Humor

Sometimes, when I look at some of the pictures of my dad and my Uncle Bill, and think about all their antics, I find that they remind me quite a bit of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. They were always getting into trouble…oh not the kind that was really bad, just the kind that was a little bad. And of course, their favorite thing to do was to go fishing…or anything else that involved the water and no school. They were always trying some new thing…some new invention…or some new gimmick. Just like Mark Twain’s characters.

I can totally see my dad and uncle as two more characters in those novels. They would fit right in. I’m not sure the story lines would even have to be altered…except to add to more kids. Dad and Uncle Bill used to do things like setting off dynamite on Independence Day…not firecrackers…no, that was too small scale…they set off dynamite. Or they might set of dynamite on the top of the gate post…just to see what would happen. Of course, then they had to take out and reset the gate post before their mom got home from town, because she would have tanned their hides for them.

Don’t get me wrong. they had to work hard, as did their sisters, but if there was a way to get out of the work, or to find some shortcut, you can be sure that the brothers were right there. My guess is that as little boys, they were a handful for their mom. I’m quite sure that my grandmother would have done anything for her kids, but I think her boys might have been hard to reign in sometimes. But still, they were loyal to her and mostly helpful.

I guess you would have to say that they were…adventurous, and that is the part of those boys that reminds me of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Their adventures are what got them into trouble, and yet, their adventurous spirit is what made you love them in spite of their crazy antics. That is the kind of boys they were. And when Uncle Bill came out here to visit my dad before his passing, you could still see the twinkle in their eyes when they talked about the things they used to do. It was pretty funny. In my mind, I could just see my grandmother, on her way home from town…wondering what her mischievous boys had been up to all day, and what messes she was going to come home to. I’m also quite sure that more often than not, she came home to some mess that needed to be cleaned up…and a couple of boys who needed a good spanking…even if they didn’t mean to make the mess. I can also see her dealing with the dilemma of should I spank them…or just laugh about the whole thing.

My daughter, Amy was born 6 months before her cousin, Machelle. The girls were alike in many ways, and could often be found playing in their own little world. Machelle’s family moved to Thermopolis when she was very young, and the girls didn’t get to see each other as much. We tried to get the girls together as much as we could…when Debbie and Lynn were in town, or sometimes we would take turns taking the four kids for a couple of weeks in the summer. Oh, Amy and Machelle had their little tiffs, but they always were, and still are good friends. When I look at those pictures of the girls back then, it makes me smile to see the cute little expressions they had. I’m pretty sure they were sharing some little secret.

Nevertheless, as little girls, they fought over toys, and had a few bouts of hitting each other…like all kids do. I suppose it was a good thing that they didn’t live too close to each other, or who knows what might have happened…especially since Amy, while quite small in stature, was afraid of nothing. And, even though Machelle quickly passed Amy up in height, sometimes having a small person going after you in a big way can be really disconcerting, and Amy had that effect on kids who didn’t know what to expect.  She could move so fast that they had no idea what she would do next. Thankfully those little events didn’t happen very often. As the years went on, they grew out of the fighting stage of life, of course. Their friendship continued to grow. They didn’t get to see each other much still, because Machelle’s family had moved to Powell.

When Amy was planning her wedding, of course, Machelle was included in the wedding party. Amy couldn’t imagine her wedding day without Corrie, her sister, Carina, her best friend since kindergarden, and Machelle and Jenny, her two special cousins in the wedding party. The girls all looked just beautiful, and the wedding day was as special as Amy had dreamed it would be. It’s amazing that two cousins who have lived in different towns for most of their lives, can be so close, but they were. Both of the girls have grown into beautiful, women, wives and mothers. When I look at these old pictures, it’s hard to believe that they are grown up already…much less with almost grown children of their own.

Some people are just naturally goofy. They make you laugh at every turn, and the jokes and funny comments seem to just roll off their tongue. And quite often, it doesn’t stop at just what they say, but continues right on into what they do. My niece Kellie is like that. Practically from the moment she was born, she was a giggle box and constantly doing things to make people laugh. And her laugh…well, contagious if putting it mildly. I can hardly remember a time when I have seen Kellie without a smile on her face. That is because she is one of those people who go through life unaffected by the negativity that goes on around her.

Kellie is so full of life, and she has a way of drawing others into her world…even if they can’t figure out how to stay for very long…mostly because their own lives get in the way of it. But Kellie, lives in a world of fun and laughter that is very much her own. I like being drawn into Kellie’s world, because it gives me a chance to be a kid again…or at least, a Wee One as Kellie calls me and my girls. We are among the shortest ones in the family, and Kellie is among the tallest, so she can do that…along with picking us up in a great big bear hug. Then she puts us back down on the ground and laughs delightedly about it. You just never know what Kellie might do…or what she might dress up like for that matter.

Kellie has no enemies, and especially not animals. She loves her kitties and her dog, and you just never know…she might even kiss a dolphin when given the opportunity. And it seems quite obvious to me that the dolphin was quite taken with Kellie, but then, why should the dolphin be different. Everyone who knows Kellie is quite taken with her.

The thing that is really amazing about Kellie, though, is that while she can be very funny, and a total jokster, she has a sweetness about her that is unmatched. She loves everyone, and they love her. With her knack for happiness, also comes a knack for kindness. And she has a love for beautiful things…especially music. Kellie has a sweet spirit, a love for the Lord, and a beautiful voice that is a joy to listen to…especially when she is singing worship songs to God. It is my honor to know you Kellie. You are a great blessing to many!! Love you, and happy birthday!!

When my girls were 4 years old and 3 years old, we were living on my in-law’s land, while we got our land ready to move onto. During that time, my sister-in-law, Brenda, and my brother-in-law, Ron were in elementary school and often needed help with their homework. I enjoyed helping them out, so they usually came to me for that help. So, many nights we had a tutoring session at my house. It’s pretty hard to run a tutoring session with small children around, who want to play.

I needed to come up with a way to help my sister and brother-in-law, and occupy my young daughters. Like most kids, the girls just wanted to do the same things the big kids were doing. The problem was that they were too young and would need more help than I could give them right then.

So, after giving it a little thought, I got each of my daughters a piece of paper and a pencil and told them to do their homework too. I was amazed at the way they did their homework. The girls didn’t scribble or draw pictures, but rather they made small careful circles. They were making their letters. As a mother, I was impressed and pleased at their very good attempt to mimic their aunt and uncle’s homework. They even stayed on the lines fairly well.

Things went on that way for a short time, and then Brenda and Ron started needing help with spelling. That…was the beginning of the problem. Before I knew it, Corrie and Amy wanted to learn to spell too. It all seemed innocent and, well even cool, but having them ask how to spell every word they could think of did get old after a while.

On day they started asking me how to spell the names of all their aunts and uncles. I was busy with other things, and really didn’t have time to go through every family member’s name. By the time we got to my sister-in-law, I had had just about enough of spelling. So, when they asked me how to spell Brenda, I very quickly blurted out B-r-e-n-d-a. Well, the girls caught BR, and that is the name that stuck.

At first, Brenda didn’t know if she liked the new nickname or not. When she was little, Jennifer had called her Bea, and she thought it would work into Aunt Bea. She never expected to be BR or Aunt BR. Still, it was a name that grew on her, and the kids really liked it. Before long, everyone was calling her BR. She has it on her license plate, and people have bought her blocks and plaques that say BR. It is her own nickname, unique and original…even if it was an accidental nickname.

There are few things in the life of a toddler that they enjoy more than a pony ride on a grandparent’s foot. It is the first type of ride most kids get to take…almost like their first carnival ride. It is amazing that such a simple ride can thoroughly delight a child. It is such a simple thing to do and yet it can give the rider hours of fun…if your leg could hold out that long that is. Nevertheless, the child will continue to as you to “do it again” for hours.

We seem to mimic some of the rides we loved as children in the play with our toddlers a lot. The merry-go-round is done by swinging the child around until they are dizzy and delighted. The airplane is done by lying on the floor and holding the child’s hand while lifting them with your feet into the air. They may not know what we are imitating, because they are too young, but this type of play is passed down from generation to generation.

I remember that JD really loved to get these rides when he was little, and he would ask anyone in the room to give him another ride. Sometimes he would have to go from person to person as one leg or another would get tired, or the adult would get bored with the game. It’s funny how some kids like the pony ride more than others. JD loved his pony rides.

Today, JD rides a different kind of pony…or should I say horse power. JD rides and has raced motorcycles, along with his little brother, Eric. And lets not forget the many cars and pickups that have made their way into JD’s life. He will spend hours working on a vehicle…often into the wee hours of the morning, when he doesn’t have to work the next day. Sometimes, I think he is obsessed with engines, but I suppose that is not all that unusual, given that his dad also loves engines, cars, and motorcycles.

Today, JD has taken on the role of the ride giver with the little ones we have in the family. He is always roughhousing with his cousins, be they little or not. My grandkids have all reaped the benefits of JD’s playful nature…although the adults have wished they would all settle down from time to time. I don’t blame those early rides for all the roughhousing though, because sometimes that is just how a person is. JD is a kid at heart, and I think that as long as there are little ones around him, he will jump right in there and play with them, so…move the furniture back…if you want to keep it in one piece that is.

On the occasion of Christopher’s first meeting with his great great grandpa, he didn’t quite know what to make of him. That is something I can certainly understand, as can anyone who knew him. Grandpa was gruff and yet funny. Many people thought he was angry, but I knew better. He was one of those people who…maybe had a little bit of trouble expressing his feelings, but once you found your way into his heart…he was a person who cared deeply about you. What a wonderful trait to have in a grandpa who became your grandpa by marriage, both his to Christopher’s great great grandma…you see he was Christopher’s step-great great grandpa, and mine because he was Bob’s step-grandpa. I know these things about him, because I did find my way into his heart, and we were ruthless card partners…but more importantly, he was every bit a grandpa to me, and I loved him very much.

But, Christopher, being a little guy, had a bit of trouble figuring his great great grandpa out. Nevertheless, he did love him. And in some ways, they were two of a kind. Not in the gruff…hard to get to know…kind of way, but in the joking kind of way. Christopher is famous for making faces that are very expressive, either funny or serious. So when Grandpa started with his gruff voice and funny way of talking, Christopher gave him a look that said, “What are you talking about?” Again, I can understand how Christopher might wonder such a thing. Grandpa was always talking very fast, and when you combined that with his gruff voice…well you had to pay attention or you might miss the point.

So, Christopher did his best to figure out that guy that everyone was telling him was his great great grandpa, and maybe took a little bit of comfort in the fact that his Aunt BR was holding him, because he just wasn’t very sure about that guy that was in front of him. Then, just when he thought this guy called great great grandpa was never going to be somebody he would understand, he said something funny. Or, maybe it was just that everybody else started laughing. I’m not sure Christopher knew which it was, but I’m pretty sure everyone started laughing at Christopher’s funny face. It didn’t really matter, because suddenly Christopher decided that maybe this guy called great great grandpa was funny after all.

Kaytlyn Machelle was born 4 years ago today, and gets her middle name from her Aunt Machelle. I remember that the first time I saw her, I thought she had very big eyes. Big eyes are always so amazing on a girl, if you ask me. I don’t get to see my grand niece very much, because she lives in a different town than we do. Kaytlyn is the younger of two girls…the granddaughters of my sister-in-law, Debbie and her husband, Lynn.

She is a bubbly little girl with a great imagination. She can create her own little world with her toys, and had a way of getting her sister and her cousins to jump right in and visit that little world too. She seems to think that her cousin, Tucker, who was her friend, before he became her cousin, is her boyfriend. She is a definite flirt, and I’m pretty sure she has her daddy wrapped around her little finger with her big eyes and sweet smile. In fact, I think her daddy has probably lived there from the moment he first saw her.

Most of my acquaintance with little miss Kaytlyn has been through the pictures I have received, which makes it a little harder to really know her, but I can tell from the pictures that she is the kind of child who lights up a room when she is in it. She is a princess, and very girly, choosing bright colors to wear when she has her say. I also think that she has been a sweet gift to her older sister, Jala, who had been an only child for 6 years before Kaytlyn’s arrival. It’s hard to be an only child, I think, but having never been one myself, I can’t really say. Still I think Jala thinks her little sister is just about the greatest. Jala shows a great love for Kaytlyn, and plays along with her little games, even though she is a big girl of almost 10 years.

Kaytlyn is curious, like most children, always wondering about the world around her, and perhaps about the face she sees in the mirror. That face in the mirror seems to be a first friend for so many chidren. They look in the mirror and the face that looks back always smiles when they do, and never looks away. The face in the mirror always pays attention to them, and is loyally waiting for them each time they approach. Can there possibly be a better friend than that baby who doesn’t leave them stuck in the house while the bigger kids get to go outside? No, I think that first friend is a cherished memory for most babies…as well as their parents, because really…who can resist the face in the mirror. Today, little Kaytlyn Machelle is 4 and a little princess with great big eyes. Happy birthday little birthday girl…say hello to the face in the mirror for me. We love you very much, sweetie!!

We knew almost from the very start that our little Shai was a Fashionista. She wanted her nails painted almost from the moment she was born…ok, ok her grandma helped that part out a little, much to her daddy’s chagrin. I don’t think it was really going to matter if her grandma painted her nails or not…this little girl was all girl, and very much a Fashionista. And that is a fact that has not changed to this day.

The other thing that fully describes Shai is born to shop. She likes nothing better than to check out the latest styles, the coolest frills, and of course, the most stylish shoes. Jewelry is a must too, of course, because a girl can never have enough bling. She also likes the hustle and bustle of the mall. It’s not just about shopping, but socializing.

Still, as a little girl…it was a different scenario. Shai had a one track mind. It didn’t matter so much what she was shopping for. The reality was that she was doing what she was born to do. Shop first, fashion second, and third and maybe the most important of all…never use your own money. Probably Shai’s favorite place to shop when she was a little girl was J C Penney’s. One day she was trying to get her mom to take her shopping at J C Penney’s, and Amy said, “No, we don’t have enough money right now.” Well Shai saw that as a non-problem. She wanted to go shopping and she was willing to find a way to make that happen. And, she was sure she had found the answer when she said, “Well…just charge it!!”

Shai has grown up some since those days of simplicity, but she still loves to shop. And she is still very much a Fashionista. In fact, I often find myself looking to her for confirmation on my own outfits. She has a great eye for fashion. If she says I look good, then I know that I do. She would never steer me in the wrong direction. She can always see a fashion mistake. It’s nice to have such a stylish granddaughter. Much has changed with Shai through the years, but she will probably always be a Fashionista who was born to shop.

My sister, Allyn was always a very soft hearted person. Even as a little girl, my mom had a very hard time with any disciplinary action when it came to Allyn, because any show of disapproval put her immediately into a broken hearted state. This was not a fake way of getting out of trouble either. Having witnessed this myself with Allyn, I can attest to the validity of her feelings. In later years when my sisters and I spoke of the trouble we used to get into, we all agreed, “Not Allyn though. Allyn was always good!!” When you think about that, it is really a tribute to her in itself, and one that no one could argue.

There was and is something quite different and interesting about Allyn. She is one of those people who doesn’t like to say anything mean or hurtful about people, but she loves giving her loved ones little pet names. So, her daughter Jessi became Jessilynn, her son Ryan became the boy, her daughter Lindsay became Squirrel, and her daughter Kellie became Baby Kellie. She also called Lindsay, Squee Squee, and Kellie, Pretty Teeny Sweet and Little or the babe. And even made up a song for Kellie that went like this, “Mommy got a pretty Kellie, Yeah!!” And of course, she would always say, “She just a baby!” Always meaning it is an endearing way. And when one of the kids calls or stops by, she always calls them BaBy…using a high pitched voice to enunciate each syllable.

Allyn always likes to say encouraging things to people too, so she might tell someone they are “stunningly beautiful, fantastically clever, and wonderfully sweet.” Or she might say they are “the sweetest and the best.” And if one of the kids was whining or complaining, she would say, “How could you say those words??” If the kids were going outside in the winter, she would say, “Mittens, mittens, teeny kittens!”

And now that she has grandchildren, she has a whole new generation of cute little sayings. To her grandson she says, “Spinken spank the teeny Ethan. Teeny make him teeny cry.” Not that she would spank him, but more to make him laugh so that whatever problem he was having simply melted away. Ethan and his baby sister, Aurora will grow up hearing all those funny little sayings a lot, and that is a pretty good deal when you think about it.

I’m not sure what brought this strange and different language out in my sister…which her daughter-in-law, Chelsea calls Allynisms…but most of us find it very amusing to say the least. And, it has been an endearing thing as far as her family is concerned. And really, when she says some of that stuff, who can help but laugh. Bad moods quickly melt into smiles and laughter…because who could keep a straight face when someone, out of the blue says, “Spinken spanken teeny wanken”…whatever that means. Yes, my sister might speak a language that is very different from the rest of us, but I guess that is what makes her so special. Happy birthday Sis!! We love you Teeny Wanken!!

Most of the girls in Bob’s family, from Grandma right down to the granddaughters have a knack for crafts. It seems to be a tradition that everyone makes something. Several of them have made quilts that are really beautiful. My mother-in-law make a quilt of the, then 48 United State Birds, a pattern they purchased shortly after their marriage, and before Alaska and Hawaii joined the United States. Grandma’s quilts, of which I have 2, are a true treasure, especially since her passing in 1998, ended any hope for future quilts. We have so many talented women in our family, and it has been a great blessing through the years.

There are a few of the men who make crafts, including my father-in-law and my son-in-law, Kevin. The rest of the men are hard working, but when it comes to any kind of craft, they really don’t do that. They can make many other things though, including 2 ramps for wheel chairs and walkers. The family definitely has enough talent in it to fix, make, build, or create many of the things we need on a daily basis. We also have a banker, a nurse, our own liaison with the gas company, 2 insurance agents, several mechanics, as well as people in several other areas of occasional needs.

Some of the kids even get in on the talent end of things. Caalab is a good artist and guitarist, Shai is a Fashionesta, and Christopher, Caalab, Josh, and Riley have plenty of sports talent. We are very proud of each and every one of them.

We also have an unknown artist/quilter. My guess is that this person is one of the men or boys in the family, but I can’t say for sure. Apparently they didn’t like the idea that they were left out in the quilting area of the family. Still, they knew that they didn’t have the skill or the patience for quilting. So whoever our unknown artist/quilter is, decided to show the girls that quilting really isn’t so terribly hard to do. Really, all it takes is a shovel and a good amount of snow.

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