laramie

For the first time in about a decade, my niece, Lindsay Moore and her sister, Jessi Sawdon live close enough to each other to get together often. Lindsay has lived in a number of different places over the years, Brookings, South Dakota; Miami Florida; Greenville, North Carolina; and now Laramie, Wyoming. Her husband, Shannon Moore is a football coach and is currently the Tight Ends / Fullbacks Coach University of Wyoming. Jessi’s husband, Jason Sawdon has had a long and successful career with the Wyoming Highway Patrol and was recently promotion to Sergeant of Equipment and Technology, as the next step in his decorated career. The promotion came with a move to Cheyenne, Wyoming. That was sad for all of us, but it put the girls about 45 minutes from each other and made frequent visits possible. In fact, the visits feel like popping over to a friend’s house. Their play dates are as much for Lindsay and Jessie as they are for their daughters, Adelaide Sawdon and Mackenzie Moore. Jessie tells me that she finds Lindsay to be very funny, and that it is so much fun to “mom” with her. Lindsay loves the kids, hers as well as her nieces and nephew. Sometimes she decides to take the kids for a day or even a week, and they all have a wonderful time.

Lindsay is such a faithful daughter of God, and she is developing into quite the inspirational speaker too. She has spoken at two Women’s Conferences at her church, and everyone has learned so much from her…especially her own family. They have come to really rely on her if they need encouragement. Lindsay has been really digging deeper in the The Word this year, and she is really starting to see the vision that the Lord has in her life. Jessi tells me that “it’s so exciting and fun as an outsider to see that relationship in action.” As a family of Christians (Lindsay and Jessi’s as well as our whole family) watching any of our members grow more and more in the Lord is something that we all rejoice over. In fact, we all strive to grow deeper and deeper in the Lord, so it is a real joy to see it happening. Lindsay has always been a joyful person, and each new step makes her more and more joyful, and what a blessing it is to watch that growth.

Lindsay has lived far away from her family for a long time, so she knew that daily phone conversations and texting were always going to be very important. She is so good about calling all of her family and taking time from her day to make sure she knows what’s happening in their lives and to support them when needed. Lindsay is more than just a daughter or sister. She is their good friend. In fact, we could all take a lesson from her caring nature, and her continued relationship with her family. I know that her family is so thankful that she doesn’t let her busy life keep her from keeping in touch with them every day. They are all really thankful for her friendship. She’s such a good sister and friend.

Lindsay has always been “Lindsay” and that means she is herself. She is very real, and she doesn’t worry about how she might look to others. Lindsay has a lot of funny and awkward stories about interactions during the week. It’s not that they happen all the time, but that she is a just a funny storyteller, so they always seem awkward and funny. She is never afraid to be herself, even if “herself” is silly. That is an endearing quality for sure. Most of us are afraid to look silly, and while Lindsay doesn’t always “look silly,” she doesn’t mind if she does. It’s all a part of her charm. Today is Lindsay’s birthday. Happy birthday Lindsay!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Sometimes, the “best laid plans” turn into the biggest unplanned event. Bob and I take a trip to Thermopolis, Wyoming each year to celebrate our anniversary. Thermopolis is a dinky little town with very little to do, except that it has amazing hot springs she that adds up to great mineral water soaks that are terrific for the body. We also take wonderful walks along the trail that is set up on the Bighorn River, which flows through town. It is a peaceful tradition that we love to continue. Nevertheless, sometimes life can throw you a curve ball.

Bob and I have both been snowed in during our lifetimes, but this storm was still something new to us, because we are not snowed in. We are snowed out!!! Thermopolis got no snow at all, only a sprinkling of rain, but in Casper, which is home, it is a very different story. I have see n measurements of 18″ to 24″, and I’m sure it could be more by now. The roads in and out of Casper are closed, and since we are in Thermopolis, where there is no snow, we are not snowed in, but we are snowed out of Casper. It is a matter of the fact that you can’t get there from here…at least not today.

I can’t say that I am exactly heartbroken about having to stay at least an extra day in Thermopolis. In fact, I’m hoping that a lot of the snow will melt before we get home. That would simply not hurt my feelings one bit. I have been talking to my sisters, Cheryl Masterson, Alena Stevens, and Allyn Hadlock; and my daughter, Corrie Petersen and grandson, Chris Petersen in Casper; and one sister, Caryl Reed in Rawlins, and they have graciously provided me with what I cannot see here. Tons and tons of snow!! The pictures of all the work trying to dig out, and the futility of such a venture in most cases, are shocking. It’s hard for me to fathom the amount of snow from here, but I can say that it is massive. Even my niece, Lindsay Moore in Laramie, and my nieces, Liz Masterson, and Jenny Spethman in Casper, have added to the amount of pictures that have told the story of this huge snow day. It is truly a kid’s dream, and for those who couldn’t go to work today and won’t be tomorrow, it isn’t the most horrible news either.

My little great grand niece, Hallie Joy Moore came into this world on December 19, 2020 at 5:00am, in Laramie, Wyoming. Her family had excitedly anticipated her arrival, and she was already so loved, but she arrived two months early, and her time on Earth was not to be long. Hallie, who’s name means “Praise the Lord,” tried very hard to stay, but then she went home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The doctors and nurses who tried so hard to help Hallie stay, will never forget this sweet little girl who stole their hearts immediately. In the end, she was just too early. Hallie went home at 5:37am, just 37 minutes after her birth.

Hallie Joy wasn’t here very long, but for those who knew her, in the womb during the months before her birth, in the moments after her arrival and passing, and in the hopes and dreams for her planned future, her impact was everlasting. This sweet little girl captured the hearts of all who had the honor of being there with her, in life and even after. Her spirit and strength will live on in all of her family members. We all feel like we knew her even though we didn’t get to “meet” her in person, because her spirit lives on in our hearts…and we will get to meet her when we go to Heaven.

Hallie is the second daughter of her parents, Lindsay and Shannon Moore. She has a sister named Mackenzie, with whom Hallie bears a strong resemblance. That in itself will be a blessing to her parents, because as Mackenzie grows, they will be able to see the shadow of her little sister Hallie Joy. Every time they say her name, Hallie, they will be saying, “Praise the Lord,” and they will also know that their little girl was a joy to all who knew her, and to all who know of her. She will always be a Joy to her parents hearts whenever they think of her. A child has a deeper impact than just the ones who got to meet them. Her extended family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and so many more loved this little girl before we ever knew that she was a little girl. We knew Lindsay and Shannon were having a second baby and we were all excited about it. We couldn’t wait to meet this baby, and that has not changed. We are all looking forward to meeting Hallie, who is with the Lord, and yes, still praising Him right now. That is the beauty of Hallie’s current life. She has had the opportunity to meet her grandparents, cousin, and many others who have gone home before her. She has been held in the arms of our Lord Jesus, and she has seen the face of God. Her life is not sad. It is glorious, happy, and beautiful. She is perfect, not weak or sick, just perfect. That is the greatest physical part of Heaven. Of course, the truly greatest part is knowing God…knowing Jesus…knowing Holy Spirit, and being always happy. One day she will know her big sister, when the Moore girls are together in Heaven. They will have so much fun, laughing and playing. There are no tears in Heaven…just eternal joy!!

My niece, Toni Chase is such a sweet natured person. She truly cares about the people around her…and especially their feelings. Toni and her husband, Dave Chase love to travel, going to many exotic places, as well as lots of football games. Dave is a football fanatic, so he and Toni have gone to many games, especially in Arizona…which would be a great place to go during the cold winter months in Wyoming. It’s also nice for Dave’s brother when they come to Arizona, because he gets to spend time with them.

Lately, however, they have been sticking a little bit closer to home. Dave’s dad has Alzheimer’s Disease or some type of dementia, and so he and Toni have spent quite a bit of time in Laramie, helping his mom and making sure that his dad knows how much they love him. The sad thing about dementia of any kind is that the recent past is forgotten, so if a patient is going to know you, you must go often. Having dealt with it myself, I know what they are going through, but they are kind-hearted, loving people, and they will get through this, and make a difference in his parents’ lives. Of course, while they are in Laramie, they managed to take in a few football games too.

When they are in town, Toni likes to be a homebody, when she isn’t working. They have two dogs that they absolutely love. Toni spoils the dogs, cooking for them just like they were her kids. When it snowed this last time, she and Dave went into the back yard and shoveled out a maze for the dogs. They just loved it. They ran back and forth excitedly, getting plenty of exercise for the day. My sister, Cheryl said it was really funny to watch. Most of us would get lost in a maze, but dogs can track their way out and back, so they had a blast. And of course, the snow wasn’t so deep that Toni and Dave couldn’t see over it…to rescue their babies, should they get lost.

For some time, Toni has run an eBay story, where she refurbishes items that anyone else would have thought junk. Now, however, she’s been phasing out her eBay store, because she is too busy with the dogs. My sister fared pretty well from that, because she got to go to Toni’s house a few weeks ago to “shop” for anything she might like. Toni is such a giver. Cheryl came home with a purse full of costume jewelry and a dozen purses! She is very kind in sharing all the treasures she has accumulated over the past few years. And speaking of being a giver, her sister Liz Masterson is reminded of the first job Toni got as a teenager, her greatest joy was to take her siblings shopping. How many teenagers would do that? Most of them want the job to buy things for themselves, but not Toni. Oh sure she got things for herself too, but her first thought was of her siblings. She loves to make people smile. What a great way to be. Today is Toni’s birthday. Happy birthday Toni!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Wyoming doesn’t have as many plane crashes as other states…at least not to my knowledge. It’s probably because of the fact that with a smaller population, there are fewer flights in and out…at least in the past. That may have changed in more recent years. Nevertheless, on October 6, 1966, a DC-4…United Airlines Flight 409, with 66 people on board, flew into the side of a cliff on Medicine Bow Peak in the Snowy Mountain Range near Laramie, Wyoming. At that time, it was the worst air disaster in United States history.

Lost in the disaster were three crew members, two infants, several military personnel, and five female members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Their four-engine propeller plane took off from the now-closed Stapleton International Airport in Denver that morning. Its destination was Salt Lake City, Utah. Jet airliners didn’t exist then, and propeller-driven airplanes necessarily flew at much lower altitudes. Things like not being able to pressurize the cabin, necessitated a lower flight level. Unfortunately, it also made air travel quite a bit more hazardous. Things like terrain collisions and weather issues were more common. Weather forecasts weren’t as sophisticated and the widely dispersed technology we have today was still a dream in some scientists mind.

The normal flight path of the Denver to Salt Lake route in those days, was north of Laramie around the high points of the Snowy Mountain Range. It seems to be a long way around to us these days, but it was necessary back then. Still, pilots would occasionally fly over the range to save time. In retrospect, I’m sure many would regret that practice after hearing about United Airlines Flight 409, and the horrible outcome of that shortcut.

The night of October 5th brought high winds and snow…both normal for Wyoming this time of year. The conditions over the mountains were most likely less than ideal as UA409 crossed the range the next morning. At 7:26am on October 6th, the plane flew into the side of the mountain…at full speed. There were no “black boxes” at that, so the only way to determine the time was that the onboard clocks that were recovered after the crash were frozen at the moment of impact. According to the investigation report, the plane exploded on impact, littering the mountain with debris over a mile-long path. Two huge black marks marred the mountain, as oil from the engines splattered across the surrounding terrain. The impact site was just 25 feet below the crest of the mountain, at 12,000 feet…25 feet from clearing the top. That is so shocking…that I find it difficult to wrap my mind around that fact. If they could have made it just a little over 25 feet higher, they just might have made it.

After the impact, the tail section separated from the rest of the aircraft, fell down the cliff, and rested on a ledge halfway down. A search for the plane ensued, and an F-80 fighter jet based out of Cheyenne spotted the wreck a little more than four hours after the crash. The pilots of the jet told of bad weather in the area. With the location, rescuers headed to the area, but with the windy weather caused, it took several attempts to locate the wreckage. It took them until Thursday afternoon to actually reach the crash site. Then began the gruesome task of recovering the dead. Bodies were lowered by rope and pully down the cliff. Some bags were marked “spare parts.” All the dead were identified, and their remains carried out on horseback.

To this day, the cause of the crash is uncertain. The pilot was very skilled, and the shortcut over the mountain would not have saved a lot of time. It is unknown why he took the shortcut, or why he flew at such a low altitude. The wreckage remains at the site to this day, as often happened back then. A hiker made a YouTube video of his trip there, where he found pieces of scrap metal, wires, and rusted engine parts from the plane. He also found a shoe that appears to be from that era. I imagine the finds left the hiker with a feeling of being in an almost hallowed ground…almost like a grave site.

When Wyoming Medical Center merged with Mountain View Clinic, the people who worked for the clinic had to re-apply for their jobs. Not all were kept, but my sister, Allyn Hadlock was hired by Wyoming Medical Center. When she started her new job, it was also at a new location, Wyoming Medical Center, but the people she works with have made her new job feel like home. They have welcomed her like she is family, even decorating her office on Friday in honor of her birthday.

Allyn loves being a grandmother, and is very hands on with the kids. She picks the oldest two, Ethan and Aurora Hadlock, Up from school three days a week, because their mom is at work. Their mom, Chelsea’s work is right by Eileen’s cookies, so they usually stop to get a cookie before she drops them off. Some might say the kids are spoiled, but that’s just what grandmas do. Allyn is also very close to her younger granddaughters, Adelaide Sawdon and Mackenzie Moore. Adelaide’s mommy, Jessi thinks her mother should retire and become her nanny, and Allyn would probably like nothing more than to do so. Mackenzie has lived in North Caroline since her birth, but February 1st marched a big change, when the family moved to Laramie, Wyoming so her dad. Shannon Moore could take a job as a football coach at the University of Wyoming. That puts them back n Wyoming for the first time in a long time. Allyn’s daughter, Lindsay and Mackenzie are staying with Allyn and her husband, Chris until March when the final move is made to Laramie. Allyn is ecstatic. Her family is all close again, and all is right in her world.

Allyn’s birthday, because it falls during Valentine’s week, has always been kind of special, but never more so that since her marriage to Chris Hadlock. He always makes sure that she gets two bouquets of flowers, one for her birthday and one for Valentine’s Day. They are always really pretty. Being almost a Valentine’s Day baby, Allyn has always liked hearts. They are her favorite shape. She has always made a special candlelight dinner for her family on her special China. She would set their Valentine’s on their plates and make it a fun evening. Her daughter, Jessi loved it so much that she does the same for my family now! It is really special, and less expensive than going out. Nom reservations needed. It’s a wonderful tradition. Today is Allyn’s birthday. Happy birthday Allyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

ToniToni & Dave Wedding pictureMy niece, Toni Chase could be called a bargain hunter, because she loves to shop in thrift stores, but that is where her typical bargain hunter status would end. Toni usually has a plan for the things she buys. Yes, sometimes they are perfect as is, and she wears and enjoys the things she buys herself, but often, Toni sees something else in the things she buys…the possibilities. Toni is very creative, and when she sees the possibilities in something, she works on it to change it into her vision for it. Toni’s redesigned clothing, boots, and purses are beautiful. Often she sells them on E-Bay, but just as often, she gives them away, because Toni has a very giving heart. If a piece of clothing, purse, or a pair of shoes reminds her of a certain person, she simply gives it to that person. Toni found a couple of handbags that were perfect, as is, for her mother, Cheryl Masterson, so she just took them to her, and blessed her with them.

Toni and her husband, Dave love to travel, and they do so as often as they can. The love to go places where they can hike, but they also love the warm sandy beaches. I suppose that would be why they got married in Hawaii…and a beautiful ceremony that was. Family is important to them too. They go to visit he parents in Laramie often, and they love getting together with family here too. My sister, Cheryl’s whole family loves to get together often to have dinner and visit. It is the perfect way to stay connected. These days everyone is so busy that a family can easily drift apart. They don’t want that to happen, and they are all best friends anyway.

Toni is slowly adjusting to changes in her own family. Her only child, James is grown up now, and while he is still living at home while he attends college, he is nevertheless, a different person. He recently took a trip to the Netherlands to visit his girlfriend, who had been an exchange student at his high school, and then she made the trip here to spend Christmas with the family. Toni doesn’t know where that relationship will go, nor where his schooling and career will take him, but she is supportive of all his hopes and dreams. The changes in James’ life have made for a little bit emptier home for Toni and Dave sometimes, but they have that figured out too. Toni has a number of younger nieces and nephews. She and Dave like to have the little kids spend the night sometimes. They watch movies and eat junk food…a hit with all the kids, for sure.

Toni is a very thoughtful person. She is quick to see the needs of others, and then to meet them. Whether it is giving the parents a night off, or entertaining the kids, who love to come over. She likes to take James GraduationJames, Toni and Dave hikingthe kids shopping for shoes or clothes, or other things they might need, and with her talent for re-designing, the possibilities are endless. It is such a great help to their parents too, because as we all know, raising kids is expensive. She has supplied things like shoes, coats, and clothing, because Toni is a giver. Toni is just a very good-hearted person, and that has endeared her to many people. Of course, Toni would never have told anyone about this, but I know a little birdie, and that gives me the inside track on the matter. Today is Toni’s birthday. Happy birthday Toni!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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