My husband, Bob Schulenberg’s uncle, Butch Hein is a rancher in Forsyth, Montana. Over the years, Bob and I have made many trips up to Forsyth to visit the family up there. While Butch is Bob’s uncle, he is only 9 years older than Bob is. That said, they had similar interests over the years. Butch didn’t really seem like an uncle to Bob, exactly. When he was a boy, Bob spent several weeks in the summers up at Grandma and Grandpa Hein’s house…Butch’s parents. Bob went to see them, but also to help out on their ranch. That was before Butch went into ranching himself, so the boys worked together in whatever need doing. Working together made for a closer relationship I’m sure, so when Bob was out of high school, and living on his own, he and his friend, Paul went up to visit the family in Montana. While that was a great idea, it was also a recipe for disaster…at least to Grandma Hein.
Butch, Bob, and Paul went out to the bar that night, because it was legal for Bob and Paul to drink in Montana, so the three of them went to the bar…mainly because there isn’t a whole lot of other things to do in Forsyth, Montana, due to its small size. The three of them had an…interesting evening. While sitting in the bar, and with Bob and Paul being somewhat inexperienced in the art of drinking, Butch had them try several drinks that he liked. Well, maybe some people can mix different kinds of alcohol and have no problem, but Bob and Paul were not those people. By the time they left the bar, both Bob and Paul were pretty tipsy…and that, is an understatement. Then they had to go back to Grandma’s, where they were staying, and it was at that point that they became her problem. I haven’t heard that the boys got sick or anything, but I would not be surprised. Nevertheless, in the morning, Grandma had two very hungover young men on her hands, and a son who, in her opinion was to blame. Butch was in the dog house with Grandma for quite some time, but Grandma finally forgave Butch for leading Bob astray. I’m sure he was very relieved. Nobody wants their mom mad at them.
Butch went on to become a great dad and later grandpa. He and his son, Scott run a large and successful ranch in the Forsyth area, and they are always busy. They are often on horses for hours a day. Butch had to have back surgery a while back, and I don’t know if that was caused by ranch work, but I would not be surprised. I don’t think he has ever been thrown off of a horse, but I don’t hear just everything that goes on. I suppose riding a horse and falling off of a horse go hand in hand sometimes. Anyway, he is doing much better since the surgery, and I pray it stays that way. Today is Butch’s 76th birthday. Happy birthday Butch!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Before my Grandpa Spencer passed away from cancer, on October 19, 1951, his life had held some difficult, sad, and lonely moments. My Uncle Bill writes that his suffering, from the pain that comes with cancer, “increased steadily for the last year and a half…then it was over”, and no matter what mistakes he had made in his life, all that was left was sadness that it was over…longing for a few more days to settle matters…to find peace with what was coming. My Uncle Bill took care of him in those last years, and while there were some hard feelings between them in earlier years, in the end, Uncle Bill was very sorry that he was gone…I know that by the way he talked about his dad and his death. Grandpa wasn’t always the easiest person to be around, but in the later years, he and Uncle Bill had made a way…a careful relationship, I suppose, but it was a relationship at least, and for some years, there wasn’t even that.
Don’t get me wrong, Uncle Bill loved his dad, but he didn’t always agree with everything his dad said or did…but then, what kid does. Grandpa was a man of the times. In those days you didn’t think twice about giving your kid a good spanking if they needed it, and in fact, you didn’t have an issue with taking someone else’s child to task if they got out of line. That said, you also didn’t pick on someone else’s kid either. One time Uncle Bill had been sent to town to get some money from his dad who worked on the railroad and lived in town during the week. Grandpa decided to buy him a sarsaparilla in the bar…which was ok at that time…and while there, another man began picking on my Uncle Bill. Well, his dad, my grandpa, told the man to leave his son alone, and when he would not, a fight ensued, and grandpa beat him up. Uncle Bill always felt like that was a very special event in his life. He was pleased that his dad had stood up for him in that way. Nevertheless, a few years later, there was some discord between the two men. Theirs was a guarded relationship for a long time, but in the end, they had started to work out their differences, and then time ran out.
Sometimes, when you read through the journals of another person, or in this case, the family history written by a man who dedicated his life to telling the family story as clearly as he understood it, you find yourself taking a look deep into the reality of human relationships. No matter how annoyed we can be at someone, we can also love them very much. And when it comes to the point of their passing, those difficult relationships can leave a very different kind of hole in our lives…one filled with “what if’s” and “if only’s”, and once that person is gone, no way to change the relationship for the better or at least, forgive that past. Those who are left behind, must deal with their own feelings within themselves, because there is really no one there to talk to about it all. Nevertheless, I believe that Grandpa knew that his son loved him and I believe he loved Uncle Bill and his other children very much, too.
Bob’s Uncle Butch is the youngest of his dad’s sisters and brothers. While he is Bob’s uncle, he is only 9 years older than Bob is. That said, I’m sure you can imagine that at some time during those years, they had similar interests. In fact, probably there were several times that they had similar interests, and for that reason, Butch probably didn’t seem like an uncle, exactly. Bob had spent several weeks in the summers up at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, which are Butch’s parents. That contributed to a closer relationship as well, I’m sure. So, when Bob was out of high school, and living on his own, he and his friend, Paul went up to visit the family in Montana.
They were staying at Grandma’s house, but one evening, they decided to go out with Butch. At that time, it was legal for Bob and Paul to drink, so the three of them went to the bar…mainly because there isn’t a whole lot of other things to do in Forsyth, Montana, due to it’s small size. They three of them had an…interesting evening. While sitting in the bar, and with Bob and Paul being somewhat inexperienced in the art of drinking, Butch had them try several drinks that he liked. Well, maybe some people can mix different kinds of alcohol and have no problem, but Bob and Paul were not those people. By the time they left the bar, both Bob and Paul were pretty tipsy…and that, is an understatement.
They headed back out to Grandma’s, and went to bed. The hangovers they had the next day…well, lets just say that Grandma was not happy with Butch. He was in a lot of trouble, in her book. Somehow, she didn’t think it was appropriate for him to corrupt Bob and Paul, and she made that fact known to Butch. To say he was in the dog house…is putting it mildly. Grandma wasn’t ever one to drink much, and I’m sure that had a lot to do with her feelings on the situation. Plus, I suppose, she felt responsible to my father-in-law to make sure that his son was not turned into a delinquent, not that Butch’s action were a detriment in any way. Personally, I like to think it was me that straightened Bob out, but I would guess that he might argue that statement.
Bob and Butch have always had a great time together, and getting in trouble with Grandma, didn’t change that one bit, but it is something none of them ever forgot, nor have I, when I heard about it. Today is Butch’s birthday. Happy birthday Butch!! Have a great day!!