Family

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There are places in this world that have hidden places in them that might just surprise most people. At one time, these hidden places might have had a useful purpose, but later their usefulness was gone, and they were either closed up or removed altogether. The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City is one of those places. You can’t really remove a hidden place in a bridge, but you can close the hidden places up if they are no longer needed.

When the Brooklyn Bridge was built, portions of surrounding neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn had to be demolished in order to build the bridge’s two anchorage sections, which attach the bridge to land. This affected several local merchants more so than others, and because of that impact, the situation had to be addressed. To compensate local merchants and offset some of the bridge’s $15 million budget, wine cellars and other vaulted spaces were incorporated into the bridge’s design. The storage space that had once belonged to the merchants, had to be replaced with useable space, so several wine merchants and other alcohol sellers began renting the spaces in 1883, when the bridge was completed, and except for the Prohibition years, the cellars remained in operation until World War II.

The wine cellars were filled with wine before the Brooklyn Bridge was even operational. The cellars were the idea of bridge engineer John Roebling, and they were completed by his son Washington Roebling after John died. They were created as a solution to an alcohol problem, designed with the hoped that building the cellars would keep the wine dark, cool and secure. The cellars were huge. They are connected by a series of twisting tunnels named after French roads.

Prohibition brought a new era for the cellars. They were turned into newspaper storage areas. When Prohibition ended, they briefly reopened to the public, but World War II led the city of New York to take over permanent management of the cellars and close them to visitors. Since then, almost no one has seen them. The cellars remain empty and forgotten by the thousands of pedestrians and motorists who cross the Brooklyn Bridge every day. They are used for storage, and an occasional homeless person who finds their way inside.

We are all used to alternative forms of energy these days. From electric cars to solar heating to wind energy, things have changed some. One thing I had never heard of before, however, is a solar-powered airplane. Of course, the plane was built to promote green energy, and I don’t personally think that green energy is a totally feasible option…sorry if anyone disagrees. Nevertheless, someone came up with the idea of using solar energy for an airplane. I have to admit that the idea of a plane operating totally on solar energy is something that would make me a little apprehensive, nevertheless, one was developed. And it was successful too. A solar-powered airplane completing the 10th leg of it’s journey by landing in Arizona after a 16-hour flight from California in 2015. Now, admittedly, a normal plane could have made the trip in a couple of hours, so in that way, it was rather anticlimactic.

The plane was the brain-child of Bertrand Piccard, who dreamed of an airplane of perpetual endurance…able to fly day and night without fuel. With the construction of this plane, that dream had been realized, and with the flight of co-founder Andre Borschberg’s flight, history had been made. Still, who has 16 hours to make that flight, when you can drive it in 12 hours. The spindly, single-seat experimental aircraft, dubbed Solar Impulse 2, arrived in Phoenix shortly before 9pm, following a flight from San Francisco that took it over the Mojave Desert. The solar plane’s pilots were required to take up meditation and hypnosis in training, so they could stay alert for long periods.

The plane’s capacity was one…just the pilot in the tiny cockpit. Andre Borschberg, who alternated with fellow pilot Bertrand Piccard at the controls for each segment of what they hope will be the first round-the-world solar-powered flight. “I made it to Phoenix, what an amazing flight over the Mojave desert,” Borschberg said in a Twitter post. Borschberg was the pilot for the Japan-to-Hawaii trip over the Pacific last July, staying airborne for nearly 118 hours…shattering the prior record of 76 hours for a non-stop, solo flight set back in 2006 by the late Steven Fossett in his Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer. Solar Impulse 2 set new duration and distance records for solar-powered flight too.

Not all was picture-perfect with the venture, however. The project was dealt a setback when the Solar Impulse suffered severe battery damage, requiring repairs and testing that grounded it in Hawaii for nine months. After repairs were made, Piccard completed the trans-Pacific crossing, reaching San Francisco after a flight of nearly three days, more than three times the 18 hours Amelia Earhart took to fly solo from Hawaii to California in the 1930s. In many ways, the project would seem to be a failure, but the one real success it had was that the flights were made without fuel. Its four engines were powered solely by energy collected from more than 17,000 solar cells built into its wings. Surplus power is stored in four batteries during the day, to keep the plane aloft on extreme long-distance flights. The carbon-fiber plane, with a wingspan exceeding that of a Boeing 747 and the weight of a family car, is unlikely to set speed or altitude records. It can climb to 28,000 feet, and cruise at 34 to 62 miles per hour. It’s not something I think I would choose to fly in, but then it’s possible that down the road, when it isn’t an experimental plane, and it can carry more people, I might find myself traveling in just such a plane.

My son-in-law, Travis Royce is rather a fanatic when it comes to his yard. He really always has been. When you think about it, that works out very well for my daughter, Amy…his wife. It’s not that Travis does all the work, but that he is happy to help with the projects that make their back yard a sanctuary where they love to spend time. This year, they have been working on their covered patio are. Travis built that a while back, and now they are adding to the ambiance with lighting, flower gardens, and games, like the latest addition to the back yard…darts. They got the dart board up, and I mentioned to Amy that now she could beat him at darts indoors and outdoors. Well, she informed me that he won the first game played out on the patio. They are both good dart players, so my comment was really a joke, but Travis proved that he has a good handle on the game. They have several back yard games that they like to play, but they also like to just sit and relax…enjoying the quiet nights.

Travis is a homebody in many ways, something I would never have expected when he and Amy first started dating, about 27 years ago, but time changes us all. Those party/bar scenes get old after a while, and it too loud anyway, so most people would rather have friends over and enjoy a little bit more quiet party atmosphere. Nevertheless, Amy and Travis do like to go to the casinos in their area, and they tend to do pretty well there. Still, they aren’t about throwing their money away, they just play for fun periodically. When we go to visit, we enjoy that too, and sometimes we do pretty well. Maybe it’s all about having them there with us, I don’t know. Sometimes, I think we should give them our money to play while we stand and watch.

Travis is an excellent “griller,” as anyone who has had his food can attest. If the cooking is being done indoors, Amy is the cook, but if it’s being done outdoors, it’s all Travis. He prides himself in grilling great steaks and seafood too. His friends consider themselves lucky to have been invited for the barbecue. Amy and Travis are very social people, and entertaining is something they both enjoy, so those summer barbecues are always fun times for them and for everyone who is privileged to attend. Today is Travis’ birthday. Happy birthday Travis!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As planes became more and more common, it became evident that at some point, they were going to be used commercially. Still, I can’t imagine being on that first commercial flight. I doubt if it comes as a surprised that the first commercial flight in history occurred in the United States. What is surprising is that the flight took place on January 1, 1914, three years before the United States entered World War I. Planes weren’t commonly used forms of transportation in any arena, so a commercial flight is almost beyond imagination. Following that first flight, the Vickers Viscount emerged in 1948, as the first commercial airliner to use turboprop power. That plane was equipped with four Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engines, the British aircraft had a pressurized cabin and was capable of carrying 40 to 65 passengers.

While I would have expected the world’s first commercial jet airliner to follow suit and come from the United States, it did not. The de Havilland DH.106 Comet, the world’s first commercial jet airliner, was actually developed and manufactured by de Havilland at its Hatfield Aerodrome in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. The Comet 1 prototype first flew in 1949. It featured an aerodynamically clean design with four de Havilland Ghost turbojet engines buried in the wing roots, a pressurized cabin, and large square windows. It’s relatively quiet, comfortable passenger cabin and innovative design, made the plane commercially promising at its debut on this day, May 2, 1952. Unfortunately, within a year of entering service, the plane began to experience problems. Three Comets were lost within twelve months in highly publicized accidents, after suffering catastrophic in-flight break-ups. Two of the break-ups proved to be caused by structural failure resulting from metal fatigue in the airframe, a phenomenon not fully understood at the time. The third break-up was due to overstressing of the airframe during flight through severe weather. That flight might have had problems even if it had been a more advanced plane, because weather related crashes are still somewhat common today.

Due the the problems, the Comet was withdrawn from service and extensively tested. Design and construction flaws, including improper riveting and dangerous concentrations of stress around some of the square windows, were ultimately identified as the points of the fatigue. As a result, the Comet was extensively redesigned, with oval windows, structural reinforcements and other changes. Rival manufacturers meanwhile heeded the lessons learned from the Comet while developing their own aircraft. I guess there always has to be that one we learned from. Unfortunately, when people get scared about something, it is very hard to recover in the courts of public opinion.

Sadly, sales of the Comet 1 never fully recovered after the crashes. The improved Comet 2 and the prototype Comet 3 culminated in the redesigned Comet 4 series which debuted in 1958 and did quite well, remaining in commercial service until 1981. Later, the Comet was adapted for military usage. It played a variety of military roles such as VIP, medical and passenger transport, as well as surveillance. In 1997, the last Comet 4 was used as a research platform, making its final flight later that year. The most extensive modification resulted in a specialized maritime patrol derivative, the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod, which remained in service with the Royal Air Force until 2011, over 60 years after the Comet’s first flight.

Some holidays celebrate one thing and one thing only, but others, such as May Day, can have several meanings. When my sisters and I were children, May Day was a special day. Our mom, Collene Spencer would go to the story and buy candy. We made baskets out of construction paper and put candy in them. Then we would sneak around the neighborhood, hang the baskets on the front door of a neighbor and knock on the door. Then, we would run and hide. Sometimes they would catch us, and sometimes they would just yell out “thank you,” but they were always pleased that we though of them and did something nice for them.

Many people look at May Day as celebrating the beginning of the summer season, or at least the warmer part of Spring. It is a day when it seems like suddenly the flowers have all begun to bloom, the grass gets green, and the trees got their leaves. That is a great way to think about it, because for me Spring and Summer are the best times of the year. I love being able to get out and hike and just enjoy the warm weather. Some of the celebrations included a Maypole dance where ribbons were wrapped around a pole to create a work of art. The ribbons are multi-colored, so its like braiding them together. Its a great game for the kids…and a great welcome to Summer!!

In the United States, May first has another meaning…it is also Law Day. These days it is questionable as to how people feel about that, but to me it is an important day. Our nation needs law and order, and I believe that most people would agree. Law Day is a day meant to reflect on the role of law in the foundation of the country and to recognize its importance for society. These days there are people who are against the police, except when they need one, and then suddenly the police are very important. I have and have had law enforcement officers in my family, and I can say that they are some of the most caring people I know. So to them I say Happy Law Day!! To everyone else, Happy May Day!!

Protests are a common story these days, and the police are often kept busy for days trying to keep some kind of order. Not much has really changed in that arena. No nation is exempt from the possibility of violence breaking out because people feel they have been subjected to injustice…whether the facts bear out the belief or not. In 1926, miners across the United Kingdom went on strike. They were being subjected to an involuntary 13% wage cut, as well as an increase in weekly labor, and they were not planning to put up with it. When workers in other industries refused to work in solidarity with the striking miners, it led to a general strike. The work stoppage lasted nine days.

1926 was an unsettled year, with protests becoming quite common, especially in London’s Trafalgar Square. As a result of the violence, the police wanted to set up a temporary police station, so they could keep an eye on things. The public would have none of it. Their outcry literally caused the police to drop the project. The problem, however, remained, so they knew that something had to be done. Finally, someone came up with a brilliant idea. That year, they built several large ornate light posts. One of the light posts was configured with the idea of housing what is most likely the world’s tiniest police station. This brilliant idea allowed the police to hide it, and their surveillance, in plain sight.

The police station pole was located inconspicuously at the south-east corner of Trafalgar Square. It is a rather peculiar and often overlooked world record holder…Britain’s Smallest Police Station. Apparently this tiny box can accommodate up to two prisoners at a time, although its main purpose was to hold a single police officer. I guess you could say that it was a 1920’s version of the ring doorbell camera. It didn’t take video, but the officer inside could clearly watch the square. Once the light fitting was hollowed out, the builders installed a set of narrow windows in order to provide a vista across the main square. Also installed was a direct phone line back to Scotland Yard in case reinforcements were needed in times of trouble. In fact, whenever the police phone was picked up, the ornamental light fitting at the top of the box started to flash, alerting any nearby officers on duty that trouble was near. It was a brilliant idea, but as with all inventions, their usefulness lasts only until the next big thing comes along. Such was the case with the Trafalgar Square Light Pole Police Station. Eventually new technology made the little station obsolete. Today the pole is used for custodial storage.

By guest writer: Susan Griffith

I thought it would be nice to write a blog post about my Aunt Caryn for her birthday. In case you’re new here, my Aunt Caryn writes a blog post every single day about someone in her family, or about something that sparks her interest. I wonder if she has ever missed a day since she started. If she has, I’m sure there was an extremely good reason why. There must be thousands and thousands of posts. It’s truly amazing and really shows her passion for writing, her passion for her faith, her family, and her interest in current events. The determination that she has when she sets her mind to something is obvious.

If you’re reading this, and interested in history at all and what Aunt Caryn is up to, I urge you to look on Ansestry.com at the amount of work she has put into her family trees. It’s unbelievable and amazing to me. I can’t even begin to imagine how big Aunt Caryn’s family must be on both sides of her family. Both her and my Uncle Bob come from a family with many siblings, so I can see how her family could be so big after everyone getting married and having families of their own. It’s so special to look on your Facebook page on your birthday and see that someone has taken the time to write a little story about you. Most of the time, it’s surprising to read what she comes up with and you sometimes wonder how she knows what she knows. I know she has her ways of finding things out. I’m so thankful to have someone in my family who cares so much about family that she will take the time to make someone feel good every day.

My Aunt Caryn is married to my Uncle Bob, who’s my mom, Debbie Cook’s brother. Every time I think back to the family gatherings with my mom’s side of the family Aunt Caryn has always been there. She shows up to every important event if she is able to. She was there for all the important milestones of my life…graduation, wedding, baby showers. It’s clear that she loves her family very much, and from what I’ve seen she will do whatever it takes to be involved with her family. If someone is in need and Aunt Caryn can see that she can help with the situation, I guarantee that she will show up and she will do whatever she can to help in the situation. At my wedding reception, I forgot to ask someone to serve cake. Aunt Caryn just stepped in and started doing it without even being asked. I still remember that even after almost 15 years of marriage. I was so thankful to have her that day. It seems like this day in age, people like that are harder and harder to come by. The kind of people who are willing to drop everything that’s going on in their life to help someone else out. You could say Aunt Caryn is altruistic in the best way. I feel truly fortunate to have Aunt Caryn in my life.
A perfect example of Aunt Caryn’s selflessness happened just earlier this year. In January when my Aunt Rachel passed away, Aunt Caryn’s sister-in-law, we really saw how Aunt Caryn could truly step up to the plate. She helped my Uncle Ron considerably to get through one of the hardest times in his life. All of us are so thankful for what she did to help during that time. We know it was hard for her because she was just as upset as everyone else. In our family it seems that if we lose someone, we really come together to comfort each other and help each other out. I am so thankful for that.

One of my earliest memories of my Aunt Caryn was when they lived in the country in a trailer house. It seems like it was just me and Aunt Caryn at the house, everyone else was gone. I had to have been around 4 or 5 years old. Aunt Caryn was doing something in the living room, or the kitchen and she said I could go to my Cousin Amy’s bedroom to play. Amy is a few years older than me, so she had things that big girls had, and stuff that I thought was really cool. It seems like there was a little desk in Amy’s bedroom, and on the desk was a little heart shaped container that may have had jewelry in it. Next to that was some fingernail polish. I can’t even imagine what the heck I was thinking, but I sat there and painted the top of the little heart shaped container with the nail polish. It seems like shortly after I started doing that, Aunt Caryn came in and saw what I was doing. Oh man, was I in trouble. I’m sure I started crying as soon as she saw me. I can remember turning and looking at her and the look on her face wasn’t good. It was a look of shock. I think she just told me to go sit in the living room, and maybe told me I couldn’t be in Amy’s room by myself anymore. I think she was pretty lenient on me. Hopefully, that’s all I did with that fingernail polish. Sorry Amy!

Today is Aunt Caryn’s 65th birthday, which to many of us is a special day because we get to have the chance to spoil her like she spoils everyone around her on their special day. Aunt Caryn, I hope you have a most beautiful birthday. I hope that you get spoiled by all your family and friends, and that you can feel the love by all of us who love you so much. I hope you are able to enjoy your day and do something that makes you feel good. On behalf of all of your family, friends, and followers…We love you Caryn Schulenberg! Happy Birthday!

It seems an impossible task, to keep a disaster a secret, and yet that is exactly what the Soviet Union tried to do when disaster struck on April 26, 1986, at the No. 4 reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR. Chernobyl is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history. In terms of cost and casualties, and it is one of only two nuclear energy accidents rated at seven, which is the maximum severity, on the International Nuclear Event Scale. The other disaster was the well known 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan that was caused by a tsunami.

On April 28, 1986, two days after monitoring stations in Sweden, Finland and Norway began reporting sudden high discharges of radioactivity in the atmosphere, the Soviet Union finally broke the news by way of their official news agency, Tass. Two days!! In the realm of nuclear contamination, two days is an eternity!! When the Soviet Union finally told the world, Tass simply said there had been an accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. They didn’t say they had tried to hide it, but two days of no response tells me they did. The initial emergency response, together with later decontamination of the environment, ultimately involved more than 500,000 personnel and cost an estimated 18 billion Soviet rubles, which is roughly $68 billion US dollars as of the dollar value in 2019.

It was determined that the accident had started during a safety test on an RBMK-type nuclear reactor. During testing a simulation of an electrical power outage was used to help create a safety procedure for maintaining reactor cooling water circulation until the back-up electrical generators could provide power. These units had been tested three times since 1982, but they had failed to provide a solution. On this fourth attempt, an unexpected 10-hour delay meant that an unprepared operating shift was on duty. The power unexpectedly dropped to a near-zero level during the planned decrease of reactor power in preparation for the electrical test. The operators were only able to partially restore the specified test power, putting the reactor in an unstable condition. This risk was not made evident in the operating instructions, so the operators proceeded with the electrical test. Upon test completion, the operators triggered a reactor shutdown, but a combination of unstable conditions and reactor design flaws caused an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction instead.

The failure caused a large amount of energy to be suddenly released, followed by two explosions that ruptured the reactor core and destroyed the reactor building. One was a highly destructive steam explosion from the vaporizing superheated cooling water. The other explosion could have been another steam explosion or a small nuclear explosion, like a nuclear fizzle. The explosions were followed immediately by an open-air reactor core fire that released considerable airborne radioactive contamination for about nine days. The contamination fell onto parts of the USSR and western Europe, especially 10 miles away in Belarus, where around 70% landed, before finally being contained on May 4, 1986. In addition to the contamination released by the explosions, the fire gradually released about the same amount of contamination as did the initial explosion. As a result of rising radiation levels in surrounding regions, a 6.2 mile radius exclusion zone was created 36 hours after the accident. About 49,000 people were evacuated from the area, primarily the citizens of Pripyat. Later the exclusion zone was increased to 19 mile radius, and an additional 68,000 people were evacuated from the wider area.

When the reactor exploded, two of the reactor operating staff lost their lives instantly. Crews rushed to put out the fire, stabilize the reactor, and cleanup the ejected nuclear core. As a result of the disaster and immediate response, 134 station staff and firemen were hospitalized with acute radiation syndrome due to absorbing high doses of ionizing radiation. In the days to months afterward 28 of these 134 people died, and approximately 14 suspected radiation-induced cancer deaths followed within the next 10 years. Significant cleanup operations were taken in the exclusion zone to deal with local fallout, and the exclusion zone was made permanent. The cities in the zone remain abandoned.

By 2011, an excess of 15 childhood thyroid cancer deaths were documented among the wider population. The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) has reviewed all the published research on the incident multiple times, and found that at present, fewer than 100 documented deaths are likely to be attributable to increased exposure to radiation. Of course, there is no way to be sure of that information, because “determining the total eventual number of exposure related deaths is uncertain based on the linear no-threshold model, a contested statistical model, which has also been used in estimates of low level radon and air pollution exposure.” When the expected deaths is viewed in “model predictions with the greatest confidence values of the eventual total death toll in the decades ahead from Chernobyl releases vary, from 4,000 fatalities when solely assessing the three most contaminated former Soviet states, to about 9,000 to 16,000 fatalities when assessing the total continent of Europe. In an effort to reduce the spread of radioactive contamination from the wreckage and protect it from weathering, the protective Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant sarcophagus was built by December 1986. It also provided radiological protection for the crews of the undamaged reactors at the site, which continued operating. Due to the continued deterioration of the sarcophagus, it was further enclosed in 2017 by the Chernobyl New Safe Confinement, a larger enclosure that allows the removal of both the sarcophagus and the reactor debris, while containing the radioactive hazard. Nuclear clean-up is scheduled for completion in 2065.” It is my opinion that if they had acted immediately to evacuate the people in surrounding areas, they might have reduced the number of deaths substantially. Keeping the accident a secret for two days was insane, and very likely criminal.

My dad, Allen Spencer, always had a moustache, but never really cared for a beard. I suppose that in his like of work, as a welder, he might have considered the beard a fire hazard. I know that he always had a few burn marks from the sparks that fly during welding. I know a lot of welders, including my nephew, Garrett Stevens, who have a beard and don’t seem to have any problems, so maybe that isn’t it. I suppose it was just personal preference. Dad did look nice in a beard the two times he had one. It was a contest of sorts, so many men grew out their beard. Dad’s beard looked very nice, and well trimmed…not straggly at all. I think that goes back to Dad’s nature. It is funny that during one of those times Dad had a beard, my Uncle Bill Spencer, Dad’s brother happened to have a booth at a gun show in Rapid City, SD. He decided to take the family to Rapid City to see if we could fool Uncle Bill, who was not expecting us to be there. Dad pulled it off. Uncle Bill was totally fooled, and it was a great joke. It was also a great trip.

My dad was a very disciplined person. He had a specific idea about proper behavior, and he lived up to that expectation. He always dressed up for church, even if he wasn’t wearing a suit and tie, he would wear a nice Western shirt with one of his bolo ties. He always felt like church was a place where respect should be shown to God, and I must agree, although I don’t dress up in the same way my dad did. Nevertheless, respect must be shown in church. I think that is a common belief in church. No matter how people dress, church is a special place, where we can draw closer to God, and honor Him. I will always feel that way about church.

Dad lived in a house full of girls, and because of that, or maybe because it was just his way, my dad was always a man of good manners. I always thought of my dad as a man who could easily have come from an different era…maybe the Victorian era, or other era where the men were very gentlemanly. I suppose that meant that my sisters and I were rather sheltered from the rougher side of society. There was no cussing in our home, no crass behavior…and yet, there was always love. Mom (Collene Spencer) and Dad kissed in front of us, and Dad might lovingly swat Mom on the backside in what was probably the most risqué thing we saw. These were things we never saw as dirty, but rather we saw love. We even joked about them kissing…singing, “Mommy and Daddy are kissing!!” It was our own made-up song, and we loved it. Dad was always the leader of our house. The spiritual head of the house that love built. He showed us the way, and we have all benefitted from the love of our parents. Today would have been my dad’s 97th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Dad. I know you and mom are celebrating with many other family members. We love and miss you very much.

My grand-nephew, Zack Spethman is the tallest person in his family. At 6’4″, he is four inches taller than his dad, Steve Spethman and 1’2″ taller than his mom, Jenny Spethman. While Zack may be tall and muscular, he is also a gentleman, kind, loving…a gentle giant. That’s what his mom calls him, and anyone who knows Zack, knows that it is very true of him. Zack is a hugger. He loves his family and he would give the shirt off his back for any of us. Zack is quick to help anyone who needs help, and he works hard when he is helping someone. Because he is a big, tall guy, he is very strong and can work very hard. It is a big blessing for anyone he is helping.

Zack, like most students, has been dealing with the Covid-19 shutdowns. Having 6 months off from in-school classes has not been easy. Zack is the kind of guy who needs to be around friends. He is quite social, and sitting in front of a computer has not been easy. To make matters worse, Zack likes sports, but with the Covid shutdowns, came a time of little, or no sports. The summer camps were cancelled, and and then when things finally started back up, many of the students, Zack included, were not in shape for play. I’m sure things will come back, but Zack has lost a year of sports as a consequence of the shutdowns. I’m sure you can tell that I, like many people was not a fan of the shutdowns, but that is a topic for another story. On a positive note, Zack loves to sing, and he has begun to fill his time with choir, which is an awesome move on his part.

There are other sports that Zack can and does enjoy, like hiking, swimming, and Zack’s favorite, shooting. Zack is an excellent marksman, and very much enjoys practicing his art. In fact, his whole family loves to go shooting, and his parents are the main reason Zack is such a great marksman. Zack has been shooting since he was a little boy. He knows the proper way to shoot, to clean his gun, and has the proper respect for the gun and for human life. Zack loves to hunt, and was abt to bring home his antelope this year. He and his brothers enjoy being able to help the family finances by bring home a great supply of meat. I think kids get a sense of accomplishment out of being able to do things to help the family finances, whether its buying some of their clothes or supplying some of the food.

Zack is so patient with the younger cousins and his siblings. He never turns down a chance to do something nice for them, like teaching cousin, Adelaide Sawdon how to shoot pool, or making great heart pictures with his sister Aleesia. He also loves the family pets, and all animals, really. He is just so sweet to all of God’s creatures, human or animal, and that makes us all love him very much. Today is Zack’s 16th birthday. Did I mention that he will be driving soon, at least as soon as he can go to the DMV…just a warning. Happy birthday Zack!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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