Humor

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As a little boy, my grandson, Caalab Royce was always smiling, laughing, telling jokes, and of course, teasing his sister, Shai Royce, who didn’t always appreciate her younger brother’s sense of humor. In fact, there was a time when she was very willing to sell him at auction!! Shai was sure that she would never get along with her brother, and she would always want to send him back, sell him, or ship him off somewhere. The teasing never has stopped, but Shai’s dislike of her brother certainly has. These days she thinks of him as her best friend, and she knows that his teasing is just who he is and that he will always love his sister.

Caalab has a smile that lights up his whole face. And whenever I saw it, my heart would just melt. He was one boy who grabbed a hold of your heart and hung on tight. It was hard to be angry at his antics, when he flashed that smile. I think that might have been what Shai finally saw in her brother too, once she got beyond the “annoyance years.” That time came when they were teenagers. I remember stopping by their house one day, and there they were, sitting on the steps, actually talking…not fighting. It was a shocking moment, but also a wonderful moment. It was a moment I knew would come at some point, nevertheless, it was still unexpected.

These days, Caalab is all grown up. He and his sister are still best friends, but much has changed in life again. Caalab, who works full time at Red Robin in Bellingham, Washington is a responsible man who can always be counted on at work and with people. That part really hasn’t changed much, because Caalab could always be counted on. Now what has changed is that he is so busy and lives so far away, that I don’t get to see him nearly as much as when he was a kid. I miss that very much, and sometimes I still tear up over that…but, I get to see him very soon, so that makes me very happy.

Caalab’s family all tell me the same thing about what’s going on in his life. They say, “He works a lot.” I told them that “all work and no play, makes Caalab a dull boy,” but I think there must be more than that. I think it might have something to do with a certain girl named Chloe Foster. Caalab and Chloe have been dating for a while now, and I have a feeling that all of that “lost” free time is being spent with Chloe. I can’t say that I blame him though, because I have heard nothing but good things about Chloe, and I can’t wait to meet her when we visit them. Recently Caalab took a little bit of time off from his busy schedule and dating life to stand as best man for his buddy’s wedding, and he sure looked very handsome. Today is Caalab’s birthday. Happy birthday Caalab!! Have a great day, and we will see you soon!! We love you!!

The current generation of kids probably have no idea what a phone booth is, besides maybe a place for Superman to change into his costume. From the time phones first became something that was provided to the public for a fee, phone booths became a common sight on city streets. Then in the 1950s, a new fad began. Much like the fad of stuffing as many people as possible into a car, people decided to stuff as many people as possible into a phone booth. My guess is that like most of these strange fads, this one too, was practiced mostly by young people.

Phone booth stuffing first gained popularity outside the United States, but once it arrived stateside, in spring 1959, kids couldn’t help but join in. Basically, people would cram their bodies into the narrow spaces like sardines in a can. Some adopted other methods, such as stacking themselves horizontally. Just imagine being the guy on the bottom of the stack. All I can say is, “Hurry up, because I can’t breathe!!”

As with so many other crazy fad, phone booth stuffing became something to set a world record for. People began trying to outdo the prior record. The word record for phone-booth stuffing came in March 1959, when 25 people in South Africa piled into a booth. I can’t imagine how they could possibly fit 25 people in a phone booth, but while they were all in there, the phone rang. Of course, nobody answered the phone, because nobody could move enough to reach it. Sadly, the trend died by the end of 1959. Of course, that doesn’t mean that some of the other stuffing trends didn’t continue. I think people are still stuffing as many people as they can into a car. I just hope they don’t try to drive that way.

Shortly after our daughter, Amy (Schulenberg) Royce was born, we knew that she was destined to be…little, but only in stature. At just 4 feet 10 inches tall, Amy is quite short, a full 3 inches shorter that her not very tall sister, Corrie (Schulenberg) Petersen. Nevertheless, when it comes to her personality, abilities, intelligence, and her kind heart…she somehow packs a whole lot into that tiny frame. Amy has always lived her life well beyond her size, and nobody ever tried to tell her she couldn’t do something, because she knew that she could do anything she put her mind to.

When Amy met her husband, Travis, she was very quickly sure that this guy was the one who could keep the fun and laughter in her life, and he certainly has done that. His favorite nick name for her is Midget, and I must admit that it fits. Partly because of her size, Travis loves midget wrestling, which has become a thing these days. Who would have known. That’s the thing she loved about him. He could turn most situations into something fun and full of humor.

Amy first began working in the insurance industry at the young age of 15, when she worked in the office I worked in doing filing, phones, and typing. I was just trying to help her get a job as a kid, who knew that it would be the beginning of a future lifelong career for her. During her teen years, she needed more hours than we could give her, so she went to work in fast food, and then on to daycare, the hotel industry, and an office job in an industrial training facility. Then her journey came full circle, when she was hired in the insurance office I was working at then…The Stengel Agency. It was there that she got licenses, and became an excellent insurance agent. When her family decided to move to Washington state, her insurance background netted her several job offers. Now things have come full circle again…so to speak, because her daughter, Shai Royce, who also worked with us at The Stengel Agency, is now working at the same agency that Amy, her mom, works at now…Rice Insurance, and they are both very excited about that. Sometimes it is all in who you know, but I think insurance is in their blood, because if you can’t understand insurance, you will never be a good agent. They both understand insurance, just like their mom and grandma…me. Today is Amy’s birthday, and I am very excited for this new aspect of her life…sharing a career with her daughter and friend. Not bad for a midget!! Happy birthday Amy!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

I suppose that most of the time, when someone sets out to invent something, they have a specific plan in mind, but maybe not. A number of inventors were trying to invent something completely different from what they ended up inventing, or they weren’t trying to “invent” anything at all, but ended up making something very cool.

One day in 1853, a chef at the Carey Moon Lake House in Saratoga Springs, New York, named George Crum was at work, and making a meal for a customer. Apparently this customer was rather picky, which I can understand when it comes to certain things. The customer had ordered a plate of fried potatoes, and since my mom, Collene Spencer often made fried potatoes when I was a kid, I can attest to how great they tasted. Fried potatoes, however, must be correctly cooked to be really good, and I suppose that there are many differing views as to which way of cooking them is correct. Sometimes, its just a matter of personal preference.

Chef Crum fried the potatoes in the way he had always done so, but found that he was apparently unable to please this particular customer. Anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant knows that it is really frowned upon to have food sent back to the kitchen. The chef is given a goal of almost reading the mind of the customer…and expected to get it right. I know that this can be difficult from my own experience. I love what I would call extra crispy bacon, but when I tell them extra crispy, I usually end up with bacon that is floppy and, in my opinion, disgusting. I have long since learned that if I want to get truly crispy bacon, I must tell them that I want it burned. Only then will the bacon come out “crispy” enough for me, which, by the way, never has any black parts that would indicate that it was burned.

On this particular day, Chef Crum was having a bad day, at least from the perspective of pleasing the customer, who sent the potatoes back many times, asking that the potatoes be thinner and crispier. Finally in a fit of temper, Chef Crum sliced the potatoes insanely thin and fried them until they were “as hard as a rock,” before sending them back out to the customer. To his astonishment, the customer absolutely loved the potatoes, and wanted more. Now, for anyone who likes potato chips, the request for seconds comes as no surprise, because it really is hard to eat just one potato chip, as the saying goes. Since that day, I’m sure that these new fangled potatoes were a menu favorite at the Carey Moon Lake House. They must have been, because as we all know, they are still available to this day, and they show no sign of losing their popularity now either.

My nephew, Rob Masterson is a busy father of four children. His oldest, Christina is grown and living on her own in Colorado. The other three, Raelynn, Matthew, and Anna still live in the family home…which recently changed, by the way. They had been living in an apartment, and now they are in a house…much better for a family. The really nice thing is that the new place is much closer to where Rob and his wife, Dustie both work…Sam’s club. This is a great change for this family, and we are all very happy for them.

As a boy, Rob grew up in a house full of women. His mom, my sister, Cheryl Masterson was a single mom, and of her five children, Rob was the only boy. I’m not sure for whom that situation was the worst. Rob was definitely outnumbered, but I don’t think that the girls, Chantel, Toni, Elizabeth, and Jenny, ever really got the better of their brother, who was the middle child. These days they all joke about the antics of those years, and in reality, it’s all pretty funny. Nevertheless, I don’t know how pleasant it was at the time, especially for the other party in this boy verses girls show of power…their mom. I’m sure that there were many times Cheryl wanted to send them all to their rooms, but there were likely just as many times that the antics brought great bouts laughter in the house, because lets face it, the antics of kids can be very funny.

I think that the antics Rob pulled as a kid have never really left him, because his own son seems to have had some inherited many of his dad’s abilities…or maybe, it’s just a boy thing. Whatever it is, sisters have “suffered” the consequences of it for generations. Still, eventually those boys grow up to be men, and I think that sometimes the ones who picked on their sisters the most and pulled the most pranks, make the best dads. Today is Rob’s birthday. Happy birthday Rob!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My son-in-law, Travis Royce is a man of many talents. He has a great sense of humor, and worked as a radio announcer for a time. He was perfect for that job because of his quick wit and his ability to turn just about any situation into a funny situation, other than some of the news, of course. I’m pretty quick witted myself, but I can’t hold a candle to Travis. I simply don’t know how anyone can come up with so many funny jokes out of thin air. Travis was also the go to guy for many of the commercials for Time-Square Media, and even after living in the Bellingham area of Washington state for four years now, we still hear the commercials he did. Every time we do, we have to laugh, because of how long he has been gone now. The reality is that these were just great commercials, and Travis has a perfect radio voice. They own the commercials, so they can continue to use them, and we can giggle about the fact that they never could find anyone better than Travis.

I think it is awesome that Travis was born in May, because he loves mowing the lawn. I don’t know of anyone else who truly loves lawn work, but Travis always has. At their house in Ferndale, Washington, they have a big yard, and a riding lawnmower that came with the house. Travis was in seventh heaven over that lawnmower. Each year Travis watches the lawn…waiting for it to get even a little bit long. Then he is out there mowing. One thing that is good about that is that their lawn always looks great. Travis and my daughter, Amy love to entertain, and Travis loves to barbeque. They spend a lot of time outdoors, and that is probably why they love Washington state so much. The weather is mild, and allows for lots of outdoor time, and beautiful scenery.

Travis and Amy have been married for almost 24 years now, and in that time, Travis has become a precious part of our family. I love how he keeps everyone happy and laughing. Laughter is so important in any life, and it is especially wonderful to hear your daughter’s family all laughing and happy together, and to know that her chosen mate is the one instigating all the silliness. Many times I have found myself laughing at some sill stunt Travis pulled on his family our on the rest of the family. The say, laughter is the best medicine, well I guess Travis must be the doctor. Today is Travis’ birthday. Happy birthday Travis!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My little grand-nephew, Bowen Parmely is a happy little boy who is turning 2 years old today. Bowen’s first two years have been quite eventful. He is the younger brother to two sisters, Reagan and Hattie, and so there was always someone to play with. Being the only boy in the family, might have affected the kinds of games he played, but not in any big way, because Bowen is all boy. I have no doubt that in the future, he will tease his sisters quite a bit. A guy’s gotta make up for lost time, because while he is the littlest, the girls are well able to “boss” him around. Unfortunately for Bowen, I don’t know if he will ever find himself the boss when it comes to his sisters. Nevertheless, Reagan and Hattie love their little brother very much, and they have taught him lots of things in these first two years…and I’m sure he has taught them a few things too.

Bowen and his sisters love to ride their bicycles, and Bowen is quickly learning the ropes of a strider. When I was a kid, nobody ever thought of taking the peddles off of the bicycle or tricycle, and just letting the kid sit on the seat and walk it out, but it is really a great way to put the little ones on a bicycle early on, and Bowen doesn’t like to be left out of the fun, so it’s a vital tool toward getting him into the action. Of course, there isn’t much that his sisters are doing that Bowen doesn’t do too, with the exception of school. Bowen and his sisters help out on the farm, and they get to play with the babies, as well as watching their birth. That is all part of a good farm education, and a part that city dwellers don’t get.

While Bowen’s sisters love all the little farm babies, and Bowen does too, but for him, they come second, because he has something he is far more interested in…tractors. Typical boy thing, and something that he gets from his dad, and probably a grandpa or two. Bowen comes from a long line of farm and ranch people, and from what I have seen, he is totally ok with that. Today is Bowen’s 2nd birthday. Happy birthday Bowen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

April Fools Day…a day of shenanigans. As children, we made up simple tricks, that didn’t fool our parents, and might not have even fooled our siblings. I remember telling my sisters that there was a spider in their hair, or some such silliness. That worked for a short time, but then you have to get creative. Things like switching the salt and sugar became common jokes to us. Eventually, we learned to taste a little bit, before we used it liberally on our food…yuck!!

As we get older, we have to get far more creative with our shenanigans, because lets face it, adults aren’t going to go for the spider in your hair gag. They know what day it is too. April Fools Day pranks have to be carefully planned out, and they have to be such that they do no harm, because that would not be what it is all about. Of course, there could always be the unplanned, unforeseen problem with reversing the prank, that could backfire, but hopefully the people you prank are good sports about things, who know that it could have happened to them too.

It would seem that some of the best pranks these days are tech pranks. There are a variety of ways to “mess with” someone’s computer, making them think that it has gone crazy. A simple placement of tape over the mouse sensor will make the computer appear frozen. You can change the language on the computer too, but as I found out from personal experience, this can be difficult to reverse, if you change it to a language you can’t read…yikes!! I think my personal favorite is to flip the screen, so that everything is upside down. And that one is simple to reverse, so no harm…no foul. Of course, there are many low tech ways to “mess with” a computer too, like covering it and everything else in the office in newspaper, or filling the room with balloons, so that the only way in is to pop them. I think office pranks are a natural way to expand your prank playing game into new vistas. Plus, they are really fun when the people you prank are just stunned. Happy April Fools Day everyone!! The day to prank or be pranked. Let the fun begin.

My niece, Liz Masterson is a gifted teacher of high school journalism. She is also a gifted photographer. I suppose the two things go together in many ways, but I don’t know if most journalists are also gifted photographers. This dual career that Liz has keeps her very busy. If she is not grading papers, she is taking pictures of the sporting events at the school for the annual and the Kelly Kall. During the school year, she has very little time to do much else.

Nevertheless, on Thursday nights, Liz; her mom, my sister, Cheryl Masterson; Liz’s niece, Aleesia Spethman; and I go to dinner. We try to go different places, so that we don’t get bored, but the reality is that we just enjoy spending time together. Liz has many interests, and we enjoy hearing about the challenging subjects she addresses with her students. I think they do too, because most of her students become her lifelong friends. I think very few teachers can say that. Most teachers prepare their students for graduation and the next step in their lives, and then they slowly fade into the student’s past. Liz is very different. Her students don’t want her to fade into the past. They want to always be able to share the great things they do in life with their favorite teacher.

In her off-time, Liz is a mommy to her fur babies. Her puppies, Luka, Scout, and Buffy; and her cat, Professor McGonagall…usually known as Kitty. Liz loves her fur babies, and feels bad that she has to leave them during the day to go to work, so if she ends up working at night, as teachers often do, her puppies get to go to the grandma, Cheryl’s house to play with her puppy, Missy. It’s almost comical to me, because I’m not used to seeing puppies need a babysitter for an evening, but these are Liz’s fur babies, and she wants the best for them. And what baby doesn’t want to spend time with their grandma when their mommy can’t be home to play. When Liz is home, she and her fur babies have the best times playing together. Today is Liz’s birthday. Happy birthday Liz!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Imagine thinking that things that have no substance, actually do have substance. I know that sounds odd, but consider our shadow. It is caused by our body coming between the sun and the ground. We have all seen them, and most of us give them no thought at all. Now consider a two year old girl, who notices her shadow for the first time. Suddenly, something strange is following her and she cannot get away from it. Many of this little ones actually become quite upset, and telling them it is ok, or it is only their shadow doesn’t help at all. Explaining what creates a shadow to a two year old doesn’t help either, because they are too young to figure out what you are saying. To them, the shadow is a thing of substance…a stranger, and the child does not like it. While a little child being afraid of their shadow is pretty normal, what of other things that have no substance being mistaken for things of substance.

In reality, it is probably just people being able to use their imagination, like the little girl who was the subject of a photograph taken by Adam Diston in 1886. Little is known about the photographer himself, but his imagination and creative thought are fascinating to me. I did find out he was born 1827 in Edinburgh and spent the greater majority of his life as a photographer. I don’t know if the little girl thought you could cut a sunbeam or not, but maybe…just for a moment it seemed possible that something without substance, could have substance. Diston brought that out in her, and in his picture, made it almost believable. I think he might have been a truly great photographer.

And what of the wind? Wind can blow all around you and still you stand in the same place, and yet, if you raise your jacket over your head, it can fill the fabric and take you for a little ride. We can’t go far on just jacket power, but put that same wind in a sail, connected to a boat and you can travel the world. And yet, a breeze goes by almost unnoticed…because it has no real substance…at least not until we harness it. Or in the case of a sunbeam, we imagine it’s substance. And in the case of the shadow, we envision it as a person…a stranger. It’s all in how we see things.

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