiatives. Basically, these scientists are whistle blowers, who stand to lose their funding because they won’t play ball anymore, but science whose outcome is manipulated by politics isn’t science anymore anyway, is it.
In the statement the Union released, it included an “A to Z” guide that it says documents dozens of recent allegations involving censorship and political interference in federal science, covering issues ranging from global warming to sex education. When Congress won’t stand up for scientific integrity, it left the door open for the White House to censor the work of agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration. Dr Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security said, “It’s very difficult to make good public policy without good science, and it’s even harder to make good public policy with bad science. In the last several years, we’ve seen an increase in both the misuse of science, and I would say an increase of bad science in a number of very important issues; for example, in global climate change, international peace and security, and water resources.”
The statement released at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting…the annual gathering of Earth scientists, triggered a major row when a discussion resulted in the renowned US space agency climate scientist Dr James Hansen claimed that he had come under pressure not to talk to the media on global warming issues. Michael Halpern from the UCS said the statement of objection to political interference had been supported by researchers regardless of their political views. Halpern said, “This science statement that has now been signed by the 10,000 scientists is signed by science advisers to both Republican and Democratic administrations dating back to President Eisenhower, stating that this is not business as usual and calling for this practice to stop.” With the statement of objection, the Union expressed a hopefulness that the new Congress taking office that January would show a greater commitment to protecting the integrity of the scientific process. Unfortunately, I don’t think that has been the case with that Congress, nor with any others. Manipulating science to control the population seems to be the political way of doing things.
Today is a very important day. It is not about having a three-day weekend, a barbecue, picnic, or even a holiday camping trip. It’s not that these things are bad, or even wrong. It’s really just a matter of remembering and showing respect for those men and women who went to war and didn’t come home alive. Those men and women gave their all, their very lives to keep us and so many others around the world safe. They could have stayed home. There isn’t a draft anymore, although many were drafted, because in a war the likes of the world wars, and others, the men and women were dying so fast that the volunteers couldn’t keep up. So, they held a draft, and those men, because at that time women weren’t drafted, did their duty, and went to fight the war, many losing their lives in the process.
I happened to watch a movie the other night, called “The Lost Battalion.” It was a true event from World War I. It was called “The Lost Battalion” because of the heavy losses incurred by the nine companies of the US 77th Division of roughly 554 men, who were isolated by German forces during World War I after an American attack in the Argonne Forest in October 1918. Of the 554 men, roughly 197 were killed in action and approximately 150 missing or taken prisoner before the 194 remaining men were rescued. These men were not lost. The US Army knew where they were…pretty much, but they were lost, because it was expected that all would be lost, and that was almost the case. During the battle, the men had to leave the trenches and run, almost completely unprotected at the Germans entrenched on the other side of the hill. The battle was gruesome, and the movie was quite graphic. I’m sure many people would say that they shouldn’t have shown so much blood and mutilation, but if they “sugar coat” it, do we really understand how horrible war is?
The battalion was led by Major Charles W Whittlesey who survived the attack, but refused to be transported out ahead of his men, choosing instead to walk out with them. When the attack began in the Argonne, the 77th Division was under the belief that French forces were supporting their left flank and two American units including the 92nd Infantry Division were supporting their right. Within the 77th sector, some units, including Whittlesey’s 308th Infantry, were making significant headway, but unbeknownst to Whittlesey’s unit, the units to their left and right had been stalled, and actually retreated. Without this knowledge, the 77th Battalion moved beyond the rest of the Allied line and found themselves surrounded by German forces. As I watched the movie, my first thought was, why don’t they stay and fight from the trenches? Of course, I quickly realized that you can’t take the hill from the trench. These men had to dig deep within themselves, and leave the safety of the trench, knowing that they would most likely die right there, if the Allies were to have the victory. That is giving your all!! That is what Memorial Day is really all about…the men and women who charged the enemy, accepting their fate of almost certain death, to win the war and protect our freedoms. These men and so many like them are the heroes of this day…a fact that we must never forget. I thank every fallen soldier this day, because you gave your all…selflessly and willingly, and you will never be forgotten!!
Since both my mother, Collene Spencer and mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg are in Heaven now, Mother’s Day has taken on a new meaning. I think of my “moms” often, and I miss them both very much. They were a huge part of my life, and since I was part of the team that took care of them at the end of their lives, I think I actually grew closer to them in those latter years. I think everyone on the care teams did. Those latter years were hard on the “moms” because they couldn’t get around as easily as they had before. Struggling with mobility makes life harder. Nevertheless, they were both happy ladies. They enjoyed the extra time spent with family, and that really made the work of caregiving worth the time spent. While it was work, I would love to have the time back. Funny how you don’t really know what you have until it’s gone.
Of course, these days, I’m the mom and my girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce are the moms, and we also have granddaughters, Karen Petersen and Athena Salazar (soon to be Petersen) who are the moms too. Mother’s Day can evolve and grow to include new moms all the time. There is always room for more “mom love” in our lives. Some of the memories I have of my moms are beginning to repeat themselves with only slight differences. I remember the bell ringing at lunch and running out the doors of the school to head home for lunch. Mom would have soup and sandwiches waiting for us. My favorites were Chicken Noodle soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches or Cream of Mushroom soup with toast. Yummy!! At that time, I was sometimes jealous of the kids that got to eat their lunch at school, but when I went to junior high and had to eat my lunch at school every day, I sometimes missed those days when I could run home for lunch.
I was a stay-at-home mom for the grade school years of my girls’ lives, but they rode the bus to school, and so they ate lunch at school. Karen babysits and so she is a stay-at-home mom, there for lunch before her daughter goes to school, although when Cambree is in school fulltime, it will be too far for her to come home for lunch. Athena works parttime and will often be able to be home with her son, Justin. My girls worked, so their kids ate lunch at school. Nevertheless, while mom life is and was different for each of them, the love that their children have for them and the love they have for their children is exactly the same. Every person who is blessed with a good mom knows just what a wonderful blessing that is. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!! Have a wonderful day!!
Six years ago, my daughter, Corrie Petersen found herself in a dead-end job, and she knew it was time for a change. The positions she had tried to move up to, the positions she trained others for…were refused her because they wanted a college degree…even though she knew the job inside out, upside down, and backwards. So, she decided to get a college degree, but not to take the positions they had. She wanted more, and after being on a family caregiving team, for years, she chose nursing. It was the perfect decision. She left her “dead-end job” and took what is today an unconventional journey toward nursing, becoming first a CNA and working while she studied for her nursing degree. We, her family are beyond proud of her determination.
Today, is a day to celebrate, and I must admit, I am going to brag on my girl a little bit. Corrie has fought long and hard for this degree. It has not been easy. I am stunned by just how much a nurse must know to actually be a nurse. I have almost felt like she needed to know as much as a doctor, even though she wasn’t going for that degree. I suppose thought that a nurse must be the eyes and ears of the doctor when it comes to the patients in her care. Corrie put her faith in God, and prayed over every test, every assignment, and her clinicals, and it has all paid off. Corrie has studied, tested, and proven herself worthy of the degree that she is receiving today. She is the proud recipient of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) from Nightingale College, and we are so very proud of her.
In November of 2022, Corrie was contacted by the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. With her outstanding grades, she qualified to join, so she applied and was accepted into the honor society. It was a great honor for her, and we are so proud of her, but that was not the end of the honors that Corrie received. As of her graduation, I am so proud to announce that Corrie has graduated with Summa Cum Laude honors. For those who don’t know, that is the highest honors possible. Her cumulative GPA was 3.96!! I was totally floored and so proud that I cried tears of joy for her. Corrie has worked so hard for all she has achieved. She pushes herself toward her goals every day, and she just never quits. Now she is a Summa Cum Laude graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, and she will be an great asset to Banner Health, she currently works as a CNA…but not for much longer. Congratulations on the move to Nursing, Corrie. We are beyond proud of all you have accomplished.
My sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely’s partner, Brian Cratty is a mountain man…seriously. He loves being on Casper Mountain, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. In the Summer, Brian hikes and mountain bikes for much of the day. He is totally in his element when he is on the mountain. Brian and Jennifer own a cabin on the mountain, and Brian, who is retired, spends as much time as possible there. I’m sure Jennifer will spend more time there as well, now that she has retired too.
Even in the Winter, Brian spends most days at the cabin. When he gets there, he builds a fire in the cabin and then gets to work keeping it shoveled out. The deep accumulations of snow can do so much damage to a cabin that is not kept dug out. A structure can only hold so much snow before damage becomes inevitable. Normally there is a good amount of snow on the mountain, but this winter has been a real challenge. Nevertheless, Brian as worked hard, persevered, and kept it at bay, protecting the cabin. I think we have all been shocked ah the amount of snow on the mountain, and this last storm dumped an additional 48+ inches on the mountain. It looks to me like we might have as much as 10 feet in some places.
Driving to the cabin in the Winter is not possible, so they ski into the cabin in the Winter. Jennifer tells me that it only takes about 35 minutes from the Nordic lodge to get there. They love cross-country skiing, so for them it’s not a burden, but rather an adventure. The mountain might be teeming with activity in the Summer, but the Winter presents a very different atmosphere. There is a deep quiet a lot of the time, and that is part of its charm. Of course, the cabin is near trails too, and there might be snowmobilers around too, but not all the time, so the quiet is the bulk of the day.
Some days, Brian is just not able to get up to the mountain, so on those dreaded “stuck at home” days, Brian likes to work on puzzles. Not everyone has that patience to put puzzles together, but Brian really enjoys it. He also loves to cook, and that is always an advantage for Jennifer, who reaps the benefits of his skill, and he enjoys watching movies, although he probably finds it hard to sit there when he would rather be on the mountain shoveling snow!! Today is Brian’s birthday. Happy birthday Brian!! Have a great day!! We love you!!