Since I am not a fishing fanatic, and in fact, I find the sport…boring, sorry folks, but I do, I’m sure it seems odd for me to write a fish story. Nevertheless, there was a time when I found a certain fish really fascinating. My husband, Bob Schulenberg and I were on a Caribbean cruise for our 25th anniversary, and we loved walking the upper deck of the ship. We often stood looking over the edge looking for dolphin, but it was not dolphin that really made an impact on us, although we did see dolphin. The fish that really caught our eye was the Flying Fish.
Flying fish, also known as Exocoetid is a marine fish in the order Beloniformes class Actinopterygii, known in simple terms as flying fish or flying cod. They are “ray-finned fish with highly modified pectoral fins.” While they are called Flying Fish, the name is a bit misleading in that they aren’t capable of powered flight. Their fins can’t act as wings. Instead they propel themselves out of the water at speeds of more than 35 miles an hour. Once in the air, their rigid “wings” allow them to glide for up to 650 feet. The wing-like pectoral fins are primarily for gliding. Then, while swimming, the fish hold the fins flat at their sides. Their streamlined bodies reduce drag when the fish are “flying.” However it works, the Flying Fish is a unique and very interesting thing to see…especially when you had no idea that such a thing existed. Another interesting characteristic of the flying fish is its “unevenly forked tail, which has a top lobe that’s shorter than the bottom lobe.” While the Flying Fish looked small from the deck of the ship, they can actually be up to 18 inches long. Nevertheless, they average Flying Fish is 7 to 12 inches.
Another thing I didn’t know is that there are approximately 40 species of flying fish. They are tropical fish and can be seen off both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States. They are also found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. most flying fish live in open oceans, but some live on the outskirts of coral reefs.
I don’t claim to know all the fish in the sea, but I had no idea that such a thing existed. At first we thought they were birds. We couldn’t figure out how these “little birds” could be flying around so far out to sea, then we found out that they were actually fish. I’ll never forget how cool it was to watch them. It was a highlight of the cruise…very strange for a non-fisherman, I know.
Whenever I have to say goodbye to someone…no matter what the reason, I find myself thinking about how hard it is to say goodbye. It doesn’t matter if it is because of a death or because of a long parting. It’s just hard. My husband, Bob Schulenberg and I spent the last two weeks visiting with our daughter, Amy Royce and her family, and the goodbyes, which started Sunday night and continued to Monday morning, when we actually left to head home we’re tear-filled and full of heartache. You would think that I would be used to these goodbyes, but the fact is that you never get used to the goodbyes. Every goodbye includes a little bit of mourning.
Every time I think of Amy’s family, if feel a little sadness, because there is so much I miss and so much I miss out on. I’m happy that they are happy where they are, but sad for us. I have known that Amy wanted to live near the ocean, from the time she graduated from high school. That was hard, and I’m thankful that they waited until their kids were grown, so that I could be close to Shai and Caalab. Now they all have careers they love, and the girls are even insurance agents, just like I was. My grandson, Caalab has found the love of his life there. We all love Chloe Foster so much. And we couldn’t be happier about their relationship. The whole family is all happy there, and that is what matters. Amy hated the winters here, and sometimes, I can fully understand that. They can be brutal. The climate in western Washington is much milder.
Nevertheless, it is just so hard to say goodbye and leave them there…so far away. We love to go for visits, and we always have such a great time. In Washington, we can do so many things that we can’t do in Wyoming. They have taken us on whale watching tours, and harbor cruises. We like to go to the beaches, and sometimes the cities too, but the congestion in the roads is not so fun. In Wyoming, we have wide open spaces and a beauty of a different kind. We have the ease of life that comes from living in a less populated state. I could go on and on about the differences, pluses, and minuses of each state, but the reality is that half my family is in Washington and half is in Wyoming, and every time the two halves meet, there is a goodbye that follows. It is never easy to say goodbye. In fact it is just so hard to say goodbye, and I really hate goodbyes. I always will, but I love my family, and I will always accept the goodbyes, if it means getting to see them. That’s all that matters. Seeing my kids.
My nephew, Dave Chase, who married my niece Toni on December 18, 2012, loves to travel. It is a passion they both share. A lot of their travel time includes hiking or ball games, but the trip they took this last fall was a little bit different. They were taking a trip that would take them to the same places that Toni’s grandparents, my parents, Al and Collene Spencer, had gone…Alaska. It was my parents dream trip, and Toni wanted to take it too. Dave was totally on board…literally, in fact, since it was a cruise, after all. They took the same cruise my parents had gone and had a wonderful time.
Some of Dave’s family joined them for the cruise, including his brother, Dan. These guys are both very competitive, and so naturally they entered every contest on the cruise ship. Trivia, bean bag toss, basketball, golf…you name it, they got in on it. And not only did they get in on it, the won almost every contest they entered. At first everyone was great about it, but by the end of the cruise, there were a number of people who did not like them, because of it. What do you do…sit out the fun because someone might get upset. In the end, they took home seven trophies…with they call “Our Little Golden Ships.” I guess I find it hard to think that people didn’t like the brothers, because while I don’t personally know Dan, I do know Dave, and I would find it impossible not to like Dave.
Dave and Toni are so perfect together. The are active, and outgoing. Dave is so supportive in the business Toni has started, and he runs any errands she needs done, and helps with the shipping. He is a hard worker, and is willing to help out whenever he is asked to. The day Dave married into this family, he took that to mean that he was a full fledged part of it, and all that entailed. He is right of course, he is a full fledged part of the family, but he takes that to mean more…such as taking on any of the responsibilities that go along with being a family member. Not everyone who marries into a family feels that way, but that is something I have seen in Dave from the very start, and it makes me very proud to call him my nephew. Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We Love you!!
For as long as I can remember, the Alaskan Highway, known as the ALCAN Highway, has been something my parents, and especially my dad had been interested in…for most of his adult life, in fact. Construction began on the highway during World War II for the purpose of connecting the contiguous United States to Alaska through Canada. The highway begins in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, at the junction of several Canadian highways, and runs to Delta Junction, Alaska, via Whitehorse, Yukon. The highway was completed in 1942 at a length of 1,700 miles, but as of 2012, it is only 1,387 miles long. The difference is due to constant reconstruction of the highway, which has included rerouting and straightening numerous sections. The highway formally opened on November 21, 1942, but only for military use. It was not opened to the public until 1948. The highway has been legendary for decades as being a rough and challenging drive, probably because parts of it were not paved. Now however, the entire length is paved, so I suppose that took much of the difficulty out of it.
My dad has always loved to travel, and the ALCAN Highway literally called his name. It was his dream for all of his daughters and their families to caravan to Alaska by way of the ALCAN Highway. I think that needed to be a trip taken when we were all still single, and living at home, because it ended up being an unrealized dream from my dad’s life. I think Dad would have made the trip anytime we could all get our plans together, but that simply never happened. If one of us could have done it, some of the others couldn’t have, and Dad couldn’t fathom the idea of leaving anyone out. When their 50th wedding anniversary rolled around in 2003, my sisters and I decided that we needed to send them on an Alaska cruise, and while it was not the drive on the ALCAN Highway that Dad had wanted, it did let them visit Alaska, and that was the main thing…I suppose. They had a wonderful time, but I’m sure that it was a little bittersweet too, because they were there without their family. My husband, Bob and I, and my niece Toni Chase and her husband, Dave have since taken cruises to Alaska too, and I know my parents would be happy about that, but looking back now, I wish we could have figured out a way to make their dream of the drive on the ALCAN Highway a reality. I really do continue to regret that.
Over the years, informal historic mileposts have been added to denote major stopping points in the highway’s construction. Dawson Creek sports the milepost marker for the start of the ALCAN Highway. Delta Junction, which is the end of the highway, makes reference to its location at Historic Milepost 1422. The Alaska Highway meets the Richardson Highway at this point. The Richardson Highway continues 96 miles to the city of Fairbanks. This is often regarded, though unofficially, as the northern portion of the Alaska Highway, with Fairbanks at Historic Milepost 1520. It makes sense, but was not part of the original construction. The mileposts on this stretch of highway are measured from Valdez, rather than the Alaska Highway. Another oddity is that, the ALCAN Highway is popularly, though not officially, considered part of the Pan-American Highway, which extends south to Argentina, despite its discontinuity in Panama. It’s quite an amazing system, and I think I can see why my dad was so fascinated by it.
My brother-in-law, Mike Reed is a man of many talents. His wood working talents are known to many people, and those who have been blessed to have some of his work can attest to that. Mike makes all kinds of furniture, from tables to beds, and everything in between. Mike’s work is detailed and beautiful. His talents especially lean toward the rustic, and that also shows in work they are having done at their ranch west of Casper. Mike is having a barn remodeled into…well clearly not your everyday variety of barn. Mike is an avid hunter, and this “barn” will become a beautiful showcase for his hunting trophies, and an entertainment space for barbeques and such. Mike and my sister, Caryl love to have people out to the ranch…especially their kids and grandkids. They keep horses there and the horses are great fun for them and the family to ride, as well as entertaining to watch.
Last year, Mike and Caryl took their kids and grandkids on a wonderful trip to Miami, along with a cruise. They all had a great time, and it was really the trip of a lifetime for all of them. once your kids are grown up, you don’t often get to take vacations together anymore. Everyone has their own lives, schedules, and ideas, so coordinating such an event takes a lot work, and a lot of planning. Nevertheless, they pulled it off, and had a great time doing it. I’m not sure if this was when Mike caught his amazing swordfish or not, but it definitely is a trophy piece.
Mike has been a part of our family since he married my sister, Caryl in 2002. It was a blending of two families, that was a blessing to all. Mike is kind-hearted and generous. And he makes my sister so happy. It doesn’t get any better than that. Theirs has been and will continue to be a life filled with adventure, because that is the kind of guy Mike is. It’s strange to think that Mike and Caryl have been married for 14 years, but on the other hand, it’s like he’s always been a part of our family. You can tell when someone is a great fit, by how right it feels to have them there. Mike is helpful and capable, and always willing to be the jack of all trades when needed. We can’t thank him enough. Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My brother-in-law, Mike Reed has proven himself to be such a great addition to our family over the years. When we first met Mike, I wasn’t sure he stood much a very good chance against all of our teasing, but he is a really good sport, and he is also, a great teaser in his own right. When we first met him, he might have been a little overwhelmed by our large group of full on teasers, but that only lasted for about ten minutes….then he was right there with us.
Mike and my sister, Caryl are such good friends. They have the same goals and dreams. Right now they are working on their retirement plans. I always knew that Caryl loved horses, and wanted to have some of her own, but I didn’t know that Mike shared that dream with her. Nevertheless, they do share this dream, and since their purchase of a ranch outside of Casper, they have been working to fix it up. Mike is very handy as a carpenter, and I think Caryl must be too, or else she is a good assistant, which would be more like what I would be. Their retirement is down the road a little way yet, but by the time they are ready, their home on the ranch will be built. There is already a house there, but they are renting it out for now. Time will tell what they decide to do with that house later on. Mike has many talents. He could easily be a handyman. In fact, it seems like every time they come down, we have some project for him to do at our parents’ house, where our sister, Cheryl lives.
Of course, I think that the thing that Mike is most looking forward to in retirement, is the same as most of us are…relaxing. Mike likes to fish, hunt, and to travel. He has taken a couple of trips to Alaska to go Carabou hunting. He uses the meat from the hunting to make the most amazing jerky ever. And like most of us who have done it, taking a cruise is a wonderful way to spend a vacation. I think that once you have done it, it’s real easy to get hooked on it…as Mike and Caryl will certainly tell you. They have traveled, to many places, including Japan, the Bahamas, and most recently a cruise from Baltimore to the Caribbean. I think they are in pre-retirement mode…but then aren’t we all. Well Mike, with each birthday, you are a little bit closer…good news!! Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When I asked my niece, Andrea Beach about her thoughts on her mom, my sister, Caryl Reed, her first words were…”She is my hero!” During her children’s childhood, Caryl spent a lot of time as a single mom, while her ex-husband was in the Navy and often away on cruises for as much as a year at a time. Sometimes they were able to come home and spend that year here in Casper, but as the kids got older, moving from school to school wasn’t always easy, so she stayed in Oak Harbor, Washington, and later, Idaho Falls, Idaho. It was a big job, but one she did well, according to Andrea. Having one parent deployed is a tough situation to deal with for a kid, but it is one that was made less difficult for Andrea by her hero…her mom.
Andrea says that she is so impressed with her mother’s faith and her walk with God. She is Andrea’s inspiration and role model. Caryl has, as have we all, been raised in the church, and our walk with the Lord is the guiding light of our lives. We would not want to walk this Earth without God in our lives, because to walk without God is to truly walk alone.
Andrea told about the kind of role model her mother was. To Andrea, Caryl seemed a lot like Mary Poppins, because she was so sweet and pure. She always found a respectable way to handle situations, refusing to resort to things like cussing. Once when Andrea was being picked on, Caryl told her to tell those people to “keep their minds out of the gutter”, to which Andrea said, “That’s just what I told them.” Apparently, Caryl had mentioned that people should keep their minds out of the gutter before. That was part of the upbringing my sisters and I received from our parents. Cussing was not allowed in our home, and isn’t a part of our lives now either. Like our parents, we all feel like there are ways of expressing ourselves without resorting to cussing…and they were right. I still don’t think cussing is a necessary part of communication.
Caryl is blessed to be married to her best friend and the love of her life, Mike Reed. Andrea says, “They are madly in love and they are a perfect fit.” I think that is such a true statement. In her tribute, Andrea also correctly stated that Caryl “would do anything for her family and those she loves.” And that is a true statement too. Today is Caryl’s birthday. Happy birthday Caryl!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
One simply can’t go to Lake Superior and not go to Canal Park. There is nothing quite like watching a ship go through the canal and under the lift bridge. There is such an atmosphere of celebration, with kids playing and the birds flying everywhere. Crowds wait patiently for the arrival or departure of the next ship. Anticipation fills the air. It’s like being a kid at the movies for the first time. You almost can’t believe you are really there.
As we waited for the next ship to go through the canal, I watched the people sitting around, trying to keep cool in the afternoon sun, while the little children tried in vain to catch the seagulls and pigeons that were flying around. The seagulls seemed to think it was a game of sorts, or maybe they were just hoping they would have some food for them. And lots of people did. It’s fun to feed the birds, even if the bread they were getting probably isn’t the best food for them. The seagulls would swoop over the people, and then almost hover in place, floating on the breeze, then they would glide down to fly over the water in the canal, before going back to see if anyone had food again. It was such a pleasant flight to watch.
Finally the moment came, and it was announced that a ship was coming in. The bridge started up and as many people as were able moved down to the side wall of the canal to get a closer look. The first ship to go under the bridge was a lake cruise ship. It was interesting, but it was not the spectacular sight I imagined. I just hoped that there would be a big oar boat coming through too. It looked as if I was about to be disappointed, then the announcer said that the Eeborg was about five minutes out. I didn’t see how he could possible make it into the canal within the allotted thirty minute window they had to keep the bridge up. Traffic was backed up from the island on the other side, waiting to come across. Nevertheless, the Eeborg moved much faster than I could have ever expected…especially for such a large ship.
Soon, there it was looming so tall in the canal. It wasn’t a luxury liner, and yet every person there felt the same sense of awe at this amazing ship moving gracefully through the canal, under the bridge, and into the harbor to receive it’s load, before turning around and departing the next day, or later that night. It didn’t even matter if they had seen it a thousand times before, this scene still held them in captivating awe. Some of the ships that come here go all over the world…and their journey starts right there at Lake Superior. The horn sounded, and the Eeborg passed beneath the bridge and eventually out of our line of sight. I felt like I had seen a bit of a far reaching commerce, and it was very exciting.
In times past…long before the Cruise Craze occurred, the average person didn’t really travel by ship. Immigrants did, but mostly they spent their entire life’s savings to make the journey to a new country, and often they traveled in the steerage class…without all the amenities of the people in 1st class. As we saw on the movie Titanic, the 1st class passengers were treated like royalty, because they had a lot of money, while the others were kept separate…like they might rub off on the 1st class passengers, or get them dirty or something.
These days, the rich and famous don’t exactly take cruises. If they want to cruise, the get a yacht or they just fly to where they want to go, often in their own plane. If they are on a cruise ship, then they are really traveling incognito, because I have not noticed anyone rich or famous on my two cruises. Mostly I think that the cruise vacation gives the middle class citizen the chance to live like a king for a few days, and forget their problems for a while.
On the cruises I have taken, as well as the ones my family has taken, there are people from all walks of life, sharing this space and the amenities it offers for a little time of respite from their day to day working lives. And how cool is that!! There is no snobbery, and no special place to dine that only the rich can go. Everyone is treated like royalty. Although, unless you get a balcony room, there is one deck you don’t have access to. No great loss, if you ask me.
I find that quite refreshing really. So often, we are placed in classes, whether we like it or not. You can play golf and the club…if you can afford the fees. You can belong to this or that club…again, if you can afford it. And it is true that the people on a cruise ship must be able to afford the cost, but there are ways to keep the cost down and still have an amazing time. It is something you can save up for, and take your own opportunity to live like kings for a little while.
I think everyone should try this type of trip when they can. It gives you an opportunity to let someone else wait on you for a while, and all you do is sit back and enjoy the ride. It is such a great way to de-stress, and don’t we all need that once in a while? I know I do. Give it a try. It’s great to live like kings…even if it’s only temporary.
My husband, Bob doesn’t often give the past a lot of thought. He is one of those here and now types of people. It isn’t that he doesn’t remember the past, or even that he doesn’t think about it once in a while, but if he does, he doesn’t mention too many things that he is thinking about. Nevertheless, he made an exception while we were on our cruise.
As is the case with most cruises, you see a variety of people…many of them children. And, you get a variety of behaviors from these children. Obviously, you will see the well behaved children, and the misbehaving children…and everything in between. But, it was neither of these types of children that caught Bob’s eye, but rather a little blonde girl skipping along with her family on their way to breakfast.
After they passed us, Bob turned to me and said, “Did you see that little girl?” When I said that I didn’t, he told me that she reminded him of our Amy when she was little. Amy never walked anywhere. She either skipped, ran, or at home, it was far more often somersaulting down the hallway. I mean, why walk when you can somersault…right? Amy just couldn’t stand to waste a perfectly good hallway, or any other carpeted area, on simple walking. Carpets were much like a tumbling map, and that was all it took to get Amy tumbling merrily on her way from room to room. We always laughed about that, because it was so cute to see her rolling down the hallway and then getting up to go into her room and play.
As we thought about the little girl he had just seen, it was easy to imagine that she was a girl who was excited about life, and just couldn’t stand to simply walk. That was exactly what Amy was like as a little girl. If she wasn’t swinging on the table like only a tiny girl could, then she was somersaulting down the hall, or swinging from the bars on the swing set. She could easily have been Tarzan’s baby…swinging from the trees. Or you might just as likely find her up on the bumper of Bob’s truck, helping her daddy. Amy was always excited about the next thing coming her way.
Amy and her family recently took a cruise too, and she was so excited about going. I know she is a grown woman now, but I have a feeling that it was all she could do not to go skipping along on the deck of the ship heading to breakfast with her family, or anywhere else that she went for that matter. Those old habits die hard, and when you are a skipper, you find that it’s really hard to contain all that excitement…just like that little girl Bob had seen.