My dad’s mom, Anna Spencer was such a strong woman. My grandfather, Allen Spencer worked on the Great Northern Railway, and so Grandma was in charge of the kids, including her two rambunctious boys, my Uncle Bill and my dad, Allen. Now that doesn’t say that her two girls weren’t a handful too, but my Aunt Laura and my Aunt Ruth, likely caused her a little bit less trouble than her mischievous boys…especially when it came to their use of dynamite. Being farm boys, they used dynamite to remove tree stumps, for their wake-up call on Independence Day, as well as the occasional gatepost (which then had to be raised two inches before their mom came home from town). Nevertheless, Grandma was loved and respected by her children.
Grandma and the kids ran the farm, and that meant putting the hay up into stacks by hand, taking care of the animals and the garden. When they were working, Grandma was all business, but that didn’t mean the kids followed suit. My Aunt Ruth loved horses and dogs too, and goofing off for my Uncle Bill, so he could take a picture of her. Somehow, it once caught my grandma in the picture looking at her mischievous children, goofing off instead of working. Somehow, she was not very amused, but while Grandma didn’t think it was funny, the picture is one that always makes me laugh. I don’t know if my Aunt Ruth got in trouble for “shirking” her responsibilities or not, but I’ll bet she at least heard about it. Grandma was not really a pushover, after all. In those days, when it was time to work, the kids had better toe the line.
During the time when my grandma was raising kids, the country was going through the Great Depression years, and time were tough anyway, so the people also had to be tough. The men were often working somewhere also, and the women had to take on the role of both parents, and even businesswomen. My grandmother ran a hotel for a time, and my Aunt Laura, who was just ten years old when my Uncle Bill was born, was responsible for his day-to-day care. My Uncle Bill actually remembered that time fondly. He and his big sister were very close at that time. I’m sure it was not the ideal situation for my grandmother, who must have felt like she was missing out on the baby years, but she persevered, and the family did well. Grandma was a tough lady, because she had to be, and the family needed her to be. I’m very proud of the strong woman she was. Today, Grandma is in Heaven, but this is the 135th anniversary of that great lady’s birth. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandma. We love and miss you very much.
My grandniece, Siara Olsen met Chris Kirk in early September of 2021, when she boldly went up to him in the local Loaf and Jug convenience store in Casper, and told him that she liked his freckles. She started calling him her “Loaf and Jug Boyfriend” that very day. How could he resist that?? The year prior had been the hardest year Siara had ever faced, and when she met Chris, her joy returned. She once again became the happy girl we had always known and missed very much. I won’t go into the sadness of the prior year, because this story has a happy ending, and I will focus on that. Chris has the ability to put a smile on my grandniece’s face, and in my book that makes him a great guy. Chris fits well into Siara’s family, and she fits well into his. Theirs is going to be a wonderful and exciting future.
Siara and Chris have so much in common. They are both very athletic, and love doing te same activities. The first pictures I saw of them together, believe it or not, they were doing a couple’s workout, and it was obvious that they were “head over heels” in love with each other. You never saw a picture of them where they weren’t smiling…unless they were making a face for the camera. They love to joke around, and their happiness just flows out of both of them.
Siara has long been a fitness buff, and Chris either is too, or he has become one since meeting her. They like to go hiking with Siara’s brother, Jake Harman, his wife, Melanie, and their kids, Alice, Izabella, and Jax. A favorite spot is the Bridle Trail on Casper Mountain. I like to say that families should work toward staying fit together, because it makes for a long and happy life. Hiking and hanging out with her brother’s family also gave everyone a chance to get to know Chris, and they all liked him too. Siara is close to her brother and his family, so that was important.
Chris surprised Siara when she had her back to him and he dropped to one knee, just as she turned around. His proposal was sweet and beautiful, and Siara was swept off her feet. I couldn’t say it better than she did, in her own words, “Turning around to you down on one knee asking me if I trust you with my life and my heart it was so easily a yes, but you asking me if I would marry you was the easiest yes of all! Our souls are so deeply connected through God already, but this makes it mean so much more. I love you more than anything, Chris Kirk!” It makes everyone in Siara’s family so happy to see these two tie the knot today. I wish you both all the love and happiness in the world. Congratulations Siara and Chris!! We love you both!!
My grandson, Caalab Royce has been making a few changes in himself lately. Most people have a tendency to let life get in the way of taking care of ourselves sometimes. It’s easy to do. Caalab has decided to get back in shape, so he’s been working out and getting buff. His sister, Shai Royce says he looks like he’s 19 again. I’m not sure if he would call that a compliment or not. Guys his age don’t want to look younger, hahaha!! Being an exercise enthusiast myself, I think he looks great. Caalab has always been a bit like me when it comes to our love of the outdoors and long walks. When he moved to Washington state with his family, though, he got to where he could outwalk me by quite a way. I was amazed at how far he walked. We both love being able to get out in nature and walk, while enjoying the beautiful scenes around us. Of course, these days, I think I have more time for it than Caalab does. Retirement does that.
Caalab and his dad, Travis Royce have long been playing guitar together. They don’t play professionally, and you can call me biased, but I think they are really very good. These days, Caalab and Travis and a couple of friends get together every Wednesday for band practice. It is really fun to sit in the “audience” during practice sessions. It’s always nice to have that talent in your own family.
With Caalab turning 25 years old, Amy and Travis are taking him to Vegas with their friends Burt and Amy and their kids. It’s going to be a great time. Caalab went to Vegas when he was 21, and they all enjoy going, so it will be fun to go again. They have been planning this for a while now, but Covid stopped it until now. They tend to do well on the slots, so I hope they will win and have a great time. Of course, there is lots to do in Vegas, besides gambling, so I know they will have plenty to do.
Caalab has always been such a happy kid. Always full of smiles, and mischief. He loves a good joke and never forgets the punchline. He is a teaser from way back, something his sister had to learn to accept, and finally agree was funny. Caalab loved being the “funny man” and never missed a chance to make people laugh. He has grown to be a wonderful man, but sometimes I miss the little boy he was, and since he lives far away from me, I miss having him around too. Today is Caalab’s 25th birthday. Happy birthday Caalab!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Most of us have seen strange events, designed to be something no one else has done. Things like getting married in a hot air balloon, or during a skydive, or even on horseback. And speaking of horseback…how about dining on horseback. I know, it seems strange, unless maybe you are a kid like my grandnephew, Bowen Parmely, who fully enjoys a popsicle on the back of a horse. While that is a bit unusual, it is not the strangest incidence of dining on horseback.
During the Gilded Age (1870 – 1900), everything was elaborate…for the very wealthy, that is. From estates that were bigger and more ornate and elaborate than many castles, to elaborate train cars, to dining on horseback…really?? How did that fit in with the extravagance of the other things? Normally, during the Gilded Age, meals were elaborate affairs and almost always held indoors. However, there were a few rather strange exceptions. The point of the Gilded Age and the very wealthy people who championed it was that everything had to be outlandish. It had to have a wow factor, and maybe even a shock factor. In fact, the whole point was to shock the people with the very richness of everything they were seeing, as well as the shock of its monetary extravagance.
So, how do you make dining on horseback into something elaborate, elegant, expensive, and rich? Obviously, outlandish was easy on this one. Remember that paper plates didn’t exist then, and the very idea of the ultra-wealthy people eating a fancy dinner with their fingers…well, it is outlandish, I guess. Most meals involving the very wealthy, involve several courses, so just imagine devouring those endless, rich courses, while trying to steady not only the horse, but the China dishes, crystal, and silver too!!
While everyone at the dinners were treated like millionaires, including the horses, the whole affair must have had some rather unpleasant components to it too. Never mind the fact that you are trying to juggle plates, cups, and silverware while on horseback, but consider the smells in the room. The food smelled delicious, I’m sure, but you cannot keep a horse from doing what horses do, so in addition to waiters, were there also stable boys in attendance. And as for the waiters, I’m quite sure it was necessary to watch where they walked…very carefully. The last thing they needed was to slip on a pile of manure and land on the floor, after throwing the food intended for a guest to eat, all over said guest. The horses were encouraged to stand still and behave, by being provided with their own individual bags of oats. I’m sure that helped, but it would still be very hard to stand perfectly still, especially since these horses weren’t previously trained for a life as a piece of furniture.
One such dinner was hosted by millionaire C K G Billing and was held at a swanky New York restaurant. Now just imagine having all those horses inside a restaurant. It would take a week to clean up afterward, I’m sure, and all of this came at an enormous cost. Billing’s bill came to $50,000, an amount unimaginable to most people in the world, but for Billing…well, he was just showing off! As for the guests…I’m sure it was considered a once-in-a-lifetime occasion, or at the very least, I’m sure they hoped it would only be a once-in-a-lifetime event. Who in their right mind would want to repeat such a dinner? Certainly not me!! And I venture to say, these guests didn’t either.
My great grandnephew, Jaxx Harman is such a sweet boy. He is the youngest child and only son of my grandnephew Jake Harman, and his wife Melanie. Having two older sisters doesn’t bother Jaxx one bit, because he is well able to hold his own against the girls, Alice and Izabelle…should he ever need to. Nevertheless, Jaxx and his sisters are really good friends too. They might pick on him some, but he picks right back, so it’s really no big deal. Their household is really a rough and tumble world. The kids enjoy the teasing and are all really good sports about it all. The really fun thing about having kids who love to tease and are fie with being teased is that the house is always filled with laughter.
For Jaxx, his daddy is his favorite and his best friend. Once Jake gets home from work, Jaxx is quite literally glued to him and just loves playing kingdom hearts with him. They spend lots of time doing things together, and if Jake is doing something, you can be sure that Jaxx is too, or will be just as soon as he is old enough to do so.
Jaxx is also very helpful to both his parents, and a very loving little boy. He just randomly gives hugs and kisses, and that just makes the day of the receiver. I love it when little boys don’t mind hugs for family members. Some boys are rather resistant to public displays of affection, so when you have one that loves hugging those he loves, it is a really special blessing in your life. Jaxx also loves to tell those he loves that he loves them. He instinctively knows that you really should let the people you love know that you love them. It makes their day, and that is important. Jaxx’s his true best friends are his mommy, daddy, and his two sisters.
Now, don’t assume that because Jaxx is very loving, and full of hugs and kisses, that he is in any way a wimp. Jaxx is all boy, and he loves to wrestle and climb on everything from the furniture to any tree that he can get up in. I find it so hard to believe that Jaxx will be in Kindergarten in the Fall. Where have all the years gone? It seems like just yesterday that we were waiting for him to arrive, and now, he is growing up so much and so fast. I know that Jake and Melanie are both so proud of their son, like the rest of the family is too. Today is Jaxx 5th birthday!! Happy birthday Jaxx!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandnephew, Easton Moore is getting ready to start the next phase of his life and is still considering his options. The rest of us are sitting here wondering where all the years went. It seems impossible that Easton could be out of elementary school, much less high school. Currently, Easton is a supervisor at McDonald’s, which is a pretty good accomplishment for a young man of just 18 years. He is looking forward to the end of school now, because as supervisor, he is required to close, which makes for late nights and little sleep…which accounts for his mom, Machelle Moore’s ability to catch him sleeping during the day and having the evidence to prove it.
Easton has spent a lot of time tinkering on his own vehicle and has found that he really has a knack for it. Easton has also helped his friends work on their vehicles, so he is actually building a clientele of sorts already. In fact, mechanics is one of the things Easton is considering as a career option, a side option, or a temporary option while he prepares for the other possible career option that he is considering. Like most young people, Easton is very comfortable with computers, and would not mind getting a job on the internet or maybe in computer programing. The possibilities in computers are endless right now, and things are advancing so fat that what seems far-fetched today is very possible in the very near future.
One thing Easton isn’t considering right now is moving out on his own. Like most high school graduates, he would like to, but with rentals in Powell running around $1000 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, that is just not feasible. Moving out right now around here is not a good idea. So, his plan is to live at home, while working, and to begin taking college classes to advance his computer skills, so that if that is what he decided he wants to do in life, he is moving in the right direction for it. As for his mom and dad, I’m sure this plan doesn’t hurt their feelings one bit, because they were facing the “empty nest” and I don’t think they were really very happy about it. Sometimes, it’s nice for the parents to have a little reprieve…even if it’s just a little one. Easton is graduation today and getting ready to go out into the world and make his own mark. Congratulations Easton!! We are very proud of you!!
My uncle, Larry Byer was a really good musician, but that was not something I recall from years of hearing him play. It is something I’ve been told over the years. I never occurred to me that so many people in my family were talented musicians, but apparently there were a number of them. Uncle Larry played the guitar, the mandolin, and the piano. My grandfather, his dad, George Byer played the mandolin and the violin. My dad, Al Spencer and my Uncle George both played guitars. They had a regular band, and their jam sessions were like a big party at the Byer house. I knew that my dad, Al Spencer and his siblings were talented musicians, because I was told that over the years, but Uncle Larry is on my mom, Collene Spencer’s side of the family, and somehow, I just didn’t know. It’s possibly because by the time I was born, Uncle Larry was married, and starting a family of his own with his wife, Jeanette Morton. In fact, their son, Larry is just nine months younger than I am. These days, most of these band members are playing in Heaven, and I would sure love to hear that music.
Uncle Larry was always a guy with a great sense of humor. He loved a good joke, and maybe that was what my Aunt Jeanette first saw in her husband of 55 years, before he went home to be with the Lord. Uncle Larry loved a good joke and wasn’t above pulling pranks either. I suppose he came by it honestly. I think just about everyone in my family…from both sides are tricksters and pranksters, and it had to come from somewhere, so I think there are a number of the aunts and uncles who had a hand in it. My mom was born between the two brothers in the family, and so she got a double portion of the pranks boys tend to play. Personally, I think she totally loved being the girl between the boys, because they included her in all the mischief.
Like all of my veteran loved ones, I am very proud that my Uncle Larry served in the Korean War. He didn’t talk much about his time in the service, but like most of the men of the war eras, he was proud to serve his country. Uncle Larry was an honorable man and an honorable soldier. After that he came home and started a family with his best friend and wife, Jeanette Morton. They married on February 11, 1956, and their first child, Larry was born on February 9, 1957. Tina followed on November 12, 1958. Uncle Larry worked for many years at Texaco Refinery, and when they closed down there, he transferred to Louisiana, until his retirement. Today would have been Uncle Larry’s 88th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Larry. We love and miss you very much.
My son-in-law, Travis Royce is always willing taking on something new in the yard. Whatever my daughter, Amy Royce can dream up, Travis is willing to make a reality for her. He even goes so far as to indulge her “need” to buy flowers. Travis is more of a lawn guy. He loves mowing their lawn and loves dressing up the yard part of their home into a beautiful sanctuary, and together, they have definitely succeeded. When we are at their house, the back yard if everyone’s favorite place to be. It’s quiet, peaceful, and relaxing. I love their back yard. The kids, Shai Royce and Caalab Royce, have even helped to make the back yard wonderful They got them some heat units so that when the nights are a little chilly, they can still enjoy the patio.
Travis and Amy have found their own little getaway. They love to go to a little town in Washington called Ilwaco. It is a quaint little town on the Washington coast. They love to stroll through the cute little town and along the trail to Cape Disappointment State Park. The lighthouse there is of particular interest to them. Travis always looks like he is so at peace when he is standing there looking out to the ocean. It’s not really so odd, because he was born in San Diego, California and went to school in Puyallup, Washington. The West Coast is really in his blood, and anyone who knows him can easily see that.
Travis is an innovative man, who is quick thinking and can be very funny. In fact, he loves to be funny. I have always loved that about him, because his humor fills my daughter’s home and life with laughter…and let’s face it…what could be better than a life with laughter in it? I have never been around someone, quite like Travis before…but, when I think about it, he really is one of a kind, with the possible exception on his son, Caalab, who is so much like his dad that it’s uncanny.
Travis has been a part of our family now for almost 27 years, and he has been such a blessing to us. There is no greater blessing for a mother, than to know that her daughter’s husband is her soulmate and best friend. I have been very blessed to know that Travi is exactly that for Amy, and always will be. Today is Travis’ birthday. Happy birthday Travis!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Some men are Boy Dads, which in no way means that they wouldn’t be good with girls. Some men are Girl Dads, which in no way means that they wouldn’t be good with boys. the truth is that any good dad can be a good dad to boys or to girls, but there is one thing that I think my sisters and I would all agree on with our dad, Allen Spencer. While he would have been a great dad to boys, his girls needed him to be our dad. Maybe a girl dad or a boy dad is just blessed with the gift of one or the other, because they have a particular way with one or the other.
Our home was filled with so much love and dad understood the needs of girls…like giving up the bathroom quickly so we could get all dolled up. He understood that when camping, the fire needed to be kept going…”to keep the bears away.” There were so many other things that Dad instinctively knew about girls and our girly ways, and he always made us feel loved, special, and safe. We were his princesses, and Dad loved all his princesses and much as he loved his queen, our mom Collene Spencer. Yes, our dad was definitely a Girl Dad, but it was we, his girls, who were blessed because he was our Girl Dad.
Dad did all the normal “dad things” that all dads do, like working hard every day to support his family, taking us on more vacations that almost any of our classmates got to go on, and I’m not bragging, just stating a fact. Dad loved to travel, and he loved this country; and he wanted his girls to be able to see as much of it as possible, because there is no greater nation on earth, except God’s chosen nation…Israel, and I think he would have loved to take us there too. For our dad, the greatest gift he could give his girls is the gift of faith in Jesus as our Savior. Faith was something he was given as a child, and I remember reading his letters home from World War II, written to his mom, Anna Spencer, in which he and his mother encouraged each other with God’s promises, given to us all in the Bible. Dad was very protective of his mom too. She was another of the women in his life who were blessed to know the love and protective nature that was always our dad, her son.
Dad went home to Heaven on December 12, 2007, and we miss him every day. There was so much more to Dad than the things he gave us or the special way we were treated, there was the love that dad gave his girls. Dad may have been blessed to be a Girl Dad, but it was really his girls who were blessed, because he was our dad. Today would have been Dad’s 98th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Dad. Have a great party with Mom and the rest of the family. We can’t wait to see you all again. We love and miss you very much.
Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day actually dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. This wasn’t a popular change with everyone, and some people just forgot it was going to happen. Nevertheless, the Council of Trent called for it to happen in 1563. Those who accepted the change and of course, the Council of Trent were not sympathetic to those who didn’t cooperate. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes. I don’t suppose that first April Fools’ Day was so fun for the victims of the hoaxes in 1563. Those people were really being ridiculed.
With such a start, to this unique day, April Fools’ Day seems like it was really a cruel day, not the fun day we know today. Nevertheless, the idea of jokes and pranks is one that a lot of people could get onboard with…it’s almost as good as a tickle torture to make people laugh. Yes, there is a victim, but it’s all in good fun. The English agreed, and on April 1, 1700, it began. English pranksters collectively decided to make April Fools’ Day or All Fools’ Day, as it was also called, an annual tradition by playing practical jokes on each other. It has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures now.
Favorite pranks included having paper fish placed on the victims’ backs and being referred to as poisson d’avril (April fish), said to symbolize a young, “easily hooked” fish…basically a gullible person. April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk” (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool), in which people were sent on phony errands and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them. And I thought the pranks played these days were unique.
These days, lots of people get into the action. Everything from telling someone they had a spider in their hair to the really good pranksters, who can really get their victims going. My own family, when I was a kid growing up, were dedicated pranksters. Things like switching the salt and sugar were a common prank, and even used on days other than April Fools’ Day. Of course, we tried things like a spider in your hair, a rip in your jeans, and such, but we were never mean about it. So, in the end, a day which was meant to really humiliate, has turned into a prankster’s holiday, and most people are good natured about it, and simply have a few great laughs. Happy April Fools’ Day everyone. Let the pranks begin and continue!!