My nephew, Josh Griffith loves to take his family camping every summer. Of course, part of the point of the camping trips include cutting firewood for the family house and shop. For a number of years, the house was heated completely by wood. Some years they buy a truck load of wood, but that is expensive, and if you are willing to put some muscle into it, you can cut your own wood for less money. It’s just putting in the muscle that is hard…I know, I’ve done it too. Susan would prefer to order a truck load, but sometimes it’s worth the savings to get it themselves since they have all the tools, and they’re going to the mountains anyway. Still, this year, things have changed.

Getting wood is a lot of work and that wood is heavy, but this year, Josh made a hoist that attaches to the back of the trailer. Now they don’t have to lift the logs onto the trailer any more. This year, Kaytlyn is getting big enough to run the hoist. When they were done with the loading, they thanked Kaytlyn for doing all the heavy lifting for us. I’m sure she giggled at that one, because she just pushed a button to move the hoist around for her mom and dad. Nevertheless, without her there, there would have been more work for Josh and Susan to do, so they really did appreciate her “hard” work.

Kaytlyn likes to learn to do things from Josh. Sometimes its hard for a girl-dad to relate to his girls in work areas, but Josh enjoys teaching his girls how to do things, and lets face it, we girls might be princesses, but when we get older, our prince really needs a partner who can help him with the tough jobs too. Josh also helped his step-daughter Jala Satterwhite do all kinds of things to the vehicle she drives. The Bronco was given to her my her Satterwhite grandparents, but it needed some work to make it something Jala could and would want to drive. Josh has the ability to turn a junk vehicle into gold with all his mechanical and bodywork/painting skills. Josh has his own paint booth, and he does excellent work. Anyone who knows Josh knows he is super handy. He can make or fix just about anything. Josh is the kind of guy that always has a pocket knife and a flash light. Susan calls those kinds of guys keepers and usually if they have these things in their pockets that says a lot about their personality. You can always tell the wife of these guys too, because they are very loyal to and very proud of their men. Josh has earned Susan’s respect, but he is also very blessed to have her. Today is Josh’s birthday. Happy birthday Josh!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

In the old west, few women went on to get a higher education, and even fewer became doctors. It was thought of as a man’s occupation, and the few women who dared to go into that field, were often looked at with distrust, and even disdain. People thought that women belonged in the home raising a family. Some didn’t even attempt to hide the dislike of women in medicine. Susan Anderson, MD was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1870. Her family moved to the mining camp of Cripple Creek, Colorado during her childhood. In 1893, Anderson left Cripple Creek to attend medical school at the University of Michigan. She graduated in 1897. During her time in medical school, Anderson contracted tuberculosis and soon returned to her family in Cripple Creek, where she set up her first practice.

Anderson spent the next three years sympathetically tending to patients, but her father insisted that Cripple Creek, a lawless mining town at the time. He felt like it was no place for a woman, so Anderson moved to Denver. In Denver, she had a tough time securing patients. The people in Denver were reluctant to see a woman doctor. She then moved to Greeley, Colorado, where she worked as a nurse for six years. Somehow, people accepted a woman as a nurse, probably because they looked at it as just following the orders of the doctor, who was ultimately in charge.

Her tuberculosis got worse during this time, so she felt she needed a more cold and dry climate. She made the decision to move to Fraser, Colorado in 1907. Fraser’s elevation of over 8,500 feet, definitely made the area cold and dry. Anderson was most concerned with getting her disease under control and didn’t open a practice. She didn’t even tell people that she was a doctor. Nevertheless, the word soon got out and the locals began to ask for her advice on various ailments, which soon led to her practicing her skills once again. Her reputation spread as she treated families, ranchers, loggers, railroad workers, and even an occasional horse or cow, which was not uncommon at the time. The vast majority of her patients required her to make house calls, though she never owned a horse or a car. Instead, she dressed in layers, wore high hip boots, and trekked through deep snows and freezing temperatures to reach her patients. Now that is dedication…especially for a woman trying to recover from Tuberculosis.

During the many years that “Doc Susie,” which she familiarly became known as, practiced in the high mountains of Grand County, one of her busiest times was during the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919. Like people all over the world, Fraser locals also became sick in great numbers, and Dr Anderson found herself rushing from one deathbed to the next.
Another busy time for her was when the six-mile Moffat Tunnel was being built through the Rocky Mountains. Not long after construction began, she found herself treating numerous men who were injured during construction. During this time, she was also asked to become the Grand County Coroner, a position that enabled her to confront the Tunnel Commission regarding working conditions and accidents. She hoped to make a difference. In the five years it took to complete the tunnel, there were about 19 who died and hundreds injured.

Unlike physicians of today, Dr Anderson never became “rich” practicing her skills. Im not even sure you would say she made a middle class living, because she was often paid in firewood, food, services, and other items that could be bartered. Doc Susie continued to practice in Fraser until 1956. She died in Denver on April 16, 1960 and was buried in Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Ron nowRonI never had a little brother…or any brother for that matter, until I married Bob. I had a brother-in-law then, but no brothers. If I could have picked a little brother, I think he would have been just like Bob’s brother, Ron Schulenberg, so I guess it’s perfect that he was the one I got. Yes, he was my brother-in-law too, but he was so young when I married Bob, just six years old, so he just didn’t seem like a brother-in-law to me. I remember taking him with us on dates sometimes. He got to go to Dairy Queen more than any six year old there ever was, I’m sure, because how many little kids got to go on dates with their older brother. Most older brothers didn’t want their kid brother hanging around them at all, much less on dates, but Bob and Ron always got along well. They still do to this day too. Whenever one of them has a project going, and they need help, they know that they only have to call, and the other one will be there to assist. It is a blessed kind of relationship that the two of them have always had. Oh there were the ups and downs too, I’m sure, but the bad times never lasted very long.

Ron was an uncle pretty early on too, since my daughter, Corrie Petersen was born when he was just seven years old. Growing up, my girls must have almost felt like he was their older brother too, because they saw a lot of him. I don’t recall them ever fighting too much like siblings do, so I guess he took his uncle duties very seriously, and acted very mature. Of course, by the time my girls were old enough to fight with him, he was closer to being a teenager, so maybe he didn’t feel the need to fight with them. I remember one time when we were out cutting down trees for firewood, Ron found a deformed tree, and since the girls had come along that time, he took them out to that tree, and set them up in it. It looked like a chair. They thought it was the coolest thing, so we got a picture of them in that tree, and their Uncle Ron standing proudly beside them.
Bob, Ron & 67 MustangTree Chair
Ron is grown and married now. His wife, Rachel had a daughter, Cassie, who is married, and two little boys, Riley and Tucker, so he gets to spend lots of time with little kids again. I think he is so good with little kids, because he has had so much practice…practically all his life. He went from being a good uncle to being a good dad. Nevertheless, while he is over six feet tall now, he will always be my little brother, so he might as well get used to that. Today is Ron’s birthday. Happy birthday Ron!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Dad & Bob Cutting LogsWith the recent storm, and all the broken trees in the area, there was a lot of clean up to do. In fact, there still is a lot of clean up to do, but neighbor has helped neighbor, and families have helped families. Many have even helped people they didn’t know. The community rallied together, and cleaned up the parks, cemeteries, and streets. It was an amazing show of community and the human spirit, but there was one person that I missed very much at that time…my father-in-law.

In the early years of my marriage to Bob, we went with his dad to the Shirley Mountains to cut firewood. This event wasn’t a planned firewood cutting event, but it did end up putting a lot of firewood into the woodpiles of anyone who had a fireplace or wood stove. The work reminded me of those trips we took to the Shirley Mountains. My father-in-law knew Dad with a Chain Sawexactly what he was doing, and we were his laborers. It was a learning experience to be sure. He was always so capable.

Of course, in those later years, he could not have done the work of cutting down those fallen trees, and he would not have been there in any capacity, except to watch…or supervise. While we worked to cut down broken trees and branches, it occurred to me just how much I had learned from him all those years ago in the Shirley Mountains. We knew what needed to be done, and we did it. My job wasn’t any different than it was back then, but Bob was in charge now. He had made the transformation from being the son, learning the ropes, to the person in charge of the operation. Of course, that transformation had taken place a long time ago, but because of the storm, and the forest like mountain of fallen and broken trees, it hit me at this particular time, and not on the other times that Tree ChairBob has cut up firewood in the past.

The lessons we have learned from our parents will always be with us. We may not see them as an important lesson at the time, but down the road…when we need the information that was given to us…that lesson comes back to us and shows us the things we need to know to help us in the situation at hand. Unfortunately, sometimes we don’t appreciate the valuable lesson that was taught, until the teacher is gone, and we can’t even thank them. Then, all that is left is a warm feeling in our hearts, and a lump in our throats,  because our parents, and even in-laws, really did prepare us for life. 

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