My niece, Michelle Stevens met her future husband Matt Miller when they were both in 8th grade. They became friends for life, and that hasn’t changed. That is not something you see every day, but it is their story. Michelle said that Matt reminds her a lot of her grandpa, my dad, Allen Spencer. I don’t know if my dad was the class clown, but she says Matt certainly is. Both Matt and my dad love to tease their love ones, and make people laugh. It’s a great trait to have.
It’s amazing sometimes, that two people can like each other for a long time, but are not “brave” enough to take the relationship to the next level…one of being a couple. I suppose they worry about the friendship ending if things don’t work out, but for Matt and Michelle, that needn’t have been a concern. They have been a couple now for nine years, and are engaged to be married…when the pandemic allows. They had planned a tropical wedding, but that is on hold, and they might just decide to do something different too. They don’t want to wait for the pandemic forever, after all.
Matt works at the North Antelope Rochelle coal mine in Gillette, Wyoming. It is owned by Peabody Energy. Matt has worked there a little over three years. Matt works long hours driving some of the biggest equipment in the world. He likes his job very much, and other than the long hours, Michelle does too. I know just how she feels, because my husband worked at a uranium mine early in our marriage. It’s tough, especially since several hours of their day are spent just getting to work. Nevertheless, you do what you have to do, and you make it work. Shift work is especially hard.
When Matt is not working he’s all about hunting, fishing, and his toys! He’s a typical outdoorsman. It doesn’t matter what sport it is, as long as it in the woods, by a stream, or at the lake. Matt even broke a record in deer hunting with a bow. I have never been able to figure out how these guys could be so accurate with a bow. Still, Matt is accurate. From water sports in summer to snow sports in winter. Matt likes it all. He also loves to watch movies. Star Wars is his all-time favorite, and that would explain the names of their two precious dogs…Obi and Leia!! The dogs are 2½ years old, and they are sisters. They fell in love with the puppies the minute they saw them. They are very happy with their little fur babies. Today is Matt’s birthday. Happy birthday Matt!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My nephew, Tucker Birky is a child of mixed personal traits. He is hilariously funny, a rough and tumble boy, and yet, with a musical side. Most of the personality types that make up Tucker, are normal for a boy his age. He is funny, as I said, and that has a tendency to get him in a little bit of trouble. It is the class clown in Tucker, typical of so many boys his age that tends to disrupt the class a little bit, and teachers don’t seem to have a very good sense of humor when it comes to that stuff. Imagine that. Recess finds Tucker wanting to play a little bit rough. Tucker is full of energy, and that has to be used up at recess or it will explode somewhere else. So, the playground teacher has to reign him in some on that, but in all reality, Tucker tries to be a good boy, and that makes it hard for the teachers to get too awfully mad at him.
Tucker is an above average student. Math and reading are among his favorite subjects. While it is not uncommon for boys to like math, reading is often a subject that they couldn’t care less about, so for reading to be one of Tucker’s favorite subjects, is great. It is my belief that if a kid can read and comprehend, most can write their own ticket when it comes to their education. Recently, Tucker decided to learn to play the piano. Now, I can’t do it, so I am in awe of anyone who can read notes. I can sing, but to know what key works best for me or to know by the notes what direction a song is going next, so I think that is an accomplishment for Tucker to be very proud of.
Home life for Tucker always includes his older brother, Riley, who Tucker loves very much. Like a lot of little brothers, Tucker wants to do anything his older brother is doing. Riley is the guy Tucker wants to be just like someday. For Riley, that means being a good role model, because someone is watching every move you make, and following you around as much as he is allowed. Riley takes that seriously though. Evenings will often find him reading to his little brother, playing ball with him…any kind of ball will do, and the all important wrestling to help get rid of some of that pent up energy…an activity that always seems to find a good natured Tucker on the bottom, when all is said and done. Don’t get me wrong though, because when it comes to the many brotherly battles the two have had, Tucker has not lost all of them. He will need to understand that shooting your big brother with a BB gun is not the best plan, and is probably one that will get you in trouble with not only your parents, but with the older brother you want to be around. I’m sure that after that one, Riley told Tucker to go away, and so Tucker had lots of alone time to think about a better target to use.
Tucker is a kid who likes to help out around the house. I’m sure that is well received by his mom, who is my sister-in-law, Rachel Schulenberg. Any time you can get a kid to pitch in around the house, you are just that much ahead of the game. Tucker also has a kitten named Jack Jack, who is his very own pet. Tucker is doing a great job of taking care of him, and Jack Jack loves him very much. In fact, the two of them are inseparable. Probably the biggest vise Tucker has is his addiction to candy…a problem that many of us can relate too. The old sweet tooth. The good news is that with birthdays come sweets, and today is Tucker’s 8th birthday. Happy birthday Tucker!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My dad always had a great sense of humor, and I have often heard about some of the mischievous antics he and his brother, my Uncle Bill pulled. Things like setting dynamite off on a gate post, and sinking it down several inches, making it impossible to close the gate until they managed to pull the post back up…and before their mother got home from town, so she didn’t get mad at them, or setting off fireworks at the crack of dawn on the 4th of July, were pretty common types of mischief for them. There was also, the things my dad did to get things going, like leaning back on his chair until he fell over…to much giggling from his siblings, I have no doubt.
He was always a lot of fun to be around when we were kids, too. He and I used to have fake boxing matches, which he would usually win, of course. He loved to tease his girls, and when he pulled one over on you, he just laughed and laughed. You couldn’t help but laugh right along with him, because his laugh was so filled with delight at his ability to pull one over on you…and believe me, he had that ability.
Of course, every person has things they have kept secret, especially from their kids. You know, things you don’t want them to do, but that you did. It’s like the old saying. “Do as I say, not as I do.” Well, my dad was no different, I guess, because it appears to me that when all the other students in his class were posed obediently for the class picture, there was one cut up in the crew…you guessed it, my dad. Apparently, he just couldn’t resist acting goofy for the shot, and back then, there was no way to know it had happened until it was developed. Then, there is no way to fix it.
I can’t say that I am totally surprised at the antics of my dad. It is pretty much his character. Still, I can’t say that I ever thought of him as the class clown type. He always expected his girls to behave in school, church, or any other public gathering. There was a time to good off, and a time to behave. Nevertheless, here was my dad, being the only kid in the class to be making the goofy face in the picture. It makes me wonder just how many times my grandmother had a visit from the teacher, telling her about her wayward son, who was acting out in class….again!