For most little girls, their daddy is just about the greatest guy on earth. They are their hero, and often the guy they want to marry, or at lease someone just like their daddy. Some kids want to marry their parents, but I don’t recall ever saying that to my dad, but I guess I don’t remember everything I ever said, so I might have. Nevertheless, my sisters and I thought our daddy was a pretty great guy, and we always felt very blessed that he was our daddy.
My sister, Cheryl Masterson had the advantage over the rest of us in that she had more time with Dad than we did, simply because of age. I’m sure that the rest of us probably had the chance to do some of the things Cheryl did too, but maybe we didn’t think of it. I think a lot of kids, boys and girls alike are quite fascinated with the whole process of shaving. I remember watching my dad whip up his lather in a mug that he had, because when he started shaving, there was no such thing as conditioning shaving cream. The men made their own lather from soap in a mug. To us, that was a cool process, and we really didn’t get tired of it. Watching Daddy shave was one of the best things about mornings when we were little. We didn’t always get to watch though, because oftentimes he had to go to work early, and we were still in bed. Nevertheless, when we did get to watch, we might end up with soap on our noses, a common occurrence, and then we would get to help with aftershave, or we might even get some on us…early perfume, and we didn’t even care if it was for men.
Of course, we always knew that our daddy could do anything. Of that fact, there was no doubt. Daddy could give two kids a piggy back ride as easily as he could give one kid a piggy back ride. That was because he could do anything. We always knew that. I think lots of girls think that their daddy can do anything. It’s because we just love our daddies so much, and as far as I’m concerned, my daddy was the best daddy in the whole world. I suppose all kids say that, but I believe that with all my heart.
When I look back on all the wonderful things our dad did for us, I get a sense of just what a saint he was. My sisters and I were always very afraid of moths…even if they were all the way across the room. Dad never got mad, and he never made us kill the moth ourselves. He just took care of it, because his little girls didn’t like them. The same thing applied to spiders, or any other creepy crawly bug. With our dad, we got to be girly girls…even if that seems wimpy to some people. Dad knew we were girly girls, and it didn’t matter, because we where his girly girls…and he was our amazing daddy. Life was great…in fact, it was perfect. It doesn’t get any better. We love you Daddy.
When I think of my niece, Chantel’s husband, Dave Balcerzak, I am always reminded of how suited they are to each other. Chantel has told me that she liked Dave when they were kids, and had planned to marry him then, but you never know how things will turn out from the childhood years to the adult years. I’m sure that everyone, and even Chantel thought that was simply a childhood idea, as she grew up. Children, or even teenagers, rarely marry someone they knew as a child. Our ideas of the perfect mate change so much. Nevertheless, Chantel never forgot Dave, and after her divorce, she ran into Dave again, and the romance was rekindled. The rest, as they say, is history.
Dave has been such a great addition to our family. He is a loving dad to his children and to Chantel’s. He has a great sense of humor and keeps laughter in their home. Dave is a whiz with computer repairs, which is great to have in the family. With his talent, a computer can last a lot longer than it normally would have. He can even rebuild them completely…which he often does free of charge for people in need. That makes him a hero, in my book, and to those he has helped. These days, it can be a real handicap to have no computer in the family. They have become a necessary item.
I find it strange to think that Dave and Chantel liked each other as kids, and then…years later, they found each other again and got together. That is the stuff that romance books are made of, but you never expect it to happen in real life. I suppose it does sometimes, but it still feels unlikely to me. Most people can barely remember the kids they went to grade school with, but these two not only remembered each other, but still had feelings for each other. I wonder where their lives would have taken them, had they not reconnected. I suppose they would have survived, but would they have been as happy as they are now? I very much doubt it. They make a good team, and they are both just exactly what the other needed. Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
At bowling last night, I was reminded of the early years of bowling for us and our kids. Bob and I started bowling when our girls, Corrie and Amy were three and two years old. Since we enjoyed bowling so much, we knew they would too, so we started them on a bowling league at Sunrise Lanes when they were six and five years old. The league was short on coaches, so I took the class to become a coach, and I became the coach of the younger children on the league. After a couple of years, the league at Sunrise Lanes dwindled down to just a few, and the league at Eagle Bowl needed bowlers and a coach, so we made the move to Eagle Bowl. Little did we know that the move to Eagle Bowl would change so many things, not only for us and our girls, but really for my whole family. Connections were made that we would cherish for the rest of our lives.
As it turned out, one team that really needed bowlers was two little girls…sisters, named Jaime and Jackie Morton. They were about the same age as Corrie and Amy, and they got along well. The four girls bowled together for a number of years, and then my nephew, Barry Schulenberg decided to bowl on the league. I told Donna, Jaime and Jackie’s mom, that Corrie and Amy were going to bowl with their cousins that year. She seemed disappointed, but asked if I had a team for Jaime and Jackie. I told her, “Yes, they are bowling with Corrie and Amy.” Confused now, she said, “I thought they were going to bowl with their cousins.” When I told her they were, she was completely baffled, and with good reason.
I finally had to break down and tell her something about her daughters that she didn’t know. Seriously, how often can someone else tell you something about your young daughters that you didn’t know. Nevertheless, I was able to do just that, because when I had mentioned Ted and Donna Morton to my mom, she was surprised, and she told me who they were. I explained to Donna that Corrie and Amy were Jaime and Jackie’s cousins. She was shocked, until I explained that her husband, Ted’s grandmother Gladys Pattan Byer Cooper, was my grandmother, Harriet Pattan Byer’s sister. Not only that, but Ted’s grandfather, Theodore Byer was my grandfather, George Byer’s brother, making us double second cousins, because my grandmother and her sister had married my grandfather and his brother. That made our girls double third cousins. So while the girls did bowl with my nephew, Barry, who was their cousin, that year, we all found out that they had been bowling with cousins all along.
When you lose one parent, you feel a like half of your world is messed up. You still have the other parent, but it still doesn’t feel right…doesn’t feel the same as it used to be. I have felt that kind of loss twice in my life, because when you marry into a family, you gain a second set of parents. Having in-laws can be good or bad depending on the relationship you build with your in-laws. For me it was a good relationship, so when my father-in-law passed away, it was my second dad that passed away. I have noticed something quite different with my father-in-law’s passing, from my dad’s passing.
While both mothers are still alive, and in my family, that is a more stablizing fact, in Bob’s family, it is not so much the case. Since his mother has Alzheimer’s Disease and is in a nursing home, it feels almost like she is gone from us too, in a sense. It isn’t that we don’t go see her often, because we do, but because she doesn’t have any input in family matters. It almost feels like the family is adrift at sea…in separate boats!! Everyone is busy doing their own things, and living their own lives, but that creates a feeling of disconnect in my mind. While some family members call each other and talk about things, others don’t. Some I haven’t heard from since the end of May, when we had Brenda’s birthday party. It is a bit of a lonely feeling.
Other family members, I talk to often, of course, and it is my hope that the family will regroup and become as strong as it was before. I’m sure everyone is just trying to deal with everything in their own way, but for me, it just seems like some of the family has grown farther apart from the rest of us, and I think that is sad. I’m one of those people who likes close family ties, and not talking to the family much is, well…as I said before, like being adrift at sea…in separate boats.
Today, my niece, Toni will marry her best friend, Dave. I am so happy for both of them. They will be married on a beach in Kauai, Hawaii, in the warm sun, with temperatures around the 80’s. The day will be as beautiful as the couple standing on that beach dedicating their lives to one another for the rest of their lives.
The road to Hawaii has been a road Toni and Dave have traveled over the past several years. I have watched their relationship grow and blossom during that time. They just seemed to click from the start. I have never seen Toni look happier. My beautiful niece literally glowed with happiness. I didn’t know Dave very well then, but I could see how good he was to Toni…how good he was for her, and I liked him immediately. Dave always looked so happy around Toni, and I could tell that she was changing his life forever…they were changing each others lives forever.
So, today is the day…the moment that they will say “I do” and become husband and wife. The excitement travels through the air from Hawaii to Wyoming, because while we are not there on that beach with them physically, our hearts are sharing in the joyous event that is taking place on that beautiful beach so far away. Our minds will wonder if the event has taken place yet, because while we know the day, we do not know the time of the wedding. We look forward to seeing the pictures they will take, and their glowing faces, and then they will go forward as a married couple to spend time seeing the sights and then home to begin their married life together. We pray God’s greatest blessings over their marriage and their little family, and wish for them all the best. Congratulations to you Mr. and Mrs. Chase on this your wedding day. Have a lovely honeymoon. We all love you very much!!
When my grandparents were young, it was not unusual for there to be bigger age differences between a man and his wife. There was a 16 year age difference in my grandparents ages. Grandma was a mere 18 years of age when she became a bride. I am reminded of a country song called “Love Like Crazy” sung by Lee Brice, in which a couple is told that they are crazy to marry so young. I don’t know if my grandmother’s parents felt that way or not, but that rarely makes a difference to the couple in love anyway. The funny thing about the song is that it ends up pointing out that if a couple “loves like crazy” they can beat the odds and stay together. That song always reminded me of my grandparents, and I’m not sure exactly why. Maybe because Grandma was so young. I’m sure you will agree that she looked like a little kid. And while my grandfather was 16 years older, he looked very young too.
For my grandparents, age made no difference. They would have been in love if they were the same age or 16 years apart. You could always hear it in their voices, and see it in their eyes. There is another song that also reminds me of my grandparents. It is “I Only Have Eyes For You” by Frank Sinatra. That is how my grandparents were. From the moment they met, they only had eyes for each other. And even after 50 years together, they still have that look in their eyes. They always would. They just looked so in love.
Their marriage would last for 53 years, until Grandpa went home to be with the Lord in 1980, but the love remained for all time. They were blessed with 9 children, many grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren…too many to easily count. Most of their family and extended family has stayed close to home, making ours one of the largest in Casper, numbering close to or over 300. And of course, some of my grandparents’ brothers and sisters are here too, making for an even larger family.
The love that began when my grandparents first laid eyes on each other, has grown into a love so big and so beautiful, that it could not be contained in just two people, and so it has blossomed in their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren. It is a love for all time, that reminds me of yet another song called, “Little Houses” by Doug Stone. My grandparents may not have been rich in worldly things, but their lives were so rich in love, that no one would have ever been able to tell if they lacked money. They were so blessed, and they loved like crazy! Does it get any better than that?
It’s somewhat rare…being double cousins, but it does happen. I suppose it is rare enough that many people don’t even know what it is exactly. It might not even be a exact term, but it is the only one that describes this situation.
When two brothers marry two sisters, their children become double cousins…and that is exactly what happened. My grandfather, George Byer married my grandmother Harriet “Hattie” Pattan on December 24, 1927. Then my uncle, Theodore “Ted” Byer married my aunt, Gladys Pattan on November 2, 1928. Hattie and George would go on to have 9 children, Evelyn, Virginia, Delores, Larry, Collene, who is my mother, Wayne, Bonnie, Dixie, and Sandy. My Aunt Gladys and my Uncle Ted would have one daughter, Margaret. From the moment Margaret arrived, the children of the sisters and brothers were double cousins. And later there would be double second cousins, double third cousins, double second cousins once removed, double third cousins once removed, and so on.
Now as often happens, the children of the double cousins weren’t as close as the double cousins themselves. As the years go by many of the cousins don’t know each other well, or at all. I have been blessed in that for me things would turn out differently. When my girls were little they began bowling with two girls who were also sisters. Little did we know, until my mom heard their dad’s name, that these girls were the grandchildren of Margaret Byer, the very Margaret whose birth began the double cousins in the first place. So, every Monday night, during the winter bowling league season, I get the privilege of spending the evening with my double second cousins twice removed, and their daughters, my double second cousins thrice removed. Margaret’s son Ted and his wife Donna, and their daughters, Jaime and her husband Willie, who also have three children, Kaleb, Kielei, and Haley, and Ted and Donna’s other daughter Jackie. I am very thankful that I have had the chance to know them all these years. They are awesome people. Love you guys bunches.