Friends often go in and out of our lives, as our interests change, especially when we are young, but once in a great while, something very rare and very special occurs. That very first friend becomes a forever friend. Such was the case between my daughter, Amy and her friend, Carina. The girls met on the first day of kindergarten, and from that day to this, there has never been a time when they weren’t friends. Carina became so much a part of our lives, and Amy a part of Carina’s family’s, that we both said that they were adopted daughters.

When Amy came home from school that first day, I asked her how she liked school, and all she talked about was her friend Carina. Little did I know that this…Carina, was about to endear herself to our family for life. Rarely did a weekend go by without those girls spending the night one place or the other. They both just became a fixture in the home of the other, and none of us seemed to think it was the least bit odd.

As the years went by, their interests changed, but always seemed to include the other in some way. They both loved gymnastics and later they were both in the Kelly Walsh Dancers. Carina’s career as a flight attendant would take her all around the world, while Amy’s life would keep her right here in Casper, Wyoming, and into her marriage, but no matter how far apart they were, they remained friends. After 9-11, Carina’s life would change again, and bring her back to Casper, and later into her marriage. And now, they are closer than ever.

Once in a while, a rare friendship occurs, and that is what happened between two little girls named Amy and Carina, and our lives would never be the same…and that is just fine with me.

Kids have such a fascination with boxes. They would almost rather play with the box than it’s contents…provided, of course, that the box is big enough to hold the kid. I’m sure I was the same way, but I don’t recall just what the fascination was. Maybe it was like a secret hiding place, but it never seems to stay a secret, and the kid doesn’t seem to want to stay hidden. They want to be noticed.

It could be that it just strikes them as goofy, which would make sense, because while I don’t know about your kids, my girls loved being goofy and giggly. Being inside a box was always something that they enjoyed, so maybe I should have skipped the gift, and just found a box. And it didn’t even have to be a gift…in fact most often wasn’t, that provided the perfect box. Usually it was some appliance or some other such thing, and just as soon as the item was unpacked, the question started…”Can we have the box?” And they would be off and running on their adventure.

I kind of think the main reason kids like boxes is that they are cozy, and a sort of a place of their own. Like a play house, they climb in and just sit there, because there usually isn’t much room to move. So they look at each other and laugh, or look at you to see if you can understand their secret delight. And of course, if you would just take a picture, they would be thrilled, because moments like these are meant to be saved on film.

And just in case a box was unavailable, it really wasn’t a problem, there are always ways around that problem. Just turn a kid loose with a clothes basket, and you were good. This isn’t something that is unique to any generation either, as any parent or grandparent would know. Every kid just loves it!


Bob and I had daughters, and Bob is a mechanic, so when it came to assistants, well…he usually had one or two small ones. Bob always said that girls need to know how to work on their own car…just in case. I guess he figured that if he started early enough, they would adapt to it, just like children learned English. So, whenever he was outside working on a car, he would have one or both of the girls standing on the bumper, or a box or sitting on the fender, watching…and learning, of course!!

Funny thing about little girls…as they grow up, they are less and less interested in the working on a car thing, and more and more interested in the guy working on the car, and of course, I’m not referring to their dad. Sure, they still humored their dad, once in a while, but it was becoming more and more obvious that his girls were not going to follow in their dad’s footsteps.

In fact, early on it became pretty obvious that mechanics was going to be a…well, part time profession, at best. Before he knew it, they became interested in different forms of transportation. And I think Bob began to get the feeling that he was losing ground, as far as the mechanic training was going. Like most little girls, the engine was quickly losing their interest. Also, like most little girls, their daddy wasn’t. They would go on to humor him, by helping him from time to time…even to this day.

But, the reality is that while their dad is a great mechanic, our girls are totally not mechanically minded. They are just very sweet girls who love their daddy, and would do just about anything for him…even pretend that they enjoy checking the oil in their car. How blessed Bob is!

A few years ago I was watching a show that used to be on television called “Rescue 911” about a boy that wandered away from his mom, who was on the phone with his dad, and ended up in a terrifying situation. They were in a mall or airport or something…that part I don’t recall. What has stayed in my head was what happened afterward. The boy was excited about their upcoming adventure, and ended up stepping onto the escalator  without his mom. She was only distracted for a moment, but that was all it took. Not knowing the danger, he simply sat down. The boy was wearing a sweat suit…the next level of danger. When he got to the bottom, his clothing got caught in the teeth of the escalator, and he was trapped. A young man saw it and tried to tear his clothing so he could breathe, but with a sweatsuit, it was impossible. Just before his life would have been ripped from him, the young man rescued him, by hitting the kill switch…thankfully. I’m sure that boy has never forgotten it. It is embedded in his memory for life.

I know, because when I was about 4, my mom took me and my sisters to tour the new bank in town. We had gone upstairs via the escalator. The bank was beautiful, and we all had a great time. mom decided that it was time to go. We went to the escalator, and she helped me on. My sister stepped to the side to look at something, and seconds later, my mom and my sisters got on the escalator, about 4 or 5 steps behind me, with people in between us. There was an older woman about 2 steps in front of me, and when she reached the bottom, she panicked. She began to back step. It wasn’t her fault really. She was scared. But, I was just a little girl.

When my feet ran into the old woman’s feet, it pushed her off of the escalator, but I fell down. Back then it was common for little girls to wear frilly dresses with a full skirt, especially when going somewhere special. That dress was quickly pulled into the teeth of the escalator. My screams could be heard all over the bank. The manager came running. He assured my mom that the bank would pay for all medical bills and buy mea new dress. He begged us not to sue, which my mom had no intention of doing, but he didn’t know that. True to his word, the bank took care of everything…that they physically could.

Over 50 years later, I still cannot step on an escalator without feeling a lurch in my gut. It is no one’s fault, it is just part of who I am. Traumatic events…even in the very young, just don’t go away easily. I felt nauseated while I was watching the episode of “Rescue 911” that night. I was still able to vividly remember those events. When the program was over, I was shaking. It was more real to me than anyone could ever know.

I know it was no one’s fault, and there was nothing my mom could have done, but I want to tell everyone to be careful on escalators, especially with children, as it could easily cost them their lives, if they are caught in one of these. I have seen people allow their kids to take a ride on the escalator…alone. I want to yell at the parents…ask them, “Don’t you know what could happen?” But all I can do is stand by and pray the God will protect those unsuspecting parents and kids. Please…don’t let your kids ride an escalator alone!!

Most people remember little about their early years, but sometimes something happens that causes you to keep it in your memory all your life. Often these early memories are from traumatic or perceived traumatic events. Such is the case with me.

I was 2 years old when my family moved from Superior, Wisconsin to Casper, Wyoming. On our way, we camped out. Unlike today, people camping out might get to know their “camping neighbors” and even know their names. Such was the case with our family when we met the Sims family.

They were such nice people, and they were moving too. They had two children, but they were older than my sister and me. Our families had a very nice evening, and the next morning we left the campground and went on our way. It wasn’t until we had gone many miles that I would realize that I left my doll at the campground. I was devastated. I mean she was my baby!

When I was 3 years old my parents bought the home my mother still lives in today. As we settled in, and started to get to know the neighbors, we were very surprised to find that our neighbors across the alley just happened to be the Sims family. It was like so nice to move into a neighborhood and already know some of the people. And even better was the moment when they told me that they were hoping to see us again, because on the day we left the campground, I had left my doll, and they had saved her for me. I was elated.

Our families would live across the alley until Mrs Sims passed away. Mr Sims and their son Harold had passed away before Mrs Sims, and Julie had married and moved to Colorado. We were friends all that time, and Julie babysat for my parents until my sister was old enough to babysit. They even went to the same church as we did. They were a wonderful blessing to our family, and someone we always glad we got to know.

Today I went to my grandson, Josh’s track meet and had a wonderful time. Josh did quite well in his events. It was his first traveling athletic event, and he was very excited. I look forward to the rest of his meets over the course on the next month. I want to congratulate Josh on his great events.

While the track meet was the reason for our trip, I did find myself annoyed at the number of people who refused to listen to the announcer and show at least some measure of respect for the school that hosted this event. There were not so many requests, but it would seem that lots of people believed that they were not required to follow the rules. There were the number of people who would not get out of the way…as there always seems to be, but there was one couple that particularly annoyed me.

When the announcer asked that no food or drink be on the Astro-turf field, as a spill would cause permanent damage, this couple stood right where they were, him with his soft drink, refusing to move. And in addition to that, the people behind me commented that they shouldn’t be so worried about it, because it couldn’t damage it any more than all the “blood and spit” from the football games. I found that equally annoying, as I’m quite certain that the acid in that pop would cause more damage than blood.

That is not really the point anyway. They assumed that the school’s rules were not worth their obedience. No wonder our kids act like they don’t have to follow the rules. This is the type of example some parents set for their kids, and others who just happen to be able to see them. When we travel to another school for events, lets at least have the decency to show respect for the school that invited us.

I see so many people who don’t get along with their parents, and while I do know that sometimes that is inevitable, I believe most times it is simply a bad decision. Parents aren’t perfect, but if we will admit it, neither are we, their children. If children came with an instruction book, maybe things would be better, but it just doesn’t work that way. If kids would just try to listen to their parents and understand that while they might make mistakes in raising their children, they have your best interest at heart.

I am reminded of my own parents. While there were times that we fought, their lessons were invaluable. Of course, even when I thought I knew it all, they were patient with me…when, as my sisters have said, they probably felt much like choking me. I was probably on the list of difficult children, though I was never is any serious trouble. I just went against the grain sometimes. But had I taken a minute to see what was before me, I might not have fought so hard…no, we both know that isn’t so.

Whatever they weren’t, my parents were very moral people. Dad has gone home to be with the Lord now, but my mom is still here, and still training her children to do what is right, even though we are all grown and parents, and some of us grandparents. She still does her best to see to it that we live God’s way, and that our children do too. She and Dad cared so deeply about our spiritual life, and for that I will be eternally grateful.

Children may not always agree with their parents, and most would say that they don’t want to be anything like their parents, but in the end, when you have great parents, why wouldn’t you want to be just like them…I know I do.

I was watching a show tonight in which the grandfather was feeling a sense of loss as he watched his grandchildren having to go through so many security precautions, and I began to feel the same way. What has our world become? It has become so warped that the inhabitants almost don’t dare go outside alone.

I remember being able to play outside until late at night, and I don’t think that even my kids would remember those times. How sad it is that we have moved two generations further out into an area of fear and carefulness. People have become so sick and twisted. Some of the crimes committed these days would have been beyond the imagination when I was young. There just seemed to be a better respect for human life, and for each person’s rights. Now it would seem that people think, “I don’t care about you or your needs, as long as I get what I want.” And whay they want is…well ugly.

A while back, someone came up with the bright idea that disciplining your child is humiliating to them, and the days of descipline being considered a crime were born. Don’t get me wrong here, I do not agree with child abuse, but…well time out doesn’t work folks. Children need and want real discipline. I once knew a boy who used to break his toys quite often. When asked why, he said it was because his mom wouldn’t discipline him when he had done something wrong. This boy was self disciplining!! Now while that might be an extreme case, and that boy was later found to be gifted, so I suppose he might have understood the problem better than most people, but in his mind his mother didn’t love him enough to make him behave. How sad is that?

Well, that generation of children is all grown up now, and they don’t know how to discipline any better than their parents did, and so kids are getting away with more than before. Not to mention the fact that a group of angry adults are out there killing people because they remind them of their parents, and of course, the fact that their parents “didn’t love” them.

Proper discipline is NOT a sign of hatred or anger, but a sign of love and a desire to see your children grow up safely and happy. if we are going to change this present world, we are going to have to bring Godly discipline back into it.

As my dad’s birthday approaches, my thoughts naturally turn to him more. Dad passed away December 12, 2007, and on that day, my world turned upside down. It’s strange how the mind can trick you into thinking that nothing will ever change in your life, but all along, the world is changing…the circle of life is in constant motion. Somehow, I missed the fact that my dad was getting older, and looking back at some of the last pictures taken of him, it was so obvious. I just couldn’t see it. In my eyes, my dad was forever young.

I suppose that was due mostly to the fact that my dad acted forever young. He was a big kid, really. The grandchildren and then the great grandchildren took their turn playing with Grandpa. He loved teasing them, and they loved being teased. He would sit in his chair in the kitchen, and the kids would do their very best to run by him without getting caught. If they were successful, they would run to the back door, giggling and excited.

Dad was that way with any kid. In the picture here, Dad was teasing my sisters on a vacation…to their great delight…and his. You just never knew what Dad was going to pull next. He always loved a good joke. We all learned our teasing nature from him. I remember once he was teasing my sister Allyn, when she was little. He told her that they left Allyn behind at the last stop, and she was little brat. We all laughed about that, and his way of teasing those he loved by calling them a brat was born. I don’t ever remember him calling me a brat in anger, always teasing.

Dad had a lot of funny sayings. Dad burnit was one we heard often, because my dad never cussed. He was a man of principle, a trait I highly admired. Many people cuss only in anger, but not my dad. He just didn’t do it…ever!! He didn’t need to cuss to express himself. He would not compromise his principles, and to tell you the truth, Dad just never saw the sense in being angry all the time. People around him would stress out…myself included…but he would somehow always find humor in every situation. Like the little kid laughing at something no one else perceived as funny, my dad just never let life steal his joy. He was a happy, joyful person and I’m sure that is what kept him forever young. I love you Daddy.

It was raining tonight as we headed over to my in-laws house, and my thoughts wandered back to when I was a little girl. Few things were more exciting on a summer day when I was little than going outside in the rain. All you needed was an umbrella, because after all, that was what they were for, right. We would run outside the minute it started to rain, hoping for it to rain really hard so the water would run rapidly down the gutter. And once it did, we would be out there splashing along in the water, with boots on and an umbrella over our heads. I’m sure it made a funny picture.

Why is it that we all seem to have an obsession with the rain. My daughter, Amy can’t wait for the rain to come. If at all possible, she immediately goes out driving in the rain. She is totally at peace when driving in the rain. I think many of us have some of our fondest memories built around the rain. It’s got this hold on us somehow. Even when the lightning flashes and the thunder rolls, the rain is captivating. It has a peaceful feel that is beyond compare.

Tonight while driving in the rain, my mind wandered back to those days, so long ago, when all was right in my world. Nothing would ever change…I was just sure of it. And whenever it rains, I get that feeling all over again. It’s like when it rains everything is clean and new again. The world seems to renew itself.

Like that little girl playing in the rain that I once was, I still love the rain. Everything smells fresh and clean. And I feel free and at peace. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

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